Avios are the mileage currency of British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus. They can be earned on flights with any Oneworld alliance partner, as well as via non-airline partners. The same broadly applies to redeeming — they can be used on the above three airlines as well as many others.
There are certain risks with holding large sums of Avios. The first risk is that of a devaluation. Typically, that means that either the earning rate or the spending (often referred to as ‘burning’) rate changes. The other risk to your Avios balance is that they expire, so it’s important not to get caught out by this rule and see your hard-earned Avios balance disappear.
The good news is that compared to other programs, the British Airways Executive Club is relatively generous with the Avios expiration rules. BA.com states: “Your Avios stay with you as long as you collect, spend, purchase or share at least one Avios every 36 months — any longer and your Avios will expire and be removed, so remember to take action before those three years are up.”
Essentially, as long as there’s some sort of activity within the three-year period, your Avios are safe. Such activity includes earning, spending, sharing or even buying any amount of Avios.
Earning activities include:
- Flights with British Airways or any partner airline;
- Hotel stays that allow crediting to the British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) or BA holiday bookings;
- Car rentals that allow crediting to BAEC; and,
- Using a British Airways Credit Card, which is both a very easy way to keep your Avios balance from expiring as well as a great way of earning Avios.
You can also prevent your Avios from expiring by spending them. These options include:
- Booking a reward flight with Avios — either an outright Avios redemption or using a combination of Avios and Money;
- Upgrading a flight using Avios;
- Using Avios to save money on cash flights; and,
- Booking a hotel or car rental with Avios.
Purchasing Avios as well as sharing Avios with another Executive Club member also counts as an activity and will reset that 36-month clock.
You work hard to build up your Avios balance, so you should do everything possible to make sure you don’t unintentionally lose them. The good news is that there are many ways to earn Avios on a regular basis — especially if you’re following our Beginners Guide.
Featured photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images.