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Avios and Tesco to part ways; where’s best for air miles now?

Avios and Tesco to part ways; where’s best for air miles now?
Image source: Getty Images


From 18 January 2021, the British Airways Executive Club and Tesco Clubcard partnership will end. It means you won’t be able to earn or convert your Tesco Clubcard points into Avios. Here’s what you can do instead.

Alternative Avios earners

BA might be waving goodbye to Tesco, but you can still collect Avios from a number of other places, including:

Flights

You can continue to collect Avios by flying with fellow One World Alliance partners who have most of the world covered between them. Alliance airlines include American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas and Qatar.

You’ll be able to earn Avios with almost all flights (except already discounted and reward flights). What you get will depend on the airline you fly with, how far you fly and whether you’re flying economy, business or first class.

Hotels and accommodation

You can earn Avios at a number of places including Airbnb, Best Western and Booking.com. As with flights, the number of Avios you can earn depends on who you book with. It’s worth shopping around as there are some big differences in what you get.

For instance, if you book via Airbnb, you’ll collect two Avios for every £1 you spend. At Booking.com, you’ll earn six Avios for every £1 spent. And with Avios Hotels, you’ll get a very generous 15 Avios per £1.

Other partners including Marriott and InterContinental will reward you with Avios based on how much you spend at their hotels.

Holidays, car hire and travel

Car rental giants Avis and Budget are both part of the Avios scheme. You’ll collect more Avios with Avis (five per £1 spent compared to Budget’s two per £1). Zipcar, which markets itself as a car sharing club, is currently offering 1,000 Avios when you join the platform (it’s an app-based hire service), and you’ll also collect 50 Avios every time you book.

Booking holidays directly with British Airways also earns you Avios, as do some travel extras like airport parking and Heathrow Express rail transfers.

Shops

Even when Tesco leave the scheme next year, there will still be plenty of other places you can collect Avios from (though it might not be as convenient).

To qualify, you’ll need to access stores online via the BA.com portal. Once you get there, you can choose from high street favourites like M&S, Topshop and Boden. And if you’re splashing the cash, Harvey Nichols and Harrods are also part of the scheme.

Credit cards

Credit cards remain one of the most efficient ways to collect Avios. Our top choice is the British Airways American Express Credit Card. You’ll get one Avios point for every £1 you spend. And if you’re a new card member, you can earn 5,000 bonus Avios if you spend £1,000 in the first three months. Best of all, there’s no annual fee.

If you upgrade to the BA American Express Premium Plus card, you’ll earn 1.5 Avios per £1. You could also collect a whopping 25,000 Avios if you spend £3,000 in the first three months. Of course, these Avios don’t come for free, and you’ll need to stump up a £195 annual fee, so it’s probably best for big spenders with wanderlust.

What other air miles schemes are out there?

Avios isn’t the only air miles scheme out there. Another popular programme is Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club. 

The scheme is similar to Avios. Virgin Atlantic have partnered with a number of other brands to maximise value. Fellow airline partners that you can earn and spend Virgin points with include Delta, Air France, KLM, Singapore and Air New Zealand.

Like Avios, you can collect points at various other retailers, hotel groups and through other Virgin Group purchases. Plus, if you’re a regular Tesco shopper, the good news is that you can turn your Clubcard points into Virgin points. These can then be converted into air mile vouchers.

You can also earn points with the Virgin Atlantic Reward card, which has no annual fee. You’ll earn 0.75 Avios points for each £1 you spend. If you spend more than £20,000 in one year, you can choose to upgrade to the Premium card, which gives you 1.5 points for every £1 you spend.

Fly high with air miles

Remember that air miles don’t equate to 100% free flights. You’ll still need to pay taxes and fees which you won’t be able to redeem with vouchers.

Another thing to remember is that some air miles credit cards come with hefty interest rates and annual fees. To make the most of them you’ll need to use them frequently and pay them off in full. 

if you’re not a frequent flyer but still fancy getting a little something for (almost) nothing, then check the top reward credit cards

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