Collecting Air Miles: Mythbusting and Top Tips

Airplane view over snowy New Zealand

A few days ago I tweeted that I have enough air miles to get me a one way ticket to Japan (which is my big long haul trip for 2017). A few people replied asking me how I collect them and actually I have a few little sneaky tips and tricks that make sure building my air miles is actually part of my everyday life.

So I thought I’d answer a few standard questions people have asked me about collecting air miles, and then give you my top tips on how to collect more:

What is the point in collecting air miles?

Well, like Brucie says, points mean prizes. Earlier this year I paid for my one way flight to Kuala Lumpur with the miles I’d collected, and even had enough to make it a premium economy seat. But you can also pay for hotels, upgrades, Eurostar and experiences, but I always keep in mind that it takes a decent chunk of time to collect air miles, so I’d rather spend them on something awesome.

Malaysia visa passport stamp


How long does it take to collect enough miles for a flight?

This is all dependent on how often and far you fly, and how often you collect miles elsewhere. Return flights to Europe are normally around 10,000 miles, but for Asia they normally start at about 40,000.

So is the ticket free with air miles?

Not entirely. You do still have to pay taxes on your ticket and this totally depends on where you’re going and who you’re flying with, but for a long haul flight expect it to be between £200-£400. So shop around before spending your miles because sometimes you can get a flight cheaper than your taxes, especially on short haul!

British Airways long haul breakfast premium economy


Who should I collect air miles with?

There are a huge number of air miles schemes out there, with most airlines offering some sort of benefits to their frequent fliers. I collect Avios and this is for a couple of reasons: they have a huge range of airlines you can collect with and you don’t just collect miles through flying.

Do I have to pay for my own flight to collect air miles?

Nope! When I flew regularly to Scotland with work I claimed air miles with every trip. So if you’ve been treated to a holiday somewhere, you can still collect, even if you didn’t pay.

Drinks and films on British Airway premium economy flight

And the big one:

How do you collect air miles?

So I have a few ways of doing this:

1) Flying

It’s no secret that I travel as much as possible. I normally do at least one long haul trip a year and if I am, I make sure I fly with a OneWorld provider so I can collect Avios with them. The airlines you can collect with range from Aer Lingus to Qantas, so it’s well worth checking your options.

2) Credit card

I have the Lloyds Avios American Express card which collect 1.25 points for every £1 I spend, with double points for the first six months and a free flight upgrade once a year. I pay my balance off in full each month and really just use it for big expenses to get the most from it. There are loads of credit cards you can collect with so definitely do your research, but this one is the best for me.

3) Shopping

If I’m shopping online, I always look on first to see if the store I want to buy from is on there. The main draw for me is ASOS who often have double points deals where you can collect 8 points for every £1 spent! There’s literally thousands of stores on there and it is well worth looking around to make the most of the deals.

4) Groceries

Where possible, I shop at Tesco as I have my Tesco Clubcard linked up to my Avios account. Rather than collecting Clubcard points, they are automatically converted to air miles instead which is super convenient.

Essentially if you’re making a purchase, you can probably collect air miles from it. It takes no more time than usual and if you set it up to work in your favour then you don’t even have to think about it!


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