How to Earn British Airways Avios Points

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

I’ve done a few posts recently (here, here, or here) about how useful British Airways Avios are for family travel when you use them to fly domestic (or quasi-domestic to Canada, Caribbean, etc.) short-ish routes on BA partners like American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.  They come with some amazing hidden powers (AA Priority Access, potential free checked bags on AA, and more), plus there are no fees for last minute reservations and very affordable cancellation penalties.  I have been using Avios since they were introduced about a year and a half ago to fly British Airways partners, but just finally used them last week to fly on an actual British Airways flight, and that worked out quite well.  I don’t recommend necessarily flying on Avios from the US to Europe on British Airways as they charge some insane fees,  but it was just fine for an intra-European flight on BA.  Basically, they can be a very valuable type of point to have on hand in certain situations.

Of course, to be able to use Avios you have to first have them.  So, this post is dedicated to some of the easy ways to rack up Avios in a hurry.

Credit Cards:

The fastest and easiest way to rack up Avios in a hurry is via rewards credit cards.  Avios are unique in that you can get them from so many different credit cards.

British Airways Visa Signature Card (EDIT: Expired) – this card gives 50,000 Avios after spending $1,000 within the first three months.  If you are a big spender it also awards 25,000 bonus Avios after you make $10,000 in purchases within the first year of account opening and an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you make an additional $10,000 in purchases also within the first year of account opening.  There is a $95 annual fee.  In addition to the bonus miles from the sign-up bonus, you earn 1.25 points per dollar charged on the card.

Chase Ultimate Rewards – Since British Airways is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, that means that the points you get from the sign-up bonus, everyday spending, and points earned via the online Ultimate Rewards shopping portal with the Ink Bold Business Card, Ink Plus Business Card, or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can transfer 1:1 to British Airways.

American Express Membership Rewards – British Airways is also a transfer partner of the Membership Rewards program at a 1:1 ratio, however for the last few years there have been several transfer bonuses as high as 50% from MR to BA.  That would mean that if you are transferring 50,000 Membership Reward points during a 50% bonus, you end up with 75,000 Avios.  This is how I have racked up most of my Avios.  Some eligible cards include Premier Rewards Gold Amex or the Mercedes Benz Platinum Amex.

Starwood Preferred Guest Amex – The SPG program allows you to transfer SPG points to Avios at a rate of 20,000 SPG points to 25,000 Avios.  You don’t need a credit card to earn SPG points – you can do it via the SPG program.  Personally I love my SPG points for use at SPG hotels, but this is technically an option.


Like many airlines and hotels, there is an online e-shopping portal that you can use to shop at retailers like, Jcrew, Home Depot, Nordstroms, and more.  Some current example payout rates include: 8x

Fossil 12x

Shoebuy 12x

Pottery Barn 4x

Purchase Avios:

You can purchase up to 24,000 Avios annually from British Airways.  This is kinda pricey, but there is currently up to a 25% bonus if you purchase 24K miles.  Your 30,000 Avios (24K + 6K bonus) will set you back $658 or about 2.28 cents per point.  That is more than I would want to purchase Avios for personally, but as always it will vary from person to person as to whether it makes sense in any individual situation.


You can also earn Avios when you stay at hotels, via Avis car rentals, or when you fly on British Airways or one of their OneWorld partners.  You can also transfer in Avios from hotel partners, but many of the transfer rates (other than SPG which was mentioned previously) are pretty bad.

I personally get most of my Avios from the Membership Rewards program during transfer bonuses, but about a year ago also enjoyed a 36x promo from the online BA shopping portal at Nordstrom’s.  I am also seriously considering getting the Chase British Airways Visa for the sign-up bonus as well as some of the other built-in perks like the “Travel Together” perk.  While in Europe recently I also noticed you can get Avios if you use some of the airport foreign currency exchange desks.  I don’t use those services personally as I typically get a better deal just using an ATM, but if you happen to use those exchange desks anyway, then you get get Avios that way as well.

I’m liking Avios more and more everyday, so would love to hear if you have any additional suggestions on ways to rack up Avios!


Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card using one of my affiliate links.  Some of the links is this post are to my affiliate links.  As always, thanks for your support. 

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. That 36 miles per dollar promotion for British Airways was amazing. Nordstrom happened to have a Valentino bag that I was wanting to buy and was low on stock elsewhere. I also stocked up on other products and earned 90k Avios miles from that promotion!

  2. Since it occurs with some regularity, I think it is remiss not to mention that the Chase BA card offers 100k signup bonuses from time to time.

  3. The Miles Professor, that was great!
    DBest, I would love to see that return, but haven’t seen it in a while and personally not holding by breath for it to return minus the hefty spending requirement since we have generally seen offers either decrease in points bonus or increase in spending requirement (though I would love to be wrong). I’d be all over it!

  4. by chance, do you if you’re eligible only once for the ba sign up bonus or can you receive it again, ex 1 year after cancelling the card?

    • michael, I have heard a few success stories. In general, Chase cards are at least two years between (and that isn’t set in stone), but it has happened….sometimes.

  5. I consider the Chase British Airways card one of the best cards for foreign travel. With their Chip-n-sign feature and no foreign transactions fees. It’s meant for international travel. The earning rate of 1.25 points per dollar is also really good.

  6. Buying Avios will sometimes make sense if you do the math and a redemption is cheaper to you than paying cash for a flight. A year ago I needed to go to a funeral on short notice and my options were a $600 paid trip or 9,000 Avios. I had the Avios and used them, but it certainly would have made sense to buy them directly if I didn’t, rather than paying for that flight. There is no fee for close-in booking with Avios.

  7. Great post – I have used Avios with great success inside the U.S.

    I am excited this is your full time job now , I think your blog is great. I know you have a master’s degree – so please use it and proofread like a careful student. “Kinda” is not a word. You wouldn’t have used that word on a report at your old job. Also, disclosure is spelled wrong.

    Careful writing shows respect for the reader.

    • Mary Kate, apologies. Some posts get a better proof reading review than others. All depends on what is going on that day – but will try to do better. 😉

  8. Kinda disagree with Mary Kate. This is a blog and meant to be spoken in laymans speak!

    We aren’t doing a presentation to the board of Directors here.

    Great blog, read it all the time.

    • Tom, I do write in a more laid-back tone that is similar to how I speak (you don’t want to read the style I used use when writing state training curriculums – trust me). I’m glad the informal style works for you…but I do apologize for the typos. I can guarantee I won’t be able to eradicate them, but I will try and do better proof-reading when I can. If only I had a full-time editor and/or more hours in the day. Ha ha.

  9. Tom, I don’t take notice of how commenters write, “we” are the consumers. I think MP’s blog is a first class professional business whose content AND delivery matter to her.

  10. Accuracy of content and terms/conditions of offers are what I look for. Also the many insights, advice and tips/tricks to earn and spend points.

    Deliver it on a napkin, I don’t care.

  11. BTW, thank-you MP and the other bloggers.

    My next vacation with my family (my wife and 3 teen age daughters) is to Aruba! Combined Ultimate Rewards via Southwest, had some Southwest miles from an offer last year and moved them all over to Airtran (where I had some A+ credits, but not quite enough) – All COMBINED I scored 5 free flights (return) – MKE to Aruba – out of pocket will be airport taxes and bag fees which I can handle.

  12. I think Mary Kate’s anal comments are a bunch of BS. “Kinda” is a word. I kinda use it all the time. You may not like it Mary Kate, but I like a more laid back writing style… and I’m a professional writer. Mommypoints, I don’t feel disrespected by your writing style. I love it. You go on with your bad self!

  13. Mary Kate,
    It’s more your delivery style that kinda bugs me. Shaming and public humiliation just never did it for me. A simple private email like you might send to someone dear to you might appeal to, and be more supportive to MP’s already very accommodating personality. It’s obvious she’s receptive. Delivery, delivery, delivery!

  14. Hi! Love your blog! I was wondering, is there a way to obtain/earn quick avios miles (approximately within 10-15 business days) without having to actually purchase the miles?

  15. I have a booked flight on BA to London leaving in 3 weeks. I signed up for the card, spent the required 3k to get the bonus miles and have changed the closing statement date to be tomorrow. Any suggestions on how to get Chase to credit the Avios quickly to my account in order to upgrade my ticket before I fly?

    any advice would be appreciated.

    • quick travel, I don’t know of any surefire way. With Amex you can ask them to post any pending points. I haven’t heard that as much outside of Membership Rewards, but you could ask Chase if you wanted to give it a shot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *