Is BA changing Reward Flight Saver? Might be, might not be ….

A reader dropped me a line last night regarding Reward Flight Saver.  Her question was:

“Has the text describing RFS on changed?”

It currently says this on the booking page (click to expand):


and, if you click through for more details:


Now, this could just be ambigious wording, especially with the first image.  Nowhere does it says “one way redemptions are no longer valid for Reward Flight Saver”.  This does appear to be the implication of the text in the second image, however.

Don’t bother looking in the British Airways Executive Club terms and conditions because they are unchanged since January.

At present, RFS flights are still pricing up as they always did – ie £17.50 one way in Euro Traveller and £25 one way in Club Europe.

Regular HFP readers will know that, ever since BA dropped fuel surcharges on short haul flights, many European RFS redemptions are cheaper booked as 2 x one-way flights rather than a return.  This is because a one-way from a European airport which doesn’t charge a departure tax will only have nominal fees, usually less than £17.50 and certainly less than £25.

A one-way from Luxembourg to Heathrow, for example, only has £3 of charges.  In this scenario a Reward Flight Saver ticket defaults to the cheapest option so you only pay £3.

British Airways may have decided that it has had enough of people paying £20.50 instead of £35 for return flights to Luxembourg by booking it as 2 x one-ways.

(If you think that is petty, note that crew have reportedly just been told flowers will be removed from the loos in First Class in order to save money.  They were removed from Club World some time ago.)

There is another possible explanation.

One quirk of Reward Flight Saver is that you only pay the reduced taxes figure when you choose British Airways for all legs.

If you mix BA with another airline on the same ticket, you pay full taxes on the BA flight.

At present, this is only really a problem via on one route – London to Madrid.  Booking BA one way and Iberia the other way triggers full taxes on the BA flight.

However, if we assume that Aer Lingus availability will soon be bookable online, as well as the fact that Royal Air Maroc is about to become an Avios partner, it will be cropping up as an issue more often.

The wording may just be an attempt to clarify the fact that you need to book both the outbound and return on British Airways, and not mix in Iberia, Aer Lingus or Royal Air Maroc, to get the discount on the BA flight.

For clarity, as I mentioned above, still shows the standard pricing for RFS tickets and nothing has changed.

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  1. Oyster says:

    I’d be more concerned that BA are thinking of removing RFS from all one-way flights.

    • John F says:

      It could be could just be ambigious wording, asin the existing terms and conditions it states (15.8. One way tickets can be issued as Rewards on British Airways flights at 50% of the Avios points required for a return journey to the same destination.)

  2. BrianDT says:

    I usually book one ways for flexibility if a change of plan is required getting back home, ie saving Avios and Taxes etc.

  3. You can’t book returns T-355!

    • Nathan says:

      This is the most concerning fact I agree. Especially at busy times like school holidays.

      • Live life dangerously! The first few times I just booked outward first, I was a bit worried – but for both outward & return the RFS seats always pop up @ midnight GMT on T-355. And as others have said, the returns are usually cheaper bought separately plus you get more flexibility (though I guess if you had to cancel, you might be in for slightly higher charges than cancelling a return).

  4. Worrying for me as I often book a cash ticket : rfs mixture and usually under separate PNRs as well.

    Hopefully just poorly written content on the BA website which wouldn’t be a first

  5. In the worst case scenario, ie can only book return flights in RFS in future, of course like Nathan I’d worry that availability for school hols became more difficult to manage, since you’d risk losing the outward leg whilst you waited for the return flight to go to T-355.

    So I just checked our route for Easter 2017 – you are quite limited on choice of days as Easter Monday falls on 17/3/17 with most state schools starting the summer term the next day (Tuesday).

    I’ve been watching the cash cost and dynamic pricing makes it clear that cash ticket buyers have indeed been forced to fly on the ‘obvious’ days ie 31/3 or 1/4 OUT and 17/4 BACK. Ie the ticket prices have gone sky high already.

    I expected more Avios redemptions on those days – 3 flights daily. But as of yet, I’m the only person to have grabbed any Avios flights! (Making those Avios points remarkably good value if you compare them to cash cost.) I bet that wouldn’t be true of destinations such as Maldives or Aus!

    So maybe if the worst happened, it might not be so awful, provided you got up at midnight T-355 to ensure you got the return flights.

    • I think Easter Monday is 17/4/17 not 17/3/17.

    • James67 says:

      Same risk with outbound on longhaul redemptions if wanting to use the 241 or Lloyds vouchers for a return. It’s a real pain for destinatiins with a single daily rotation as availability is freqyently gone around T-355, rarely to return. Like Brian, I value ow for flexibility.

      If RFS becomes return only, I wonder if we may once again see free connections from the regions, but I wont hold my breath

  6. OT: For Pizza Express fans there is an offer on our BAPP £20 off a £50 spend up to 30/6/16.

    • That’s been there for months… I claimed mine about 4 weeks ago when Raffles did the offers for those giftcards.

      • I don’t remember the article.

        The PE offer is on the “Amex Offers” list. However, In fairness to Liz, it is not hitting card accounts at the same time-hit our BAPP a couple of weeks ago, hit the BA basic no more than a few days ago. It might therefore appear as “new”.

        Wish I’d checked our BA basic(or indeed the offers page) yesterday, as it would have saved another £20!

  7. They better not be getting rid of the ability to do one-way RFS redemptions!! Tax not an issue as when connecting onto a domestic flight we get stung for LHR charges anyway so it’s never really that relevant but I wouldn’t want to start booking a return and throwing away one leg if they stop allowing one way bookings – that would be a minimum 200% increase in cost over the old style RFS from the regions!

  8. OT: On upgrading an Amex gold to platimum, do you get a refund of the fee pro rata if midway through chargeable year?

  9. Fraser says:

    I wonder if this is related to the change that, since March, apparently outbound legs can be cancelled without fees. Stupidly I booked an EDI-LCY return last year to lock in a cheap fare, but now may need to cancel the outbound flight. Since being a no-show would trigger cancellation of the entire ticket, I asked and was told it would cost me £90 as a “change fee” to not take the outbound flight I’ve already paid for…because I booked before March.

    • Is it true that outbound legs can be cancelled free of charge?

      I personally doubt that…

      • quick google – I’m right!

        From 10th May, British Airways will begin implementing a change to the refunds policy for British Airways fares. This will enable our trade partners to automate refunds as it will use industry standard ATPCO Category 33. The automation will lead to a reduction in the time taken to process refunds for British Airways customers. We will begin this process with public fares, and later private fares, helping to streamline the overall customer experience.
        Current Refunds Policy
        As per the standard text in Category 16 (‘Penalties Category’) of the fare rules, our current policy reads:
        When combining fares that have cancellation fees, the highest cancellation fee of each of the cancelled pricing units applies with the following exception.
        When combining a refundable fare with a non-refundable fare:
        1. The amount paid on the refundable fare component is refunded less any applicable penalty
        2. The amount paid on the non-refundable fare component will not be refunded
        New Refunds Policy
        We will be simplifying the policy to apply all cancellation fees per fare component. This will be reflected in the fare rules.
        When combining non-refundable fares with refundable fares:
        1. The amount paid on each refundable fare component is refunded
        2. The amount paid on each non-refundable fare component will not be refunded
        3. When combining fares, charge the sum of the cancellation fees of all cancelled fare components

        • I’m still waiting for a refund 2.5 weeks on…..! Apparently still not got to it…

        • This only applies to cash tickets, not redemptions. BA swear that this will not increase cancellation revenue overall but, in some circumstances, it will sharply increase what you pay.

  10. Tilly71 says:

    Clubcard Vouchers have appeared today, mines on auto convert to VA, can anyone tell me how long until the points show in VA account as I was under the impression auto converts happened first.

  11. James67 says:

    OT: new accelerate available from IHG 1 June through 31 August. My challenges more difficult than previous two despite my ignoring those in the hope that future challenges would be easier. Still, 5 nights would get me 60k points pluse base plus spire status bonus which is potentially useful. However, I’m increasingly liking Hilton simply because they are making me feel valued whilst I feel conned by IHG spire.

  12. Data point – I just booked a one way RFS redemption LHR-ATH

  13. Those RAC code prices do look a bit higher than normal – could it be we are too close to the parking period in question to get the usual keen prices?

    Whereas Virgin portal still manages it…?


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