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Why I’m changing up my points and miles strategy for the rest of 2024

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Before joining TPG in 2021, I was a newbie to the world of points and miles. Despite traveling frequently throughout the previous decade, I was oblivious to the benefits of loyalty programs or how straightforward it could be to earn points or miles for airfare and hotel stays.

For the last few years, I’ve immersed myself in points and miles, keen to understand every facet and maximize the value I get from every trip I take or penny I spend. Fast forward three years and I’ve accrued a healthy stash of Avios and, until very recently, was also sitting pretty with British Airways Executive Club Silver status.

At this point, however, I’ve hit something of a points and miles crossroads, and I’m now adjusting my earning and redemption strategies to eke out as much value from my points as possible.

Here’s how and why I’m changing up my points and miles strategy for 2024 to no longer focus my energy on earning Avios to redeem for flights.

I don’t need any more Avios

I won’t divulge the total number of Avios I currently have in my British Airways Executive Club account, but let’s just say it’s more than enough to book a few luxury flights across the globe.

Until now, my strategy was simple: Earn as many Avios as possible and redeem them on as many great flight experiences as possible. I did this through a variety of methods, initially starting out without a credit card by using British Airways’ online shopping portal for as much of my regular spending as possible.


While it wasn’t getting me the most Avios imaginable, it was a great gateway to understanding points and miles accrual, and I was frequently able to earn double and triple Avios or higher on retail purchases and subscriptions that I’d buy anyway.

After this, I briefly flirted with British Airways’ now-defunct prepay travel card, which would earn 1 Avios per British pound ($1.25) spent. It wasn’t quite the earning rate I could have had with a points credit card, but at least I was earning something — and at that point, I was still approaching points and miles with some trepidation. 

I quickly graduated from the debit travel card to taking the plunge and getting myself a British Airways Avios-earning credit card offering 1.5 Avios per pound spent. This was a turning point, and on top of the card’s generous welcome bonus, combined with stacking the card’s regular earnings with shopping portals, I very quickly saw my Avios account bloom. I also managed to earn a British Airways upgrade voucher after I hit a certain spending threshold.

As my Avios stash has grown, I’ve taken advantage of British Airways’ Reward Flight Saver redemptions on short-haul economy and Club Europe (the carrier’s European business-class cabin) fares to destinations such as Sicily, Italy; Athens, Greece; Dublin; and Porto, Portugal. Thus far, I’ve kept these redemptions low in terms of Avios expense to help me save for some bigger Club World redemptions I hope to make this year for myself and my partner.

Hiking Mount Etna in Sicily. JORDAN WALLER/THE POINTS GUY

I have now reached what I consider to be a healthy Avios threshold.

Simply put, I have no real need for more (although some of my TPG colleagues would probably disagree). For my current personal needs and plans, the Avios I’ve accrued in this period are enough to keep me flying for the rest of the year and (possibly) beyond, depending on how extravagant my redemptions are.

I no longer need to worry about earning Avios in the same way, and while I could focus my energy on a different airline, I’d much rather earn points and miles for travel expenses beyond flights.

I want more flexibility

While I’ve enjoyed being able to earn Avios with everyday spending, one of my biggest concerns with primarily using a credit card tied to a very specific currency has been the lack of flexibility with redemptions. 

Sure, Avios aren’t restricted to just British Airways flights and can also be used across the carrier’s Oneworld partners (and Aer Lingus), but I want even more flexibility. Avios can be used across a varied selection of airlines, but they don’t cover everything. For example, they can’t be redeemed with Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa or Air France, among other airlines that are convenient for me as a United Kingdom resident.

On top of this, I feel like I’m missing out on the opportunity to redeem my points on hotel stays unless you’re counting British Airways Holidays redemptions, which offer far less bang for your buck than a standard flight redemption. 

Thus, I’ve decided it’s time to diversify the way I earn, which has led me to sign up for a new points-earning card, specifically the American Express® Gold Card.


Theoretically, I could have diversified by taking out a cobranded hotel card such as the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express Card, but I would have once again found myself tied to one specific loyalty currency. With the Amex Gold, I am unlocking a new world of earning and redeeming potential courtesy of Amex Membership Rewards points.

Related: How to redeem American Express Membership Rewards for maximum value

At TPG, we consider Membership Rewards points to be one of the most valuable loyalty currencies due to their ability to be transferred at a somewhat consistent 1:1 ratio to many leading loyalty programs, such as Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors, to name a few. We currently value Membership Rewards points at 2 cents per point

While I’ve retained my original Avios-earning card simply to keep the embers alive, it’s no longer my primary earning card, and I’m now accruing a much more valuable currency that I will later be able to transfer and redeem, broadly speaking, anywhere I like — including with hotel loyalty programs such as Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. 

To me, this is a much more sensible approach to earning loyalty points, as you’re provided with much greater opportunities to maximize their end-use. I can still earn Avios through my old credit card, should I wish, or by spending on shopping portals with my new one. But now I can also earn points to transfer to other airline and hotel loyalty programs

The power of my points will now be much stronger. 

I want to be more strategic about how I earn

When I was limited to earning only Avios with my daily spending, it meant that I also focused all of my energy there by using certain offers or shopping portals to boost my earnings. It made little sense to step out beyond the Avios bubble, as the returns elsewhere would be marginal, with slow growth compared to the impact on my Executive Club balance.

This isn’t to say I haven’t earned points with other loyalty programs at all over the last few years. I have, but only in small amounts with little options to boost them further. 

Related: 4 reasons why the Amex Gold is the 1 card we can’t live without

With my shiny new Amex, I can now stack points (including Avios) through various shopping portals to top up my other loyalty accounts when I want to redeem points. 

No longer am I glued to British Airways and Oneworld routes and cabins. The world has become a deliciously rotund points oyster.  

Best points credit cards for beginners

If this is new to you and you’re just getting started with points-earning credit cards, we recommend checking out some of the following articles:

Here are a few of our favorite cards to consider:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: One of our favorite starter cards, this Chase option earns 3 points per dollar spent on dining, select streaming services and online grocery orders, plus 2 points per dollar spent on travel and 1 point per dollar spent on most other charges. These points are transferable to lots of travel partners, including World of HyattUnited AirlinesSouthwest Airlines, British Airways and Marriott Bonvoy.
  • American Express Gold Card: This card has great earning rates on dining and grocery purchases, plus monthly statement credits, including up to a $120 annual dining credit (up to $10 per month; enrollment required), up to a $120 annual Uber credit (up to $10 per month) and $100 in hotel credits (two-night stay required). You’ll earn 4 points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants (including delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year, then 1 point per dollar), plus 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. You’ll be able to transfer your points to a number of travel partners, including Delta Air Lines SkyMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue, British Airways Executive Club, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors.

Bottom line

Since starting as a beginner in the points and miles world, I’ve managed to earn a decent number of Avios.

I’ve now decided that I want more flexibility with earning and redeeming my points. This has led me to sign up for a second credit card to earn much more valuable Amex Membership Rewards points, which will now be the main focus of my points-earning for the foreseeable future.

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