Which are the best credit cards for Avios?

9 min Read Published: 02 May 2024

Best credit cards for AviosFrom frequent flyers who want to be rewarded for the miles they are clocking up, through to holidaymakers who dream of upgrades and free companion vouchers, collecting Avios is a great way of accessing a range of travel and lifestyle perks. In this article, we look at credit cards that reward you with Avios points, including those with the best sign-up offers and the most competitive earning rate for ongoing spending.

Partner Spotlight

Compare credit card deals

We’ve teamed up with Creditec

  • Find out what credit cards you are eligible for
  • This will not affect your credit rating
  • 26.5% APR Representative (variable)

Powered by
Check your eligibility*

What is Avios?

Avios is a frequent-flyer loyalty scheme that allows members to collect points which can be traded in towards the cost of flights, hotels, car hire and other activities and experiences. It is most commonly associated with British Airways (BA), but Avios can be used for flights with Air Lingus, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines.   

Members can collect Avios in a number of different ways, including:

  • Booking flights, hotel stays or car hire through BA or one of its partners
  • Using BA’s shopping portal to earn points while shopping with certain brands
  • Using the services of one of BA’s lifestyle and finance partners. There is a full list on the British Airways Avios website
  • Converting your Sainsbury’s Nectar points to Avios
  • Converting Amex membership rewrds points to Avios
  • Taking out a credit card that offers Avios rewards

The value of an Avios point varies depending on what you are redeeming it on. Avios are generally worth more when used for flights or upgrades and less when redeemed with lifestyle partners. As a rough guide, 10,000 Avios can secure you off-peak, economy return flights from London to Paris, Amsterdam or Berlin, or an off-peak, economy single flight from London to Rome, Corfu or Tel Aviv, among other European destinations. This doesn't include fees and taxes.

What are Avios credit cards?

There are a number of credit cards available that offer Avios points as a reward. This can include both a sign-up bonus if you spend a certain amount on the card within a set period of time, as well as ongoing rewards for day-to-day spending on the card. There are some cards that are aimed specifically at businesses, but there are also a growing number of options for personal use.  

Some credit cards specifically offer Avios rewards, while a range of other cards have broader 'membership reward points', which can then be converted to Avios. This offers greater flexibility in how you can use your reward points.

Which credit card is best for you?

Money to the Masses has partnered with Creditec* to help find the best credit card for you. By entering a few basic details, you will be able to see a tailored list of the best credit cards based on your individual circumstances. You can sort your results by the feature that interests you most, such as by card type, total fees or cashback offered. On top of this, the credit cards that have been pre-approved for you will be highlighted, meaning you can be more confident that you will be accepted if you apply. (Pre-approval does not guarantee acceptance and is still subject to additional lender checks). Your details will be used to conduct a soft credit search often referred to as an eligibility check, which means your credit score will not be affected. Click on this link to get started*.

The best Avios credit cards - May 2024

In the table below, we highlight our top picks for credit cards that offer Avios in the UK. The choices are based on the introductory offer, the Avios earning rate, the fees and overall APR.

Card name Avios deal Representative APR Purchase rate Representative example Annual fee  Extra information 
The American Express Platinum Credit Card - Check eligibility* 40,000 membership rewards points when you spend £6,000 in the first three months (can be converted to 40,000 Avios) 704.6% (variable) 31.0% (variable) When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £650 per annum, your representative rate is 704.6% APR (variable) £650 2 points for every £1 spent at amextravel.co.uk, 1 point for every £1 spent elsewhere
Barclaycard Avios Plus Credit Card - Check eligibility 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 within three months 80.1% (variable) 29.9% (variable) When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £240 per annum, your representative rate is 80.1% APR (variable) £240 (£20 paid monthly) Collect 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent
British Airways American Express Premium Plus Credit Card - Check eligibility* 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 in the first three months 139.9% (variable) 31.0% (variable) When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £250 per annum, your representative rate is 139.9% APR (variable) £300 3 Avios for every £1 spent with British Airways or BA Holiday, 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent elsewhere

Companion voucher in any cabin when you spend £10,000¹ in a membership year.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card - Check eligibility* 20,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 in the first three months 88.8% (variable) 31.0% (variable) When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £195 per annum, your representative rate is 88.8% APR (variable) £195 (£0 in first year) 3 points for every £1 spent on American Express Travel, 2 points for every £1 spent directly with airlines, 1 point for every other £1 spent
HSBC Premier World Elite Credit Card 40,000 HSBC points when you spend £2,000 within 90 days (converts to 20,000 Avios) 59.3% (variable) 18.9% (variable) When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £195 per annum, your representative rate is 59.3% APR (variable) £195 Earn 2 HSBC reward points for every £1 of eligible spend if it’s in sterling, or 4 reward points if it’s in another currency
American Express Nectar Credit Card - Check eligibility* 20,000 nectar points when you spend £2,000 in your first 3 months (can be converted to 12,500 Avios) 37.8% (variable) 31.0% (variable) When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £30 per annum, your representative rate is 37.8% APR (variable) £30 (no fee for first year) 3 Nectar points for every £1 spent with Nectar partners, 1 Nectar point for every £1 spent elsewhere
 

Barclaycard Avios Credit Card - Check eligibility

5,000 Avios when you spend £1,000 within three months 29.9% (variable) 29.9% (variable) When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £0 per annum, your representative rate is 29.9% APR (variable) £0 1 Avios for every £1 spent
British Airways American Express Credit Card - Check eligibility* Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 3 months 31.0% (variable) 31.0% (variable) When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 31% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £0 per annum, your representative rate is 31.0% APR (variable) £0 1 Avios for every £1 spent

¹From 1st November 2024 you will need to spend £15,000 within each membership year. This means that if your anniversary date is 1st February 2024, you would need to either spend £10,000 by 31st October 2024 or spend £15,000 by 31 January 2025.

Best for... sign-up bonus

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card - Check eligibility*

You can get 20,000 bonus Avios if you spend £3,000 in the first three months without needing to pay an annual fee, which makes it the most attractive Avios introductory offer available. You can get more points with the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card from American Express, the Barclaycard Avios Plus Credit Card and the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Credit Card, but you will have to pay a high fee. You can read more on the Amex site here.

Best for... frequent flyers

British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card British Airways American Express Credit Card - Check eligibility*

The elevated earning rate for purchases through American Express Travel and those made onboard flights - 3 Avios for every £1 spent with British Airways or BA Holiday and 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent elsewhere - makes the British Airways American Express Credit Card Credit Card a good option for those who are often travelling, either for business or pleasure. There is the added benefit that it has a considerably lower fee than The Platinum Card from American Express. You can also get a Companion Voucher when you spend £10,000 each membership year on the card, though from 1st November 2024 you will need to spend £15,000 within each membership year. This means that if your anniversary date is 1st February 2024, you would need to either spend £10,000 by 31st October 2024 or spend £15,000 by 31 January 2025. You can read more on the Amex site here.

Best for... low interest rate

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard HSBC Premier World Elite Credit Card

This HSBC card has the lowest purchase rate of all our best-buys in this selection at 18.9%, which makes it worth considering if you don't feel confident you will be able to pay the balance off in full each month. It also offers 40,000 HSBC points when you sign up, which is equivalent to 20,000 Avios, with another 40,000 HSBC points on offer if you spend £12,000 or more in your first year of membership. In addition, it enables users to collect 4 HSBC points for every £1 spent on non-sterling purchases, which coverts to 2 Avios, which may appeal to those who are often abroad, although you need to keep in mind that there is a 2.75% non-sterling transaction fee payable. There is a also a £195 annual fee.

Best for... overall low cost

Barclaycard Avios Card Barclaycard Avios Credit Card - Check eligibility

In a sector of the credit card market characterised by high monthly or annual fees, the Barclaycard Avios card is a fee-free option that also offers decent rewards Also, if you spend £20,000 on your card within 12 months, you can choose between a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher to use on an Avios reward flight booking, or 7,000 bonus Avios.

Partner Spotlight

Compare credit card deals

We’ve teamed up with Creditec

  • Find out what credit cards you are eligible for
  • This will not affect your credit rating
  • 26.5% APR Representative (variable)

Powered by
Check your eligibility*

How to choose the best Avios credit card for you

When weighing up which Avios credit card best suits your needs, consider:

Is there an Avios sign-up bonus?

A key appeal of getting a credit card that has Avios rewards is the potential to gain a large number of Avios as an introductory bonus when you take out the card. Before taking out a card to secure a sign-up offer, you need to work out if you are likely to be able to spend the minimum amount required to access the deal within the introductory period. This should be based on your normal spending habits; it isn't worth racking up additional debt simply to earn extra Avios, particularly as the APRs on these cards can be quite high.

What is the earning rate for Avios?

Credit cards for Avios have either a standard rate, where members get a set number of Avios for every pound spent on the card, or a sliding scale, with some types of spending worth more Avios than others. For example, you may earn multiple Avios for every pound spent on flights or holidays, but a different rate for all other spending on the card. It is worth considering how you are likely to use the card to make sure you get the best option for you. If, for example, you travel frequently, you may benefit from a higher rate for travel spending, while if you only travel once or twice a year, it may be better to have a higher standard rate on your everyday spending.

Is there an annual fee?

The downside of many Avios credit cards is the fact they charge relatively high monthly or annual fees. This means you are, in effect, paying for the privilege of having the card and being able to earn Avios. You need to consider carefully whether you are likely to make a significant enough saving by earning Avios on your card to warrant the fee. You should also check whether the fee is payable monthly or annually and factor that into your budgeting.

How much does it cost to use the card?

In terms of the overall representative APR, cards that offer Avios are generally very expensive, with some topping 100% APR (variable). However, this figure includes the monthly or annual fees, so you need to also look at the purchase rate for the card, which is how much interest you will pay when you spend on the card, unless you pay the balance off in full each month.

What are the advantages of an Avios credit card?

  • The sign-up rewards on offer make these cards incredibly attractive
  • With more cards being launched within this space, there is greater competition, which means there are likely to be good deals available in the future too
  • Although the overall APR tends to be high, the purchase rate on these cards tends to be reasonable (if you pay off the card in full each month, you won't have to pay any interest on your spending)
  • Using a credit card means you have section 75 protection on purchases between £100 and £30,000, both at home and abroad

What are the disadvantages of an Avios credit card?

  • The monthly or annual fees might put these cards out of reach for some people
  • Many of the cards require a high spend to unlock additional bonuses
  • Although you can use Avios for 'free' flights or upgrades, you may still need to pay taxes and other associated charges, which could still come to several hundred pounds
  • There are rarely 0% interest deals on these cards
  • You are unlikely to qualify unless you have a good or excellent credit rating

Summary: Should I get an Avios credit card?

Credit cards that allow you to collect Avios on your normal spending can make sense, particularly if you often travel or would like to enjoy a flight upgrade as a rare treat. You need to keep in mind, however, that not all of these cards are the best option to use when you are abroad, with many attracting foreign transaction fees. Instead, you may want to consider a travel credit card.

Alternatively, if you are considering other loyalty schemes, check out our article on the best air-miles credit cards, which includes a wider range of airlines.

 

 

If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. But as you can clearly see this has in no way influenced this independent and balanced review of the product.