How to avoid paying for your BA flight until 5 weeks before departure!

British Airways Holidays recently made a very quiet change to their terms and conditions.  I’m not sure why they didn’t publicise this as it is actually an improvement!  I mentioned this yesterday in my article on the BA sale but it was a throw-away remark and you probably missed it.

When booking on BA Holidays, you had to pay the final balance within 10 weeks of departure.  This has now changed.  You now only need to pay the balance within 5 weeks of departure.

It is VERY easy to turn a potential ‘flight only’ booking into a BA Holidays booking.

All you need to do is use the ‘flight and hotel’ or ‘flight and car’ options on ba.com.  You need to add some accommodation or car hire to your stay, but this can be as little as two nights.

The added benefit of doing this is that it can save you money.  You will often pay less for a ‘flight and hotel’ or ‘flight and car’ booking than just for the flight.  This is because British Airways sells you a different – cheaper – sort of flight ticket (don’t worry, you still get Avios and tier points!) which is made exclusively available to travel agents.

Even if the price is the same or is marginally more expensive, you may feel that it is a price worth paying to give yourself what could be a substantial period of interest free credit.

BA Holidays

How it works

Your ‘flight and hotel’ or ‘flight and car hire’ booking is confirmed as soon as you have paid a deposit.  This will be:

  • Package value £300-£999 – pay £150 deposit per booking
  • Package value £1000-£2999 – pay from £300 deposit per booking
  • Package value £3000-£3499 – pay from £350 deposit per booking

I’m not sure what the ‘pay from‘ element represents.  I am guessing you need to pay the higher of 10% or £350 on larger bookings.

Following the recent rule change, the balance is not due until five weeks before departure.

You can pay installments at any point up to five weeks before departure.  This is another benefit – you can split the cost across numerous credit cards if necessary, unlike a straight ‘flight only’ booking.

And an Avios bonus!

By booking a ‘flight and hotel’ or ‘flight and car’ package, you get an extra bonus.  You receive 2 Avios per £1 for your booking.  This is in addition to the Avios from the flight and from your credit card spend.

Downsides

There are a couple of small downsides you should note.  Flights booked via BA Holidays do not qualify for On Business points in the BA small business scheme.  Secondly, the comments below suggest that you will not offered cash upgrades via Manage My Booking on a BA Holidays ticket.

Cancellation

The deposit is lost if you cancel your booking, except in the rare circumstances where the flight you have booked was a fully refundable one.

This is another benefit of booking your flight as a BA Holidays package.  Whilst a ‘flight only’ booking is normally non-refundable, you can – via a BA Holidays ‘flight and hotel’ or ‘flight and car’ package – walk away from your booking by forfeiting the deposit up to five weeks before departure.

Full terms and conditions of BA Holidays packages can be found on this page of ba.com.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. Damien Keegan says:

    Hi there, the wife and I booked a few weeks ago to go to Barbados 1st October. Club World return flights and Hilton Exec rooms for 2 weeks, just shy of £5K for the 2 of us. Deposit was £500 and we don’t need to pay the balance until 27th August…result!

  2. Damien Keegan says:

    Did it over the phone rather than ‘net.

Trackbacks

  1. […] You can buy tickets on British Airways and pay only a deposit, with the balance due 5 weeks prior to…. This means you can lock in space and a prior while only risking your deposit. That may be much better than getting stuck with a big change fee and flight credit (at best). […]