Air miles are something I only began collecting last year, but in that time I’ve been able to build them up through things like ordering takeaways, online shopping and using travel websites. The British Airways Avios programme is, for me in the United Kingdom, the most useful in terms of flight routes. The App is easy to use and includes features like specifying how many points you are away from being able to purchase certain flights and the website is just as easy to navigate and extremely informative. You don’t have to have flown BA before signing up, and you don’t even have to fly with them when using your points as they can also be spent on hotels, car hire and experiences.
Although I’ve been signed up to Avios since I first flew with British Airways in 2014, it was only last year when I realised how easily I could build up my points outside of just purchasing flights from BA. Whenever I do order food, reserve hotels for trips or buy clothes I always do it online, so I figured I may as well be earning air miles for doing so.
There are sixteen categories of websites that you can earn points through, and the ones I use most often are:
- Clothes & Fashion: ASOS, Topshop, All Saints, Boohoo, New Look, M&S (there are 336 clothing retailers in this section).
- Food & Drink: Tesco, Just East, Dominos, Pizza Hut, Groupon (61 retailers).
- Travel: Booking.com, Railcard, Hotels.com, P&O, Walt Disney (28 retailers).
Electronics websites like Currys are also featured, all of the major UK department stores and home stores like B&Q. Chances are, if you shop online, you’ll be able to earn points. You can search an A-Z of all the retailers on the Avios website here.
Collecting points is unbelievably easy as long as you remember to access whichever website you’re purchasing from through either the app or website. Both use affiliate links which relate the amount spent when ordering online then multiply it by the number of points per pound then add them to your account within five days. For example, if you spend £16 on Just East, 32 points will be added to your account.
Like in the photos below from the App, the Avios website allows you to see how many points are earned on each website, so if you’re intending on purchasing an item that’s available at the same price from two retailers but one offers more points per pound, make sure to purchase through that one. Points will only be collected if you click on the website through the App or website, and terms and conditions are attached to every website’s link. If you fly with British Airways already, entering your ID number when booking the flight will also earn you points.
Like most schemes, it takes a while for your collected points to add up to something usable. In terms of flights, roughly 1000 points converts to £10 of credit. You can use air miles to partially contribute to the cost of flights or to completely pay for them, which is a good option for those looking to fly long haul with a more luxurious airline but who don’t want to pay the full price point of British Airways flights. If you have a fixed budget for a trip before booking it, it could also mean you could extend your stay, book a pricier hotel or have more spare cash to spend when you arrive.
Other ways to spend include on hotels, which can also be partially or fully paid with Avios points. Again, this means you could stretch your budget for the hotel you’re staying in without actually having to outlay the extra cash for it. Car hire and experiences like meals, tickets to landmarks and tours can also be paid for partially or in full. Use the App or website to search activities you have in mind for a trip before booking them in cash to potentially save you some money.
Avios has paid for my mum and I to fly to London with checked luggage at no cost, contributed towards flights for us to New York and saved me quite a bit of money without inconveniencing me. If you’re already shopping online, take the extra step and access the website you’re shopping through either the App or the Avios website first and start building up your air miles. You’ll either be able to travel more, cheaper or more luxuriously and you really cannot argue with any of the three.
For more articles on how to save money on and whilst travelling, click here.
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