Best Avios Credit Cards

Learn all about Avios points and the pros and cons of having a travel rewards credit card.

Updated: May 22, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

|
Rachel Wait

Edited By

Rachel Wait

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Did you know you can earn points for using a rewards credit card? Yes, you can earn points, vouchers and even cashback with different types of rewards cards. 

If you're a keen traveller, you might benefit more from a travel reward credit card, often known as an air miles card. You can earn points for spending and use them to upgrade your travel plans.

One of the most popular airmiles schemes is Avios, the rewards system for British Airways. There are a number of credit cards that let you earn Avios points which you can then redeem on various travel perks, including reduced flight prices, travel companion vouchers, car hire and more.

In this article, you'll learn about Avios points, the pros and cons of having a travel rewards credit card, and we'll introduce you to the best UK credit card for earning Avios points.

Card NameScoreDetails
1. British Airways American Express Credit Card★★★★★Learn more
2. Barclaycard Avios Credit Card★★★★★Learn more
3. British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card★★★★★Learn more
4. Barclaycard Avios Plus Card★★★★Learn more
5. American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card★★★★Learn more
6. HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard★★★★Learn more
7. American Express Nectar Credit Card★★★★Learn more

What is an Avios Credit Card?

An Avios credit card is a rewards card that allows you to collect Avios in exchange for using it for everyday spending. Avios is an airmiles scheme that can be used on flights with British Airways and other airlines.

Several credit cards let you earn Avios when you spend. Each credit card provider will have a tariff on how many Avios you can earn. Typically, you’ll find that for every £1 you spend, you’ll earn 1 Avios point. Depending on the credit card, you may earn more. 

Avios is the reward currency of British Airways. British Airways is a founding member of the Oneworld Alliance. So this means you can use Avios reward flight booking with over 30 airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Bangkok Airways, British Airways, Fiji Airways, Japan Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Virgin Australia, and many more.

Avios are great for making the most of your travels as you can redeem your loyalty points with British Airways for the following perks:

  • Reward flights: when you use Avios to book a flight, they’re called reward flights. You can fly to any worldwide destination where there's availability with British Airways or one of their Oneworld partners. You can use British Airways Reward Flight Saver to find the best flight deals with great value.
  • Upgrades: you can use your Avios balance to upgrade your booking on selected fares with American Airlines, Iberia, and British Airways. You can upgrade your flight when booking or upgrade an existing flight. Avios upgrades are available for your Avios reward flight too.
  • Avios part payment with British Airways Holidays: by logging into your Executive Club account, you can use your Avios points as part payment on Flight + Hotel and Flight + Car holidays. Using your points on British Airways holiday packages helps you cut the cost of your next holiday.
  • Pay with Avios: you can use your points for seats and baggage. You can pay in full or partially with Avios points for hotel stays, car hire, experiences and more. You can spend your Avios on adventures worldwide, on The Wine Flyer to get the wines you love for less, and spend your Avios balance on all High Life Shop or High Life Cafe products.

Avios points don't expire as long as you collect, buy or transfer at least on Avios every 36 months. When you start collecting Avios, you'll become part of the British Airways Executive Club and being a member is rewarding no matter how often you fly.

Avios Credit Cards Pros and Cons

Before choosing an Avios credit card, make sure you've looked at the pros and cons of using one.

Pros

✔️ Collect Avios by regular spending: with a travel rewards card, you earn and collect Avios every time you use your credit card to make a purchase. So, you wouldn’t need to change your spending habits to earn Avios; just use your credit card instead of your regular bank account.

✔️ Sign-up Bonuses: You can gain additional bonuses on top of earning points. Some credit card providers have a sign-up bonus where you earn extra Avios points just for signing up to the credit card and spending a specified amount in a period of time.

✔️ Complimentary airport lounge access: your Avios points and British Airways Executive Club membership may give you airport lounge access in many airports worldwide.

✔️ Travel perks: some providers give you a companion voucher for spending a set amount over a period of time, so you can choose to bring along a friend on a trip, or you can exchange the voucher for more points or discounts on airline carriers. You can use your well-earned Avios to take advantage of a British Airways cabin upgrade, car hire, hotel stays and more.

Cons

❌️ Annual fees: some travel reward cards have a yearly fee. If you use your credit card sparingly, you may spend more on fees than you make in Avios points. The idea is to save more money on travel than you spend on fees to make the most of your credit card. Usually, premium cards with high annual fees allow you to earn more Avios.

❌️ High interest rates: many travel credit cards charge high interest rates if you don't pay off your balance in full each month.

❌️ No free flights: although your Avios points may cover the cost of the initial flight, you may still need to pay taxes on the flights, and there may be other carrier charges that Avios can't cover on your reward flight.

❌️ Flight availability: the flights you can spend your points on may be limited. However, if you book in advance, you may have a wider choice of flight availability – using Reward Flight Saver can help you find the right flight for your travels for the best value.

Best Avios Credit Cards — Reviews

Here, we have gathered the best Avios credit cards ideal for frequent flyers.

1. British Airways American Express Credit Card

British Airways American Express Credit Card

British Airways American Express Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £700
Representative % APR (variable)
31.0% APR
  • Collect 1 Avios for every £1 spent on purchases.
  • Invite friends, get rewarded.
  • No annual fee.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 31.0% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 31.0% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

  • Annual fee: no fees
  • Sign-up bonus: earn 5,000 bonus Avios points if you spend a minimum of £1,000 in the first three months
  • Credit limit: minimum £700
  • APR: 31% variable

Representative Example: if you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 31% p.a (variable), your representative APR will be 31% (variable). Credit limits and APR may vary depending on your circumstances.

For every £1 spent with the British Airways American Express Credit Card, you'll earn 1 Avios. You can also collect up to 90,000 bonus Avios annually when you invite your friends to join American Express. You can make an additional 1,000 Avios when you add the first Supplementary Card to your Account.

You'll also get a Companion Voucher when you spend £12,000 each membership year on the card – you can use this voucher to travel with a companion on the same flight. If you're travelling solo, you can use companion vouchers for a 50% discount on the Avios price you pay for your flight.

If you choose the British Airways American Express Credit Card, you'll automatically be enrolled in the British Airways Executive Club to redeem Avios immediately.

On top of British Airways experiences, you can also take advantage of American Express Experiences. You'll gain access to travel benefits such as Global Assist and Travel Accident Insurance.

You can apply and get a decision in as little as 60 seconds. To save time before using the British Airways American Express card, check your eligibility. You must be 18 or older, have a good credit history, and have a UK current account and a permanent UK home address.

2. Barclaycard Avios Credit Card

Barclaycard Avios Credit Card

Barclaycard Avios Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £50
Representative % APR (variable)
29.9% APR
  • Collect 1 Avios for every £1 you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Free Apple subscriptions.
  • No annual fee.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 29.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 29.9% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

  • Annual fee: £0
  • Sign-up bonuses: new Barclaycard Avios card members collect 5,000 Avios points when they spend £1,000 in the first three months
  • Credit limit: minimum £50
  • APR: 29.9% variable

Representative Example: if you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 29.9% p.a (variable), your representative APR will be 29.9% (variable). Credit limits and APR may vary depending on your circumstances.

The Barclaycard Avios Card allows you to collect 1 Avios for every £1 you spend with this credit card. When you spend £20,000 on your card within 12 months and repay the balance on time, you can choose between a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher for an Avios Reward Flight booking or 7,000 bonus Avios.

Save your time and potential credit file marks with the Barclaycard online eligibility checker to determine if you'll be accepted before applying. To be eligible for this Barclaycard Avios card, you'll need a personal income of more than £20,000 per annum and have had no IVAs, CCJs, or declared bankruptcies in the past six years.

3. British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £700
Representative % APR (variable)
113.1% APR
  • Collect 1.5x Avios for every £1 spent on purchases.
  • Invite friends, get rewarded.
  • Annual fee £250.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 31.0% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 113.1% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

  • Annual fee: £250
  • Sign-up bonus: collect 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 in your first three months of Card Membership
  • Credit limit: minimum £700
  • APR: 113.1% variable

Representative Example: if you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 31% p.a (variable), your representative APR will be 113.1% (variable). Credit limits and APR may vary depending on your circumstances.

Excel your spending even further by earning 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent with the British Airways American Express Premium Plus credit card. Additionally, you can earn 3x Avios on purchases made with British Airways or British Airways Holidays for every £1 you spend.

You can also earn additional Avios by inviting a friend to apply for a British Airways American Express card; if they're accepted, you'll earn at least 9,000 Avios. You can collect up to 90,000 bonus Avios each year through inviting friends.

When you spend £10,000 each membership year on the credit card, you'll get a Companion Voucher which you can use to take a friend with you on the same flight and cabin, or you can use for a 50% discount on the Avios price you pay for your flight.

With this credit card, you'll have travel benefits such as Travel Inconvenience Insurance, Travel Accident Insurance, and Global Assist. On top of British Airways experiences, you can also take advantage of American Express Experiences.

4. Barclaycard Avios Plus Card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £50
Representative % APR (variable)
80.1% APR
  • Airport lounge membership.
  • Collect 1.5 Avios for every £1 you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Access to Barclaycard Entertainment.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 29.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 80.1% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

  • Monthly fee: £20
  • Sign-up bonus: new Barclaycard Avios users can collect 25,000 Avios points when they spend £3,000 in the first three months
  • Credit limit: minimum £50
  • APR: 80.1% variable

Representative Example: if you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 29.9% p.a (variable), your representative APR will be 80.1% (variable). Credit limits and APR may vary depending on your circumstances.

With the Barclaycard Avios Plus Card, you can collect 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent. When you spend £10,000 within 12 months, you can choose between a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher to use on an Avios Reward Flight booking or exchange it for a 7,000 bonus Avios.

Further benefits include a free Airport Lounge Membership which gives you access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide at a discounted rate of £18.50 per lounge pass per person.

You'll also gain access to Barclaycard Entertainment, where you can get tickets, 5% off presale selected events, 10% off presale tickets and savings on food and drink.

To be eligible for this card, you must be over 21, earn more than £20,000 per annum, and have at least four years of experience managing credit.

5. American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £700
Representative % APR (variable)
88.8% APR
  • Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £3,000 in your first three months of Cardmembership.
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access.
  • Annual fee £195 (£0 for the first year).

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 31.0% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 88.8% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

  • Annual fee: no fees in your first year and £195 annual fee after
  • Sign-up bonus: collect 20,000 Membership Rewards Points when you spend £3,000 in the first three months of card membership
  • Credit limit: minimum £700
  • APR: 88.8% variable

Representative Example: if you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 31% p.a (variable), your representative APR will be 88.8% (variable). Credit limits and APR may vary depending on your circumstances.

With the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card, you earn 1X points on purchases for every £1 spent, double points on purchases made directly with airlines for every £1 spent, and 3X points on American Express Travel for every £1 spent.

Membership Rewards Points can be exchanged for Avios at a 1:1 rate. You can earn up to 90,000 points a year for referring a friend to American Express. However, watch out for the hefty £195 fee in the second year.

On top of earning Membership Rewards points for your everyday spending, you'll get four complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge visits every year in over 1,300 airports globally.

Gold Cardmembers have exclusive access to unique events like a cocktail making masterclass with Casamigos and behind-the-scenes Q&A with The Athletic at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Additionally, as a Gold Card member, you can earn £5 on Deliveroo orders twice a month.

You can choose how you'd like to spend your Membership Rewards Points, convert points to your preferred rewards programme, and make purchases with them at merchants such as Amazon. As these points don't expire, you can save them up.

6. HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard
Credit Limit
Minimum £5,000
Representative % APR (variable)
59.3% APR
  • Anniversary reward points.
  • Airport lounge access.
  • Annual fee £195.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 59.3% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

  • Annual fee: £195
  • Sign-up bonus: collect 80,000 bonus points if you meet the first 3 and 12 month spending criteria
  • Credit limit: minimum £5,000
  • APR: 59.3% variable

Representative Example: if you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 18.9% p.a (variable), your representative APR will be 59.3% (variable). Credit limits and APR may vary depending on your circumstances.

Although the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard has its own points system, HSBC points convert 2:1 into Avios or nine other points programmes. You earn 2 HSBC points for every £1 spent on the credit card and 4 points for every £1 spent in eligible non-sterling currency. Bonus points of up to 80,000 are also available.

With this credit card, you'll gain free access to more than 750 airport lounges worldwide with Priority Pass – just show your Premier World Elite Mastercard at the lounge door, and you can wait for your flight in comfort.

You'll also get discounts on selected hotels and 12 months complimentary Expedia+ Gold membership.

To be eligible for this credit card, you must hold an HSBC Premier Account, be over 18, and have UK residency.

7. American Express Nectar Credit Card

American Express Nectar Credit Card

American Express Nectar Credit Card
Credit Limit
Minimum £700
Representative % APR (variable)
37.8% APR
  • Annual fee £30 (£0 in your first year).
  • Earn Nectar points.
  • Invite friends, get rewarded.

Representative Example – If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 31.0% p.a. (variable) your representative APR will be 37.8% APR (variable). Your APR and credit limit may vary depending on your circumstances.

  • Annual fee: £0 fee in your first year and then a £30 annual fee yearly
  • Sign-up bonus: earn 20,000 Nectar points when you spend £2,000 in your first three months of card membership
  • Credit limit: minimum £700
  • APR: 37.8% variable

Representative Example: if you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 31% p.a (variable), your representative APR will be 37.8% (variable). Credit limits and APR may vary depending on your circumstances.

The American Express Nectar Credit Card allows you to earn 2 Sainsbury's Nectar points on purchases for every £1 spent, and 3 points for every £1 spent at Nectar partners when using your credit card and a loyalty card. You can earn an additional 5,000 Nectar points per friend you refer, earning up to 90,000 a year.

You can convert your Nectar points into Avios; 400 Nectar points is 250 Avios. You can also convert Avios into Nectar points at a 300:400 rate.

You can redeem your Nectar points with over 300 big brand partners, including British Airways, Booking.com, and more.

This credit card comes with additional benefits such as 24/7 Global Assist, American Express Offers, and access to American Express Experiences. You can check your eligibility on the Amex website without affecting your credit rating, so you can apply confidently, and it only takes a few minutes.

Leading Avios Credit Cards: The Verdict

Suppose you're a regular traveller who uses British Airways or one of the other 30 Oneworld Alliance participating airlines. In that case, an Avios credit card could help you to make the most of your spending and travelling.

Collecting Avios points for using a credit card is a great way to earn something back on your spending, and your Avios balance can make a massive difference to your next holiday. You can upgrade from economy to business class or use some of your points to pay for part of your holiday.

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