How Can I Earn a Small Number of Points or Miles Quickly?
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TPG reader Jeffrey sent me a message on Facebook to ask about easy ways to earn rewards:
“Do you have any ideas for how I can earn 2,000 British Airways Avios quickly and easily?"
Coming up just short of an award redemption can be frustrating (and costly if it means missing out on good flight or hotel availability). While some award travel opportunities do pop up at the last minute, planning well in advance will give you more options and help you avoid scrambling to top up your account. If you need to acquire extra travel rewards in a hurry, your choices may be limited.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to earn points and miles. Apart from actually flying, you can earn Avios from spending on the British Airways Visa Signature Card, by making purchases through the British Airways online shopping portal and from a variety of other partner activities. The problem is that points earned through those channels can take weeks or even months to show up in your account, so they're not helpful when time is short.
The best option is to transfer points in from elsewhere, and fortunately, British Airways partners with three of the four major transferable points programs. Both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards transfer instantly to British Airways, while Starwood Preferred Guest takes a few days. You can convert hotel points into Avios (and other airline miles) as well, but those conversions may also take weeks to complete, and you generally won't get good value anyway.
If you don't have any transferable points on hand, you can look to family members to see if anyone has some spare Avios for you. British Airways offers household accounts that allow you to pool points between up to seven Executive Club members living at the same address. It's free and instantaneous, so you'll be able to book awards right away.
If neither of those options is available to you, you can always purchase 2,000 Avios for $80 directly from British Airways. That's an absolutely terrible price, and I would never recommend buying at that rate normally. However, it could be worthwhile if you need the points right away for a high-value award and have no other way to get them.
Points.com doesn't partner with British Airways, but that could also be a viable option if you need a few points or miles in certain other programs (and you have some extra you're willing to trade). The rates are abysmal and exchanges take a few days, but it's better than nothing if you're desperate.