5 versions of Avios: When to use Aer Lingus, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia and Qatar Airways

All members of the International Airlines Group now use Avios as their loyalty currency. These programs include:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Iberia Plus

Qatar Airways, a major shareholder of IAG, adopted Avios as its Privilege Club loyalty currency in 2022, as did Finnair's Plus program in 2024.

You can move Avios between different airline accounts at a 1:1 ratio. However, using Avios within each program has benefits and drawbacks.

You're not alone if you're confused about the best Avios to use for each redemption. Here, we'll walk through the pros and cons of each Avios currency and when you should use each.

What are the different programs that use Avios?

The five types of Avios — in the programs of Aer Lingus, Finnair, Qatar Airways, British Airways and Iberia — are each managed on a different website. Historically, the British Airways website has had the best search function of the five. You may wish to start there to find availability before deciding which program to redeem through.

While you can transfer Avios between accounts, each Avios program has its own partners.

For example, Aer Lingus has a partnership with United Airlines. You can earn Aer Lingus Avios when flying United, but you can't earn British Airways Avios or Iberia Avios.

Further, earning rates on flights will vary. Aer Lingus Avios are earned based on the price you pay for a flight on Aer Lingus, while partner flights earn Avios based on fare class and distance flown.

Earning Avios with credit cards

5 versions of avios: when to use aer lingus, british airways, finnair, iberia and qatar airways

ERIC HELGAS/THE POINTS GUY

You have two options for earning Avios with credit cards: cobranded credit cards and cards that earn transferable points. Cobranded credit cards earn Avios directly, while transferable points cards earn a bank currency that can be converted to Avios at a 1:1 ratio.

Earning Avios with cobranded credit cards

Five Avios credit cards are available in the U.S., and the Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia cards from Chase are offering bonuses that could net you 85,000 Avios:

    Cardless now offers two Qatar-branded credit cards, including the Qatar Airways Privilege Club Visa Signature Credit Card, which has a $99 annual fee and a welcome offer of up to 40,000 Avios — 20,000 Avios after the first transaction and an additional 20,000 Avios after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days.

    There is also the Qatar Airways Privilege Club Visa Infinite Credit Card, which has a $499 annual fee and a welcome offer of up to 50,000 Avios — 25,000 Avios after the first transaction and an additional 25,000 Avios and 150 Qpoints after you spend $5,000 in the first 90 days. This card also comes with Privilege Club Gold status.

    The information for the Qatar Airways Privilege Club Visa Infinite and Signature cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

    Earning Avios with transferable-points cards

    You can convert American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Wells Fargo Rewards points to each of the types of Avios (excluding Qatar Airways Avios and Finnair Plus Avios). However, note the easy way to combine your Avios.

    You can also transfer Citi ThankYou Rewards points to Qatar Airways, and Capital One miles to British Airways and Finnair.

    These points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and transfers should process immediately.

    Looking to quickly earn points to convert to Avios? Here's a look at the best American Express cards to use to earn American Express Membership Rewards points:

    • American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of card membership. Earn 4 points per dollar on dining at restaurants, 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar), 3 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases ($250 annual fee; see rates and fees).
    • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on the card in your first six months of card membership. Earn 5 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar), 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotel bookings with American Express Travel and Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases ($695 annual fee; see rates and fees).

    Prefer Chase Ultimate Rewards points? Here's a look at our favorite Chase credit cards:

    • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and 3 points per dollar on dining purchases.
    • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and dining purchases.

    Meanwhile, you can earn Capital One miles with these personal cards:

    • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
    • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
    • Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card: Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 within the first three months from account opening.

    Best ways to use Aer Lingus Avios: Aer Lingus flights

    5 versions of avios: when to use aer lingus, british airways, finnair, iberia and qatar airways

    ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

    The best way to use Aer Lingus Avios is for nonstop flights operated by Aer Lingus.

    Short-haul flights on Aer Lingus are a great use of Aer Lingus Avios, with off-peak redemptions starting at just 4,000 Avios and peak redemptions starting at 4,500 Avios for flights within Ireland and to the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands.

    For long-haul flights operated by Aer Lingus, the pricing is the same as when using British Airways Avios, but the fees and taxes can be marginally lower. Off-peak flights from the U.S. East Coast to Dublin are only 13,000 Avios (20,000 for peak) each way in economy, or 50,000 Avios (60,000 peak) each way in business class. If you are not departing the United Kingdom, you can save on fees and taxes as the U.K.'s Air Passenger Duty is not payable.

    If you are connecting on Aer Lingus to another destination, such as mainland Europe via Dublin or Shannon, the Avios cost will rise as AerClub charges per flight, not per zone.

    Best ways to use British Airways Avios: Short-haul economy and flights to Hawaii

    5 versions of avios: when to use aer lingus, british airways, finnair, iberia and qatar airways

    BEN SMITHSON/THE POINTS GUY

    British Airways has the most versatile Avios. It has the widest range of uses, but it also has downsides. The most common downside? High fuel surcharges on British Airways tickets. You'll pay over $500 for a one-way, business-class ticket on most British Airways routes unless you choose the Reward Flight Saver option to pay more Avios to reduce fuel surcharges.

    Thankfully, there are many ways to use your British Airways Avios without high surcharges.

    Short-haul tickets anywhere

    Short-haul tickets are one of the best British Airways Avios redemptions. They start at just 4,750 Avios for an off-peak award flight of 650 miles or less in distance operated by BA. Partner awards start at 6,000 Avios but exclude flights within North America. Meanwhile, partner flights in North America start at 8,250 Avios for flights of 650 miles or less.

    Booking short-haul flights with British Airways can still be a great deal, even if you're booking flights in North America. A flight from New York's LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) clocks in at 733 miles, meaning you need 11,000 Avios one-way in economy class. This is often cheaper than what you'll pay to book the same flight with American Airlines' AAdvantage program.

    Economy flights to Hawaii

    British Airways Executive Club offers the ability to fly from major West Coast cities in the United States to the Hawaiian Islands for just 13,000 Avios each way, thanks to the Avios distance-based chart. That beats the award rates for all the U.S. airlines.

    But in this case, it's not just about American's route network. Alaska Airlines is also a British Airways partner, which means you have access to Alaska's flights to Hawaii, though you'll need to call to book Alaska flights with Avios since they aren't searchable on ba.com. That opens up routes that AA doesn't serve but Alaska does, such as from Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) to Honolulu's Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Maui's Kahului Airport (OGG).

    Best ways to use Iberia Avios: Premium cabins to Spain

    5 versions of avios: when to use aer lingus, british airways, finnair, iberia and qatar airways

    BEN SMITHSON/THE POINTS GUY

    Iberia Avios have become one of our favorite currencies to use for booking flights to Europe. The airline has excellent rates when booking Iberia-operated flights from the U.S. to Madrid, with connections available to other major European cities.

    The award chart is split into peak and off-peak dates, with the latter offering great prices on business-class flights. The airline publishes peak and off-peak dates on its website.

    Here's a look at the current award chart:

    Origin Blue class/economy (off-peak) Blue class/economy (peak) Premium economy (off-peak) Premium economy (peak) Business (off-peak) Business (peak)
    New York City 17,000/22,000 20,000/28,000 25,000 35,000 34,000 50,000
    Chicago 17,000/22,000 20,000/28,000 25,000 35,000 34,000 50,000
    Boston 17,000/22,000 20,000/28,000 25,000 35,000 34,000 50,000
    Miami 21,250/27,750 25,000/35,000 31,750 43,750 42,500 62,500
    Dallas 21,250/27,750 25,000/35,000 31,750 43,750 42,500 62,500
    Los Angeles 21,250/27,750 25,000/35,000 31,750 43,750 42,500 62,500
    San Francisco 21,250/27,750 25,000/35,000 31,750 43,750 42,000 62,500

    You'll find the best deals when booking off-peak business-class awards.

    A 34,000-Avios flight from New York to Madrid is as good as it gets, and the product is pretty solid, too. Even booking peak dates isn't a bad deal — destinations on the East Coast and in the Midwest cost just 50,000 Avios one-way. Here is the calendar for peak dates.

    Best ways to use Qatar Airways Avios: Connecting Qsuite

    5 versions of avios: when to use aer lingus, british airways, finnair, iberia and qatar airways

    KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

    When Qatar Privilege Club adopted Avios as its loyalty currency in 2022, the redemption rates, fees, taxes and surcharges were largely brought in line with British Airways Executive Club levels. This reduced the cost of some redemptions when flying Qatar Airways, and redemptions on British Airways should match the Executive Club award chart even if booked through Privilege Club.

    Unfortunately, there are some frustrating quirks in the Privilege Club program to be aware of. Privilege Club uses peak and off-peak dates (as Executive Club also does). However, Privilege Club doesn't publish a calendar of these dates, and they appear to be slightly different between Privilege Club and Executive Club. So if your dates in one program are showing as peak, it's worth checking the other program.

    The best way to use Qatar Avios and the Privilege Club program is to book connecting flights on Qatar Airways. There are two reasons for this:

    • While the Executive Club search engine usually has the best user experience of the five Avios platforms when searching for availability, it often fails to show all Qatar Airways flights, especially those with overnight connections. If Qatar has multiple flights daily to a destination, the Executive Club platform may only show one flight option, while the Privilege Club platform will show multiple options.
    • Privilege Club offers "Flexi Awards" when there is no availability at the normal levels. These are twice the amount of Avios, which will often be poor value; however, if you have plenty of Avios and there are no other options at the lower level, this could make sense. Executive Club does not offer this.

    Qatar Airways' award-winning Qsuite business-class product is widely considered one of the best business-class products in the world today. Redemption rates from the United States to Qatar's hub in Doha are just 70,000 Qatar or British Airways Avios per person each way in business class on off-peak dates with no fuel surcharges, which is a terrific deal. This rate is from anywhere in the U.S. Qatar flies from, so it is an especially good value from Los Angeles or San Francisco if you can find award space.

    If you wish to travel farther than Doha, the redemption rates from the U.S. are excellent, including:

    • 75,000 Avios each way in business class to Dubai
    • 85,000 Avios each way in business class to India and the Maldives
    • 95,000 Avios each way in business class to Bangkok and Singapore
    • 100,000 Avios each way in business class to Bali

    Economy-class redemptions for all of these destinations are 50% of the Avios cost of business class.

    Best ways to use Finnair Avios: Finnair, Cathay Pacific and longer domestic flights

    5 versions of avios: when to use aer lingus, british airways, finnair, iberia and qatar airways

    BEN SMITHSON/THE POINTS GUY

    Finnair Plus uses a zone-based award chart rather than a distance-based one, creating some sweet spots.

    One-way flights operated by Finnair from the United States to Helsinki Airport (HEL) booked through Finnair Plus are priced as follows:

    • 30,000 Avios in economy
    • 43,500 Avios in premium economy
    • 62,500 Avios in business class

    These are the same prices that British Airways Executive Club charges, though BA adds surcharges, so it will be cheaper to book Finnair-operated flights across the Atlantic through Finnair Plus than through Executive Club.

    A sweet spot within the Finnair program is domestic flights longer than 1,152 miles operated by American Airlines, such as from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) to Miami International Airport (MIA) or any coast-to-coast services. These routes cost just 11,000 Finnair Plus Avios, while BA will charge up to 16,000 Avios for the same flights.

    Connecting flights to Hawaii are also another great use of Finnair Plus Avios. While nonstop flights from the West Coast are a great use of BA Avios, at just 13,000 Avios, if you need to connect from somewhere else in the country to Hawaii, BA charges per flight segment.

    Fortunately, Finnair Plus, with its region-based award chart, charges a single price. For example, American Airlines flights from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) with a connection at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) will cost 15,000 Avios, cheaper than BA will charge with its per-segment pricing.

    Finally, although award availability in premium cabins is hard to find, British Airways Executive Club charges a steep 108,250 Avios plus 118.50 British pounds (about $150) for the long-haul journey from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) in Cathay Pacific's business class.

    Meanwhile, you can book the same flight through Finnair Plus for just 75,000 Avios plus the same minimal fees, taxes and surcharges, saving you more than 30,000 Avios.

    Bottom line

    Avios are one of the easiest loyalty currencies to earn and redeem.

    Whether you want to fly domestically or halfway around the world, Avios are a great currency to add to your arsenal for your next redemption. Remember, you can move them between the five different programs in any direction as often as you want, making Avios one of the airline industry's most versatile currencies.

    Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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