For BA beginners: 5 easy things to boost your British Airways and Avios earning and spending

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.

 

British Airways First Class on a Boeing 787

British Airways First Class on a Boeing 787

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.

Vueling and Flybe, AerLingus are slightly less integrated although you can certainly earn and burn your Avios points there, albeit at less favourable rates than British Airways and Iberia.

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. 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.

 

And finally

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.

Comments

  1. Hello
    Can anyone help with a tier point run I’m silver but really want to achieve gold ( or at least stay silver ) Has anybody on here got a 2019 route that could do this ?
    Thank you so much!

  2. Hi Teresa, the cheapest route to get 560 points is on Qatar from Edinburgh to Penang return at £1700 or Kuala Lumpur £1900. from there you can fly anywhere using Malaysian, who are also part of the one world alliance, just make sure you time it within your year end date.

  3. Hello,

    My TP year ended on Jan 8 with 595 TP, just 5 TP shy of silver status :'(

    I booked a flight for Jan 1st on Iberia but as the flight was operated by Vueling BA told me that there is no TP associated. Is that correct? I especially booked the more expensive ticket on Iberia so I could add my frequent flyer number.

    Will I just have missed silver or is there a way to make that flight count (or any other loophole)?

    Thanks so much

    • BAEC usually gives a 2 week grace period in your kind of situation. Just call up BAEC now and ask them to activate it, then book a quick economy class hop somewhere!

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