Note: Read the primer on Earning Miles if you have not already.
The best way to earn Avios is with the Chase British Airways Visa Signature card. There will occasionally be an offer to earn an additional 50,000 Avios (so 100,000 Avios total) for spending a total of $20,000 in the first year. If you can meet the spending requirement, this offer is worth waiting for. If more Avios are needed, opt for one of the other cards that earn transferable points below. You can view the current best offers for all of these cards at Credit Cards.
|Credit Card||Minimum Signup Bonus / Spend / Time|
|Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card||50,000 Avios / $2,000 / 3 months|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||40,000 UR / $4,000 / 3 months|
|Chase Ink Plus Business Card||50,000 UR / $5,000 / 3 months|
|American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card||50,000 MR / $3,000 / 3 months|
|American Express Business Gold Rewards Card||75,000 MR / $5,000 / 3 months|
|American Express Platinum Card||100,000 MR / $5,000 / 3 months|
|American Express Business Platinum Card||100,000 MR / $5,000 / 3 months|
|American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card||25,000 SPG / $3,000 / 3 months|
|American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card||25,000 SPG / $5,000 / 3 months|
Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards points can be converted to Avios at a 1:1 ratio. However, American Express will occasionally have bonuses that increase their beyond this. I typically wait for one of their promotions if I don’t need Avios urgently. Starpoints transfer to Avios at a 1:1 ratio, but there is a 25% bonus if you transfer in increments of 20,000 points (i.e. you will receive 25,000 Avios for 20,000 Starpoints).
Credit CArd Churning
The Chase British Airways card can be churned. The other two Chase cards (Sapphire and Ink) can be churned as well, but this may be difficult to do in practice. For more information, see How To Earn A Signup Bonus Multiple Times.
Bonus Category Spending
Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2x points on Travel and Dining
Chase Ink Plus: 5x points on Office Supplies, Phone, and Cable; 2x points on Gas and Hotels
American Express Premier Rewards Gold: 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines; 2x points U.S. gas stations, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. restaurants
American Express Business Gold Rewards: 2-3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. advertising, U.S. gas stations, U.S. shipping, U.S. computer hardware/software/cloud
The Chase Ink Plus can be very useful for manufactured spending. For more information, see How To Manufacture Spend.
Avios expire after 36 months of inactivity. Any mileage activity at all (e.g. earning and/or redeeming) will extend your expiration for another 36 months.
If your miles do expire, it may be possible to have them reinstated for 3 months by calling the UK customer service line at +44 191 4907901 (choose option 1 then option 3 followed by option 1). If your miles are reinstated, you can then incur some mileage activity to reset your 36-month clock.