How to redeem your Avios on Air Malta

When the Avios scheme was launched in late 2011, avios.com brought in a range of new airline partners alongside BA, Iberia and American Airlines.

As per this page, it is a little known fact that you can redeem Avios on Air Malta, Flybe, Aurigny (the Channel Islands airline) and Monarch. I will look at the latter three in a separate post, but I wanted to do Air Malta separately because it links to another story.

The first thing to note is that these redemptions are with avios.com, not British Airways Executive Club. You need to open an avios.com account and use the ‘Combine My Avios’ function to move Avios from BAEC into avios.com. There is no charge to move your Avios and you can reverse the transaction if required.

Air Malta has a grand total of 12 planes, carries c 2 million passengers per year and is State-owned.

Air Malta

You can seach for Air Malta flights using the standard avios.com reward booking site. If there is availability, it will show up. (And there is not a huge amount of availability in the system, so be prepared to be flexible.)

Now, there is a very good blog called MaltaPoints. Tom, who writes it, also reads and comments on HFP, and he took a look at the redemption offerings for me.His conclusions were (paraphrased by me, any errors below are my fault!):

The only Air Malta flights offered with Avios appear to be London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester to Malta. There are some other seasonal departure points, but they do not seem to be included.  You also cannot use them to fly from a 3rd country to Malta.

Economy flights cost 20,000 Avios return plus £43 – £57 of tax depending on departure airport. Business class seats do not seem to be available.

A return flight from London to Malta for cash costs from £129 return in November to £299 in August, bought well in advance (they can top £350 at short notice).

On this basis, if you can get seats in August for Avios, you would be getting over 1p per point (but it may be a big ‘if’). Based on the November price, you would be getting just 0.36p per Avios which is a very poor deal (20,000 Avios + £57 for a £129 cash flight).

When considering ‘value per Avios’, remember that Avios bookings are refundable up to 24 hours before departure for a £25 fee. This makes them more flexible than a cheap cash ticket. (The Avios rules do say that partner airline bookings have the same cancellation rights as BA redemptions, but do double check the rules which are shown during the booking process.)

But Air Malta is joining Star Alliance!

What makes this redemption option rather odd is that Air Malta is apparently on the verge of announcing that it is joining Miles & More and becoming a full Star Alliance partner.

Air Malta is already a de-facto Star Alliance partner. You can already earn and spend Miles & More miles when flying on Air Malta, as well as redeeming Air Malta Flypass miles for Lufthansa flights.

This may mean that the Avios / Air Malta partnership will not be with us for much longer. However, it is worth a look whilst it exists.

(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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Comments

  1. Sir Stamford says:

    “When considering ‘value per Avios’, remember that Avios bookings are refundable up to 24 hours before departure for a £25 fee.”

    A further point to note – the £25 is not charged if you are a BAEC Gold member.

    Sir Stamford

    • Yes and No. Yes for BAEC bookings, but the Air Malta flights can only be booked via avios.com and a Gold does not get let off the fee there.

  2. Hi I am Maltese living in London so I have to use Airmalta often to go home. If going to Malta also consider a package – sometimes for not much more than a flight you can get accommodation at a fantastic 4 or 5 star hotel.

    Also Easyjet flies from Gatwick and Ryanair from Luton. Both tend to be much cheaper than Airmalta.

  3. Thanks for the nod Raffles.

    One very minor point of clarification: the reward flights appear to (in theory) be for flights from/to London (LHR + LGW) and Manchester. However, I could only find availability for flights to/from London.

    As an aside, Air Malta does offer a few more (mainly seasonal) routes between Malta and the UK (Exeter, Cardiff, Norwich, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow) but these do not feature in the Avios redemption package.

    • I have now found some Manchester availability (eg 14 October outbound) so I have amended the text to reflect this.

  4. Air Malta is decidedly not a “de facto Star Alliance partner” at this point. Being a partner with one airline in the alliance is very, very different from being associated with the 25+ programs around the world. And, according to MaltaPoints they’ve been “on the verge” of becoming a full M&M partner for some time now. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • My thinking behind that comment was that it is more ‘de facto’ for UK residents, since they are more likely to be earning into M&M (assuming people pick a European programme without thinking too hard about the earn and burn ratios) and (for European redemptions) be redeeming on M&M partners as well.

    • I note your scepticism WA, and totally appreciate it.

      My original comments (some months ago) about Air Malta joining M&M were nothing more than informed speculation, when Air Malta announced it was to replace Flypass, and I made the nature of my comments very clear then.

      My more recent confirmation that Air Malta has in fact decided to join M&M is based on specific confirmation from my very well-placed contacts at Air Malta. Since I broke the news, Air Malta has made no attempts to deny this – and it’s a pretty small community over here. That said, all changes are now subject to new government approval, and changes at Air Malta seem to always take that much – so believing it when you see it is quite possibly the best approach!

  5. Sir Stamford says:

    @WA & MT

    I sense that this discussion is a continuation of the same exchanges you have had in December 2012.
    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/air-malta-set-to-join-star-alliance.52557/

    Sir Stamford

  6. How strange. I was sitting in seat 4D in the ever so exciting Air Malta Club Class cabin on an A319 from Gatport Airwick yesterday when I checked my e-mails to see this little topic.
    I’ve always liked my national airline, but it’s nothing special. The Flypass scheme is one of most useless in Christendom (Malta decidedly being on that team). I’ve seen my entire stack of miles appear and disappear for no apparent reason. Earning is ok (in fact I’ve earned with OK as well as KM. You can also earn with LH and a few local restaurants, but not much else.) Redeeming is terrible. 10k will get you a club class upgrade in one direction for a UKMalta flight. Simple Y returns take silly amounts of points…..

    ….Therefore the chance to use easy-to-come-by Avios is very welcome.

    BTW I’m with Tom on the Star Alliance thing. Remember that LH have a technical base in Malta so the links are stronger than you might think.

    Sahha from Xemxija!
    Charles

  7. The blog about Air Malta joining Star Alliance is based on a rumour, there is nothing official about it from the airline and no reason to believe it

  8. Is there any way for non Uk residents to join AVIOS.COM? I have all these Iberia Avios I would love to convert to BA but cannot (household account)

    • Make up a UK address? They won’t be sending you anything in the mail anyway, except possibly a plastic card – and if that is returned to sender they are unlikely to notice.

      Use your real date of birth and email as these need to match your IB account to transfer.

      • So you think chances of them finding out my avios.com address and my household account address do not match are slim… OK I guess I can take the risk

        Thanks!

        • I think you are grossly overstating their IT. In any event, many people have 2 properties, or an Spanish home and UK office address etc ….

          I once did an airline status match aimed at Italians by using a fake Rome address. The card may or may not have eventually been returned to sender. A few weeks after the match was processed, I changed my address to the UK and requested a replacement card, which arrived with no issues. Not exactly the same scenario, but it is an example of what can be done.