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The British Airways Executive Club, the loyalty program of British Airways, uses Avios as its reward currency that can be redeemed for award flights. 

Avios are used and accepted by multiple airlines, meaning the opportunities for redemption are wide-ranging, regardless of your country of departure or arrival.

Understanding how to use Avios to their maximum value is a case of understanding British Airways’ distance-based reward system and how it can benefit—as well as be of detriment to—you. Specifically, Avios value is maximized when redeemed on normally-expensive, short-haul flights.

Let’s take a look at how the Executive Club program works, how you can earn Avios and the best (as well as worst) ways to redeem British Airways Avios.

What Are Avios?

As already mentioned, Avios are the reward currency for members of the British Airways Executive Club. On top of this, they’re also used by Aer Lingus AerClub, Iberia Plus, Qatar Airways Privilege Club and Vueling Club. By redeeming Avios, you can book award flights as well as receive class upgrades.

If you live in the United States, the good news is that Avios redemption isn’t restricted only to flights operated by British Airways. Rather, Avios can be used for all flights operated by Oneworld and British Airways partners. This means you can use Avios to fly on the following airlines:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian
  • SriLankan Airlines
  • Sun-Air of Scandinavia

How many Avios you earn for a given flight depends on a few factors. Namely, your Avios earning potential depends on the number of miles flown, the airline used to book a ticket, the class you fly and your status within the British Airways Executive Club.

Before delving deeper into Avios, let’s take a quick look at how they differ from Tier Points.

What Are Tier Points?

Avios shouldn’t be confused with Tier Points.

Tier Points count toward your status within the British Airways Executive Club, which can give you added status benefits. The number of Tier Points you’ll earn varies depending on the number of miles plus the class flown.

Within the Executive Club, there are four status levels, each with their own benefits and minimum requirements:

Status levelMinimum requirementsBenefits
BlueWhen you join Executive Club • Collect tier points and Avios
• Gain access to member-only offers
Bronze300 Tier Points on at least two eligible flights within a Tier Point Collection Year• Priority check in and boarding
• Free seat selection 7 days before departure
• 25% bonus Avios
• Save details and preferences
• Member-only offers
Silver600 Tier Points earned on at least four eligible flights within one Tier Point Collection Year • Priority boarding
• Free seat selection at booking
• Access to business lounges
• Extra baggage allowance
• 50% bonus Avios
• Save details and preferences
• Member-only offers
Gold1,500 Tier Points on a minimum of four eligible flights within one Tier Point Collection Year• First class check-in and boarding
• Free seat selection at booking
• Access to First lounges
• Extra baggage allowance
• Additional reward flight availability
• 100% bonus Avios
• Save details and preferences
• Member-only offers

* A Tier Point Collection Year is defined as the 12 month period beginning from day eight of the calendar month where you took your first flight as a new member of the Executive Club. Alternatively, if you joined after the eighth of the month you took your first flight in, the Tier Point Collection Year begins from day 8 of the following month.

After one full membership year, your Tier Points will reset to zero. However, British Airways operates on a “soft landing” policy. This means if you fail to get enough Tier Points to reach your previous status in the Executive Club, you’ll automatically shift to the next status tier below your previous one— instead of completely losing out.

Best Ways to Use Avios

To maximize Avios redemption value, you want to look for off-peak, short-haul, nonstop flights. This is because British Airways uses a distance-based award chart that determines the number of Avios required based on how many miles are flown. 

So, the more miles flown, the greater number of Avios will be required to pay for the flight. Flights with layovers aren’t recommended when redeeming Avios as the program charges per segment.

Likewise, British Airways is renowned for adding high fuel surcharges and taxes onto ticket prices, especially for long-haul flights and premium cabins. For this reason, it’s better to stick to short-haul flights when redeeming Avios to maximize their value or to transfer them to partner airlines without such high surcharges for long-haul flights.

When paying for a ticket, you have the option either to pay fully in cash to save Avios, pay fully in Avios to save cash or to pay partly with cash and partly with Avios to balance out the price.

Previously, British Airways published an award chart dividing miles flown into specific zones and ordering each zone by the class fare and required number of Avios. This was handy for seeing how many Avios were required for each zone. 

Unfortunately, British Airways doesn’t publish this chart anymore. That being said, they still use the same redemption rates.

To find out what reward flights are available, you can use the British Airways website. Here you can see exactly how many Avios are required for each flight as well as what the additional cost in surcharges is. You’ll also see flights operated by partners, such as American Airlines and Aer Lingus.

West Coast Flights to Hawaii with Alaska Airlines and American Airlines

A great way to redeem Avios is with Alaska Airlines and American Airlines on flights from the West Coast to Hawaii. For example, a one-way economy ticket from Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL) will cost you only 13,000 Avios plus $5.60.

Flights like these with British Airways’ partners are a great way to redeem Avios while avoiding the high surcharges. Similarly, redeeming Avios in this case makes more sense than redeeming American Airlines AAdvantage miles, which start at 20,000 miles for a main cabin fare to Hawaii.

Fly South to Mexico with American Airlines

Another excellent option for using Avios to pay for a holiday is a trip to Mexico from southern U.S. airports. 

For example, a one-way economy ticket from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Cancun (CUN) operated by American Airlines costs you only 9,000 Avios plus $45.30 in surcharges.

The same American Airlines route on the same date would cost you 12,500 AAdvantage miles plus $45.30 in taxes. Although not a huge difference, but Avios provide a savings nonetheless. 

The same idea applies for trips northward to Canada from certain airports, as well as coast-to-coast trips within the United States.

Transatlantic Flights from the East Coast to Europe on Aer Lingus

Similarly, you can redeem Avios for relatively cheap flights from the East Coast to Europe. A one-way economy ticket from New York (JFK) to Shannon, Ireland (SNN), operated by Aer Lingus can cost you as few as 13,000 Avios plus $166.2 on off-peak dates.

The same route with United Airlines would cost you 44,000 United miles plus $5.60 in taxes. While the taxes are significantly lower than with British Airways, you’d have to redeem more than triple the points for the same flight.

Intra-European Flights with British Airways

Once you’re in Europe, Avios redemption possibilities don’t stop there—arguably, they get even better. Intra-European flights are a great way to redeem Avios. This is especially the case when taking advantage of British Airways Reward Flight Savers. 

Reward Flight Saver fares charge a relatively low, flat fee that includes tax and fuel surcharges, in addition to a fixed number of Avios. Fees on these flights are capped at 50 British pounds ($63.20) for business fares and 35 British pounds ($44.24) for economy, and must be under 2,000 miles, making them perfect for Avios redemptions.

Take Advantage of Domestic Flights with Qantas

Equally, if you find yourself further afield in Australia or New Zealand, Avios redemptions with Qantas can save you money on short-haul flights. For example, an award flight from Sydney (SYD) to Wellington, New Zealand (WLG), with Qantas will cost you only 11,000 Avios plus $110.60. 

Keep in mind that this flight can cost hundreds of dollars, so an Avios redemption here could really help you out.

Avios redemptions with Oneworld and non-alliance partners can really go a long way, especially when booking domestic flights. American Airlines and Qantas are two great examples of this. 

Likewise, using Cathay Pacific for flights within Asia, Iberia and Aer Lingus for transatlantic flights, and British Airways for intra-European flights is a great way to maximize your Avios and benefit from the Oneworld alliance.

Fly in Luxury with Qatar Airways

On top of this, Qatar Airways—whose Qsuite is rated as one of the most luxurious business class experiences globally—is a member of Oneworld and offers a great chance for Avios redemption. 

For a one-way business class ticket from London-Heathrow (LHR) to Doha, Qatar (DOH), with Qatar Airways, you’ll redeem 43,000 Avios plus $383.75. Bearing in mind that this is for a business class fare on a medium-haul flight, it becomes clear that this is an absolute bargain, even despite the surcharges. 

While this flight isn’t departing from the U.S. in this instance, if you found yourself in the U.K. or took advantage of a cheap East Coast to Europe Avios-funded flight, then benefiting from British Airways’ relationship with Qatar Airways is a real possibility.

How Not to Use Avios

Flights aren’t the only option when it comes to redeeming Avios.

Avios can be redeemed for in-flight purchases, merchandise purchases with BA High Life Shop, hotel bookings and car rentals.

However, you’re far better off redeeming Avios for flight tickets than other purchases, as their value goes further on flights.

One Avios has an estimated average value between 0.8 and 1.5 cents. That means 10,000 Avios have a value $80 to $150.

For example, in the BA High Life Shop, a 100ml bottle of Tom Ford Black Orchid cologne costs 95 British pounds ($119) or 19,000 Avios. Based on our valuation, 19,000 Avios have a value of between $152 and $285. However, if you redeemed 19,000 Avios to pay for an item with a cash value of $119, you would have a value of only 0.63 cent per Avios.

This is just one example of many. If you want to maximize your Avios redemption value, then avoid non-flight ticket redemptions.

How to Earn Avios

Unlike Tier Points, which can be earned only on flights with British Airways or its partner airlines, there are many different avenues for earning Avios.

Let’s take a look at how to maximize your Avios earning potential.

Fly with British Airways and Its Partners

Avios and Tier Points are rewarded on every British Airways flight. The higher the fare class and the greater the distance flown, the more Avios and Tier Points you’ll earn.

Both Avios and Tier Points are awarded as a percentage of the miles flown, and there is a minimum number of Avios that you’ll receive for every fare class. 

Here’s an overview of Avios and Tier Point earning based on fare class:

Fare classAvios awardedMinimum Avios Tier points awarded
Economy Lowest (G, O, Q)25% of miles flown12525%
Economy Low (K, L, M, N, S, V)50% of miles flown25050%
Economy Flexible (Y, B, H)100% of miles flown500100%
Premium Economy Lowest (E, T)100% of miles flown500100%
Premium Economy Flexible (W)150% of miles flown750100%
Business Class Lowest (R, I)150% of miles flown750100%
Business Class Flexible (J, C, D)250% of miles flown1250100%
First Class Lowest (A)250% of miles flown1250100%
First Class Flexible (F)300% of miles flown1500100%

When trying to work out what you’ll earn in Avios and Tier Points, your best bet is to take advantage of the British Airways Avios and Tier Point calculator. Doing it this way will guarantee you’ll have no unfortunate surprises when trying to maximize Avios earning.

Depending on your tier status in the Executive Club program, you could be eligible for a Avios bonus on flights with British Airways and its partners. You can expect to receive the following bonuses based on your elite status:

  • Bronze: 25% extra Avios
  • Silver: 50% extra Avios
  • Gold: 100% extra Avios

As an example, let’s say you fly 2,500 miles in Economy Low (K, L, M, N, S, V) fare class. You’ll earn 1,250 Avios on this flight, as you receive 50% of the miles flown in Avios. If you were to have Silver elite status in the Executive Club, you’d receive an additional 625 Avios as you’re entitled to a 50% Avios bonus (50% of 1,250). So on this flight, you’d earn a total of 1,875 Avios.

It’s always a good idea to check the rules of partner airlines, as Avios earning, bonuses and Tier Point collection varies from airline to airline. In fact, each airline has its own Avios earning scheme. 

For example, Avios tier bonuses are available only on flights with American Airlines, Finnair, Iberia and Japan Airlines. Likewise, many partners don’t have a minimum Avios earning threshold and have specific conditions for Tier Point earning—in the case that even they allow it in the first place.

Apply for British Airways Visa Signature® Card

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card issued by Chase offers high spenders the chance to gain a range of points and perks for air travel.

The card has an annual fee of $95 and comes with generous welcome bonuses, earning you thousands of Avios after spending stipulated amounts with the card over a three-month period of time. When spending with your card, you’ll get 10% off British Airways flights originating in the U.S. and won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees when using your card abroad.

Additionally, after spending $30,000 in a year, you’ll be entitled to receive The British Airways Travel Together Ticket, which  gives you an additional ticket for a plus-one traveling in the same cabin and flight on mainline British Airways reward flights originating in and returning to the U.S. 

It can also be used for redemption when traveling solo, meaning you only have to pay 50% of the Avios fare. 

That said, in addition to the high spending threshold required to redeem the Travel Together Ticket, you’ll also still have to pay the fees, taxes and carrier charges for both seats. So although it’s still a perk, it’s not the standout feature of the card.

The main benefit of the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is its potential for earning Avios on your purchases—from flights and hotels to everyday purchases. 

With this card, you can earn 3X Avios per dollar spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and LEVEL. This sets the card apart from other airline-branded credit cards that earn bonus points on just one airline. 

You’ll also earn 2X Avios per dollar on eligible hotel purchases when booked directly through the hotel. On top of this, the card earns you 1X Avios on all other purchases.

For frequent flyers with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia or LEVEL, you can quickly rack up Avios using this credit card.

Just keep in mind that as the card is issued by Chase, it’s subject to the 5/24 rule, preventing you from being approved if you’ve signed up for more than five credit cards with any bank within a 24-month period before applying.

Apply for Avios-Earning Partner Cards

In addition to the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, two other credit cards earn Avios: the Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card and the Iberia Visa Signature® Card.

Both cards offer 3X Avios for purchases with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and LEVEL, 2X Avios on hotels booked directly and 1x Avios on all other purchases. Likewise, they both come with an annual fee of $95 and offer welcome bonuses with high Avios-earning potential.

The Iberia card gives you 10% off flights booked on and a $1,000 voucher toward two tickets on the same flight per year when the annual spending threshold of $30,000 is met. It’s also free of foreign transaction fees, making spending abroad cheap.

The Aer Lingus card similarly offers a companion ticket after reaching the annual spending threshold of $30,000. It also comes with priority boarding on Aer Lingus flights departing from and returning to the U.S. from Ireland, in addition to zero foreign transaction fees.

Use Cards with Transferable Points

Using cards with transferable points is almost always a smart move. This is even more the case when it comes to earning Avios, as British Airways is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.

You can transfer points from American Express, Chase and Bilt at a rate of 1:1. For Marriott Bonvoy, the transfer rate is 3:1. When transferring points to Avios, you need to transfer in increments of 1,000 points.

The following cards earn rewards that can be converted to Avios: 

Car Rental with British Airways Partners

Car Rental with British Airways Partners

As a member of the British Airways Executive Club, you can earn Avios when paying for car rental with Avis and Budget.

With Budget, you’ll earn 1X Avios per dollar spent on car rental, excluding taxes. When renting with Avis, you’ll earn a whopping 5X Avios per dollar spent, with a maximum Avios-earning cap of 10,000 per rental period. 

Additionally, if you enroll in Avis Preferred, your first rental payment will earn you a bonus of 1,000 Avios. Members of the British Airways Executive Club can add a second driver free of charge when renting with Avis, meaning not only that you’ll earn Avios—you’ll also save on car rental.

Lounge Pass Access Purchases

Because of British Airways’ partnership with Lounge Pass, you can earn Avios when booking airport lounge access through the British Airways Lounge Pass website.

You can earn Avios at 600 lounges at more than 350 airports across 80 countries worldwide. This is a convenient way to combine luxury with Avios earning.


Create a Household Account

You can accelerate Avios-earning by creating a household account connected to your British Airways Executive Club account. This allows you to add up to six members of your household to your account, enabling them to earn and redeem Avios.

Complete Surveys

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, nor the main method for earning Avios, but you can actually rack up a fair number of Avios by completing online surveys.

With Avios for Thoughts, you can earn 600 bonus Avios after completing the welcome tutorial and your first survey. Additional surveys can net you anywhere between 20 to 350 Avios.

Signing up with Rewards for Thoughts and eRewards can also gain you a bonus of 600 Avios as well as extra Avios per survey completed.

Earning some extra Avios like this may just help you get the number you need for certain flight redemptions.


Book Vacations with British Airways Partners

You can earn Avios on the specific hotel/vacation rental companies that partner with British Airways.

You can apply for the free global multi-brand loyalty program Accor Live Limitless (ALL) that lets you earn with more than 3,500 hotels. By doing this, you’ll earn 2X Avios per 2 euros ($2.20) spent at the following hotels:

  • Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
  • Grand Mercure
  • McGallery 
  • Mercure
  • Novotel
  • Novotel Suite
  • Pullman
  • Raffles Hotels & Resorts
  • Sofitel
  • Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts
  • The Sebel

Likewise, at Thalassa Sea & Spa, Ibis and Ibis Styles, you’ll earn 2.5 Avios per 4 euros ($4.40) spent. For Adagio Hotels, you’ll earn 2X Avios per 4 euros ($4.40) and for Adagio Access, you’ll earn 1X Avios per 4 euros ($4.40).

Additionally, you can earn 15X Avios per 1 British pound ($1.25) spent at more than 100,000 participating properties booked through Avios Hotels.

Similarly, at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, you can earn a flat rate of 500 Avios per stay at more than 650 hotels across 55 countries. If you enroll with Marriott Bonvoy, you can earn between 1X and 2X Avios per dollar spent at 8,000 hotels across 30 brands.

And lastly, by joining IHG One Rewards, the loyalty program of IHG Hotels and Resort, you can earn 2X Avios per dollar spent at more than 6,000 destinations and 17 brands.

Equally, not only can hotels earn you Avios, bookings through Airbnb can earn you 3X Avios per dollar.

Avios earning can also work in reverse when it comes to hotels. If you have extra points for hotel loyalty schemes that you’re not planning on using, then you could transfer them into Avios. Here’s an overview of hotels that partner with British Airways for Avios transfers and their conversion rates.

Hotel loyalty schemeTransfer rate (hotel points to Avios)
Marriott3:1. You can receive a bonus of 5,000 Avios after converting 60,000 Marriott points.
IHG5:1. You need at least 10,000 IHG points to make a transfer to Avios.
Hilton10:1. Hilton Honors points must be transferred in increments of 10,000 to Avios.
Radisson10:1. Transfers must be in increments of either 2,000, 50,000 or 100,000. 
MeliáRewards10:3. Transfers must be in increments of 100 MeliáRewards points.
ALL Rewards (Accor)2:1. A minimum of 4,000 ALL Rewards points are needed to convert into Avios.
Best Western5:1. You’ll receive 1,000 Avios for every 5,000 Best Western points transferred.
World of Hyatt2.5:1. A minimum of 5,000 Hyatt points are required for transferring into Avios. You can receive an Avios bonus of 5,000 when you convert 50,000 Hyatt points.

These conversion rates are not particularly beneficial—you’d be much better spending your hotel points on hotels rather than converting them into Avios.

That being said, if you know you won’t use your hotel points and would prefer to spend them on increasing your Avios, then the best conversion rates are those offered by World of Hyatt, Accor and Marriott Bonvoy. With World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy, you also get the chance to receive Avios bonuses of 5,000 after converting a certain amount of points

Final Thoughts

Avios is one of the best currencies available. They can be redeemed for flights operated by all members of the Oneworld alliance, meaning you can travel practically anywhere in the world using Avios redemption. The key to making this work is by redeeming Avios with the right airline depending on the flight and distance flown.

For example, using Qantas for domestic flights in Australia, American Airlines for domestic flights in the U.S., British Airways for flights within Europe, and Aer Lingus or Iberia for transatlantic flights means you’ll maximize the value of your Avios at every given chance.

On top of this, there are a wide range of ways to earn Avios that aren’t restricted solely to flying. From car rental to survey completion, from hotel bookings and lounge pass purchases to using cards with transferable points, such as Amex, Chase and Capital One, and applying for the British Airways Visa Signature Card, Avios-earning potential is widespread.