Last week I covered the mystery bonus being offered by British Airways (BA) when purchasing or gifting Avios (you can read the full article here).
In the article I said the following:
That price is well beyond the threshold that I would consider buying Avios. Especially when there are so many opportunities for earning Avios at much lower rates.
Several readers have been in touch to ask me to elaborate on that statement and I thought I would run an article this week looking at a number of different opportunities that allow you to rack up Avios (through non-flying means) via British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) or avios.com for free, or at far cheaper prices than BA will sell them to you.
Credit card sign-up bonuses
Although I don’t intend to focus on them, there is no doubt that the easiest methods to earn a large chunk of Avios in one go are via credit card sign-up bonuses. Here are some of the larger sign-up offers currently available:
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card: 20,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points, equal to 20,000 Avios, when you apply and spend £2,000 on your card within 3 months. You can read my full review of this card here.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card: 18,000 Avios when you apply and spend £3,000 on your card within 3 months. (EDIT: This bonus has now been raised to 25,000 Avios). Comes with 2-4-1 companion voucher after spending £10,000 in a year. See my full review of this card here.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card: 10,000 Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points, equal to 10,000 Avios, when you apply and spend £1,000 on your card within 3 months. See my full review of this card here.
There is currently a special offer running whereby you will receive triple Avios on subscriptions to The Economist magazine.
There are 3 subscription plans available. If you take out a Print + Digital subscription costing £179 you will receive 13,200 Avios. Even if you have no interest in the magazine itself you are effectively buying Avios at 1.35 pence per mile.
While still not dirt cheap it is markedly better than the 1.6p per mile you would pay when buying them directly from BA.
The Economist offer can be found here
Marketing research firms such as e-Rewards and Rewards for Thoughts are partners with both BAEC and avios.com. Both firms offer a decent bonus when you sign up and complete your first survey and they are both free to join.
- You will earn 800 Avios when you sign-up to e-Rewards before 31st March 2017 and complete your first survey (up from the normal offer of 750 Avios) within 2 months of enrolling. The amount of Avios you will earn after that will depend on the type and length of the survey you are offered.
- You will earn 600 Avios when you sign up to Rewards for Thoughts and complete your first survey. You can then earn 50 Avios per completed survey on an ongoing basis.
Since both of these firms partner with both BAEC and avios.com, there is nothing to stop you signing up for both schemes through both BAEC and avios.com and earning a total of 3,000 Avios for free.
Personally, I don’t find it worthwhile to complete these surveys on a regular basis but I have certainly signed up to both schemes through my BA and avios.com accounts. However, I do know a fair few people who earn decent amounts of Avios by completing these while watching TV in the evenings.
These can also be a good way of resetting the expiry date on your Avios balance. From experience, the Avios earned through Rewards for Thoughts tend to post particularly quickly and I have had some in my account within 24-48 hours of completing the survey.
Rewards for Thoughts – Here is the link to the BAEC and Avios.com sign-up page – (when you click on the ‘Select Avios Programme’ field, you will be able to select which one of BAEC/Avios.com you would like to enrol with).
Chic Outlet shopping
Your plans for a relaxed weekend have just gone out of the window as your wife/partner/significant other announces that this Saturday is going to be spent shopping for bargains at your local Chic Outlet Village (Bicester Village/Cheshire Oaks etc-full list here).
Here’s something that may soften the blow ever so slightly, make sure you keep hold of all the receipts. No, not so you can tally up the damage, that’s what bank statements are for. If you present your receipts at the Visitor Center you will receive 5 Avios for every £4 spent at the outlet. There are also often double points promotions running and this can result in a nice sum of Avios depending on how badly your credit card has been abused!
This is probably one of the most commonly known methods of earning Avios. Tesco Clubcard points can be converted to either BAEC or avios.com at the following rate:
1 Clubcard point = 2.4 Avios
This is advertised as 600 Avios for every £2.50 in Clubcard vouchers that you exchange (although there are some people on an older grandfathered rate of 800 Avios per £2.50 of vouchers).
Using Tesco as a means of generating Avios used to be a far more profitable exercise with regular bonus Clubcard points promotions. Those have dried up somewhat recently but there are still a few bonus points offers around for boosting your balance in addition to the points you earn from your everyday shopping.
- Tesco Views – Earn 25 Clubcard points (60 Avios) each month. Link to page is here.
- The Recycling Factory – Up to 125 Clubcard points (300 Avios) for each ink cartridge successfully recycled. Link to page is here.
- Tesco Photo – 150 Clubcard points (360 Avios) with your first order over £15. Link to offer here.
- Tesco Bank – 75 Clubcard points (180 Avios) for giving one of your insurance renewal dates. You can receive this bonus multiple times and are eligible as long as you haven’t provided your details within the last 24 months. The relevant page is here.
Unless you have a pressing need for them, I would always recommend NOT auto-converting your Clubcard vouchers.
This is because there are occasional conversion bonuses when converting vouchers to Avios albeit they are far less frequent or generous than they used to be. The last bonus was 20% and ran in December 2015.
Many people traditionally associate the perks of airport shopping with the savings enjoyed from duty-free purchases. Via Heathrow Rewards, there are also additional benefits to be had.
Heathrow Rewards is a scheme that allows you to ‘collect points on everything you do at Heathrow — shopping, eating, drinking, parking and using Heathrow Express — and convert your points to Avios’.
1 Heathrow Rewards point is equivalent to 1 Avios point and can be converted in multiples of 250 points.
When you sign up to Heathrow Rewards via BAEC or avios.com before 31st December 2018 you will receive 100 points for signing up and a further 3,000 points when you spend £150 or more in a single day.
On an ongoing basis, unless you regularly purchase big-ticket items, the 1 Avios per £1 spent is unlikely to be all that exciting. However, Heathrow Rewards do offer free transfer of points between accounts so this could potentially prove very lucrative with the help of family members or colleagues…
There has also been 100% and 50% conversion bonuses when you convert Heathrow Rewards points to Avios in the last 18 months which I have taken advantage of to top up my Avios balance.
You can find more info on the current offer in this article.
Even by using just a couple of the methods I have outlined above, it is clear there are numerous ways of acquiring Avios at far cheaper rates than BA will sell them to you. I have always maintained that the best way to rack up large amounts of Avios is by diversifying your collection methods and trying to earn them via as many different sources as possible. The material in this article should help you do just that.