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Avios are slowly but surely becoming a dominant force as an airline points currency. The recent adoption of the Avios platform by Qatar Airways Privilege Club means there are now 4 airlines that share the currency. And now you can transfer Avios between all of them—Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and Qatar Airways—at a ratio of 1:1.
The ability to transfer Avios earned from one airline to another presents many opportunities. This new flexibility not only opens up the option to consolidate your Avios into one account, it also opens earning and redeeming opportunities. You can credit paid flights to the account that will earn the most, knowing you can combine the Avios elsewhere later. You also can book award flights with the best program, since you can move Avios into it from other programs freely.
Available Transfer Routes
Unfortunately, not all transfers can be done directly. To move points between certain programs, you have to move them to one program first before transferring them to their final destination. You can move your Avios as follows:
|From / To||Aer Lingus||British Airways||Iberia||Qatar Airways|
|Aer Lingus||-||Use Avios.com||Use Avios.com||Transfer to British Airways, then to Qatar Airways|
|British Airways||Use Avios.com||-||Use British Airways website||Available on British Airways and Qatar Airways websites|
|Iberia||Use Avios.com||Use British Airways website||-||Transfer to British Airways, then to Qatar Airways|
|Qatar Airways||Transfer to British Airways, then to Aer Lingus||Available on British Airways and Qatar Airways websites||Transfer to British Airways, then to Iberia||-|
Moving Avios from Aer Lingus to either Qatar or Iberia can be a pain involving multiple steps, but it can be worth it. Imagine that you have a large balance of Avios in your AerClub account. Being able to combine these with Avios in your British, Iberia, or Qatar accounts can be a way of better leveraging your Avios for a specific redemption. Also, pooling small balances into a single account can create a more useable balance.
Transfer Avios Between British Airways and Iberia
Transferring Avios between Iberia and British Airways is very straightforward. The best way to do so is through the British Airways Executive Club website. To move Avios in either direction, head over to the British Airways website and log into your Executive Club account. Click on the ‘Manage My Account' tab, then the ‘Combine my Avios' tab.
After the page opens, you will have the choice to select either Qatar Airways or Iberia. Click on the ‘Combine my Avios' button in the Iberia section.
At this point, British Airways will prompt you to enter your Iberia Plus log-in credentials.
Next, British Airways will log you into the transfer facility. There you can see both your accounts and the balances you have in each. Now, you can select the transfer direction on the bottom left-hand side and enter the number of Avios you want to transfer.
Once you have selected your transfer amount and direction, click on the ‘Review my transfer' button. Just confirm the transfer, and then you are done.
Transfer Avios Between British Airways and Qatar
You can combine Avios between British Airways and Qatar easily on either program's website. However, before you can initiate transfers, you need to link your accounts. You can link your account through either site. When you log into your Qatar Airways Privilege Club account, the site will prompt you to link your British Airways account. If you have not been prompted upon logging in, you can head to the Avios linking page and select ‘Link my accounts'.
You will then be asked which account you want to link. In this case, the only option is the British Airways Executive Club.
A pop-up will open, explaining the process; click on ‘Link accounts'.
At this point, you will need to enter your British Airways Executive Club log-in credentials.
You will need to complete a two-step verification process to finish linking the accounts.
Your accounts are now linked. At this point, you can view your balances in each program.
To transfer Avios between British Airways and Qatar Airways on the British Airways website, log into your Executive Club account. Follow the same steps as you did transferring Avios to Iberia, except you will select Qatar Airways Privilege Club this time. You may be prompted to log in again, after which you will see both of your account balances if you have linked your accounts successfully.
Now, you can select the transfer direction and the number of Avios you want to transfer between your accounts.
You can also conduct these transfers on Qatar's website. In fact, there is an advantage to using the Qatar Airways website to conduct transfers to/from British Airways.
If you transfer on the British Airways website, your Avios balances aren't visible during the transfer proecess, but they are on the Qatar Airways website.
Using Avios.com to Transfer Aer Lingus Avios
If you want to use Aer Lingus Avios, your best option is to use Avios.com to initiate any transfers in either direction. Simply head over to Avios.com and choose to log in using your AerClub credentials.
Once logged in, select ‘Manage my account' and choose ‘Combine my Avios'.
The process is very similar to that on the British Airways website from this point on. From the drop-down menu, you select whether you want to move Avios to your British Airways or Iberia accounts, after which you will be prompted to enter the relevant account log-in credentials.
Just like transfers using the British Airways site, you need to select the direction for the transfer. Next, enter the amount you wish to transfer, and you complete your transfer.
Price Harmonization on Routes
As part of the integration, Qatar modified its award pricing to harmonize with British Airways and eliminate arbitrage options. Essentially, if you are looking to book a specific flight on a British Airways-operated flight from London to Bangkok, you will pay the same amount of Avios whether you book it via the British Airways or Qatar Airways website.
The same applies to flights on Qatar-operated flights. For example, a flight from Doha to Paris will set you back the same amount of Avios whether you book via Executive Club or via Privilege Club.
That being said, keep in mind that Qatar tends to have lower taxes and fees than the outrageous surcharges BA often levies on award flights. So, while the Avios price may be the same, there could be a substantial saving on taxes and fees by booking through Qatar Airways Privilege Club. Make sure to account for the ‘per segment' award booking fee with Privilege Club, though.
Great Credit Card Transfer Options
The ability to transfer Avios from Qatar to British Airways and onward to Iberia and Aer Lingus (or vice versa) has opened up lots of opportunities to transfer credit card points between airlines. British Airways is a transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Capital One Miles. Qatar is not a partner of any of these. Transferring your points to British Airways and then onwards to Qatar adds a lot of flexibility and provides even better value if you can score a transfer bonus when sending your points to British Airways.
On the other side, Qatar brings its own transfer opportunities. Currently, Qatar is a partner with Citi ThankYou Points, but British Airways is not. If you have a stack of Citi points, you can transfer them to Qatar Airways before moving them on to British Airways. This gives your points more flexibility and increasing your redemption options.
These transfer options also mean that credit cards earning any of these currencies could be used with the other programs. You could earn a sign-up bonus from one of these cards and then transfer those Avios to any of the other programs, earning in a four-pronged approach.
- Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card — Earn up to 100,000 Avios. Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening and earn an additional 25,000 Avios after you spend $20,000 in the first 12 months of account opening.
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card — Earn up to 100,000 Avios. Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening and earn an additional 25,000 Avios after you spend $20,000 in the first 12 months of account opening.
- Iberia Visa Signature® Card — Earn up to 100,000 Avios. Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening and earn an additional 25,000 Avios after you spend $20,000 in the first 12 months of account opening.
The ability to transfer Avios freely between Qatar Airways, British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus is a welcome move. Anything that adds flexibility and increases your usage options for your points, miles, or Avios is to be welcomed. Hopefully, even more airlines will consider joining the Avios program, making them even more flexible and valuable!
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