Home / AVIOS / How To Earn More Air Miles By Avoiding This Dumb Mistake

How To Earn More Air Miles By Avoiding This Dumb Mistake

It’s that time of year when the mulled wine is flowing, the fireworks are a popping and I’m totting up how many AVIOS I’ve earned for the year. I like to see if my air miles statement shows an improvement or deterioration on last year’s performance. Also, whether there are any key takeaways that I can use to boost my air miles points in 2018.

Talcum powder celebrations for New Years Eve is different to fireworks

Bad news!!!

What I discovered has me kicking myself!! Despite thinking I had had a great year for air miles collection, I discover I have actually earned 23,938 less air miles. This includes my total earnings from both the AVIOS and Miles and More scheme.

This is despite ramping up my credit card referrals and sign up bonuses and increasing my earnings from credit cards from 181,675 in 2016 to 260,115 in 2017.

Let’s take a look at what happened in the hope that you avoid making the same dumb mistake that I did.

2017 Air miles

Here’s how I earned my air miles for AVIOS and Lufthansa Miles and More.

Row Labels Points from each earning activity Totals
AVIOS 311,455
AMEX Gold 131,500
Sign up bonus 68,000
Credit card spend 63,500
AVIOS store 5289
Shopping 5289
BA Premium AMEX 137,615
Referral 63,000
Sign up bonus 26,000
Credit card spend 48,615
Erewards 1000
Surveys 1000
Hotels 2093
Agoda 890
IHG 435
Marriott 768
Service recovery 1000
British Airways 1000
Tesco clubcard 13,320
Top Cashback 19,638
Lufthansa 23,857
Credit card spend 23,857
Grand Total 335,312

The Deep Dive

Let’s take a closer look and see what worked well in 2017 and what worked less well on the AVIOS and Miles and More air miles points front.

What went right

My referrals increased hugely. By concertedly encouraging others to use my referral link to sign up for the credit cards I use, I earned a whopping 54,000 AVIOS from my British Airways card alone. I took advantage of my referral links to apply for cards for Jason, and vice versa. This is a sure fire way to quickly bag a ton of miles.

Also, our quest to walk more steps each day, often involving an evening stroll to Tesco, means that not only are we both healthier but we have also hugely increased our AVIOS conversions from Tesco Clubcard. In 2016, we earned just 4,080 AVIOS from Tesco compared to 13,320 in 2017.

earn more points online
Source: Pixabay

What went wrong

It is all about the shopping. In 2016, I made a huge effort to make online purchases only via the AVIOS store or Top Cashback. Somehow this year, I seem to have forgotten this easy means of earning more air miles.

The annoying thing is that many of the shops that I use to purchase workwear and evening clothes feature on both of these sites. There are literally hundreds of stores featured, so whether you want a freezer, a ballgown, a TV or travel insurance, it definitely pays to check these sites out first. Be sure to use my Top Cashback referral link to get a FREE £5 Amazon Voucher (terms apply).

This year, I have missed out on over 100,000 points by not following this simple step when booking hotels, car rentals and making other purchases. How bloody annoying!

earn air miles by shopping online
Source: Pixabay

My top takeaway

Always ensure you check Top Cashback and the AVIOS store before making any purchase online. You may be able to earn tons more points from your preferred store with just a few extra clicks.

Do you have any top tips for 2018?

Do you have any any top tips for earning more air miles in 2018? If so, feel free to share as we would love to hear them.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips

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  1. Hey Anne; My credit is horrible. I don’t have many cards and none of them are gold platinumm etc. Can I still refer people to sign up and get miles? Also, do any companies give you credit for applying for their card even if you are turned down? Thanks, Max

    • Depends on each card. I’m only aware of the AMEX cards in the Uk giving people referral points. the Miles and More card doesn’t as it is issued by MBNA in the UK. I’m not aware of companies giving you credit for unsuccessful ones. They really want to reward where they have derived a financial benefit. Hope this helps

  2. Oh man. I know you can rack up some major airline miles with points, but it’s all just too much work for me! I fly so many different airlines anymore that I’m not loyal to any one in particular. I do some things like I have a credit card that I get points with, though I don’t get half the rewards benefits anymore to make it worth the hefty annual fee. So I should really get rid of that card.

    • Yes, I would suggest looking for cards with lower fees or no fees. In the UK, there is the AMEX British Airways standard card. It carries no fee but still offers points. If anyone wants to go for it and needs a referral to earn more sign up points, just give me a shout.

  3. I researched travel cards only briefly, and in my quick research I thought the only real bonus to travel credit cards as opposed to cash back credit cards was the original signing bonus (assuming of course you spend the required amount of money in the first few months). I had no idea there were so many additional ways to earn miles (i.e. referral bonuses, etc). I might be kicking myself with going for a cash back credit card and not doing more research into travel cards

  4. You are right about keeping on top of your points for airline travel. Checking regularly and shopping at the appropriate places brings in the rewards! Recently, I’ve been finding airlines making it more difficult to use points and my existing points expiring faster. Have you noticed the same thing? In any case, this is a great article and reminder to regularly check one’s points.

    • I find certain routes very difficult to find redemptions for. Cape Town and Singapore for instance. The key really is to book as far as possible in advance, usually 355 days!

  5. OMG thanks for the tips. We are always wanting to make sure we get as many miles as possible!

  6. This is an eye opener for me. I am never so organised in following or flying one particular group to avail the benefits. So sorry about that one loss. Hopefully you can make up for that loss in some other way.

  7. I feel your pain – 100,000 miles ….. I need to get to grips with airline miles – never really done it. The same as others who have commented – I never seem to fly with one or a group of airlines consistently but having seen your stats – I need to! AND NEVER KNEW YOU COULD CONVERT TESCO CLUBCARD! 🙂 Going over to read your 14 Week Travel Hack Challenge now!

    • That’s the great thing about the AMEX Gold card. You can use it for many different airline programmes but it definitely helps if you have a primary focus.

  8. 100,000 miles is huge. What a shame to have missed out on that just from your choice of on-line shopping. We need to ramp up our points and miles game. Jenn is cleared for travel anytime, anywhere as long as she has a ticket. 100,000 miles is a lot tickets.

    • I know, I cannot believe what a rookie mistake that is. It literally takes about 90 seconds longer per purchase! So many missed AVIOS!

  9. I have subscribed to various reward programmes in the past and accumulated some miles here and there but I never seem to use any given airline/alliance regularly enough to keep all my points and benefit from them… I think I still have a lot to learn about all this! And I am probably missing out big time!!

    • This is where it is really important to get familiar with airline alliances. You can fly with loads of different airlines and still earn points in one loyalty programme. For instance, BA, Qantas, Qatar and American Airlines all allow you to earn AVIOS.

  10. These are helpful tips! I’m signed up for an Alaska Airlines card, but should look into other airlines I book for referral points. I didn’t even think about starting to add up points from anywhere besides airlines associated with Alaska.

    • Now I don’t really have an opportunity to earn or redeem Alaska airlines but I have heard some great things about them. If we ever end up spending extended time in Canada, which I suspect we will at some point, I will be sure to check them out.

  11. I have so much to learn! I’ve never collected points/miles and as a full-time travel blogger there’s so many I could’ve had!!

  12. Fewer, not less.

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