I am running updated versions of my “Avios Redemption University” series over the next few days. These articles are a good starting point for beginners, although I hope everyone will learn something from them. Click here to see the other articles.
‘Avios and Money’ is the feature of the Avios programme that allows you to book a reward seat for up to 70% fewer Avios than the headline mileage price.
BA, Iberia Plus or avios.com will, in effect, ‘sell’ you the extra miles you need during the booking process. This may mean that a redemption you thought you couldn’t reach is in fact bookable!
There are four key things to know about ‘Avios and Money’ redemptions, which I will expand on below:
a) The ‘cost per Avios’ varies depending on the sort of ticket you are booking – not all ‘Avios and Money’ options are a good deal
b) If you cancel an ‘Avios and Money’ booking, you will get back both the Avios and the additional money – you do not get your refund entirely in Avios based on the full Avios cost of the ticket
c) You cannot change the operating carrier or route on an ‘Avios and Money’ booking – you would need to cancel the whole booking and rebook.
d) Two partner airlines – Japan Airlines and S7 (Russian domestic carrier) – are not available with ‘Avios and Money’
‘Avios and Money’ options are shown to you automatically during the booking process, so you can’t miss them. However, it is possible that you don’t do the maths properly and end up doing a bad deal.
This list shows how the ‘cost per Avios’ varies depending on your booking when using ba.com. In reality, you would be offered a sliding scale of ‘Avios and Money’ rates – I have just shown the ‘all Avios’ and the maximum ’fewer Avios’ options. These examples are based on Amsterdam and Boston prices.
It is worth noting that the ‘cost per Avios’ has increased by about 10% in the last 6 months. These deals are now less generous than they were.
Short-haul return redemption in Eurotraveller (Economy)
9,000 Avios + £35 or 5,000 Avios + £85
Effective cost per Avios: 1.25p
Short-haul return redemption in Club Europe
18,000 Avios + £50 or 10,000 Avios + £140
Effective cost per Avios: 1.12p
Long-haul return redemption in World Traveller (Economy)
40,000 Avios + £356 or 12,000 Avios + £556
Effective cost per Avios: 0.7p
Long-haul return redemption in World Traveller Plus
60,000 Avios + £423 or 24,000 Avios + £693
Effective cost per Avios: 0.75p
Long-haul return redemption in Club World
80,000 Avios + £529 or 40,000 Avios + £1,229
Effective cost per Avios: 1.75p
Long-haul return redemption in First Class
120,000 Avios + £529 or 60,000 Avios + £1,309
Effective cost per Avios: 1.3p
Annoyingly, the sliding scale of Avios vs Money is not constant. For example, with the Club Europe return above I put the cost per Avios at 1.12p. However, if you opted for the ’13000 Avios and £100′ option, the cost drops to 1.0p!
So, which of these options offers a good deal?
There is, of course, no easy answer to that! This post attempts to put a figure on how YOU may value an Avios. There is no single answer that suits everyone.
You need to consider that this is the purest ‘no effort required’ method of getting Avios! No trips to Tesco required! It would be totally reasonable for you to say that you would be happy to ‘pay’ 1p per Avios this way whilst you wouldn’t do any Tesco offer unless it came in at under 0.75p, for example.
‘Avios and Money’ is not available with all partners
‘Avios and Money’ has been expanded since it was initially launched, and now covers most of the oneworld airlines. The only exceptions are Japan Airlines and Russian domestic airline S7.
You can also use ‘Avios and Money’ on redemptions with Aer Lingus, Alaska Airlines, Open Skies (France), Comair (South Africa) and Sun-Air (Scandinavia).
Cancellation terms are slightly different
For reasons I do not fully understand, BA has more restrictive rules in place for ‘Avios and Money’ bookings.
You cannot change the operating carrier, and you cannot change the route.
So … if you booked American Airlines to New York and wanted to switch to a BA flight, that would not be allowed. (With a 100% Avios redemption, it is possible.) Similarly, you could not switch from New York to Boston.
In both cases, you would have to cancel your booking and rebook. This could cause an issue if you only wanted to change one leg of your trip, as there is no guarantee that the other leg would still be available as a reward flight.
You also cannot ring up BA after you have booked and ask to switch the mix of ‘Avios and Money’.
All in all, though, ‘Avios and Money’ is a surprisingly well-priced (in some circumstances) and useful tool which should be part of your Avios armoury!