If you want to travel for free, you need to know how to earn Avios fast. Today I’m sharing some of my favourite FAST ways to earn Avios points. In the last six months, I’ve earned almost 40,000 Avios and booked three flights to America for under £200. Read on to find out how!
If you don’t already collect Avios, my advice is to start right now. Today. Don’t delay.
For the past 10 years, we’ve used Avios to get free upgrade tickets from economy to business class. More recently we’ve booked flights to New York for this summer for just £75 plus Avios, and tickets to Boston next summer for £100 plus Avios.
What are Avios?
In case you’re unfamiliar with the programme, Avios points replaced the old AirMiles loyalty scheme. As a traveller, you can collect Avios Points and use them to pay for flights and upgrades, as well as using them towards things like hotel stays and car hire.
Before we start, I have to say that the single BEST way to earn Avios fast is to open a credit card that pays Avios for every £1 you put on your card. Personally, I’m not going to do that. We are in economically uncertain times, and I want to avoid the temptation of more credit. So I’m focusing on other ways to collect Avios points.
Where can you go with Avios?
Avios points can be used for more than just flights, of course. But it’s often the BEST way to use them. Here’s an idea of what flights you can buy with Avios:
- 4,500 Avios — a one way flight to European destinations like Berlin, Amsterdam or Copenhagen
- 10,000 Avios – a one way flight to destinations including Cairo, Gran Canaria or Kefalonia
- 16,000 Avios – upgrade your long haul flight from economy to premium economy to most destinations
- 25,000 Avios – upgrade your long haul flight from premium economy to business to long haul destinations
- 30,000 Avios – return economy flight from London to New York
In the past, we’ve used Avios as part-payment for flights and for upgrades, saving ourselves thousands of pounds in travel costs. But without travelling regularly during Covid, our Avios account is looking VERY sad and depleted. So it’s always worth knowing how to earn Avios fast, and how to boost your earnings.
Why I need FAST ways to earn Avios points
This summer, I am planning a BIG road trip with my teen to celebrate the end of A-Levels. But after two years of pandemic living, I don’t have a BIG budget.
We’ll be reducing the cost of accommodation by about 95% by booking through a Home Exchange site. But we also want to cut the cost of our flights by using Avios. Avios can be used to part-pay for flights, or to book free flights (you’ll still need to pay taxes).
As of June last summer I had around 20,000 Avios and needed to earn another 30,000. So I started getting serious finding out how to earn Avios fast – I needed to earn 1,000 Avios a week for six months to afford our trip!
Getting Started with Avios
To start earning Avios points, you need to make sure you’re signed up to the BA Executive Club. Do link your account to your partners and children, so you can all earn and pool your points. Anyone who lives at your address can share your Family account.
We’ve had an Avios account since 2015, and it’s a household account. That means when we fly, Flea earns Avios points, and shares them with me, and I can use those points to book tickets and upgrades for us both. This is important because children can’t otherwise earn or spend Avios points.
Once you have your account, it’s time to start earning:
How to earn Avios Fast with simple changes
1 – Groceries
When someone asks how to collect Avios points fast, my first tip is always groceries. Basically, identify the money you *have* to spend, and then work out how to earn Avios from it. So… groceries.
Ordinarily I book online supermarket delivery from Asda, but switching to Sainsburys means that I can earn Avios. Sainsbury’s will try to tell you that they can give you Nectar points and you can convert them to Avios but DON’T do this.
For every £40 you spend at Sainsbury’s you will earn 40 Nectar points which is equivalent to 25 Avios. But if you spend £40 via BA, you’ll earn 120 Avios for a home delivery and 150 Avios for a click and collect order. Over six months spending £100 a week at Sainsbury’s you’d earn 2600 Avios via Nectar points, but a whopping 4800 Avios if you use the BA eStore instead.
2 – Petrol
Given the exorbitant amount of cash I spend on petrol these days, and considering buying a second car for Flea, it’s good to know that I can earn Avios points when buying fuel. There are two programmes I think you should be using if you want to earn Avios points fast:
The BPme app gives me one BP point for every litre of fuel you buy (it’s a little more for premium fuel) and for every £1 you spend in forecourt shops, including M&S purchases. If you buy the premium ACTIVE fuel, you’ll get double points. You’ll ALSO receive a bonus 250 points just for registering, and every month or two I seem to get a voucher or special offer.
BPme points are worth around 60% of Avios points. You can convert 40 BPme points into 25 Avios.
But here’s a little tip. If you set up your BPme app to automatically convert to Avios each week, you earn bonus Avios points. This month, BA is offering 1200 Avios to customers who set up automatic conversion for the first time.
I probably buy around 60 litres of petrol a week. If I buy exclusively from BP, then this means I can earn 1500 BPme points in six months. This is equivalent to around 930 Avios points.
If BP isn’t convenient, then my fallback option is to use the loyalty app from Esso, which gives 1 Nectar point per litre of fuel, along with a point for every £1 spent on the forecourt. This can then be converted into Avios along with your other Nectar points at the usual 62% rate. Don’t forget Avios are always better earned direct, but Nectar is a useful fallback.
3 – Online Shopping
I don’t know about you, but I buy most of my shopping online these days. BA has an e-shopping portal called the e-Store, that acts a lot like a cashback site. When you visit a retailers’ website by clicking a link on the e-Store, the retailer pays BA a small commission. And BA shares that commission with you, in the form of Avios.
You can earn Avios on travel sites like booking.com and hotels.com, department stores like Argos and John Lewis, clothing stores like ASOS, and even your Just Eat takeaway order. Actually there are close to 250 retailers where you can earn Avios on pretty much anything you can imagine.
The top earning eStore transactions, based on my experience, are:
- Travel: Airport parking earned me close to 3,00 Avios and a holiday booked via Booking.com earned over 5,000 Avios. You’ll have to wait until 30 days post-travel to get the points, but long-term it’s a great earner.
- Insurance: Booking my car insurance via my usual comparison site but also through the BA eStore gave me 3,000 Avios.
- Tech: Any big-ticket item bought via the eStore is a good idea. I got 2,000 Avios for my new iPhone buying during a special offer period where I got 2 Avios per £1 spent at the Apple Store. I also got 1200 Avios for a new air conditioner.
My first tip for making the most of this earning potential is to ALWAYS look for special offers and rates and compare to get the best deal.
For example, I found the same £60 drip coffee machine at Argos, Very and John Lewis. But while Argos pays 4 Avios per £1 and John Lewis pays 1 Avios per £1, this month, Very is paying up to 11 Avios per £1. NO BRAINER.
Second, it’s SO EASY to forget to click through the BA e-store, and just buy something when it’s in your head. So I printed off the retailer list and stuck it to my fridge. I’m hoping this means I’m less likely to forget to check the site when I’m online shopping. I’ve been known to cancel hotel bookings and rebook through the BA eStore if I forgot to earn Avios.
Third: BA has a relatively new feature where you can link your credit and debit cards and even your PayPal account with your executive club account. This means if you buy from a partner retailer OFFLINE, your transaction will be tracked and rewarded, just as it would normally be via the e-Store with online purchases. You can earn points through PayPal and Apple Pay using this trick, too.
If you can’t earn Avios from an online purchase then your fallback option should be Nectar points, which you can earn from more than 300 different retailers. Always try for Avios first (they’re worth more). But Nectar does have a really handy browser extension that pops up every time you land on a site where you can earn points, making it hard to forget. Also, you get 100 bonus Nectar points for installing the browser toolbar.
4 – Surveys
There are a bunch of sites you can sign up for that will pay you Avios or Nectar points for taking surveys. Honestly, these are not a GREAT way to earn Avios points fast. Because you’ll probably only be accepted for a small proportion of surveys, and they pay between 20 and 100 points. But… signing up for surveys is a little more lucrative.
Sign up for and complete one survey on the Avios Rewards for Thoughts website and you’ll earn 600 Avios. Meanwhile, Nectar offers 100 points if you sign up for its market research platform, Nectar Canvass, and the chance to be entered into a quarterly prize draw to win up to 100,000 points.
Basically I would suggest signing up for each platform and completing one survey, then moving on. You should receive any Nectar points 28 days later, while Avios research points are awarded instantly.
5 – eBay
Retailers really like you to link your account to your loyalty account because it means you’re way more likely to shop with them in future. So it is with eBay, which offers a range of incentives designed to persuade you to link your Nectar card and your eBay account. Currently, if you link your Nectar and eBay accounts, you’ll earn 200 bonus points.
Once linked, you will earn Nectar points every time you buy on eBay – you’ll earn 1 point per £1 spent up to 300 points per item. However, keep an eye on your Nectar and eBay accounts because a couple of times a year eBay runs a double and triple points promotion so you could earn 3 points per £1 spent.
What’s not to love?
How many Avios points did I earn?
By taking advantage of all of the offers above, I’ve managed to stack up around 38,000 Avios in six months although around 8k of these are ‘pending’ and will hit my account in the next 2 or 3 months. The important thing is I’ve earned those 38,000 Avios without spending a single penny more than I would have spent. And now I’m boring all my friends with tips on how to earn Avios fast without breaking a sweat.
Here’s how it breaks down:
- Sainsbury’s groceries: 2,720
- BP petrol points: 1,675 (including a bonus for linking my accounts)
- Uber: 310 (including a 200 Avios sign-up bonus)
- eStore: 18,900 Avios (for all online shopping)
- Surveys: 970 (including sign-up bonuses)
- Booking.com 5,730
- Hello Fresh – 2,800 (including a 1,200 sign-up bonus and 1,600 for one weeks’ order)
- Nectar points – 450 (converted from Argos orders)
- Linking eBay to Avios – 300
- Insurance – 3,500 (car insurance and home insurance)
What can I spend Avios points on?
Of course, not every year will include this many sign-up bonuses! But if you look out for special deals, ALWAYS buy online through the eStore and set up other rewards programmes to convert to Avios, I think it’s reasonable to earn 50k points a year through Avios, which is equivalent to 2 return flights in Europe, or 2 upgrade seats on a long-haul flight.
If you have tips on boosting Avios points or how to earn Avios points fast, then I’d love to hear about them!