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I have to begin with both a confession and a warning. I am slightly addicted to AliExpress shopping, and I should probably add that it’s very easy to buy utterly pointless junk on there that you will never actually use (albeit wonderfully low-priced utterly pointless junk).
That said, it’s insanely popular amongst UK shoppers now, so if you’re one of the masses, you may as well get your full money’s worth. Plus, this post is partly aimed at highlighting an important way of getting MORE Avios on your online shopping, whether with AliExpress or anyone else, by not earning Avios on your shopping. (Bear with me.)
Earning Avios at AliExpress – the obvious way
First up is what not to do. If you click through to AliExpress from the BA shopping portal, you will receive 2 Avios per £1 spent.
Not bad, but really not good when compared to the straightforward alternative.
The better way
There’s a better way to earn Avios on AliExpress than earning Avios on AliExpress.
This slightly nonsensical points springs from one of my key rules when shopping online. Quite simply, always shop around when using cashback sites or shopping portals. There will be a vast range in what you can earn (cash, miles, Nectar points etc) and how much you can earn.
In the current example, as an alternative to the 2 Avios offered by the BA shopping portal, you can earn 5% cashback at AliExpress via TopCashback. You can then “cash this out” with TopCashback at a rate of 5p in cashback for 5.25 Avios, should you wish to.
In the interests of absolute transparency, I should add that the BA shopping portal rather vaguely states that the 2 Avios rate “is for Mobile Phone, Computer Peripherals, Tablets, Desktop Computer, Laptop Netbooks, Home Audio & Video Equipment, External Storage and Internal Storage. All other items will receive a higher reward“. I have no idea what, exactly, that “higher reward” manifests as, but I very much doubt it ever gets close to 5.25 Avios per £1.
The best way?
Regardless of the above, you will earn 5.5% cashback shopping on AliExpress via Quidco. While you can’t cash out to Avios on Quidco, I would strongly suggest that 5.5 pence per £1 spent is a better return than 5.25 Avios, but if you are seriously in the hunt for Avios (eg because you’re close to a redemption threshold), TopCashback may be your better option.
For completeness, you can also earn “upwards of” 1 Virgin point per £1 spent at the Virgin Shops Away portal. Again, I doubt this comes anywhere close to 5.5% cashback in its value for you, but it’s another good example of the range of rebates you can receive from any one shop.
Finally, you will earn an impressive 6.6% cashback (so 6.93 Avios per £1 spent) at TopCashback on the AliExpress sister site, Alibaba UK. Alibaba is also not on the BA shopping portal, so TopCashback really is your obvious option here.
Please note that this article is not an endorsement of AliExpress – I buy stuff there, but I have bought an insane amount of crap on it! If you do choose to give it a try, be fully aware that it’s certainly not Amazon or eBay. It’s proper Wild West [East] shopping, but it can be great fun and you can grab a bargain – you just might have to wait 3 months for it to arrive.
The main lesson I would like anyone to take from this post is that when you’re shopping via a portal, consider what currency (cash, points etc) is most useful to you, and then look at how much of the different currency you’ll get on the various options!