MoneyMagpie

Feb 21

Get free flights, hotels and days out with Avios

Get free flights, hotels and days out just by using Avios. It’s easy to collect Avios but make sure you use them to get all the freebies!

What are Avios?

Avios are not as complicated as you might think. They work like a loyalty points system – the more you spend with your special credit card, at certain partners or on the Avios.co.uk website, the more you collect. The collected ‘Avios’ (they don’t call them points) can then be used in exchange for flights, hotels, activities and day trips.

It’s free to sign up on the Avios.co.uk website where you can also review your account. The home page has an option that will show you where you can travel to with your Avios without you having to calculate anything yourself – a perfect option if you want a quick break and aren’t particularly fussed where you go.

Jasmine loves her Avios card!

“I use my Lloyds TSB Duo Avios card whenever possible in order to get extra Avios. I convert Tesco Clubcard points into Avios too. Last year I used them to get an upgrade on a flight to Boston (from economy to World Traveller Plus which is as good as Business class I think) and also to get a couple of nights free in the fabulous Taj Hotel (used to be the Ritz).

You don’t just have to get flights with Avios. I’m planning on using them to upgrade again some time this year – if I collect enough (I don’t really spend enough to get big flights all the time). I might even use them for a Eurostar trip or another hotel stay. That’s the great thing about them – you have a really big choice now.”

Collecting Avios

There are several ways to collect Avios and turn them into free travel and trips.

Use the Avios Credit Card – the Lloyds TSB Duo Avios Credit Card

This is probably the quickest and easiest way to collect Avios. Every time you spend on your Avios credit card you get Avios. The account comes with two cards, as the title suggests: one American Express (which gives you the most avios) and the other a Mastercard (which you can use in more places than Amex). For every £1 spent on the American Express you’ll earn 1 Avios, while you’ll earn the same on the Mastercard when you spend £5.

There is no annual fee but the cards do come with a typical 17.9% APR. There is 0% interest on balance transfers for the first six months, providing you spend a minimum of £100 on purchases in the first 3 months. Otherwise, the interest-free period for transfers will be set at three months. There is a 3% handling fee and the transfers must be a minimum of £100 and come from a non-Lloyds TSB account within six weeks of the account opening.

Every day spending through the Avios website

Shop online at the Avios estore from over 200 online and high street partners, including Currys, John Lewis, Toys ‘R’ Us, Game, HMV and Waterstones. Many retailers offer 10 avios for every £2 spent, but some only offer 10 Avios for every £5 or £10 spent. If you can buy what you need with the most rewarding merchants then tactically this will pay off.

Tesco Clubcard

You can convert your Tesco Clubcard vouchers to Avios with the online Voucher Calculator. Simply choose how many vouchers you wish to convert, add them to your basket and proceed to the ‘Clubcard Checkout’. £2.50 worth of vouchers will earn you 600 Avios. This is one of the easiest and quickest ways to clock up Avios and benefit from free travel and outings.

Shell petrol

For every 20 litres of fuel you buy at a Shell garage you will earn yourself 10 avios. Simply pick up a Shell Driver’s Clubcard from a participating garage or register online (and earn 500 bonus points in the process) and then swipe your card every time you fill up with petrol. Your Avios will be added to your account three times a year.

Recycle your old mobile phone

You can also get up to 7,500 Avios by recycling your old mobile phone. Simply log on to your Avios account, select the make and model of your phone and Avios will tell you how much you can receive.

Then all you have to do is send the phone handset (without the SIM or memory card) to the Avios freepost address. Easy.

Travel shopping

You can collect Avios by booking travel and buying your holiday essentials through various companies connected with Avios. Use your Avios membership number when booking car hire over the phone or online with Avis and receive 3 Avios for every £1 spent.

If you travel frequently, sign up for a BAA Worldpoints card and choose ‘Avios’ as your reward. Then for every £1 you spend in airport shops, bars and restaurants you’ll receive 1 Avios when you present your Worldcard.

Spending Avios

Flights

Avios can be used to get free flights to destinations all over the world, including Vienna, Cairo, Sydney and LA. The website has an easy to use map that separates the world into  zones – the further you travel, the more Avios you will use to get there. Just 9,000 Avios will allow you to fly to destinations in the UK and Ireland, as well as Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.

15,000 Avios will take you a little further afield to such places as Gibraltar, Ibiza and Malta. If you feel like travelling more long-haul, collect 50,000 Avios to travel to places including Hong Kong or Kingston, Jamaica. 100,000 Avios will allow you to fly to far-away Sydney.

When you have selected the airport you wish to fly from and the destination to fly to, the website gives the option to pay with a combination of Avios and cash if you haven’t got enough Avios to cover the whole cost. A flight to Paris could cost you just 4,500 Avios plus £50 per person. Cash prices for flights to different destinations in the same zone do vary.

Hotels, car hire and insurance

You can search and select hotels, car hire and travel insurance separately in all destinations. As with flights, hotels, car hire and insurance also offer the option to pay in Avios and cash.

Eurostar

Avios offer return Eurostar trips from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet International to Paris, Lille and Brussels  from 9,000 Avios per adult. You can also travel to Disneyland Paris from 11,500 Avios for adults and 7,500 for children. Alternatively, you can also pay with Avios and cash.

Other holidays

You can also search for package holidays, ferry trips, cruises and ski holidays through Avios. All are booked using leading travel companies and tour operators such as Thomson, Kuoni, Princess Cruises, Inghams and P&O Ferries.

The difference with booking one of these trips compared with flights and hotels is that you can decide how much you pay in Avios and how much in cash. With flights the amount you can pay in Avios is prescribed where as here, if you want to pay for 25% in Avios and 75% in cash that’s fine, or if you want to pay for 32% in Avios they’ll work out how much cash you owe. With flights the ratios are set in stone.

Activities and days out

You can also use your Avios to buy tickets to top UK attractions, activity days and outings. Attractions include Legoland, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Madame Tussauds. Other days out include white water rafting, paintballing, wine tasting and football club tours and you can spend as little as 2,000 Avios on a fabulous day out.

You can even get a Merlin Annual Pass through Avios for 16,000 Avios, which gives you 12 months access to many of the UK’s top attractions including the ones above, 20% off food and drink at most attractions and 20% off stays at Alton Towers.

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