How To Earn British Airways Avios – The Ultimate Guide

This article looks at the British Airways Executive Club and the many ways to collect miles, known as Avios. Executive Club offers many options to earn Avios; flights, hotels, credit cards, car hire and a wide variety of retail and service offerings. We’ll explain the best of these options, hopefully uncovering a few you had never thought of!

1. Earn Avios on flights with British Airways

The first and most obvious way to earn Avios is by flying British Airways (BA). Once you are a member of the BA Executive Club, you can earn Avios on all BA flights.

British Airways flights are a great way to earn Avios
British Airways flights are a great way to earn Avios. Photo: Wikimedia

Executive Club operates a distance-based mileage system – it has not switched to a revenue-based earning system as several other airlines have.

Under this earning system, you earn BA Avios based on the flight distance (per flight segment separately when taking multiple flights), factored by a percentage that depends on the fare/booking code of the ticket:

  • The lowest economy booking classes (Q, O, and G) earn 25% of distance flown
  • Low / Medium level economy fares (K, L, M, N, S, and V) earn 50%
  • Full fare flexible economy (Y, B, and H) earn 100%
  • Discount Premium Economy Class  (E and T) earn 100%, and full fare (W) earns 150%
  • Business Discount (R and I) earn 150%, and full fare (J, C, and D) earn 250%
  • Discount First  Class (A) earns 250%, and full fare (F) earns 300%
BA Avios earning
BA Avios earning – economy and premium economy. Image: BA

There is a minimum earning of 125 Avios for any flight (based on a 500-mile distance minimum).

Note that these same earnings rates would apply to a BA coded (flight number) flight operated by any other Oneworld partner.

2. Earn with other Oneworld airlines

oneworld BA Avios
BA Avios can be earned with partner airlines too. Photo: Wikimedia/Alan Wilson

Avios are earned on flights with all members of the Oneworld Alliance:

  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM Airlines Brasil (formerly TAM)
  • LATAM Airlines Chile (formerly LAN)
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

Earn Avios for flights based on flight distance and booking code. There are tables on the Executive Club website for earnings with each airline. As with BA flights, in general, many of the discount economy fares earn 25%, and this rises through higher economy fares and premium cabins. Note though that some booking codes do not earn British Airways miles with some airlines.

Earn Avios with Cathay Pacific
Example of Avios earning with Cathay Pacific. Image: BA

3. Flights with other airlines

British Airways has Avios earning partnerships with a few other airlines – Aer Lingus, Alaska Airlines and Air Italy.

You can earn Avios with Alaska Airlines too.
You can earn Avios with Alaska Airlines too. Photo: Alaska Airlines.

These are not as extensive as the partnerships that other Oneworld member American Airlines offers (which include major airlines such as Etihad Airways and useful “gaps” in the network such as Hawaiian and Fiji Airways), but nevertheless are a good earning opportunity. Just don’t forget to credit the flights to BA!

Earnings with these three partners are all based on distance and booking class, and full details can be checked on the Executive Club website.

Earn Avios with Alaska Airlines
Earn Avios with Alaska Airlines. Image: BA

4. Executive Club status bonuses

Elite members with Executive Club Bronze, Silver or Gold status (see our complete guide to the Executive Club for more details on status levels) earn an additional mileage bonus. This is again based on flight distance and applies to all flights with BA, Iberia, and American Airlines.

Bronze members earn a bonus of 25%, Silver 50%, and Gold 100%.

Executive Club levels
Executive Club elite levels

5. Earn Avios bonuses with Executive Club

Executive Club runs regular promotions offering additional Avios on flights. These are usually only for BA flights and could be for any BA flights, or just specific routes. There are always strict ticketing and flight dates applied, so check these carefully. Also such promotions often only apply to a fixed number of flights. In these cases, you may want to be careful about which flights you credit to the Executive Club to gain maximum benefit!

For example, a March 2019 promotion offered double Avios (based on base Avios earned) for the first six flights booked until mid-April and credited to Executive Club.

BA double Avios promotion
BA double Avios promotion. Image: BA

6. Earn miles from credit card spend

Miles from everyday spend and occasional large purchases can really boost your Avios! British Airways offers Avios earning credit cards in the UK and the US.

In the UK, two main British Airways branded cards that will earn Avios.

  • British Airways American Express Card. This card awards 1 Avios per £1 on all spending. There is no annual fee. There is also an attractive bonus of a “2 for 1” travel voucher when you spend £20,000 in one year – this allows an additional Avios redemption ticket for free (same cabin, but you need to pay taxes and fees) when you redeem Avios for one ticket.
  • British Airways Premium Plus American Express Card. This awards 1.5 Avios per £1 spent, and 3 Avios per £1 spent with British Airways on flights and holidays. There is an annual fee of £195. The same “2 for 1” voucher is offered, but with this card, you only need to spend £10,000 within the year.

BA Amex cards

In the US, BA co-branded cards are issued by Chase. The British Airways Visa Signature cards earn Avios at three per dollar on BA and Iberia spend, and one per dollar on all other spend.

BA Chase credit card

7. Take advantage of credit card sign up bonuses

Many credit cards offer some form of sign up bonus. These are typically 5,000 Avios for the BA Amex (when you spend £1,000 within the first three months) and 25,000 Avios for the Premium Plus card (when you spend £3,000 within three months).  There are sometimes offers of higher sign-up bonuses, so this would be a good time to take out a new card!

In the recent past, it used to be simple and not uncommon to receive these bonuses multiple times by reapplying for cards. This is now much harder, as credit card companies tighten rules to minimize this behavior. American Express in the UK, for example, changed its rules in 2019 to lengthen the period between bonuses being offered. You now have to wait 24 months after canceling a card before you become eligible again for a bonus (before this the period was only six months).

8. Refer friends or relatives for credit cards

BA and American Express operate a “refer a friend” scheme for UK cards. You can earn BA Avois to a maximum of 90,000 from such referrals per year.

BA Refer a Friend scheme
BA Refer a Friend scheme. Image: BA

If someone you refer for a card is approved and takes up the offer, you and they will both receive bonuses as follows:

  • For the BA Amex: You receive 4,000 bonus Avios any they receive 6,000 (when they spend £1,000 within the first three months)
  • For the BA Premium Plus Amex: You receive 9,000 bonus Avios, and they receive 26,000 (when they spend £3,000)

9. Transfer points earned from other cards to earn Avios

You are not limited to BA / Avios branded cards to earn Avios however! Avios is a very flexible program and allows transfers from many other sources, including American Express Rewards (at a conversion of 1:1 to Avios) and Chase Ultimate Rewards (also at 1:1).

This opens up a lot of credit card earning options in the UK, US, and other countries too. Any card which rewards in these programs can then have the points transferred to Avios, or elsewhere for even more flexibility!

In the UK, one of the more popular cards is the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card. This comes with a sign-up bonus of 20,000 American Express Rewards points and earnings of 1 point per £1. There is a fee of £140 from the second year.

Conversions are also possible from several hotel schemes. A popular option is to convert from Marriott Bonvoy points (after earning from Marriott / SPG credit card options). These are converted to Avios at a 3:1 ratio, plus a bonus of 5,000 Avios when 30,000 points are converted. For more ideas on possible credit cards, see our guide to the best travel credit cards.

Starwood Preferred Guest

10. Earn Avios from hotel stays

Executive Club has partnerships with many of the main hotel chains, allowing you to earn Avios with stays. Avios are awarded either per stay/night or based on total spend.

Full details of earnings and terms are on the Executive Club website. Some of the main offers include:

  • Accorhotels. Avios awarded depends on brand – 2.5 Avios per 2 Euros or 4 Euros at most brands – less at Adagio brand
  • IHG. Either 1 or 2 Avios per $ depending on the brand
  • Best Western. 500 Avios per stay
  • Hyatt. 500 Avios per stay (at participating brands)
  • Langham Hospitality Group. 250 or 500 Avios per night depending on brand (up to 3 nights)
  • Marriott. Either 1 or 2 Avios per $ depending on the brand
  • Shangri-La Hotels. 500 Avios per stay
Example of Avios earning with IHG Hotels
Example of Avios earning with IHG Hotels. Image: BA

11. Convert hotel points into Avios

With most of the chains where you can earn Avios, you can also choose to earn hotel points and later convert these to Avios. Depending on your spend, this could be more or less value, but it does give the option, of course, to use the points for hotel stays instead!

There are also other chains including Hilton Hotels and Radisson where miles cannot directly be earned form stays, but it is possible to convert hotel points earned into Avios.

Convert Hilton points
Convert Hilton points to Avios. Image: BA

Full rates and details are on the Executive Club website. Keep an eye out for conversion bonuses as Executive Club often offer these (often around 30%).

12. Earn via hotel booking platforms

It is also possible to earn Avios through bookings with some online booking websites. These of course typically offer much more choice than the chains, opening up earning with smaller and independent hotels. Options include:

  • Agoda.com. Offers vary (they are awarded through a scheme known as “PointsMAX”) and will show when booking. It is usually in the area of 2 Avios per $ spent.
  • Booking.com. 4 Avios per £1 when booking via BA site.
  • Hotels.com. Up to 6 Avios per £1 (higher rate is earned if you choose to not earn credits in the hotels.com earning program)
  • Kaligo.com. Offers between 5 and 20 Avios per £1 spent.
Earn Avios with Agoda
Earn Avios with Agoda. Image: BA

13. Earn through car hire with Avis

Avis is BA’s main car hire partner and has the best Avios earning rates. There are several ways to build up earnings:

  • Each rental earns 3 Avios per £1 spent, with a minimum of 500 Avios per rental, increasing to 700 for rentals of three days or more. There are often bonus offers which increase this – check the website when you book!
  • Paying with a BA credit card earns an additional 250 Avios per rental.
  • There is a 1,000 Avios bonus if you rent 4 or more times per year.

Avis also has special rates for BA customers – check these when you book on the Avis / BA website. Also, all bookings receive one additional driver for free. Of course, check these rates and benefits against any other corporate code you may have, but in general, we find them very competitive.

Earn with Avis
Earn with Avis. Image: BA

14. Earn with other car hire companies

The Executive Club also offers the opportunity to earn Avios for rentals with a few other companies, though these are less lucrative than with Avis. Of course, they may work out better for pricing or convenience.

  • Budget offers 2 Avios per £1 spent, with a minimum of 250 Avios per booking.
  • Maggiore is an Italian company offering premium car rentals. You can earn 2 Avios per Euro spent, with a minimum of 500 Avios.
  • With Zipcar, you earn 50 Avios per booking and a one-off bonus of 1,000 Avios when you sign up.

15. Book packages with BA holidays

BA has a comprehensive trip booking service that allows you to book packages of flights, hotels and car hire for worldwide travel. Many people prefer, of course, to book these separately, and indeed that can often work out better value. But the BA Holidays scheme does have regular good deals.

These packages are worth checking when you book BA flights. Booking a package (even just a few days of hotel stays or car hire) sometimes gives access to lower airfares, making the package very good value!

Plus, for any booking through BA Holidays you receive 1 Avios for every £1 spent. This is in addition to any Avios you will also earn for the flights and car hire elements.

Book packages with BA
Book packages with BA. Image: BA

16. Use the Executive Club eStore

The BA Executive Club runs a shopping portal known as Executive Club eStore. This is available in the UK and the US. There is a healthy selection of partners, and earning rates are generally good. However, we have received mixed reports of how efficient the system is at correctly tracking and awarding Avios.

This works the same ways as a cashback portal, where you log into the eStore than click through to your chosen merchant to make a purchase. The list of partners, and rates and bonuses offered change regularly – all up to date on the eStore page.

The UK eStore includes many high street and online retailers such as John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, and Selfridges as well as many smaller, specialized shops. Major international groups such as IHG hotels are also included.

Executive Club eStore UK
Executive Club eStore UK. Image: BA

The US eStore has different offers – including, for example, Macy’s, Walgreens and Bloomingdale’s. To access this change the country indicator on the eStore lower panel.

executive Club eStore US
Executive Club eStore US. Image: BA

17. Earn with other cashback sites

As an alternative to the Executive Club eStore, you can also earn Avios from leading UK cashback portal Topcashback. This works in the same way, offering varying cashback rates for click-throughs to merchants’ websites. Topcashback, however, has a different (and larger) set of partners. Some offers are higher; some are lower –  compare to find the best deal! There are some retailers (including Debenhams) where Avios are offered as the only form of cashback.

Cashback earned with Topcashback can be withdrawn in a number of ways. This include conversion to BA Avios – where currently £10 of cashback would convert to 1050 Avios.

Avios with Topcashback
Avios with Topcashback. Image: TCB

18. Shop at Tesco (in the UK) and convert points

BA has a long-running partnership with Tesco supermarkets in the UK allowing you to earn Avios from supermarket spend.

Tesco awards Clubcard points for purchases. These are issued as vouchers, which can then be converted to Avios with BA. This is a good value deal – the conversion rate is currently £2.50 of vouchers is converted to 600 Avios. They also run regular conversion bonuses of 20-25% (although these were more common a year or more ago).

BA and Tesco
BA and Tesco Clubcard. Image: Tesco

19. Shop at Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow airport runs a scheme –  Heathrow Rewards – which awards points for shopping at the airport. This includes Duty-Free outlets, many other stores, Travelex Currency, and Heathrow Express. Simply join the program and present your card when using any of these outlets/services. Points are awarded at 1 point for £1 spent, except for currency where it is 1 point for £10.

Heathrow Rewards can be converted to Avios at a rate of 1:1. Keep an eye out for regular joining bonuses for new members.

20. Shop onboard BA with the Highlife Shop

It might be worth holding back some of your shopping for in the air! BA run an in flight Duty-Free store known as the Highlife Shop. Purchases here are awarded 2 Avios per £1 spent. You can browse the options beforehand on the Highlife Shop website.

BA Highlife Shop
BA Highlife Shop. Image: BA

21. Take out an Economist subscription

BA has a partnership with the Economist so you can earn Avios on new subscriptions and renewals. These are available internationally and on digital, print or joint digital and print subscriptions. See the offer page for full details.

Earning start at 3,400 Avios for a 1-year print or digital subscription and goes up to 8,400 Avios for a three year joint digital and print subscription. There are often bonuses on top of these which are advertised on the Executive Club or the Iberia website.

Earn Avios with The Economist
Earn Avios with The Economist. Image: BA

22. Take out a Financial Times subscription

Similarly, there is a partnership to earn Avios with Financial Times subscriptions. Again, this is possible internationally with a digital subscription. A one-year subscription is rewarded with 10,000 Avios.

Earn Avios with Financial Times
Earn Avios with Financial Times. Image: BA

23. Sign up for surveys

Executive Club has partnered with online survey company Rewards for Thoughts to offer bonus Avios when you give your opinion! Earnings are not huge, but they add up. Such small earning can also be useful to keep an account active.

With Rewards for Thoughts, you earn a bonus of 600 Avios when you sign up and take your first survey. Then each survey you complete will award at least 25 or 50 Avios depending on length.

Earn Avios with surveys
Earn Avios with surveys

24. Don’t forget about earning Avios with Iberia

The same parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG) owns both British Airways and Iberia, and they share Avios as their reward currency. Avios collected with both airlines can be freely moved between accounts with each.

So you can take advantage of any offers or earnings you see for Avios with Iberia – set up an account with them, and you can always transfer to BA when needed!

25. Buy Avios on Groupon

Iberia regularly offers a deal to purchase Avios using Groupon, but BA does not normally do this. Rates vary, but some offers in 2018 and 2019 have been good value, for example 2,000 Avios for 19 Euros was offered in early 2019.

Keep an eye on the Iberia website for notification of such deals if you are looking to top up Avios balances.

26. Buy Avios direct from British Airways

And if all else fails, remember you can always purchase Avios. This is generally not as good value as earning from other methods but remains an option if you need some last minute extra Avios to reach a specific redemption target or award ticket. Each member can purchase up to 100,000 Avios per year – currently 10,000 Avios costs £175 and 100,000 costs £1,615.

Purchase Avios through BA
Purchase Avios through BA. Image: BA

Final thoughts

We like the British Airways Executive Club and its wide variety of earning options. Earnings rates for flights are good, and all Oneworld partner earning are based on distance flown which is generally more rewarding than the alternative revenue based earning schemes. The Tier Bonuses for elite members can really boost this (also based on distance), but it is a shame that these only apply to BA, Iberia and American Airlines (AA, for example, offers bonuses on a wider range of partners).

Aside from flying there is a vast range of places to earn Avios. Car hire is more restricted than other airlines (as BA focuses heavily on its partnership with Avis), but there are options with most hotel chains and also non-chain booking portals.

Many of the retail options for earning are more focused on the UK – understandable for the UK’s largest airline! But there are plenty available internationally too, and this doesn’t really detract from the appeal of Executive Club for non-UK members.

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