When people see all the wonderful places I’m lucky enough to travel too they often assume I’m travelling pretty much full-time. In reality that couldn’t be further from the truth. I work long hours writing, tweeting, photo editing and blogging but I love it! I am so lucky to be doing a job I really enjoy AND I get to see and do some wonderful things and to meet some inspiring people. My travelling, though, is done in bite-sized chunks.

My days of back-packing and roughing it are long gone too; I really do prefer a little comfort and a touch of luxury. With this in mind, there is one tip I’d like to share with anyone who has a passion for travel and that’s… Avios.

Style

Travel in Style with Avios

I’ve been collecting what was formally known as Air Miles, now Avios, for many years and they really came into their own last year when I was invited to Paris at rather short notice, to meet up with my brother-in-law-to-be and his family, who were coming over from Canada. No problem I thought. We can pop over on Eurotstar, stay one night and catch the train back again. Now if you book Eurostar in advance (3 months is good) it is really quite reasonable but if you leave it to the last minute the price rockets! In stepped my Avios points which paid for, not only two Eurostar return tickets, but our hotel as well! So our weekend in Paris actually cost us very little at all.

It was only then that I started collecting Avios points in earnest and I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner. I signed up for an Avios Credit Card and now use it to buy everything I can, from my weekly shopping to my train tickets to London. I’ve set up a direct debit that pays off the total balance every month so that I never get charged any interest on my card, and the points soon add up. When I was invited to Tuscany for a cooking holiday next Spring, I eagerly accepted, paying for my flight with my points. I even splashed out to fly Business Class (or rather Club Class as BA call it) and all it cost me was £50.

So for very little expense I’ll be travelling in style with a dedicated check-in desk, access to a private lounge before I fly with complimentary refreshments, priority boarding, extra space on board to relax, plus more complimentary refreshments (including champagne) during the flight – a very civilised way to travel, don’t you think?

How to collect points

Collecting points is easy. Members are rewarded for their everyday shopping; collecting Avios on fuel from the pump at Shell, groceries at Tesco by converting their Tesco Clubcard points, online shopping with over 250 leading brands via the Avios eStore; and spending with the Lloyds Bank Duo Avios Credit Card or the TSB Duo Avios Credit Cards.

Avios also rewards members when they fly with British Airways and Iberia, allowing them to collect Avios for every mile they fly – with at least 500 Avios collected per one-way flight.

Sit back and watch the points add up as you day-dream of where you will go. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying breakfast in a Parisian café or driving through the Tuscan countryside courtesy of Avios.

Collecting Avios points

Breakfast in Paris

Next stop – Brussels Christmas Markets

This weekend I’m going with my fiancé to Brussels and the Christmas market, which I have been longing to visit for many years. 2 return flights, Club Class of course, and a night in an upgraded Luxury Room at the 5 star, Sofitel Le Louise, cost a total of 41,850 Avios points and just £100.

Sofitel Le Louise

A suite at the 5 star Sofitel Le Louise, Brussels

So if like me you love all things ‘Christmas’ look out for a Belgium festive post or two here on Travel With Kat. If you want to follow my journey live, keep an eye on my TwitterInstagram and Facebook feeds and the hashtag #AviosXmas. Waffles, hot chocolate, Belgium beer …and best of all, the Christmas market here we come!

How to become an Avios member

It’s easy and free to join. Go to Avios.com or speak to an Avios UK customer contact centre agent on 0844 49 333 99. Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8 – 8; Saturday, 9 – 5 and Sundays, 10 – 4.

Disclaimer: This post has been brought to you in association with Avios. As always, these are my own, honest opinions.

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