Collecting Avios Points: How Your Food Shop Can Pay For Your Holiday

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m obsessed with collecting Avios points. I aim to be as strategic as one can be in the pursuit of making flying more financially viable, and hopefully, now and again, flying business class. There are lots of people out there working at improving their airline status, and trust me, if I were someone with plenty of money to spare on flights alone, or moreover – if I got to travel for business, I’d be obsessed with that too. I’m not, I’m a regular blue BA Executive Club Member, but I’ve bought 10 flights this year for only Avios plus taxes, saving an estimated £1500 – £2000 in the process, and six of those flights are in business class.

I am no Should-be-Sir Martin Lewis, I just have a lot of people asking how I utilise my Avios points for decent travel rewards and I believe that sharing is caring, especially in this economy. If I can help someone go on a cheaper holiday in a cost of living crisis, that’s fantastic. Likelihood is, there are a lot of points you’re missing out on by not following a few basic rules.

The main rule of thumb is, I use my BA Amex credit card for everything. Everything I can purchase with my credit card, I do. Every coffee, every dash to the Co-op for emergency wine, Netflix, every tube journey, all of it. For every pound I spend I’m building on my Avios points, which allows me to (eventually) save enough to fly fancy, for free or maybe even fancy and free. We’ll come back to the different options/best card for you in a bit.

BRITISH AIRWAYS E-STORE

There’s another way I seriously stack up the points on every day spend, and that’s by doing all my shopping online via the British Airways e-store. There are hundreds of retailers on there, and when you shop via the links provided, you’ll get extra points per £1 spent. This way of shopping has gained me literally thousands of points over the months. At the time of writing, shopping at Booking.com will get you 8 points per £1, ASOS will get you 3 points per £1, Deliveroo 5 points per £1.

You can also register all your cards on the eStore to collect points on in store purchases with certain retailers. These cards do not have to be one of the BA/Avios credit cards listed below, but of course if you use one of these, you’ll get more points.

NECTAR POINTS

You can convert Nectar points into Avios. 400 Nectar points equals 250 Avios, and for ease you can set it to automatically convert these every time you hit the 400 mark. So if you’re a Sainsbury’s shopper, get your petrol at Esso – all of these every day purchases can go towards your holiday.

but I’ll get to that after taking you

THE CREDIT CARDS

Let’s go through the credit cards that give you Avios points every time you do your weekly food shop.

AMERICAN EXPRESS

British Airways American Express Card

  • No annual fee, with a sign up bonus of 5000 Avios points when you spend £1000 in your first three months.
  • 1 Avios point for every £1 spent.
  • Companion voucher after spending £12,000 in a calendar year for economy cabin. This will allow you to purchase a reward flight with Avios points for one person in economy, and receive a second ticket on the same flight for ‘free’. The only thing you’ll have to do is pay taxes for these two seats, the cost of which can range from £35 each for a European flight and steadily going up the further afield you go.
  • For the BA Amex card, the companion voucher will be valid for 12 months.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card

  • The premium BA Amex card costs £250 per year, but the offset is a bonus 25,000 Avios points when you spend £3000 in the first three months.
  • 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent, 3 avios for every £1 with BA or BA Holidays.
  • Companion voucher after spending £10,000 in a calendar year for any cabin. This will allow you to purchase a reward flight with Avios points for one person in any cabin, and receive a second ticket on the same flight and cabin for ‘free’. The same instance as above when it comes to paying the taxes for each person.
  • For the BA Premium Plus card, the companion voucher will be valid for 24 months.

The American Express Rewards Credit Card

  • No annual fee, with a sign up bonus of 10000 Membership points when you spend £2000 in your first three months. Amex membership points can be converted to Avios: 1 point = 1 Avios.
  • 1 Membership point for every £1 spent.
  • Membership rewards.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Card

  • Annual fee of £140 but FREE in your first year. Sign up bonus of 20,000 membership rewards points when you spend £3000 in first three months. Amex membership points can be converted to Avios: 1 point = 1 Avios.
  • 1 point for every £1 spent; 2 points for every £1 spent with airlines or in foreign currency; 3 points every £1 spent at American Express Travel.
  • Other perks such as two airport lounge visits a year and hotel room upgrades.

There is also an American Express Platinum Card but this costs an annual fee of £575.

BARLCAYCARD

Lloyds used to do a card which rewarded upgrade vouchers, which meant I was lucky enough to fly business class to New York twice, and to be honest I had the time of my life. There was so much champagne! I made friends with the crew! We went for drinks on a rooftop bar in Manhattan that afternoon! Lloyds stopped this card a few years ago, but guess what? Barclaycard have recently introduced a very similar deal. If companion vouchers are less useful to you, this is the way to get an upgrade voucher instead.

Barclaycard Avios

  • No annual fee, with a sign up bonus of 5000 Avios points when you spend £1000 in your first three months.
  • 1 Avios point for every £1 spent.
  • Cabin upgrade voucher after spending £20,000 in a calendar year.
  • Five months free Apple TV, Apple Music, Apple News.

Barclaycard Avios Plus

  • £20 monthly fee, with a sign up bonus of 25,000 Avios points when you spend £3000 in your first three months.
  • 1.5 Avios point for every £1 spent.
  • Cabin upgrade voucher after spending £10,000 in a calendar year.
  • Five months free Apple TV, Apple Music, Apple News.

THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND

  1. The BA e-store is your new best friend.
  2. Avios points are to be used on reward flights. Different flight paths, times and distances will cost varying Avios and taxes. As an example, a short haul return flight in Europe can be as little as 15,000 Avios and £35 taxes.
  3. Avios can be used for all BA code share flights (e.g. American Airlines, Iberia, Cathay Pacific, Aer Lingus & more)  as long as they are offered as a reward flight option.
  4. The availability of a flight and the availability of reward flights are not one and the same. There will only be a certain amount of reward flights available to purchase with your points on each flight, so bear in mind that the more flexible you are, the better. The further in advance you book, the more availability. If you want to fly at a peak time, it’ll cost you more points.
  5. Avios aren’t just for reward flights – they can be spent on hotels, car hire and can be used to be put towards upgrades.
  6. Although at first glance the annual fees for the premium cards is pretty hefty, you will reap the rewards quicker. They won’t be the right choice for everyone, but consider whether the fee is worth it overall for you.
  7. You can work towards those coveted points with additional cardholders on the same account. This probably comes with the caveat of having to definitely use the companion voucher with the cardholder, mind. So make sure you really do like them.

Happy Collecting!

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way affiliated with the above credit cards and you should read into each of these, their rates and their Ts&Cs before applying directly on their websites. I am not a financial advisor – my mother will be the first person to tell you that for free.

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