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✈️ How to transfer miles between different airlines

Did you know that there is one type of airline mile that you can transfer between FIVE different airlines?

Estimated read time: 4 minutes and 13 seconds

✈️ Discover the latest airline route updates from March including changes from most major U.S. carriers in this article.

Good morning, afternoon, evening, or whatever. I don’t know what time it is where I am right now since I’m halfway over the Pacific.

But no matter where you are, here’s some travel stuff:

🔀 How to transfer Avios between airlines

Generally speaking, transferring points from a credit card to an airline program is pretty final. Once you pull the trigger, there’s no going back.

There is one exception, though… sort of…

You see, Avios (the points program for British Airways, Qatar Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Finnair) allows you to freely transfer points between any of the airlines mentioned.

The gray Avios logo with a sunset sk background

That means that once you transfer credit card points to ANY one of them, you’ll be able to move them around to book flights and combine points balances between any of the programs.

I recently did this with my Canadian credit card (which offers British Airways as a transfer partner).

I sent over 100,000 points, transferred them from BA to Qatar, and booked two 12-hour flights in Qsuites. It was amazing.


So today, I thought I’d explain more about how this works - because it’s not the most straightforward…

So here are some quick notes:

  • You can transfer unlimited Avios an unlimited number of times

  • No fees, obviously

  • Qatar is the main outlier with this feature (more on that in a sec)

  • Iberia requires a few things before you can transfer Avios

  • There is currently no way to transfer points to/from Finnair (they just joined Avios last month, so the feature will probably come soon)

So, let’s start by talking about Qatar.

Unlike the rest of the programs, you can only transfer Avios to or from Qatar via British Airways.

The easiest way to do this is in the Qatar Airways app, which recently added the “Combine Avios” feature to the “My Avios” area of the app.

Qatar Combine Avios app page

It’s simple and allows you to make transfers in both directions in seconds. This is the tool I use the most when it comes to Avios since I fly a lot with Qatar.

This also means that if you want to get Avios between Aer Lingus or Iberia and Qatar, you’ll have to make TWO transfers via British Airways. 😑

It’s annoying, but still amazing to have the capability at all, in my opinion.

Speaking of British Airways… their website is probably the most powerful way to move Avios around.

You can simply go to the “Combine Avios” page of their website and find quick links to move points to Qatar, Iberia, and Aer Lingus.

British Airways Combine Avios Page

This is probably the best way to deal with all of your Avios, as the other sites can be pretty annoying to use…

Iberia’s page can be found here, but keep in mind that you need to fit the following criteria in order to be eligible for points transfers:

  • Your account must be open for 90 days

  • You must have had ANY activity on your account within the past 36 months

If you do fit those criteria, it’s as simple as going to the transfer page and filling out the form.

Iberia Combine Avios Page

Aer Lingus is annoying…

As far as I can see, they don’t have the capability to combine Avios on their own website, but only on the generic Avios program website (which you can find here).

Instead, I’d recommend using British Airways (as I explained earlier) to transfer points to/from Aer Lingus.

Now for a question you might have…

Why do this at all? If they use the same points program, why do I need to move them, etc?

There are a few reasons…

Different programs have different sweet spots and redemption rates.

For example, you can fly from New York to Madrid in Iberia business class for just 34,000 Avios one-way, which is a steal:

Iberia Business class Madrid for 34k points

It costs the same number of points whether using Iberia Avios or British Airways Avios, but there IS a difference in the taxes and fees.

If you book with British Airways, you’ll pay $162 in taxes, compared to $119 when booking with Iberia Avios.

British airways Ibera Business lass for 34k avios

This is the pricing when booking through British Airways

Since you can freely transfer Avios between these accounts, you’ll save $43 by taking one minute to use the tools I outlined for you.

Also, there are occasional ways to accrue miles in one program and put them to use by transferring them out.

For example, I took a flight on Vueling last year from Tenerife to Barcelona. When booking the flight, I had the option to credit miles to Aer Lingus, but not to Iberia or British Airways.

Example of a flight I credited to Aer Lingus

Normally, it would be pretty useless to accrue miles in a program that I don’t use. But since I can just transfer them out to a program like Qatar, I’m happy to rack up small batches of miles like that.

You also don’t need to spend a lot of time abroad to benefit from Avios, as you can use them to book flights on OneWorld airlines like American.

For example, you can use British Airways Avios to book this flight from New York to Dallas on American Airlines for just 14,500 Avios.

American Airlines flight using Brits Airways Avios

That’s not as good of a price as using American miles, of course…

But Avios are WAY easier to earn than American miles, since you can transfer points to them from any of the following programs:

Oftentimes, these banks will offer transfer bonuses that provide even more value.

Avios are one of the best points currencies out there.

Whether you’re flying across the world in Qsuites or just need a quick domestic hop in the U.S., it’s a program you should be paying attention to, and I hope today’s newsletter sheds some light on how it all works. 🙂

That’s all for today, folks! I hope today’s newsletter was successful and cleared up how this whole “Avios” thing works.

I use Avios ALL the time, and maybe now you will too.

Until tomorrow, my friends ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

37.8136° S, 144.9631° E