EXPERT • October 2019
By his own admission, Brian Kelly didn’t have a penny to his name when he started The Points Guy in 2010, but was still flying like a millionaire with Madonna in First class, purely thanks to Avios. Nearly a decade later and now an authority on all things airline loyalty, we ask the expert for his five golden rules to help you maximise your Avios balance
First off, get a credit card that helps you collect Avios, like the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card*. There is a £195 annual fee, but it makes sense to pay for this version (oppose to the free version) if you’re a frequent flyer and spending around the £10,000 mark annually. With the Premium Plus Card, you’ll receive 1.5 Avios per pound spent, plus a larger sign-up bonus: 25,000 Avios to those who spend £3,000 in their first three months of Cardmembership. These 25,000 Avios alone are worth at least £200, so we’d argue paying the yearly £195 is more than worth it. For anyone who’s serious about Avios, this Card is definitely the way to go.
When it comes to petrol and food shopping we recommend the Tesco Clubcard, as Clubcard points transfer to Avios. As easy as it may be to spend your Clubcard points in-store, you get way more value by choosing Avios: the current rate is 600 Avios for every £2.50 of Clubcard vouchers that you collect. Shop at Tesco with your British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card and, alongside other expenses, you’ll be on your way to earning the 2-for-1 companion voucher (offered to Premium Cardholders who hit £10,000 on the Card in one year), which means you can take a companion with you in the same flight and cabin on board a British Airways reward flight.
If you’re buying things online, wait to see if you can get it via the British Airways Avios eStore, and make sure you include your Executive Club number; it puts a cookie on your computer and can end up earning you a tonne of Avios. Ideally you want to keep double dipping, this means paying using your Amex Card, earning the Card Avios, as well as the eStore Avios. Big purchases on there mean that your Avios can build up pretty quickly - especially with brands like Booking.com and Hotels.com for travel, or Apple for tech. And keep an eye out for one-off promotions, when, for a limited time, the Avios amount up for grabs can double for any one partner.
You don’t want to hoard your Avios points, as over time the Avios needed for the same reward may change, and you don't want them to lose their value. Having said this, don't squander your points on inconsequential things. At The Points Guy, we recommend setting an Avios goal - like one amazing trip that will make a real difference in your life. If you're using up Avios heading to a destination you don't actually care about, that's not really winning. You only live once, so make it a rich one to lead.
If you forget to add your British Airways Executive Club Membership number to your booking before you fly, it’s worth keeping your boarding pass as you can get Avios for past flights - usually within six months of travel. If you're booking a ticket on another oneworld airline, you can still claim Avios, or if you're a Silver/Gold Member of the British Airways Executive Club, can still claim the extra benefits and perks. Plus, if your flight gets cancelled you’ll receive a special customer service line. Even when you’re not earning Avios, it always pays to attach your Membership number.