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Avios and Air Malta …. a funny little story

Most people know that – if you redeem your Avios points via avios.com and not ba.com – you can redeem for flights on Air Malta.  Aurigny, the Channel Islands airline, Flybe and Monarch are also available at avios.com.

You can move Avios points from ba.com to avios.com using the ‘Combine My Avios’ function on either website.  I wrote about these avios.com redemption in detail in this post from our Avios Redemption University series.

When I first wrote about this it was picked up by the Malta Points blog.  After a few months, someone at Air Malta noticed the piece.

Air Malta then got on the phone to Tom who runs Malta Points.  Because Air Malta had no idea that Avios was giving away its flights!

Air Malta

This does sound slightly crazy.  However, Air Malta is not exactly a big business – it only has 11 aircraft! – so the left hand is definitely aware of what the right hand is doing.  Their ‘commercial department’ (probably two people!) was quite clear that they did not have any deal with Avios!

There is nothing wrong with this of course.  What I would guess happened was this:

Avios identified Malta as a popular holiday destination for UK residents

British Airways, at that point, did not fly to Malta (it does now having restarted services last year)

Avios decided that the scheme would benefit from offering Malta and linked up their reservation system to pull in Air Malta flights from one of the Global Distribution Systems

If you book an Air Malta flight at avios.com, it seems that Avios is paying the standard cash price across to Air Malta!

This leads to the obvious question of whether Flybe, Aurigny and Monarch have proper agreements with Avios or if Avios is simply buying their seats on the open market as well.

All very odd.  You can read more about it at Malta Points here.

(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. In the case of Monarch, there is definitely a correlation between Avios availability and prevailing fares.

    What did the old Airmiles UK do? I always assumed it just bought seats on the open market for some of its non-BA redemptions.

  2. Is there any way of converting the HSBC points from Malta to Avios points?

    http://www.airmalta.com/flypass/partners/other/hsbc-premier

    • Sadly not Neil. The only option here is that you can redeem 50,000 HSBC points for a return to London with Air Malta, thereby saving the 20,000 Avios points that you would otherwise need to have spent on it (whether with Air Malta or BA).

      You are probably aware of this, but you can also redeem 5000 HSBC points for a €25 Voucher which can be used at The Point Shopping Mall, Tigne or The Hilton Malta.

      Sadly, both the above are examples of what bad value you generally get with i) Flypass redemptions and ii) points redemptions with Malta credit cards. As ever, my advice is to get a BOV American Express card, to benefit from the Membership Rewards scheme.

      • gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

        It’s also a shame that the Air Malta dining partners have disappeared. It has now been a couple of years since you could get Flypass miles for dining at De Mondion or The Blue Elephant etc.
        As with all things with Air Malta, there web site essentially says “watch this space”

  3. Other than the Avios website, are there any tools for discovering redemption availability on these ‘non-aligned’ airlines? Avios only shows the calendar and map view for BA flights.

    • No – and if avios.com is paying cash for the seats then it can’t be done. I suppose if the Air Malta website let you search by price over a long period then you might be able to work out the maximum price that Avios is willing to pay and thus what days show.

  4. Boddingtons says:

    I noticed this a while back when I made an Avios redemption on Air Malta. When I accessed the reservation on Check My Trip I thought it was unusual to have an Air Malta 643- ticket number.

    Couple of interesting points.

    1. Assuming this is a revenue ticket, one would assume you can credit points to Air Malta, Miles & Less and partners.

    2. The fare basis for my one way MLA-MAN ticket is GKMON1 which is the fourth least expensive fare priced at £69 plus taxes (£13). Avios rate is 10k miles. That is a non refundable fare, though changes are permitted at €40.00. On that basis, if you were to cancel your booking, one can only assume that Avios is taking a hit.

    • Boddingtons says:

      That said, having just reviewed the Avios documentation for the booking, it states:

      “In the event of cancellation, Air Malta will charge a refund administration fee of EUR25.00 per person. This fee will be deducted from any refund amount due to you.”

      Seems they’re making these rules up as it is a non refundable ticket. I doubt Air Malta will be seeing any of the said €25.00 fee.

      Moreover, is this in addition to the Avios cancellation fee or is that the only charge for cancellation? The terms and conditions do not state that the £35 Avios fee is in addition to any fees imposed by the airline. It does state however that in the event of voluntary changes, the £35 Avios fee is in addition to any fees imposed by the airline.

      • Is this Avios just boiler-plating Air Malta T&C’s onto the ticket? Perhaps they do refund all cash tickets with a Euro 25 fee?

        • Boddingtons says:

          According to Expertflyer, GKMON1 is a non refundable fare although changeable for a €40 fee.

          As far as MLA-MAN goes, G class at £69 is the most they’ll let you redeem for.

  5. KirillM says:

    BA restarted services to Malta this year.

    • gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

      and for us Gatwick flyers, the times are better than the KM flight.

  6. When Airmiles became Avios.com, I remember some spokesperson saying that Airmiles was not merging with BAEC and that they would continue to offer more availability on BA flights than does BAEC. My experience is that the reverse is true because the clunky Avios.com website does not handle connecting flights at all well. However, I have never compared availability diect from London between Avios.com & BAEC. Does Avios.com also buy BA revenue tickets?

    • Yes. Avios.com can access standard BA award inventory plus the G fare availability.

    • pauldb says:

      For shorthaul economy, avios.com will typically sell you a ticket from the G (group) availability bucket, as well as the normal reward bucket accessed by BAEC. So there is systematically more availability for these flights. Not quite a purchase of tickets though.

      • Avios may be ‘purchasing’ it from BA – but since IAG owns both businesses it doesn’t make much difference.

        You WILL get Avios for an avios.com redemption which books into G if you credit it to Iberia Plus!

        • pauldb says:

          Really – I’ve missed out then. I usually put in my CX Gold for the benefits, and don’t bother to change it back in the lounge. (And have never had a credit in CX.)

        • “You WILL get Avios for an avios.com redemption which books into G if you credit it to Iberia Plus!”

          That is the most useful information I have gleaned from HFP so far! Why have you been so coy about it until now Raffles?

          Is there a straightforward means of identifying ‘G’ ‘bucket’ before booking or does the avialability on Avios.com have to be compared to BAEC?

          • Because if I put it in a post it will probably get closed off. Yes, I think you’d need to be looking for flights which are not on ba.com.

            If you’ve got BA status then you are sacrificing free seat selection here – unless you want to faff about with changing the number back and forth – so its not pain free.

            I wouldn’t say this is 100% certain either but based on a small sample set it seems to work.

          • iwan0285 says:

            I have an avios.com redemption return to AMS in a couple of weeks- it’s showing on BA MMB as being in G selling class- I’ll have to give this a try! thanks so much!

          • squills says:

            Closed off by somebody?

          • It’s almost certainly not meant to post the miles and tier points, it’ll be a system glitch that’s caused it. The surefire way to have this glitch fixed (and therefore see the TPs and Avios stop posting) is to splash is across travel blog after frequent flyer forum after newsletter. These types of things can persist for years if that doesn’t happen.

  7. Charlie says:

    About 10 years ago maybe more, I redeemed some Airmiles (pre Avios) for Virgin Atlantic flights. Since I was able to accrue Virgin Flying Club miles on the flights I knew that Air miles had simply paid for the flight in cash. I had no taxes to pay either, good old days.

    Unfortunately I was earning 1 Airmile per £20 on a NatWest credit card so it took years of spending to earn the miles I needed. Not so good old days then!

    • Callum says:

      That’s equivalent to 1 Avios per £2 so it’s not that bad. Certainly not great though I agree.

  8. I didn’t know Aurigny were on Avios.com, I was about to pay cash for flights to Guernsey, HFP saves me again!