As travel restrictions ease and lockdowns look set to remain a thing of the past (in the UK, at least), perhaps now is the time to boost your AVIOS balance. The American Express Premium card currently offers an attractive sign-up bonus and the opportunity to add to your AVIOS balance. It is now also possible to book European flights and pay just £1 in taxes. This means it should be possible to find some exceptional bargains for economy or business class flights once you have increased your AVIOS balance.
For instance, I booked flights to Croatia at Christmas in business class for myself and my husband for just £2 in fees.
How to boost your AVIOS balance
- When you sign up for an American Express Premium card you will receive a sign-up bonus of 25,000 points (26,000 if you use a American Express Premium card) when you then spend £3,000 in the first 3 months.
- You also earn between 1.5 and 3 AVIOS for every £1 of spend
- If you spend £10,000 on your card in a year (including the £3,000 in the first 3 months) you will earn:
- 25,000 sign-up bonus (26,000 if you use a American Express Premium card referral)
- 15,000 AVIOS for your spend (assuming non British Airways spend)
- 9,000 if you refer your spouse or partner
- Total 49,000 AVIOS
- Plus, a companion voucher which allows two to fly for the price of one (see below for more information) in business class or other cabins. Note, the standard card only allows redemptions in economy class so do not be swayed by the lack of an annual fee. This card will cost you in the long run.
- You will also need to sign up for a British Airways Executive Club Account as this is where you will earn and redeem AVIOS. You will also discover many other ways to boost your AVIOS balance on the site including:
- Flights with British Airways and oneworld® airline partners
- Booking holidays, hotel stays or car rental plus shopping via shopping partners.
- By pooling your Avios with up to six people who live with you in a Household Account
Benefits of the card
- Sign-up bonus of 25,000 points (26,000 if you use a American Express Premium card referral and spend £3,000 on the card within 3 months of your account opening. The referrer will also earn a referral bonus of 9,000 AVIOS.
- Earn 1.5 Avios for every £1 you spend on anything
- Earn 3 Avios for every £1 you spend on British Airways or BA Holidays
- Qualify for a Companion Voucher when you spend £10,000 each membership year on the Card.
- This allows you to travel with another person but only redeem sufficient AVIOS for one fare.
- You will still need to pay the taxes for two people.
- If you use this voucher to redeem for flights in Business or First class, you can save thousands of pounds. It is however not worth using for economy as the savings you make will be minor (the bulk of the fare is taxes and fees and you still need to pay these). Note reward flights and Companion Voucher bookings are subject to availability.
- Free travel accident and travel inconvenience insurance to give you peace of mind. The full terms and conditions are here.
- Access to a wide range of discounts and shop small savings including £15 cashback on purchases at participating small shops in your area
Downsides to this product
- High annual fee of £250 (this will be partially refunded on a pro-rata basis should you cancel the card part way through the year)
- High Representative APR of 101.1% and a 5% variable rate applies for purchases. It is advisable to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid these costly fees. To understand how the APR works, visit the American Express website.
- If you have previously held a personal British Airways American Express Card in the last 24 months, you are not eligible for the sign-up bonus. You will be entitled to all other card benefits.
- Some venues will not accept American Express cards so it pays to ensure you have alternative means of payment. For more information on stores accepting payment, view the American Express site.
Is the card right for you?
Only you can decide if the card is right for your financial situation, however if you want to boost your AVIOS balance without flying, this option is the best way to do so.
From Miles to Smiles is a travel blog. None of the above commentary should be regarded as financial advice, and it is your responsibility to ensure that a credit card you apply for is appropriate for your circumstances. You should read the full terms and conditions of any credit card offer and ensure that that you can meet monthly payments. Our review of these credit cards only considers the ability to earn airmiles and does not consider other factors, such as interest rates, service or the impact on your credit history. Nothing in this article should be construed as giving advice or making a recommendation or an introduction.