18 ways to earn more British Airways Avios in 2021
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
One of the most important skills that separate rookie award travelers from the points pros is their willingness and ability to utilize international carriers’ loyalty programs. Not only will you find many more sweet spots if you look outside of U.S. carriers, but you can also do well adding a distance-based award chart to your repertoire to complement the mostly zone-based (or dynamic) award pricing that U.S. carriers offer.
Today we’re going to take a look at the best ways to earn British Airways Avios. Avios is also the mileage currency of Aer Lingus and Iberia (both owned by IAG, the same company that owns British Airways). But in this post, we’re going to focus mainly on British Airways Avios and BA’s Executive Club loyalty program.
In many ways, it doesn’t matter whether you earn your Avios with British Airways or Iberia because you can transfer Avios between your different IAG frequent flyer accounts as long as the account information matches up.
Let’s dive in!
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Earn Avios by flying
In addition to earning Avios through your credit cards, you can also earn them by crediting flights on Oneworld or partner airlines to your British Airways Executive Club account. Flights on British Airways metal will accrue Avios at the following rates, based on your fare class:
|Cabin & fare class||Avios awarded||Minimum Avios|
|Economy Lowest (G, O, Q)||25% of miles flown||125|
|Economy Low (K, L, M, N, S, V)||50% of miles flown||250|
|Economy Flexible (Y, B, H)||100% of miles flown||500|
|Premium Economy Lowest (E, T)||100% of miles flown||500|
|Premium Economy Flexible (W)||150% of miles flown||750|
|Business Lowest (R, I)||150% of miles flown||750|
|Business Flexible (J, C, D)||250% of miles flown||1,250|
|First Lowest (A)||250% of miles flown||1,250|
|First Flexible (F)||300% of miles flown||1,500|
In addition to the above chart, British Airways elite members will earn bonus Avios at the following rates:
- Bronze: 25% extra Avios
- Silver: 50% extra Avios
- Gold: 100% extra Avios
U.S.-based travelers will also be happy to know that they can earn Avios by crediting American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flights to British Airways. Even though Alaska Airlines isn’t joining the Oneworld alliance until the end of March, it has an individual partnership with British Airways that allows for reciprocal mileage earning and redemption. Avios accrual follows a distance-based chart for both carriers.
The good news is that British Airways treats American Airlines basic economy fares (B class) the same as other deeply-discounted tickets when it comes to earning rates, as shown below.
Earning Avios with credit cards
Perhaps the most direct way to earn a meaningful number of Avios is by applying for the British Airways Visa Signature Card. This card is issued by Chase and, therefore, subject to the 5/24 rule, is currently offering new applicants 100,000 bonus Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
TPG values Avios at 1.5 cents each, making the full bonus worth $750, though you’ll also earn at least 20,000 additional Avios (worth $300) from the minimum spending requirement.
The British Airways Visa Signature has a $95 annual fee and earns 5 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL within your first 18 months from account opening, thereafter earn 3 Avios. Plus, you can earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel within your first 18 months from account opening, thereafter earn 2 Avios. Plus, earn 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Transferrable rewards cards
Of course, savvy TPG readers know that we usually recommend sticking with cards that earn transferable points because of the added flexibility they offer. This strategy still applies if you’re trying to accrue Avios. British Airways is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy, making Avios among the easiest miles to earn.
Points transfer from Chase and Amex at a 1:1 ratio (in addition to occasional transfer bonuses of up to 40%), while Marriott points transfer to Avios at a 3:1 ratio. Plus, you’ll get a 5,000-Avios bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. The following cards all offer strong welcome bonuses that you could easily convert to Avios:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Check to see if you’re targeted for a 125,000-point welcome offer through CardMatch (offer subject to change at any time). Terms apply.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Terms apply.
Transfer points to Avios
British Airways is a transfer partner of three major rewards currencies: Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. Amex and Chase points transfer to Avios at a 1:1 ratio, with Amex occasionally offering transfer bonuses. Meanwhile, Marriott points transfer at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-Avios bonus for every 60,000 transferred.
Since Amex and Chase transfers to British Airways are instant, this is a great way to quickly top off your account for an award redemption when you need it.
Earn Avios with retail partners
Like most major airlines, British Airways also has several shopping and retail partners that allow you to earn extra Avios.
British Airways shopping portal
British Airways has its own shopping portal, which you can use to earn bonus Avios from many online merchants, with some stores offering 10 Avios per dollar or more, a return of 15% based on TPG’s valuations.
British Airways’ partnership with Heathrow Rewards allows you to earn Avios when you shop, dine or park at Heathrow Airport (LHR). You’ll earn 1 point per 1 GBP at most shops. You can then convert these Heathrow Rewards points to Avios at a 1:1 ratio.
Bicester Village Shopping Collection
Executive Club members earn 5 Avios for every 4 GBP or Euro spent at The Bicester Village Shopping Collection. This applies to upwards of 30,000 Euro of spending per year.
British Airways Executive Club members can earn up to 7,400 Avios for buying either a print or digital subscription to The Economist:
- 3,400 Avios for a one-year Digital subscription and 4,400 Avios for a one year print and digital subscription
- 5,400 Avios for a two-year Digital subscription and 6,400 Avios for a two-year print and digital subscription
- 7,400 Avios for a three-year Digital subscription and 8,400 Avios for a print and digital subscription
British Airways Executive Club partners with both e-Rewards and Rewards for Thoughts to allow members to earn Avios for completing surveys. Both sites offer 600 Avios when you complete your first survey.
Earn British Airways Avios with travel partners
You can also earn on select car rentals, hotel stays, vacation packages, and other shopping purchases like The Economist or certain wine sellers. Make sure to check out the British Airways website for a full list of retail partners.
If you’re booking a vacation package, you may want to search British Airways’ website first since it can earn you an extra 1 Avios per $1 spent. BA partners with major hotel chains and Hotels.com, Kaligo and Rocketmiles, so you can earn Avios on hotels and vacation packages. The program even has a partnership with Airbnb to earn 2 Avios per $1 spent on vacation rentals.
Through BA’s partnership with Lounge Pass, you can earn 5 Avios per $1 spent when you buy access to a club lounge at over 350 airports worldwide.
British Airways offers many different options for travelers looking to top up their Avios balances, including a cobranded credit card, point transfers from popular programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards and the ability to earn from flights and eligible shopping partners. Given how easy it is for the average person to earn Avios, it’s worth spending some time learning the ins and outs of this program to see how it might advance your future travel goals.
Additional reporting by Ariana Arghandewal and Benji Stawski
Featured photo of British Airways 777 first class by Ethan Steinberg
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees