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Since I was a kid, I’ve been a travel enthusiast. I’ve always loved the excitement of flying and visiting new places. Traveling as an adult, however, is a lot more complicated and much more expensive! I try to collect as many Avios points as possible, which can be used to pay for flights. There are some excellent Avios credit cards to apply for that will allow you to collect points super quickly.
But where do you begin if you’re new to collecting Avios points? Which cards should you apply for, and how do they work? I can recommend six of the best credit cards for collecting Avios points. These cards will allow you to rack up points effortlessly: before you know it, you’ll have thousands of points to spend just by using one of these cards for your day-to-day purchases.
Bottom Line Up Front
I’d say that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is an excellent choice if you can get it: it offers 5 x points on travel purchases, which means you’ll start gaining points very quickly, and it has other good bonuses, too. I think it’s the best credit card on this list.
I’d also recommend checking out the Blue Business Plus Credit Card From American Express, which gives 2 x points on every purchase up to $50,000 per year and has no yearly fee.
Best Avios Credit Cards at a Glance
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – packed with benefits and bonuses, including 5 x points on travel purchases and a 1:1 transfer rate
- British Airways Visa Signature Card – an excellent card for collecting Avios points, particularly if you fly into London often
- American Express Gold Card – allows you to collect bonus points for trips to restaurants and grocery shopping
- Aer Lingus Signature Card From Chase – excellent for collecting Aer Lingus points, with some good bonuses like priority boarding
- Blue Business Plus Credit Card From American Express – a good all-rounder with no yearly fee
- Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card – offers points for services like internet, cable, and phone, as well as a great introductory points bonus
How Do Avios Credit Cards Work, and What Should You Look For?
If you’re new to collecting Avios points and unsure where to start, here’s a quick primer.
Avios Points Currencies
There are four Avios points currencies:
- Aer Lingus Avios
- British Airways Executive Club Avios
- Iberia Plus Avios
- Qatar Airways Avios
They’re essentially the same thing: you can transfer points between each account without losing any points, and they’re all the same currency, so it doesn’t matter which type you collect.
You do need to have an Iberia account open for at least 90 days before you transfer points from British Airways to Iberia, however.
Point Collection Rates
Most credit cards offer varying rates depending on what you use them for. The base rate is usually 1 x point per $1 spent, but you can rack up bonuses depending on what you want to buy. For example, you may find that your chosen credit card offers as much as 3, 4, or 5 x membership points collection on travel purchases when booked through a specific website or service. This means you can collect many points when booking your current vacation, which can be used for future trips.
You may find cards designed for specific purposes. For example, you might be able to collect extra points if you use your card in a restaurant. When picking a card, you can consider your lifestyle and what you’re most likely to use the card for. If you can find a card that slots into your regular spending nicely, you’ll soon start to collect a decent number of Avios points.
Most credit cards offer 1:1 transfer rates, which means you can swap your reward points for Avios points without losing anything in the exchange.
This is crucial because you don’t want to waste points on the transfer!
Some cards offer extra bonuses on top of boosting your Avios point score. Most offer a large number of points if you spend a certain amount of money within a few months of opening an account; this is worth taking advantage of, as it will give you a nice base number of points to jump off with.
You may also get specific rewards for travelers, like vouchers for booking an Uber or even priority boarding.
Most credit cards require you to pay a yearly fee to keep the account open. This is usually around the $90-100 mark; sometimes, it’s more expensive, so you’ll have to consider whether the potential rewards outweigh the cost of keeping the card going.
Some credit cards are free to open, which is pretty rare, but useful if you’re on a tight budget.
Some cards are more exclusive than others. When it comes to credit cards with big rewards, you’ll typically need a very good credit score to be accepted. However, some credit cards have a slightly lower threshold, so if you’re still building up your credit score, you may be able to apply.
It’s worth noting that applying for a card may temporarily lower your score, so it’s not a good idea to apply for a ton at once.
Top 6 Best Avios Credit Cards
Here are six of my favorite credit cards for boosting your Avios point collection. They range from top-end credit cards (these offer a lot of rewards but require a high credit score to apply) to mid-level credit cards for everyday use.
A quick note on selection criteria: these cards were chosen primarily for the number of Avios points you can collect, as well as the extra bonuses and transfer rates.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Considered to be one of the best credit cards for Avios points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is packed with benefits for consumers.
Let’s start with the earning rate: you’ll earn 5 x Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Reward. This means booking travel experiences through Chase will give you many points, which you can spend through Chase’s reward scheme.
You will also collect 3 x points on dining and online grocery purchases, 3 x points on certain streaming services, 2 x points on other travel purchases, and 1 x points on everything else you buy on your Sapphire Preferred Card. This means that working out your points can be a little tricky, but it still offers a great opportunity to collect points through your regular purchases.
Plus, they offer a generous number of bonuses: you’ll get 10% bonus points annually, based on how much you spent on the prior year and a 25% bonus when redeemed through Chase reward travel purchases.
They also offer a generous 60,000 points if you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of opening your account.
They have a 1:1 points transfer rate. You can convert your Chase points into Avios points without losing out.
It’s not necessarily an entry-level credit card. It has a yearly fee of $90, and it requires a very good credit score. Still, it’s one of the best ways to collect Avios points quickly.
- Can collect a ton of points very quickly
- Generous bonus
- 1:1 transfer rate
- Great if you want to buy travel purchases through Chase
- Need to have a very good credit rating to apply
- Yearly fee of $90
- Working out how many points you’ll get can be tricky
British Airways Visa Signature Card
The British Airways Visa Signature Card is excellent in terms of bonuses and has a good point collection rate for British Airways Avios.
You’ll earn up to 3 points per $1 spent on flight purchases (British Airways, Aer Lingus, or Iberia), 2 points for every $1 spent on hotel accommodations when booked directly from the hotel, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
This isn’t as good as the rates offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, but it’s still very good, and the bonuses are great: you’ll earn 75,000 Avios points if you spend $5,000 within three months of opening the account.
On top of that, you can get 10% off British Airways flights starting in the US if you book through a specific website (this will be given to you with the welcome materials you’ll receive).
It’s also excellent if you’re a British expat or if you have to fly into London often: you can get up to $600 Reward Flight Statement Credits, which means you can save up to $600 three times per year when you book a reward flight to London on British Airways.
Outside of collecting Avios points, it doesn’t offer much in terms of rewards: it’s very much a card designed specifically for frequent flyers. Still, if your only focus is building up those Avios points, it’s worth it.
It has a $95 annual fee, and you’ll need a good credit rating to apply.
- Good for British ex-pats, or if you fly into London often
- Great bonuses when you first sign up
- The card is focused on collecting Avios points specifically
- Doesn’t offer many rewards outside of Avios points
- Need a good credit rating to apply
- Yearly fee of $95
American Express Gold
The American Express Gold Card is a good option if you want to build points by visiting restaurants or grocery shopping.
You can get 4 x reward points on restaurant purchases worldwide, as well as 4 x points for visiting supermarkets, up to $25,000 per year. You’ll also get an annual dining credit (up to $120 per year, $10 per month), too. It’s ideal if you enjoy your food but also want to build up those Avios points. You’ll get 1 x points on any other purchase, too.
You’ll also collect 3 x points when booking flights through Amex Travel and a $100 hotel credit and room upgrade upon arrival (subject to availability) if you book hotels through The Hotel Collection from American Express Travel.
The points balance transfer rate is 1:1, so 1,000 reward points equals 1,000 Avios points. They also offer another little bonus of $120 of Uber cash ($10 per month).
If you sign up at the right time, you can make the most of the bonus points. For example, at the time of writing, they were offering 60,000 reward points if you spend $4,000 within six months of opening an account with them.
There are some big benefits to using American Express Gold, but one of the big downsides is the annual cost: at $250, it’s not cheap!
- Can easily collect points from restaurants and grocery stores
- 1:1 transfer rate
- Good bonuses for booking specific hotels
- Great sign-up bonuses
- The very high yearly rate of $250
Aer Lingus Signature Card From Chase
The Aer Lingus Signature Card From Chase is, unsurprisingly, very good if you want to collect Aer Lingus points!
You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on flights made directly from Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and LEVEL. You’ll also get 2 points per $1 spent on hotel accommodations (if you book directly with the hotel). On top of that, you’ll get 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
You’ll also get some travel-specific benefits, like a Companion ticket, which means you can add a companion to your next flight without using extra Avios points. You’ll also get priority boarding for you or your authorized user just by showing your card at the gate.
It’s not packed with benefits as some of the other cards on this list, but 3 x points on flights are good, and if you fly often, those points will quickly mount up.
You’ll also get a bonus of 75,000 Avios points if you spend $5,000 within three months of opening your account, plus 25,000 extra Avios if you spend $20,000 within twelve months.
The yearly fee is $95, which is about average, and you’ll need a good credit rating to apply. It’s definitely the best airline credit card if you want to build up those points!
- Good bonus points for flights
- Useful bonuses, like priority boarding and companion tickets
- Decent sign-up bonuses
- Doesn’t have as many benefits as some of the other cards on this list
- Has a $95 yearly fee
Blue Business Plus Credit Card From American Express
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card From American Express has an excellent base rate for collecting points.
You’ll get 2 x reward points on the first $50,000 yearly and 1 x points for the remainder of the year. This means that no matter what you spend your money on, you’ll get double points up to $50k. It’s easy to determine how many points you’ll earn, and you won’t have to worry about purchasing through specific retailers.
It has a 1:1 transfer ratio, too, which means that you won’t lose any points in the transfer. It also has a very big bonus of being free: it has no annual fee, which is great if you want to keep costs down.
It’s a good all-rounder for those random purchases that wouldn’t normally gain extra points, and you can pair the credit card with another business or Membership Reward credit card to maximize points for big purchases. It would make a good option for a business credit card for small businesses.
The downside is that it doesn’t have much in terms of bonuses aimed at traveling. It’s a basic card, and you need a decent credit rating to apply, but it’s not as selective as some other cards on this list.
- 2 x points on every purchase up to $50,000 per year
- 1:1 transfer ratio
- Can pair with other cards (but terms apply)
- You don’t need to have a very high credit score to apply
- It doesn’t have extra bonuses for travelers
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
If you want to earn points just for paying for utilities, the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is the one to go for.
It offers 3 x points, up to $150,000, on useful services like internet, cable, phone, and more. You’ll also get 3 x points on travel purchases and a 25% point value boost towards travel if you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For any other purchase, the base rate is 1 x point per $1 spent.
They also offer a decent new membership reward: a whopping 100,000 bonus points if you spend $8,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the account. It has a 1:1 ratio, so you can transfer points to Avios without losing anything.
It doesn’t offer many specific extra bonuses for travelers, but I think the points rate is excellent so that more than makes up for it.
It has a $95 annual fee, and you’ll need a good credit score to be successful in your application.
- 3 x points for internet, phone, and cable services
- Great account opening bonus
- 1:1 balance transfer ratio
- Extra points if you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- $95 annual fee
- Doesn’t have any specific bonuses for travelers
Frequently Asked Questions
Still want to know more? Here are a few questions you may have about Avios credit cards:
Question: How many Avios points do I need for a flight?
Answer: It depends on how far you’re flying: the further you go, the more points it will cost. You can get off-peak, short-haul flights for under 10,000 points, but you must be careful when booking to fully utilize your air miles.
You can learn more about this in our guide: How Many Avios Points Do I Need for a Flight?
Question: Do Avios points expire?
Answer: They’ll stick around forever, provided that you spend, collect, share, or buy points at least once every 36 months – otherwise, you’ll lose your precious Avios point collection.
Question: Can I transfer my Avios points to someone else?
Answer: Yes, you can transfer up to 27,000 Avios to another account, but there is a transfer fee involved.
Question: Can I exchange my Avios points for cash?
Answer: No, you can’t exchange Avios points for cash in the US. Attempting to sell your Avios for cash could lead to your account being closed.
I really like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. 5 x points on selected travel purchases is excellent, and if you have some flexibility in terms of when and where you want to go, you can start to build those points up pretty quickly.
You’ll also get 3 x points on dining and online grocery purchases and more points for specific purchases. Plus, their sign-up bonus is pretty generous, too.
Overall, if you have a great credit score and you want to use your spending wisely, this is one to go for: the Chase Ultimate Reward scheme is excellent.
However, if you think you may not be accepted for a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, or you’d rather have a simpler point collection rate, the Blue Business Plus Credit Card From American Express is worth checking out. 2 x points on any purchases up to $50,000 per year is excellent.