Avios is a rewards currency used by several separate airline loyalty programs. The most well-known of these Avios-based programs are British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus. However, Aer Lingus’ AerClub and Vueling Club also use Avios.
If you collect Avios, you are hopefully aware that you can move your Avios freely between any Avios-based program. But if you need a refresher, click here to be taken to an article explaining how “Combine Your Avios” works. Because of this ability to move Avios back and forth, you do NOT need to collect Iberia Avios in order to REDEEM Avios with Iberia Plus, for example. As a result, savvy Avios collectors can take advantage by knowing the best program to use for each type of redemption.
To avoid getting caught out, you need to remember to remain independently active – once every 36 months – in all of the Avios-based programs you plan to use. Click here to be taken to an article explaining this concept further.
It is worth highlighting that there are no longer any mainstream opportunities to save Avios by booking a given reward through a different Avios-based program. However, you CAN save a substantial amount of cash co-payment on your award booking in certain, specific scenarios.
British Airways Executive Club
British Airways Executive Club should be your DEFAULT program for redeeming Avios.
Despite the occasional IT meltdown, BAEC lets you book, change and cancel award bookings easily, all online via ba.com or the App. If you need to put together a more complex itinerary, BAEC agents are some of the most competent you will find (if you can get through to one…).
When you need to change or cancel an award booking (until 24 hours before departure), you will be charged $55. However, if you originally paid less than that in taxes and fees, you will merely forfeit what you have already paid. For US domestic award flights, that might be the $5.60 that you would pay in taxes for a one-way.
At the moment, moreover, British Airways’ “Book with Confidence” policy means that you can request a Future Travel Voucher and apply the Avios and cash amount to a future award booking – with no change fees at all.
You will want to use Iberia Plus to book award flights on Iberia Airlines ONLY.
You will pay a substantially lower amount of taxes and fees when you book your Iberia Airlines award flights through Iberia Plus. (Click here to be reminded of a trick to apply a different frequent flyer number to your award booking)
You will also be liable for a lower change fee of 25 euros (approximately $28.50) when changing or cancelling an Iberia award flight.
HOWEVER, all awards booked on Oneworld partners such as American Airlines are completely non-changeable and non-refundable (compare that to booking via British Airways Executive Club and being able to cancel for as little as $5.60). Because you no longer save any Avios through Iberia Plus, there is no logical reason to ever book Oneworld partner awards via Iberia Plus.
Aer Lingus AerClub
You will want to use AerClub to book award flights on Aer Lingus ONLY.
You will pay lower taxes and fees when you book your Aer Lingus award flights through AerClub.
This is a recent change. Previously you could call British Airways Executive Club to book Aer Lingus awards without paying substantial surcharges. Now you can book online, but BA will add its outrageous transatlantic surcharges…
You shouldn’t really book any reward flights via Vueling Club.
Although you have the option of redeeming your Avios on a reward flight with Vueling, you would be receiving a very low value and would remain subject to Vueling’s no-cancellation policy.
If you collect Avios, redeem them through British Airways Executive Club! Unless you want to fly to/from Europe on Iberia Airlines or Aer Lingus, in which case you can consider using Iberia Plus or AerClub…