Find out about how airline credit cards work and what you can do with your reward points
Airline credit cards are reward-based credit cards which allow you to earn points, or Avios – the new replacement scheme for Airmiles – when used for purchases. Points can be collected via stores and financial providers such as Tesco, Lloyds TSB, and Marks and Spencer.
Unlike with Airmiles, the Avios scheme lets you use points for one-way flights and some flights in and out of different airports.
How many Avios points do I need to get a free flight?
The number of points you earn depends on how much you spend on the card each month. For example, spending £350 a month on food shopping would earn you 10,080 Avios points over a year – enough for a flight to Paris or Berlin.
You can earn Avios points through:
- Food shopping
- Buying fuel
- Online shopping
- Car hire
- Flights and holidays
You don’t necessarily have to redeem your points for flights – Avios points can be spent on things like hotel accommodation and Eurostar journeys, or even tickets for concerts, theme parks and West End theatre shows.
To see how quickly your points can add up and what you can do with them, check the Avios calculator on their site.
Topping up your Avios points
Before getting an airline credit card, check to see if you can buy extra Avios points with cash. Most cards offer this option and it could help you reach your reward quicker than if you waited to earn the full number of points.
Depending on who you’re collecting with, it can take up to 35 days for Avios points to appear in your account – contact your card provider if your points aren’t visible after 35 days.
Should I get an airline credit card?
With interest rates bordering on 20%, airline credit cards are only suitable if you’re able to pay your balance in full every month. Some cards also come with hefty annual fees of up to £150, though these cards normally offer higher rates of reward.