Difference between Avios and Airmiles – What to Collect?

It seems that today the words ‘Avios’, ‘Points’ and ‘Airmiles’ are almost interchangeable.

Sometimes you’re collecting Avios, sometimes Points – and then someone asks whether you can collect airmiles too.

It can be really confusing, and it’s no surprise this type of question is asked again and again.

Let’s clear this up.

What is the difference between Avios and Airmiles?

Avios is the airmiles scheme used by British Airways, Aer Lingus, Vueling and other airlines. There isn’t any real difference between Avios and Airmiles. The only difference is terminology. Some airlines call their air mile scheme ‘Points’, whereas other airlines simply call them airmiles.

In this article I’ll explain the differences and exactly what you should collect when flying with British Airways.

What are Airmiles

Airmiles is the original and traditional name for collecting rewards when flying.

As more and more airlines set up commercially, and competed in the same space as other airlines, they had to find a way to create brand loyalty.

Marketing departments had to find clever and ingenious ways to keep customers returning to the same airline again and again.

The airmiles scheme was relatively simple. For every mile you flew you collected an air mile.

These airmiles could be redeemed for gifts, upgrades and flights.

The more you flew with the same airline, the more airmiles you collected and the closer to the rewards you became.

This of course kept customers very loyal.

Over the years airlines began setting themselves further apart by coming up with clever names for their airmiles programmes.

American Airlines have AAdvantage Points, Virgin Atlantic have Virgin Points and British Airways joined the Avios programme.

What are Avios

Avios is an airmiles and point earning programme where customers can collect Avios when flying, shopping and staying in hotels. Avios can be redeemed for free flights, upgrades, hotel stays, holidays and even car hire. British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling are all part of the Avios programme.

Do I collect Airmiles or Avios?

Both airmiles and Avios are ways to earn rewards for flying.

Whether you collect airmiles or Avios is dependant on the airline you are flying with. It’s the same thing with a different name.

If you are flying with British Airways for example, then you will be collecting Avios, not airmiles.

Almost all airlines now offer their own brand name for airmiles, rather than just using the traditional airmiles term.

For example, here is a selection of airlines and the name of their airmiles programme:

  • Air New Zealand – Airpoints
  • American Airlines – AAdvantage Miles
  • British Airways – Avios
  • Qantas – Qantas Points
  • Singapore Airlines – KrisFlyer Miles
  • Virgin Atlantic – Virgin Points

Why use plain old ‘Airmiles’ when marketing departments can get incredibly creative and unique with catchy brand names.

Whether you’re collecting Avios, Airpoints, KrisFlyer Miles or just airmiles, they are all pretty much the same reward earning loyalty scheme that provides free flights once you have enough miles or points.

Difference between Avios and Airmiles – The Insider’s Notes

  • Avios and airmiles are different terms for the same thing
  • Avios is the airmiles programme for British Airways
  • Almost every airline has a different brand name for their airmiles programme