The crazy world of Avios can be confusing for total novices. If you have ever wondered how you can earn more points, either by doing exactly what you are doing now then below I have 5 tips to help you along. And if you do not have a British Airways Executive Club account already, you should sign up for one here.
1. Sign up for Iberia, Vueling, Flybe, AerLingus loyalty programmes.
Iberia is an interesting one as it is a fully fledged airline, national airline of Spain and a sibling company to British Airways, being a Oneworld Alliance member in its own right. You can transfer your Avios freely between the two accounts using the “Combine my Avios” function in your account page. But as they run completely separate promotions, both in earning and spending (such as their off-peak calendar), they make for fascinating arbitrage opportunities.
You should open your Iberia account immediately because just about every promotion run by Iberia requires an account that is over 90 days old and has earned at least 1 Avios. You can usually do this by renting a car through Avis or crediting a very cheap, low-earning flight there and that will sort you out.
When flying on OneWorld carriers, you should ask to put your British Airways Executive Club or Iberia Plus numbers in (depending which one you use as your ‘home' airline). This way you are more likely to move up the elite status tiers than if you credit the flights to each different airline.
2. Get a credit card which rewards you in Avios
Either directly or indirectly there are credit cards around the world, though concentrated to Europe, which allow earning in Avios points. Most notably the American Express Gold and Platinum cards which allow transfers to at least one of BA or Iberia (it doesn't matter which, just one will do). If you are a UK or Dutch reader please send me an email info [at] pointstobemade.com and I can refer you for the Gold card which give 22,000 Membership Rewards points. These points convert to Avios at 1:1 for the UK (= 22,000 Avios) and 5:4 in The Netherlands (=17600 Avios).
3. Sign up to OnBusiness, the Corporate programme for Avios.
If you are a SME business owner, or you have the company's authorisation to book travel itineraries of your colleagues, you will need to have a VAT (sales tax) registration in the your country of registration. While OnBusiness is not actually an Avios scheme and runs completely in parallel, it offers a way to ‘double dip' your earnings as you will earn 1 OnBusiness point per £ or equivalent currency you spend. Like Avios, you can spend them on reward flights. Unlike Avios the availability of seats you can purchase with OnBusiness Points is significantly more enhanced which makes me believe these points are actually more valuable than Avios.
Use this link to sign up. If you sign up, please say that you were referred by member OB10602814 which allows me to earn a small bonus for referring you. Thanks!
4. Know how many points you need to buy your reward flight
While BA have an online calculator to let you know how many points you need, you can also use my at-a-glance table. This can be read in conjunction with the peak/off-peak dates so you know which side to book.
Also don't forget if you book Iberia flights on their own website, you can save significantly because there is no fuel surcharge and the price for Iberia Avios redemptions is slightly different to BA's.
5. Automatically Track your Points
Using AwardWallet you store your different loyalty programme login details there (it's safe don't worry!). Every 6-12 hours AwardWallet's servers will scan your account to track any changes. You can set up automated alerts whenever you account changes, my preferred way which is set a weekly update to let you know your current balance. If you use the coupon code “pointstobemade” you can receive 6 months free “Plus” level, but the basic level is sufficient.
To receive news of Avios promotions or other strategies (beginners and advanced) you can subscribe by putting your email in the box on the right, or following my Twitter or Facebook pages daily where I publish new articles everyday.