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How Many Avios Points and Rewards Can I Really Earn?

For those business travellers continuously living out of a suitcase, dining in airport lounges and turning left to the mardi gras world of Business and First classes rather than the less exciting right turn at the plane entrance in to economy (a.k.a knees in to your ribs) class – then travel rewards programs most definitely give you an amazing edge here.

What though if you take a couple of flights a year, once a year holiday and a few nights away. An average traveller. Can you really earn enough to make the slightest bit of difference to your next trip? Surprisingly you can.

You must be creative at times but do things at the right time in the right way and you can enhance your holiday.

In this guide I’ll show you how average travellers could earn over 130,000 Avios points in one year!


The Case Study

Let’s look at John and his girlfriend Sally. They live together. Once a year on average they:

  • Fly internationally for their annual vacation;
  • John travels three times a year to Europe on business (in economy class) but can book his own travel and claim back through his expenses;
  • Sally usually travels away with her girlfriends for a weekend to the Mediterranean;
  • Together they stay on average in 8 hotels for breaks away and visiting friends and family;

All pretty much average.

What we are going to do here is break point earning in to three stages with the end goal of turbo boosting reward points for next year’s vacation:

  • Stage 1 – is the obvious, earning reward points for flights and hotels;
  • Stage 2 – gets a little creative by using indirect ways of earning reward points to boost opportunity;
  • Stage 3 – explains how to really make a difference by using tips and tricks 95% of people miss out on!
  • Stage 4 – how we sky rocket all those reward points!



Stage One – The Basics

Let’s have a look at some of the reward points that can be earned by flights (using British Airways and Avios points) and hotels:

British Airways Hotels.com Hotels.com
Reward Opportunities Avios Reward Nights Avios
2 x Flights to San Francisco for 10 days in economy class during June 4,019
Hotels in San Francisco for 10 nights for £1,000 1 Free Night 9,000
1 x flight to Paris for John’s business trip 375
3 x hotel nights in Paris for £300 0.3 Free Night Reward 2,700
1 x flight to Madrid for Sally’s business trip 590
3 x hotel nights in Madrid for £270 0.3 Night Free Reward 2,430
8 x hotel nights across the UK for £700 0.8 Free Night Reward 6,300
2 Free Nights

So far in Stage 1 they have earned a combined

  • 25,414 Avios points;
  • 2 Free Nights in a Hotel (worth £100 for the first night and approx. £90 for the second night);

We already have a great number of reward points to help towards our next vacation, but we’re not done yet – we’re just getting started!




Stage Two – Really Maximise Reward Points on all Holiday Spending

It’s easy to think holiday spending stops there, but there are also additional ways to earn Avios points – think car hire, airport parking, clothes, insurance etc….

There are over 800 places to earn Avios points for buying the same products and services you do now, for the same price you currently pay. The only difference right now is you’re not earning a reward for it!

Let’s have a look at more way Avios can be earned and boosted for our next trip – I can feel an upgrade coming on! 😊


Trip Reward Opportunity Cost Avios Points
San Francisco Car Hire with Avis in San Francisco £400 1,200
San Francisco Foreign Currency exchanging £1,000 in to USD ​ £1,000 1,000
San Francisco  2 x excursions booked through Viator​ £300 1,200
San Francisco Airport Parking for San Francisco trip​ £100 500
Paris Foreign Currency exchanging £300 in to EUR £300 300
Paris Airport Parking for Paris trip £50 250
Madrid Foreign Currency exchanging £400 in to EUR​ £400 400
Madrid Airport Parking for Madrid trip £50 250
All Clothes purchased for all trips £250 750
Total 5,850


Just think of all the Avios points you have been missing out on year after year. The Avios points up for grabs for additional holiday costs are worth more than all the flights put together!

By taking this total and adding it to our previous rewards, our Avios earnings are now 31,264!


Stage 3 – All the added bonuses

As shown above, there are over 800 retailers and service providers that can earn you Avios points. Think of all your day to day spending: Shopping, petrol, insurances, clothes, broadband – the list is endless.

Think of all the Christmas presents bought for friends and family. Each one is an Avios earning potential. Every gift given is a gift received!

Here are some of the ways John and Sally can earn Avios points throughout the year on things they already spending on. I think you’ll be amazed at the outcome!

Reward Opportunity Cost Per Year Avios Per Year
Shopping at Tesco at £80 per week £4,160 9,984
Petrol at Tesco at £60 per week £3,120 7,488
Clothes Shopping £1,000 4,500
Mobile phone upgrade and contract £500 5,000
Switch gas and electricty providers to cheaper alternatives through uSwitch £1,200 2,500
Broadband through Sky for new customers £360 7,500
Christmas and birthday presents for friends and family £500 3,000
ArrivaPlus Car Insurance £800* 5,000
John Lewis Pet Insurance £300* 1,800
ArrivaPlus Home Insurance £500* 2,000



That’s a whopping 48,000 Avios points you’re missing out on for things you purchase every day. These are just examples of course but there are many more ways to earn through purchases like train tickets, Amazon Audible subscription, Wowcher gift sets and lots lot more


By combining these three stages together we now have a combined total of 80,036 Avios!




Stage 4 – Sky Rocket Everything!

One of the easiest ways and low-cost ways of earning Avios points is usually by taking out a British Airways Credit Card.

You shouldn’t take out a credit card just for the purpose of earning reward points, and certainly don’t take out a credit card to spend and build up debt and accumulated interest. If though you pay off your balance every month and have a great credit score, the BA Credit Cards can really work in your favour.

I am not encouraging the building of debt. But this guide is to show you what is possible from a point and earning potential. So, we’ll continue and use the highest reward earning BA American Express Premium Credit Card – but please note there is an annual fee of £195 for having this card:

Credit Card Avios Bonus Points Earnings per £1 Free Companion Flight Annual Fee
BA American Express Premium Credit Card 25,000 (if you spend £3,000 in your first three months) 1.5 Yes, with minimum spend of £10,000 over 12 months £195

I know, lots of information to take in here. But the middle three columns are the ones to pay particular attention to. Let’s take one at a time.

Avios Bonus Points: By adding the Avios bonus points of 25,000 you would be rewarded with by taking out the Amex Premier Credit Card to those already earned we now have a grand total of 105,036 Avios Points!

Earnings Per £1: BUT if we now pay attention to the Earnings Per £1 column, it shows we could earn an additional 1.5 Avios points for every £1 spent on the Credit Card. This means if we took out the credit card at the start of the year, and made all those purchases in Stage 1 to Stage 3 using the credit card (and of course paying off the balance every month so as not to accrue interest) this means that………those 105,036 Avios points now become a staggering 131,601 Avios Points!

Free Companion Flight: This column is equally exciting, if not more so. The Free Companion Flight. This means if you spend £10,000 on your credit card in a 12-month period, which as demonstrated in Stages 1 to 3 above is possible, BA will reward you with a free companion flight (just taxes to pay) on the same flight in the same class as a new booking with Avios points! So book a Business Class return flight to New York with Avios, and your companion can travel right alongside you for free!


The Fun Part – Point Spending!

Now that you have amassed all these British Airways Avios reward points, what would John and Sally be able to get for this:

Destination Class Minimum Avios Required (Cash + Points) Free Companion Flight Needed?
Tel Avis Business 63,000 (for two) No
Shanghai Business 75,000 Yes
Delhi Business 125,000 (for two) No
Sydney Business 125,000 Yes
Tokyo Business 75,000 Yes
St Lucia Business 125,000 (for two) No
Barbados First 85,000 Yes
Chennai First 85,000 Yes
Las Vegas First 85,000 Yes
New York First 85,000 Yes

This means using your Avios points with ‘Cash + Points’ you’ll meet the minimum Avios needs to take advantage of your points and save some serious money with upgrades.

If you would prefer to keep costs down to the minimum you’ll still be able to fly New York, for example, Business Class for two people using 100,000 Avios. You will need to use a free companion flight but there will be no additional price to pay for the flight ticket , just the taxes to pay. 

I hope this case study goes to show what is possible. The reward potential of doing very little more than spend what you are today.

Avios points, unlike the less exciting Tier Points, do not expire. Just make sure you use your Avios card once every three years. Even if you decide not to take out a credit card, it is possible to build up Avios reward miles and build up to bigger rewards to start travelling in style!

Enjoy the flight! 😊

"To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted."

Bill Bryson

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