Flights are often the most expensive part of a holiday. I wanted to collect Avios points, to see if we could get some cheap flights for our family holiday this year. I had never done this before as I had always incorrectly assumed that you could only collect Avios (airmiles) by spending on an Avios reward credit card. I don’t have a credit card which collects Avios points and I’m aware that a lot of people don’t like to use credit cards. After some careful research, I found out there are other ways to collect Avios points, without using a credit card, so I signed up to Avios and started collecting points.
I’ve only been collecting Avios points for 6 months (without a credit card) and already have enough points for three return flights anywhere in Europe. A return flight is currently 9000 Avios points, but please note the whole system is about to change this week, taking peak and off-peak times into account. You do have to pay taxes alongside Avios, so a flight isn’t entirely free, but taxes are usually only £35 each for economy flights in Europe. If you’re flying somewhere which usually costs a lot more than this, then Avios are well worth collecting.
How did I do it?
I got points from a British Airways flight to Verona and a Flybe flight to the Isle of Man – You can collect Avios when you book flights with these airlines. We didn’t get very many, as we had spent very little on budget economy flights, but for a frequent flyer or long haul flight, you’d see your Avios mount up quicker.
You can exchange Tesco clubcard points for Avios points. The current deal is 600 Avios per £2.50 of Tesco Clubcard points. Dependant on Tesco deals, this can sometimes be more and sometimes be less. You can exchange existing unused points for Avios and you can also change your Clubcard settings, so that all future Clubcard points convert automatically into Avios points.
We had £60 of clubcard points mounted up, so we converted these to 14,400 Avios points… enough for three one-way flights!
We have been using cashback website Topcashback for over three years now and received over £600 in cashback, just for clicking through their website, before buying anything online. It cost us nothing, as we received our cashback on purchases we were going to make regardless. I found out only recently, that instead of withdrawing cash from Topcashback, you can convert your earnings to Avios points. Or for an even better rate of Avios, you can convert your cashback into Tesco Clubcard points and then convert the Clubcard points into Avios as above!
I’ve not tried this myself yet, but with Avios partners, you can also get Avios points by clicking through the Avios website before making a purchase, in much the same way that you can with Topcashback, but it’s obviously more direct. I don’t know how the points comparisons stack up on this one though. Might be worth looking into.
You can collect Avios at Shell petrol stations too. We travel a lot in the UK and consequently get through a lot of petrol, so we actually worked out that we get a better deal by buying our petrol also at Tesco. Since Tesco introduced fuel save points in addition to clubcard points, we now earn and collect both, then when filling up with petrol, we get more clubcard points. We convert those to Avios as above and get a better rate of Avios for our money
Once signed up to Avios, you can also sign up to one of Avios’ partners who ask you to do online surveys. For each survey you do, you get opinion points. Opinion points can later be exchanged for Avios. You also get bonus Avios for taking a survey within two months of signing up
I’ve been doing surveys for only 2 weeks and already have enough opinion points for 500 Avios, but I’m going to save them up before I convert them. I also got a 750 Avios bonus for my first survey.
It’s a circle of Avios
If you wanted to be really clever, you could sign up to Topcashback to do a Tesco shop online, linked to your Tesco Clubcard. You’d get Clubcard points and fuel save points for the shopping and Cashback to convert to clubcard points too. You could then do some surveys whilst you’re online to earn more Avios and then pop to the garage to use your fuelsave points and earn more clubcard points to convert to Avios. Are you still with me? It’s like a whole wonderous circle of Avios!
You can also spend Avios on other modes of transport or hotels, but the best value for money is exchanging them for flights. We just need 18,000 more Avios points and then we will be off to Cyprus!