Avios is the rewards points currency of several airlines, including Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and Qatar Airways. While each airline has its own loyalty program, one of the great things is that you can transfer Avios between accounts at no cost. In this post I wanted to take a closer look at how that works.
The four “flavors” of Avios rewards points
There are four loyalty programs that accrue Avios:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Iberia Plus
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
While each program accrues Avios, the way that Avios can be earned and redeemed differs between programs. That’s the beauty of Avios, as you can move around your Avios between the various programs based on how you’re looking to redeem, as they each have their own sweet spots.
This feature can also be useful in the context of credit cards. For example, there are three credit cards in the United States earning Avios:
- Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card (review)
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card (review)
- Iberia Visa Signature® Card (review)
In other words, any of those cards could be useful if you’re looking to earn a specific flavor of Avios.
Furthermore, some major transferable points currencies partner with only some programs that earn Avios. For example, Citi ThankYou partners with Qatar Airways Privilege Club, while Amex Membership Rewards partners with British Airways Executive Club. Thanks to this transfer option, it means you can indirectly earn British Airways Avios through Citi ThankYou, or Qatar Airways Avios through Amex Membership Rewards.
How to combine Avios between accounts
Avios can be combined between accounts at no cost. There are no limits to how many Avios you can transfer, and you can transfer them back and forth between accounts. So don’t think of an Avios transfer as some final decision that can’t be undone.
Let me just clarify a few further restrictions to be aware of when it comes to transferring Avios:
- You can only transfer Avios between accounts in your own name; in other words, you can’t transfer your British Airways Executive Club Avios to someone else’s Qatar Airways Privilege Club account
- You’ll want to make sure that all your frequent flyer accounts have matching personal details; make sure your full name and other personal details match between accounts, or else you may run into issues
- Moving points to & from Iberia Plus comes with additional restrictions, including that you can’t move points to or from Iberia within 90 days of joining the Iberia Plus program, and your Iberia Plus account must have also had some activity within the past 36 months to be eligible for transfers
- You can’t move points directly between British Airways and Iberia if your British Airways Executive Club account is part of a household account
Now, the actual process of transferring Avios between accounts isn’t necessarily as easy as it could be:
- There’s not a single website that allows all transfers, but rather the best website for making a transfer depends on what you’re trying to do
- All these websites tend to be glitchy, so you may find that you sometimes have issues even if you’re doing everything right
Let’s take a look at the best option for transferring each of the four types of Avios (I’m ranking them roughly based on how valuable I think the transfer option is). I’ll be linking to the pages for initiating a transfer. I won’t be writing a step-by-step tutorial, though, since I think it’s actually pretty straightforward once you’re at the correct link (though if people are still confused, let me know and I’ll update this post to add screenshots, etc.).
Transfer Avios to & from British Airways Executive Club
British Airways’ website allows you to transfer Avios to & from Iberia and Qatar Airways. I find this to be the easiest website to use to transfers, and you can find British Airways’ “combine Avios” link here. This is my go-to option when I’m looking to transfer Avios (and since I don’t really use Aer Lingus AerClub, it covers all my needs).
Transfer Avios to & from Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Qatar Airways Privilege Club is the newest program to use Avios as its rewards currency. As of now, it’s only possible to move Avios directly between Qatar Airways and British Airways. You can either do that through British Airways’ website above, or you can find Qatar Airways’ “combine Avios” link here. Both are easy to use.
Transfer Avios to & from Iberia Plus
Iberia’s website allows you to transfer Avios to & from British Airways and Aer Lingus. I find Iberia’s website a pain to use, though you can find Iberia’s “combine my Avios” link here. Personally I’d only use this as a last resort, as I prefer to use British Airways’ website.
Transfer Avios to & from Aer Lingus AerClub
The generic Avios website allows you to transfer Avios between British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus. Therefore this is the best option if you’re trying to transfer Avios to & from Aer Lingus, since Aer Lingus’ website isn’t useful for that. You can find Avios’ “combine my Avios” link here.
It’s nice how it’s possible to transfer Avios between the various currencies, depending on whether you’re earning with British Airways, Qatar Airways, Iberia, or Aer Lingus. Since each “flavor” of Avios has its own sweet spots, this is a nice feature.
Unfortunately the process of actually transferring Avios between accounts can be a bit cumbersome at times, so hopefully the above is useful for anyone who could benefit from this feature. I find British Airways’ website easiest to use for these purposes, and that will cover you for Iberia and Qatar Airways.
If you’ve combined Avios between accounts, what was your experience like?
Thanks for this article, very informative. Would transferring Avios from BA to Aer Lingus or Iberia be a good way to get around the ridiculous fees one is forced to pay on BA reward flights?
My wife passed away . She has thousands of Avios on her account. how can I trasfer them my Avios account?
First of all I am so sorry for your loss.
If you have all of her account information you may be able to just use her account to book your reward flight from. The ticket info is usually self entered in my experience. Otherwise it may need to be a gift to you transaction which usually requires fees. You may be able to call the airline and have that waved but I’m not sure how transferable points are.
How do you go about making mixed-cabin reward booking on QR.
DEL-DOH is available in Economy Class
DOH-JFK is available in Business Class
I would like to make a single booking that rather than have 2 separate bookings.
It is a legal 3 hour connection.
Vueling Club also uses Avios that can be transferred, to AerClub at least.
Is it possible to transfer Avios from one BA account to another in the same name? I have two which I cannot consolidate because they are linked to BA credit cards from different countries (US and South Africa) which require local addresses.
Whenever I have tried this they view it as a transfer to a second party and demand a large fee.
How easy is it to transfer from AMEX to British Airways Avios? What are the steps?
I recently transferred 80,000 Avios from Iberia to my BA account. Had no issues with it being a Household account.
I tried a couple months ago and wasn't allowed (IB -> BA household) so I went thru Avios.com. Maybe they fixed it or it's a 'per user' thing.
Ben, What about Vueling Avios? can they be transferred between these programs as well?
No way to transfer my BA Avios to my wife's Qatar Avios? We are under the same household account on the BA side.
You didn't go into it, but having a household account with BA can be a factor in transferring points. Specifically, you can't transfer Iberia points to a BA account that belongs to a household account. I did find out recently that using Avios.com to transfer from IB to Avios and then to BA DOES work...so Avios.com isn't too worthless.