Avio credit, also known as Avios, is the loyalty program used by International Airlines Group (IAG), which includes airlines like British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. If you frequently fly on any of these airlines, having an Avio credit card can help you earn points and enjoy valuable perks.
In this comprehensive Avio credit card review, we’ll cover everything you need to know, including how it works, the credit cards available, tips for earning and redeeming points, the pros and cons, and whether Avio credit is worth it.
What is Avio Credit?
Avio credit, formerly known as Air Miles, is the loyalty program used by British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. It allows members to earn Avios points based on how much they spend on flights, hotels, car rentals, shopping, dining, and more.
Avios can then be redeemed for award flights, flight upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals, and other rewards. The number of Avios needed for redemption depends on the airline, flight distance, cabin class, and other factors.
Unlike traditional frequent flyer programs that are tied to a single airline, Avio credit is unique in that the points can be used across the three partner airlines. This provides more redemption options and flexibility.
How Does Avio Credit Work?
The Avio credit program is free to join. You can sign up on the website or through one of the co-branded credit cards.
Once enrolled, you’ll earn Avios points based on your spending. The exact earning rate depends on the participating airline, credit card, retailer, etc. Some everyday earning opportunities include:
- Flights: Earn Avios when you fly with British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and partner airlines. The amount is based on your ticket fare, cabin class, and airline.
- Credit Cards: Co-branded credit cards like the British Airways Visa allow you to earn extra Avios on your everyday purchases.
- Shopping Portals: Shop online through a participating retailer’s website to earn bonus Avios.
- Hotel Stays: Book hotel stays through Avio’s hotel partners to earn points.
- Car Rentals: Reserve cars with Avis, Budget, and other partners to earn Avios.
- Dining: Register your credit card with a dining rewards network to earn Avios when dining out.
Once you’ve accumulated enough Avios, you can redeem them for flights, upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals, and more. British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus have their own award charts that show how many Avios are needed for different redemptions.
Earning Avios Points
There are several easy ways to earn Avios points, including:
- Fly with partner airlines: This is the primary way to earn Avios. How much you earn depends on the ticket price, cabin class, mileage, and airline. British Airways flights earn 100% Avios while Iberia and Aer Lingus earn Avios based on a percentage of miles flown.
- Get an Avio credit card: Co-branded credit cards like the British Airways Visa Signature Card allow you to earn extra Avios on everyday purchases. You also get a sign-up bonus after meeting the minimum spend.
- Shop through portals: Online shopping portals like Avios eStore provide bonus Avios when you click through their site before shopping. You can get 2-10 Avios per £1 spent depending on the retailer.
- Book hotels: Avio hotel partners like Marriott and Hilton let you earn 1-5 Avios per £1 spent when booking through Avio’s site.
- Rent cars: Partners like Avis and Budget offer 500-1250 Avios per rental when booking through Avio.
- Dine out: If you register your credit card with Rewards Network, you can earn 1-4 Avios per £1 spent at participating restaurants.
- Convert hotel/airline points: You can transfer points from select hotel and airline programs into Avios, often with bonuses.
Redeeming Avios Points
Popular options for redeeming Avios points include:
- Flights: Book award flights on British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and partners. The amount of Avios needed depends on the distance flown, route, demand, etc. You can also use Avios to upgrade an existing booking.
- Hotel stays: Redeem for free nights at over 300,000 hotels worldwide. Requires between 5,000-50,000 Avios per night typically.
- Car rentals: Book rental cars with partners like Avis to redeem just 3,500-6,500 Avios for a free weekend booking.
- Retail gift cards: Convert Avios into gift cards and vouchers for retailers like Marks & Spencer, Amazon, iTunes, and more.
- Seat upgrades: Use Avios to upgrade your British Airways economy ticket to premium economy, business class, or first class. Pricing varies.
- Money off flights: If you’re short on Avios, you can choose to redeem for a monetary discount on British Airways ticket purchases instead.
- Cruises: Redeem Avios for cruise packages and voyages with the Cunard cruise line.
The number of Avios needed for each redemption varies, so check the airline’s award charts beforehand. There may also be taxes and fees.
Avio Credit Cards
Avio partners with several major banks to offer co-branded credit cards. These cards make it easy to earn extra Avios points through your everyday spending. Popular options include:
British Airways Credit Card
The British Airways Visa Signature Card is one of the most popular for earning Avios quickly. It offers:
- 50,000 Avios sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in 3 months
- 3 Avios per $1 spent on British Airways purchases
- 5 Avios per $1 on all other purchases
- 10% off British Airways flights when booked with Avios
- No foreign transaction fees
Other perks include free checked bags, priority boarding, in-flight discounts, and more. There’s a $95 annual fee.
Iberia Credit Card
The Iberia Visa Signature Card gives you:
- 50,000 Avios bonus after $3,000 spent in 3 months
- 3 Avios per $1 on Iberia purchases
- 5 Avios per $1 everywhere else
- Discounted award tickets on Iberia flights
- First checked bag free on Iberia flights
There’s a $95 annual fee for this card. It’s a great option for earning Avios on Iberia purchases and flights.
Aer Lingus Credit Card
With the Aer Lingus Visa Signature card, you can earn:
- 50,000 Avios after first purchase
- 5 Avios per $1 on Aer Lingus purchases
- 3 Avios per $1 at grocery stores, dining, gas stations
- 1 Avio per $1 on all other purchases
Benefits include priority boarding, lounge access, a free first checked bag, and more. There’s a $95 annual fee.
These are three great co-branded cards that make it easy to maximize your Avio earnings potential. The large sign-up bonuses can give your Avios balance a nice boost as well.
Tips for Maximizing Avio Credit
Here are some savvy tips for getting the most out of the Avio program:
Take Advantage of Sign-Up Bonuses
The co-branded credit cards offer stellar sign-up bonuses of 50,000 Avios or more. Grab these bonuses to give your account a major boost right off the bat. Meeting minimum spending is required.
Spend Strategically to Earn More Points
Optimize certain spending categories that earn elevated Avios earnings, like flights on the respective airline card, or bonus categories like groceries and dining. Use the Avio credit card for all purchases to maximize.
Transfer Avios to Airline Partners
Transfer Avios to partner airlines in Oneworld Alliance to open up more redemption possibilities. Airlines like American, Alaska, and Cathay Pacific are transfer partners.
Book Award Flights During Off-Peak Times
British Airways has peak and off-peak pricing for award flights. Booking during off-peak dates (like January to March) reduces the Avios cost significantly compared to peak summer travel.
Pros and Cons of Avio Credit
Here are some key pros and cons to consider about the Avio program:
- Flexible redemptions: Avios can be used across 3 partner airlines and many other non-air rewards like hotels and retail gift cards.
- Reasonable award flight rates: British Airways has distance-based awards instead of zone-based, making short-haul flights a good value.
- OneWorld alliance transfers: Transfer Avios to airline partners to maximize value.
- Lucrative credit card perks: Large sign-up bonuses and category bonuses make earning Avios faster.
- Fuel surcharges: British Airways levies huge fuel surcharges and taxes on award bookings, which reduces value.
- Devaluations: Frequent Avios devaluations have increased award rates over time.
- Limited partners: Only 3 primary airline partners so not as versatile as other points currencies.
- Peak pricing: British Airways charges more Avios for peak travel dates.
While Avio credit offers nice flexibility between its three partner airlines, fuel surcharges can cut into the value of British Airways awards. The frequent devaluations are also frustrating for consumers.
Is Avio Credit Worth It?
The Avio program makes the most sense for frequent British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus flyers since you can earn Avios on flights with the airlines. Occasional travelers are better off with flexible programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards that allow transfers to Avio partners.
The co-branded credit cards can offer solid rewards through sign-up bonuses and bonus categories if you utilize perks like free checked bags. However, the $95 annual fee is high unless you fly one of the partner airlines regularly.
For British Airways flyers, accumulating Avios for short-haul economy awards can be very worthwhile due to the reasonable redemption rates. But the taxes and surcharges make long-haul business and first-class awards far less appealing.
What is Avio credit?
Avio credit is the loyalty program for British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. Members earn Avios points that can be redeemed for flights, hotels, rentals cars, and more.
What airlines participate in Avio?
The airlines that use Avio credit are British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. You can earn and redeem Avios when flying with any of these airlines.
How do you get Avio credit?
You can sign up for Avio credit directly through the website or by getting one of their co-branded credit cards like the British Airways Visa. The cards offer large sign-up bonuses to help you earn Avios quickly.
What is the best Avio credit card?
The British Airways Visa Signature Card is generally considered the best option. The large sign-up bonus, category bonuses, and perks like free checked bags make it valuable for British Airways flyers. The Iberia and Aer Lingus cards are better suited for their respective airlines.
Can Avios be used on any airline?
Avios can be directly redeemed for flights on British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. You can also transfer Avios to airline partners to book award flights on airlines like American, Alaska, and Cathay Pacific.
How many Avios are needed for a flight?
The number of Avios needed for an award flight depends on the distance flown, route, cabin class purchased and other factors. British Airways has distance-based award charts that provide the pricing ranges. Short-haul economy flights are some of the best values.
The Avio loyalty program spans three major international airlines – British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. Avios points can be earned in various ways and redeemed very flexibly across any of the three airlines.
Co-branded credit cards like the British Airways Visa make it easy to accumulate Avios through sign-up bonuses and ongoing spending. While the taxes and fees on British Airways awards are very high, short-haul economy flights can still represent a solid value.
For frequent British Airways travelers, pursuing elite status and earning Avios can lead to excellent benefits. But more casual travelers may prefer flexible points programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards. Evaluate your travel habits and preferences to decide if participating in Avio credit makes sense.
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