THE INSIDE TRACK • June 2022
Twitter’s @AviosAdventurer is the internet’s Avios adviser-in-chief. When he’s not up in the air, he’s on the hunt for sneaky ways to reach his ultimate goal: Gold Membership. This issue, we’ve picked his brain to discover the best collecting hacks, how to entertain yourself long haul and why the best way to reward relatives is with the gift of travel
How did you first discover Avios?
It was inadvertent. I started travelling more for work so I signed up for a loyalty account. I always do. I get angry when people don’t! Other people were getting some benefits out of the Executive Club, and I thought that’d be quite nice to start doing myself. Once I did my first redemption with an Avios booking I thought, hold on a second, there’s something in here. How can I get more of that in future, what does that look like?
Where was your first Reward Flight to?
Nowhere particularly exotic. I might have slightly discounted a flight to Manchester.
Which Tier are you now?
How did you get your Twitter handle?
My now-wife recommended it to me. I was going to go for ‘Business Class Boy’, but that sounded far too pretentious. I’m glad she told me not to call it that!
It’s a privilege to fly in a premium cabin (pictured). Never take it for granted. But it is tough once you’ve done a few Club Europe or Club World flights to then go back to Traveller. Daytime flights I’m more than happy to fly economy but, if you’re doing long-haul overnighters, it’s worth every penny.
How do you collect and spend Avios?
All my day-to-day spend goes on the British Airways American Express Credit Card. It’s good to know when I’m getting my Monster Munch that there’s an Avios or two coming out the other end. Or if a family member’s got a big purchase coming up, I’ll put it on my card, get the Avios, and build them up. If you’ve got something in mind you want to buy, it’s always worth shopping through British Airways.
What has been your smuggest Avios moment?
Probably back in July 2019. I was heading down to South Africa with my now-wife. I booked it business class down, and on the way back, we got a Reward Flight in premium economy. This was on a 2-4-1 American Express Companion Voucher ticket. It cost us a combined £800 for the both of us, and we were both upgraded on the way back. Plus, it was on a 747 on the way down, so life literally couldn’t have got any better.
What does your in-flight experience look like?
I can’t concentrate on more than a 30- or 40- minute episode of a TV programme. So I will get up, grab another coffee of walk around the plane for a bit. I go and have a chat with cabin crew in the galley quite a lot. I’ve made some good friends on board. They’re a good bunch.
Favourite British Airways route?
Since joining the company I’m at, it’s been the Las Vegas route. That used to be on a 747. It’s a flight with a great atmosphere. The crew quite enjoy it as well. Everyone’s in a good headspace.
A little bag of chargers and adapters, an iPad stocked up with downloaded Friends and The Office, and spare socks.
Best British Airways memory?
In 2019, my wife and I took my 83-year-old grandad to America for the first time. He’d never been before. We took him to New York, then I took him on to Vegas. We flew out on a 747, and I’d let the crew know it was his first time there. They really looked after him. Seeing him on the plane with a glass of Champagne in his hand, knowing we were off to something really exciting, was awesome.
Go on, tell us your five golden rules
Rule number one
Rule one is flexibility. Don’t always have a set route or date in mind – use Avios as an opportunity to go somewhere new and spur of the moment. You can find reward seats and get good discounts on flights if you’re willing to be open on that.
Rule number two
The second one is to leverage partner airlines and their routes. I book with British Airways for everything, but I can earn more Avios by not flying direct and utilising partner airlines.
“Remember, you don’t have to be on a plane to be collecting Avios.”
Rule number three
Either go big once, or go small many times. Do you want to do that big trip of a lifetime all in one go, spend all your Avios and have a great time? Or is a weekend break more your thing? Commit early on as to how you want to approach spending Avios.
Rule number four
Book an upgrade. People miss out when they don’t see something immediately available in their class of travel – but get something booked in, and then look to upgrade it with Avios closer to the time. Things do come up, things do change. Just keep checking and checking and checking!
Rule number five
My fifth golden rule is to optimise your day-to-day earning. Remember, you don’t have to be on a plane to be collecting Avios.