How Many Avios Points Do I Need for a Flight?

avio points for a flight

This article has been updated in 2023 based on the recent reduction in Avios required for most European and International flights with British Airways in Economy and Premium Economy

You may be surprised to know that even average travelers can earn enough Avios points in a single year for a free flight. Those really savvy shoppers can earn enough Avios points within 12-24 months for two people to take flight and travel to far-off destinations – sometimes in Premium Economy or even Upper Class!

But just how many Avios points do you need for a flight?

Avios redemptions for 2023 start at just 1,000 Avios for a Points plus Cash flight to Europe. You need 8,000 Avios Points for a flight to Paris and up to 65,000 Avios Points for a flight to Sydney. The number of Avios Points needed does depend on whether you are traveling off-peak or peak time. A return flight to New York will cost you 26,000 Avios Points.

What though if you only take a couple of flights a year? A yearly holiday and a few nights away. Can an average traveler really earn enough Avios Points for a free flight or upgrade?

Surprisingly yes, you can.

Here are some further destinations around the world showing how many Avios points you need for the flights to these destinations:

  • 8,000 BA Avios for a return flight to Paris
  • 13,000 BA Avios for a return flight to Rome
  • 26,000 BA Avios for a return flight to New York
  • 32,500 BA Avios for a return flight to San Francisco
  • 32,600 BA Avios for a return flight to New Delhi
  • 39,000 BA Avios for a return flight to Tokyo
  • 65,500 BA Avios for a return flight to Sydney 

You must be creative at times but do things at the right time in the right way and you can enhance really boost your Avios points and use them for a free holiday or your next flight.

In this guide I’ll show you exactly how average travelers like you could earn over 130,000 Avios points in one year!

What Can Avios Points Get You?

Most people know that Avios flights can be used for free flights, but that's just 1 (of 8+) ways you can spend. Check out the full list of options...

See These Surprising Options
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

John and Sally – The Avios Points for Flight Case Study:


Let’s look at John and his girlfriend Sally. Once a year on average they:

  • Fly internationally for their annual vacation;
  • John travels three times a year to Europe on business (in economy class) but can book his own travel and claim back through his expenses;
  • Sally usually travels away with her girlfriends for a weekend to the Mediterranean;
  • Together they stay on average in 8 hotels for breaks away and visiting friends and family;

As you can see, all pretty much average travel.

What we are going to do here is break their Avios point earnings into three stages with the end goal of turbo-boosting reward Avios points for next year’s holiday:

  • Stage 1 – is obvious, earning reward points for flights and hotels;
  • Stage 2 – we need to look at other ways to earn Avios points, for example by shopping, filling up our petrol tanks, switching insurance, upgrading your mobile phone, etc…
  • Stage 3 – This section explains how we really maximize every Avios point out of every situation to really push our Avios balance towards the skies
  • Stage 4 – The final stage and how we use some hidden tricks and hacks to really sky-rocket all those Avios points!

Let’s get started!

Stage 1 – Earning Avios from Flights and Hotels

In this first stage let’s look at some examples of John and Sally’s travel habits and see how we can really boost their British Airways Executive Club rewards. In this stage, we will not only look at boosting their Avios points but also how they could earn free hotel nights through the program. Every reward helps. There is a little-known trick here of using the link from within the BA Shopping Portal.

If you use the link, which is available to everyone through their BA Executive Account on the British Airways website, you will earn extra Avios points for every £1 you spend at

Let’s have a look at some of the Avios points they (and you) could earn by flights and hotel stays:


British Airways

Reward Flight Opportunity



2 x Flights to San Francisco for 10 days in economy class during June


Hotels in San Francisco for 10 nights for £1,000


1 x flight to Paris for John’s business trip


3 x hotel nights in Paris for £300


1 x flight to Madrid for Sally’s business trip


3 x hotel nights in Madrid for £270


8 x hotel nights across the UK for £700





So far John and Sally have earned a combined 25,414 Avios points;

As you can see, the earnings through the BA Shopping Portal with gave them over 4x more Avios points than the flights did!

John and Sally already have a great number of reward points to help towards their next holiday, but we’re not done – we’re just getting started!

Stage 2 – Earn Avios for all things associated with your travel and adventure

It’s easy to think holiday spending stops there, but there are also additional ways to earn Avios points – think car hire, airport parking, clothes, insurance, etc….

There are over 800 places to earn Avios points for buying the same products and services you do now (just by virtue of being a British Airways Executive Club member) , for the same price you currently pay. The only difference right now is you’re not earning a reward for it!

Let’s have a look at more way Avios can be earned and boosted for our next trip – I can feel an upgrade coming on!

Trip Reward Flight Opportunity


Avios Points Rewarded

San Francisco Car Hire with Avis in San Francisco



San Francisco Foreign Currency exchanging £1,000 in to USD



San Francisco 2 x excursions booked through Viator



San Francisco Airport Parking for San Francisco trip



Paris Foreign Currency exchanging £300 in to EUR



Paris Airport Parking for Paris trip



Madrid Foreign Currency exchanging £400 in to EUR



Madrid Airport Parking for Madrid trip



All Clothes purchases for all three trips





Just think of all the Avios points you’ve been missing out on year after year. The Avios points up for grabs for additional holiday costs are worth more than all the flights put together!

For Stage One and Stage Two the Avios earnings are now 31,264!

Stage 3 – Earn Avios for a flight by shopping, insurance switching and Christmas spending


As shown above, there are over 800 retailers and service providers that can earn you Avios points as a British Airways Executive Club member.

Think of all your day-to-day spending: Shopping, petrol, insurances, clothes, broadband – the list is endless. Think of all the Christmas presents bought for friends and family. Each one is an Avios earning potential. Every gift given is a gift received!

Here are some of the ways John and Sally can earn Avios points throughout the year on things they already spending on. I think you’ll be amazed at the outcome!

Reward Flight Opportunity

Cost per Year

Avios Per Year

Shopping at Sainsbury’s at £80 per week



Petrol at Sainsbury’s at £60 per week £3,120 7,488
Clothes Shopping £1,000 4,500
Mobile Phone Upgrade and Contract £500 5,000
Switch Gas and Electricity provider to cheaper alternative through USwitch £1,200 2,500
Broadband through Sky for new customers £360 7,500
Christmas and Birthday Gifts for Friends and Family £500 3,000
ArrivaPlus Car Insurance £800* 5,000
John Lewis Pet Insurance £300* 1,800
ArrivaPlus Home Insurance £500* 2,000
Total   48,772

That’s a whopping 48,000 Avios points you’re missing out on for things you purchase every day. These are just award flight examples of course but there are many more ways to earn through purchases like train tickets, Amazon Audible subscription, Wowcher gift sets and lots lot more

By combining these three stages together we now have a combined total of 80,036 Avios!


We still have one more Stage to go now…..

Stage 4 – Turbo Charge Your Avios Points with the BA Credit Card

BA Credit Card

One of the easiest ways and low-cost ways of earning Avios points is usually by taking out a British Airways Credit Card.

You shouldn’t take out a credit card just for the purpose of earning reward points, and certainly don’t take out a credit card to spend and build up debt and accumulated interest. If though you pay off your balance every month and have a great credit score, the BA Credit Cards can really work in your favor.

I am not encouraging the building of debt just for an award flight. But this guide is to show you what is possible from a point and earning potential. So, we’ll continue and use the highest reward earning BA American Express Premium Credit Card – but please note there is an annual fee of £250, which has been increased for 2022, for having this card:

Credit Card Avios Bonus Points Earnings per £1 Free Companion Flight Annual Fee
BA American Express Premium Credit Card 25,000 if you spend £3,000 within the first three months


Yes, with minimum of £10,000 spend per year £250

I know, lots of information to take in here. But the middle three columns are the ones to pay particular attention to. Let’s take one at a time. By adding the Avios bonus points to those already earned we now have a grand total of 105,036 Avios Points!

But if we now pay attention to the next column, it shows we could earn an additional 1.5 Avios points for every £1 spent on the Credit Card.

This means if we took out the credit card at the start of the year, and made all those purchases in Stage 1 to Stage 3 using the credit card (and of course paying off the balance every month so as not to accrue interest) this means that……

…those 105,036 Avios points now become a staggering 131,601 Avios Points!

The next column is equally exciting, if not more so. The Free Companion Flight. This means if you spend £10,000 on your credit card in a 12-month period, which as demonstrated in Stages 1 to 3 above is possible, BA will reward you with a free companion flight (just taxes to pay on the reward flight) on the same flight in the same class as a new booking with Avios points! This means book a Business Class return flight to New York with Avios, and your companion can travel right alongside you for free!

How to Spend Your Avios Points on Flights and Upgrades!

Now that you have amassed all these British Airways Avios reward points, what would John and Sally be able to get for this – here are some examples of where they can fly to in 2022:

Destination Class Avios Required Free Companion Flight Needed
Tel Avis Business 62,500 Yes
Shanghai Business 75,000 Yes
Delhi Business 125,000 Yes
Sydney Business 125,000 Yes
Tokyo Business 75,000 Yes
St Lucia Business 125,000 Yes
Barbados First Class 85,000 Yes
Chennai First Class 85,000 Yes
Las Vegas First Class 85,000 Yes
New Orleans First Class 85,000 Yes
New York First Class 85,000 Yes
Rio De Janeiro First Class 102,000 Yes

I hope this case study goes to show what is possible. The reward potential of doing very little more than spending what you are today. Avios points, unlike the less exciting Tier Points, do not expire.

Just make sure you use your Avios card once every three years. Even if you decide not to take out a credit card, it is possible to build up Avios reward miles and build up to bigger rewards to start traveling in style!

Enjoy the flight!

What Can Avios Points Get You?

Most people know that Avios flights can be used for free flights, but that's just 1 (of 8+) ways you can spend. Check out the full list of options...

See These Surprising Options
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Further Reading on British Airways Miles (Avios):



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