Avios Redemption University – Lesson 4 – When to use ‘Avios and Money’?

The “Avios Redemption University” series is 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 65% fewer Avios than the headline mileage price.

British Airways, 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!

The official ba.com text on ‘Avios and Money’ is here – scroll down to the bottom where it says ‘Ways To Make Your Avios Stretch Further’.

There are four key things to know about ‘Avios and Money’ redemptions, which I will expand on below:

The ‘cost per Avios’ varies depending on the sort of ticket you are booking – not all ‘Avios and Money’ options are a good deal

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

You cannot change the operating carrier or route on an ‘Avios and Money’ booking – you would need to cancel the whole booking and rebook. 

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 Tokyo (off peak dates) prices.

Short-haul return redemption in Eurotraveller (Economy)

8,000 Avios + £35 or 4,400 Avios + £85

Effective cost per Avios:  1.39p

Short-haul return redemption in Club Europe

15,500 Avios + £50 or 8,600 Avios + £130

Effective cost per Avios:  1.16p

Long-haul return redemption in World Traveller (Economy)

39,000 Avios + £335 or 13,700 Avios + £525

Effective cost per Avios:  0.75p

Long-haul return redemption in World Traveller Plus

78,000 Avios + £443 or 31,200 Avios + £803

Effective cost per Avios:  0.77p

Long-haul return redemption in Club World

150,000 Avios + £526 or 75,000 Avios + £1,856

Effective cost per Avios:  1.75p

Long-haul return redemption in First Class

204,000 Avios + £526 or 102,000 Avios + £1,886

Effective cost per Avios:  1.33p

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 1.16p.  However, if you opted for the ‘12400 Avios and £90’ option, the cost increases to 1.29p!

British Airways 350 2

So, which of these options offers a good deal?

There is, of course, no easy answer to that!  This article 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, British Airways has more restrictive rules in place for ‘Avios and Money’ bookings than for standard redemptions.

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.

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Comments

  1. C Y S Yuen says:

    Hi can someone explain fully what can be changed on an avios reward ticket i.e. routing and how much would it cost?

    • Way too much to explain here. Go back to Raffles articles all pertaining to the BA Avios changes on April 28th year. All very clear, but essential reading, am afraid.

      • Simple answer is: anything (subject to availability, of course) as long as you don’t mind paying £35 per person.

        • C Y S Yuen says:

          Lets keep it simple.

          So I can change…
          – destination to others in the same band
          – other airline to the same destination
          – add a new routing and cause a transit to occur between flights
          – add a new routing and cause a stopover to occur between flights
          – change flight time/cancel booking with a fee for BAEC silver or lower

          • Keep in mind the following:
            (i) BA Exec Club charges per segment for award flights; if you add segments you pay more Avios. It’s not like the typical zone-based sectors of the US programmes, i.e. where you fly from City A to City B, with potentially one or more segments en route for the same award cost.
            (ii) If you changed from BA operated to partner-airline operated (if that’s possible on a route) the number of Avios may change if you originally redeemed on a BA offpeak date as partners are now always charged at peak rate. Higher charges apply to flights with two or more partners.

          • On a standard redemption you can do what you like with changes, as far as I know, because they are just shuffling the flights around. It is possible that something in your list may cause an issue but there are no well known problems with changing redemptions.

            The fee is paid by EVERYONE include BA Gold members. Only Gold Guest List are exempt.

          • C Y S Yuen says:

            Thank you so much for the information. HFP is a great place to be in!

  2. S7 is not a “Russian domestic carrier”. They have a lot of international routes too (Japan, Korea, China, Kirgizstan, Bulgaria, ex-USSR countries (except the Baltics), you name it.

  3. Some routes points and money club Europe are a bargain against standard fares.
    Athens and Vienna are 2 that I use regularly, lowest avios I can use and pay the money.
    Vienna is normally 464gbp one way in ce standard fare
    Using avois it’s 8000 and 85gbp.

    • cheekychappie says:

      Vienna 1 way from LHR is typically £90 HBO, £110 standard. You’re simply not finding cheap fares – very different to your claim of £468 1 way.

      You need to plan ahead, both for cheap £ fares and Avios availability.

      If you can’t plan ahead, you won’t get either.

      That would be true for the majority of destinations.

  4. Rob, off topic slightly but do you still get a ‘free’ inbound seat for a child who turns 2 whilst on holiday? The rule used to be that you did but I’ve a feeling I remember you saying a while ago that this changed? I’ve got a 4 month old and planning for a trip at Easter 2016 when he would turn 2…

    • You’re still OK.

      The ‘trick’ used to be this – book Manchester – London (long stopover) – Barbados with your child turning 2 during the stopover. This meant BA had to give you a free seat on the long haul.

      BA changed the rule so that you had to complete your ENTIRE outbound leg before the child turns 2.

      You are still perfectly fine, and not breaking any rules, to ask for a free seat on the inbound if the child turns 2 whilst you are away.

      • Thanks Rob, I knew something had changed but couldnt quite remember what. So is it possible to book a one way outbound redemption for a child under 2 and still get the free inbound seat if they turn 2 whilst you are away. I’m looking at Sydney for Easter 2017…

  5. Alexander says:

    Are you going to devote one section of your series to a ‘mirror’ option to this – a part payment with Avios? I.e. when you buy a ticket for money but pay some part of it with Avios.

    Last December I bought a Euro Traveller from LHR to NCE for £67.41 and 4500 Avios (the apparent saving of £30.00 as was stated on the BA website). The face value of the ticket was £97.41 (incl taxes). So, 1 Avios was an equivalent to 0.67p which – compared to rates you cited in your article above – is not bad at all for what effectively was a redemption.

    But I don’t know how this could have changed post-28/04 and want your expert opinion on this anyway.

    Thanks

    • I do mention this when BA runs a special offer to make it more interesting. It is a relatively straightforward offer otherwise, though – are you willing to ‘sell’ your Avios for 0.67p (or whatever, depending on class)?

  6. When I’m looking at the “price per avios” – I think of it in terms of “Can I achieve more value from my Avios elsewhere” – if the answer is Yes, then I should save my Avios and cough up some cash.

    Is that how you see it ?

  7. you mentioned that the Sliding Scale is not constant, so I thought I would look at a real life example – LHR-DUB tomorrow morning:

    Cash £363
    4,000 avios & £17.50 – achieving 8.64p value for 4,000 avios
    3,550 avios & £22.50 – 1.11p for 450 avios
    3,200 avios & £27.50 – 1.25p for 800 avios
    2,950 avios & £32.50 – 1.43p for 1,050 avios
    2,500 avios & £37.50 – 1.33p for 1,500 avios
    2,200 avios & £42.50 – 1.39p for 1,800 avios

    you really have to do the maths to work out the best deal !

    • ADS, agree. I was in the same boat this week, suddenly need to fly to Dublin Thursday late evening and back sat evening . Can you imagine those prices, just under £400. My fares ended up as RFS o w tkt., as DUB LHR is only £9 plus 4500, so an invaluable way to use them, so will keep increasing my stash for this very reason. Plus we are using them to get to CPH for our sub 1k QR J flights to HKT next month. Def RFS is a great use of avios.

  8. Hi guys.
    I was looking at a positioning flight from lhr to dub to do my first ex-EU.
    Finding out the CE price was £320.01 per person was a shock so I looked at avios.
    Upgrading with miles was ridiculous, as this was more than the cash price and you had to pay miles too!
    The second thing is a straightforward £100 off for 15,000 avios.
    Then I looked at a reward seat. This is mustard. 15,500 avios +£50, a saving of £270 and 1.7p per avios (my dates are Jan) so this was a pleasant surprise and substantially reduces my cost for January and gives me a great redemption rate. Adrian

  9. Great article! The following website (in German) could be helpful to some of you as well as it shows a graphical visualization of the sliding scale of costs for Avios and Money bookings: http://meilenoptimieren.com/executive-club-tutorial-praemienflug-buchen-avios-and-money/

    • Karsten – the maths in the examples on your link are completely different to what I normally see for UK flights … in your example the price per avios always decreases with the more avios your buy/save … where as what I normally see is the price increasing (as per my example above) … bizarre !