Collecting and earning British Airways Avios airmiles can be really exciting. Frustrating at times but really exciting. Earning enough airmiles for a free flight is a great goal and wonderful achievement.
The best ways to earn enough BA Avios for a free flight include:
- Always flying British Airways where possible
- Automatically convert Nectar points to BA Avios airmiles
- Use the BA Shopping Portal for gifts and presents
- Take advantage of BA Shopping Offers and Subscriptions
- Do your Christmas shopping through the BA portal
- Fill up your petrol tank at Sainsbury’s petrol station
- Use your BA Credit Card for all purchases
- Compare and save on your insurance through British Airways portal
- Convert cashback earnings into BA Avios airmiles
These are just some of the ways to earn enough airmiles for a free flight, or ever an amazing upgrade to an already booked flight, but in this article I will show you how to take advantage of each of these methods and really maximise every single airmiles earning opportunity!
Let us start with exactly how many BA Avios airmiles you need for a free flight – and then let’s explore how to get them!
How Many BA Avios Airmiles Do You Need for a Free Flight?
Before you start your Avios airmiles journey let’s have a look at exactly how many BA airmiles you will need for your free flight.
Here are some examples of popular routes across Europe, Americas and beyond for September 2021 in Economy, according to the British Airways website (as at Spring 2021):
- 17,000 BA Avios for a return flight to Paris (plus £1 taxes and fees)
- 22,000 BA Avios for a return flight to Barcelona (plus £1 taxes and fees)
- 22,000 BA Avios for a return flight to Rome (plus £1 taxes and fees)
- 50,000 BA Avios for a return flight to New York (plus £100 taxes and fees)
- 60,000 BA Avios for a return flight to Las Vegas (plus £150 taxes and fees)
- 60,000 BA Avios for a return flight to San Francisco (plus £150 taxes and fees)
- 60,000 BA Avios for a return flight to New Delhi (plus £150 taxes and fees)
- 70,000 BA Avios for a return flight to Tokyo (plus £200 taxes and fees)
- 121,500 BA Avios for a return flight to Sydney (plus £484.42 taxes and fees)
Obviously as you can see, there is a big difference depending on where in the world you want to travel.
For the purpose of this example we are going to use the Big Apple (a.k.a. New York).
Now as we can see, if we want to take this flight, we will need 50,000 BA Avios airmiles – and need to pay the taxes and fees, which for this flight would be £100.
Now we need to go and earn them!
How do I earn BA Avios Airmiles?
Let’s now break down all of those methods shown, and how to maximise each mile for each method using some tricks and hacks.
#1 Always fly British Airways where possible
We’ll get the most obvious one out of the way first, but it’s worth pointing out that this method alone is one of the slowest ways of building up your account.
All airmiles help but you need to combine this method with other methods to really see your Avios account balance soar as high as the planes.
Every time you fly British Airways and add your BA Avios Executive Club number (which you can get for free by signing up here) you’ll earn Avios airmiles.
How many you earn will depend on where you fly to of course. The minimum you will earn is 125 (not many eh!).
A non-flexible low-cost return flight to New York will earn you 1,730 Avios airmiles.
If though you fly in Premium Economy you would earn 7,096 Avios airmiles, in Business Class you’d earn 10,374 Avios airmiles and in luxurious First Class your account would be topped up with 17,290 Avios airmiles.
As you can see though, if Economy is your flying class, you would need to fly to New York and back 29 times to earn enough Avios airmiles for your 30th flight!
Fortunately, there are other easier ways!
Earning Potential = 1,700 BA Avios Airmiles
#2 Automatically convert your Nectar points to BA Avios airmiles
Did you know that all the Nectar points you earn through the connected retailers, can all be converted across to BA Avios points straight on to your Executive Club account?
Up until January 2021 this was possible with Tesco too, but their partnership with British Airways Avios has ended, so this is now just possible with the Nectar card.
There are now more than 300 stores you can earn Nectar points with.
Here though are some of the retailers you can earn again and again with throughout the year:
- Sainsbury’s including fuel fill-ups
- Just Eat
- Nectar Hotels
Tip: Look out for special earning offers, especially at Sainsbury’s where certain items can really boost your points if purchased that week
Without special offers you’ll earn 1 Nectar point for every £1 you spend on your shopping or fuel (whether you buy at Esso or Sainsbury’s Fuel).
If on average, you spend £50 per week food shopping and £50 per week on fuel this would work out a minimum of 5,200 Nectar points every year. If you took advantage of special offers and booster promotions this could be quite a bit more.
On the basis you can exchange 400 Nectar points for 250 Avios, it means this would earn you at least 3,250 BA Avios airmiles.
That’s 3,250 BA Avios airmiles for doing nothing more than you already are.
You’d need to fly return to New York twice in Economy to earn the same amount of BA Avios.
There are so many ways to earn points. Train travel, Eurostar trips, takeaways, online shopping – the list goes on.
It would be quite feasible for an average spender, earning wisely, to gain up between 6,000-10,000 Avios in a year using their Nectar card.
This method alone could get you more than half-way towards a return flight to Paris – and we’ve only just started!
Earning Potential = 6,000 to 10,000 BA Avios Airmiles
#3 Use the BA Shopping Portal to buy gifts and presents and earn Avios airmiles
According to Money.co.uk the average person spends £392 per year on birthday gifts.
As well as putting a smile on someone’s face, this gives you a great opportunity to really boost your Avios miles using the BA Shopping Portal.
The BA shopping portal works a little different to Nectar card, and shopping through the BA Shopping portal will offer you greater Avios earning possibilities.
The retailers on offer through the BA Shopping portal can be different to those you can earn Nectar points with and convert to BA Avios miles at a later time – so it does depend where you want to shop.
For example if you purchase gifts on the Disney Store online shop, using the link from the BA Shopping Portal, you’ll earn up to 6 Avios per £1 spent (this is a current promotion but usually this is 4 Avios per £1 spent).
Buy a gift through the Gap online store through the BA shopping portal and you could earn up to 12 Avios per £1 spent.
House of Fraser will earn you up to 7 Avios per £1 spent, and Holland&Barret up to 12 Avios per £1 spent.
You can see how these Avios points can add up.
Earning Potential = 1,000 to 2,000 BA Avios Airmiles
#4 Take advantage of BA Shopping Offers and Promotions
We’ve just covered birthday gifts, and a little later we’ll talk about Christmas shopping – but what about a little something for yourself!
The BA Shopping Portal isn’t just for gifts, it’s a great companion for lots of different purchases you make.
Offers and promotions change often. It’s worth checking each week to find out if there’s a special offer you can take advantage of.
For example, as of right now a special promotion sees Hotel.com stays earning a massive 12 Avios per £1 spent.
A week stay in the UK or abroad at £100 per night would earn you a massive 8,400 Avios miles!
Need an upgrade on your mobile phone? – Carphone Warehouse have a promotion where you could earn up to 7,000 Avios airmiles to upgrade your mobile to one of their selected new mobile phones.
These two offers alone could earn you over 15,000 Avios miles (almost enough for Paris!).
This is just two examples from the hundreds on offer and these are not extravagant spends. These are the types of spend many people make each year anyway.
If you’re spending anyway, why not get a reward from it!
Earning Potential = 10,000 to 20,000 BA Avios Airmiles
#5 Do your Christmas Shopping through the BA Shopping Portal to earn more BA Avios miles
We’ve covered birthday gifts, and ideas for you – just one more left now. Christmas shopping!
We all know we go a little crazy with spending at Christmas. Gifts, alcohol, decorations and food, food and even more food!
The average household in the UK, according to the Bank of England, spends £740 over Christmas!
So much BA Avios miles earning opportunities here to help you earn your free flight!
We have gone through examples in the last two methods, so I will not recover the same examples, but through some of our calculations it would be quite feasible to earn a good couple of thousand BA Avios miles across Christmas.
Can you feel your BA free flight getting ready to board now!?
We are getting closer now. We are 5 methods in so far and up to 35,700 BA Avios airmiles.
Not only is this enough for two people to fly return to Paris – but we have over 70% of the BA Avios needed for that free flight to New York!
Let’s carry on…
Earning Potential = 1,500-2,500 BA Avios Airmiles
#6 Fill up your car with petrol at Sainsbury’s or Esso to gain even more BA Avios miles
We did touch upon this in method number 2, but as we generally spend way too much than we should be on petrol each year (due to the high UK fuel taxes) it is definitely worth its own section to really drive home the point.
In section 2 we used the example of someone spending on average £50 per week on fuel.
If you purchase your fuel at either the Esso petrol station or Sainsbury’s petrol stations, and collect Nectar points, you will earn 1 Nectar point for every £1 spent.
Over a year this would give you 2,600 Nectar points, which can be exchanged for BA Avios miles at a rate of 400 Nectar for 250 BA Avios.
This means your 2,600 Nectar points would be converted to 1,625 BA Avios miles.
A nice boost for fuel you would be purchasing anyway.
Earning Potential = 1,625 BA Avios Airmiles
#7 Use your BA Credit Card to earn a huge BA Avios mile bonus for your free flight
The BA Credit Card is one of the best opportunities to earn the most amount of BA Avios airmiles.
Of course, like all credit cards you need to pay off the full balance every month, so as not to get into debt or have to pay interest or charges.
The savviest Avios airmile earners use their BA credit card for almost every purchase they can.
You not only receive a large signup bonus if you meet the qualifying criteria, but you will also earn Avios miles for every spend using your BA credit card.
Let us look at the petrol method from method number 6.
In this scenario we used the example of spending £50 per week on fuel, which works out at £2,600 per year.
Just using our Nectar card earns you 1,625 BA Avios miles, but if you had paid for your fuel using your BA Credit Premium Plus Card you would also have earned an ADDITIONAL 3,900 BA Avios miles.
This means your petrol spend BA Avios earnings have jumped from 1,625 Avios per year to 5,525 Avios per year!
Imagine doing this for all your spending so far.
Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the reward bonus!
For those of you who do not currently have a BA Credit Card you can earn up to 25,000 BA Avios as a signup bonus!
To get this you will need to take out the BA American Express Premium Plus Card (which does come with a hefty £195 annual fee) and you will need to spend £3,000 in the first three months of card membership.
If though this doesn’t look possible the BA American Express Card (which has no annual fee) will award you with 5,000 Avios bonus miles if you spend £1,000 in the first three months of card membership.
Just to note the 5,525 Avios per year example above relates to BA Premium Plus Card, but you would still earn 4,225 Avios per year with the standard BA Credit Card, using the same example.
Earning Potential = 15,000-50,000 BA Avios Airmiles (depending on which Credit Card you have)
#8 Compare and save on your insurance, and earn even more BA Avios for your free flight
I hope so far you already see the possibilities and you can already see how possible it is to earn your way to a free flight.
So far, we are now up to between 54,125 and 89,125 BA Avios miles!
This would give us enough for our free flight to New York. If you are at the top end of this range, and near 90,000 BA Avios miles you could earn a free flight to almost anywhere in the world (Sydney requiring some more miles yet).
We are not done yet. We have two more methods to go.
This method again uses the BA Shopping Portal, but this time focuses on your insurances.
Insurance policies are another way to earn a large number of BA Avios miles.
It is always prudent to use other comparison engines for the best deals available, but equally it’s worth looking at the deals and offers available through British Airways. Especially if you only need a few more Avios miles for your goal.
Let’s look at some examples of typical insurances, and Avios earning potentials:
- 3,500 BA Avios Miles – Car Insurance with Admiral
- 6,000 BA Avios Miles – Multi Car Insurance with Admiral
- Up to 6,000 BA Avios Miles – British Gas Home Insurance
- 2,500 BA Avios Miles – Pet Insurance with More Than
- Up to 30,000 BA Avios Airmiles – Life Insurance with GoCompare
- 950 BA Avios Miles – Gadget Insurance with ProtectMyBubble
Just a couple of these insurance policies could bag you a further 10,000+ BA Avios miles
Earning Potential = 10,000 BA Avios Airmiles on average
#9 Convert cashback earnings into BA Avios
Last, but by no means least – convert cashback earnings into BA Avios.
There are a few cashback providers online. TopCashback,com is the portal we have used to convert cashback earnings in to Avios miles, and it works like a dream with an added boost.
I’m sure you’re not new to the concept of cashback. We’ve covered it enough in this article, but we have gained our cashback and rewards as Avios miles instead of cash.
Cashback sites like TopCashback.com offer you the choice. Cash out in, well cash, or exchange for BA Avios miles.
Usually when converting to Avios you’ll be given a little boost of around a 5% bonus.
To convert your cashback earnings is simple. Once your cashback is ready to be paid out TopCashback at this point give you the option and choice. Scroll down towards the end of the list of exchange options and you should see the option to convert your earnings to Avios.
When we did this our BA Avios miles were added within around a week. So the processing time is pretty quick.
Earning Potential = 5,000 BA Avios Airmiles
Did we earn enough BA Avios Airmiles for our Free Flight?
We not only earned enough, we smashed our target!
We did earn enough BA Avios miles for our free flight!
If you remember we were looking to earn 50,000 BA Avios miles for a free flight to New York – adding up the possible BA Avios earnings…
…using the 9 methods above, we would earn between 69,125 and 104,125 BA Avios Miles!
Of course, any goal with great rewards takes work, dedication and patience. You need to be consistent with your approach, and always be looking every day for ways to earn more BA Avios miles to boost your account.
Best of luck in your journey and enjoy your free flight!