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. OT :
    on travelzoo site you can now buy 25 GBP eurostar vouchers for 5 GBP
    might be useful for those who are planing to book eurostar soon

    • HayMow says:

      Thanks – and since you can buy more than 1, at 1 per booking, looks like you could redeem 1 on an outward trip and 1 on the return if booked separately. Or indeed 1 each for two people travelling together if you manage to figure out how to get seated next to each other, or don’t mind if you’re not.

    • Good deal. Only 1 voucher per booking.

  2. After extensive research and much reading of HfP, I was happy to use BA Holidays for our honeymoon a couple of years back. We booked 12 nights in St Lucia flying PE and paid for it in instalments using my BA Amex. On the £8.5k spend we netted about 53k avios (25k spend on card, 17k from BA Hoidays, 11k from flying) and virtually all of the spend for a companion voucher. This earned us back the 50k avios which had we spent to UuA to Club on both legs (pre-devaluation, if only you could still upgrade to the Caribbean for 12.5k each leg). I found the service from the holidays team to be excellent and would definitely recommend them.

    If you are planning a big trip it can be a lucrative way to earn some extra avios, spread the payments, have some additional security with the ATOL guarantee, whilst also getting good customer service. As ever though YMMV.

  3. Sussex Bantam says:

    Sorry – 9 months between booking and paying the balance not the deposit.

  4. Kenneth says:

    Can anyone post a quick example of a holiday that works out cheaper, or only slightly more expensive, than a flight-only? Whenever I’ve seen it mentioned on this site, I’ve tried searching and am yet to find one anywhere. It’s it more prevalent in some destinations over others?

    • This weekend: Friday to Sunday to Venice: Flights & hotel is £198 for 2 people (BA598 there, BA599 back) with 2 nights a Tulip Inn hotel.
      Flights (without checked luggage) would be £529

      • Kenneth says:

        Fri 15th BA598, return Sun 17th BA599. Cheapest hotel is Tulip Inn, Padvoa = £554.50 per person. What am I doing wrong?

        • Nothing wrong. It shows as £99/person on first page but once you click through it reprices to £554/person.

    • Matthew says:

      I just pointed this out to a mate today and he’s now booked!

      LHR-SEA 7 Sep to 17 Sep = ~£800pp and so for 3 people = £2.4k
      Now add a car and it reprices to approx £640pp inc the car! = £1.9k.

  5. Doing dummy bookings on the BA page flight + hotel for a week in January with hotel for 2 nights and after entering all details it does not offer you to pay a deposit. Tried the hotel for the 7 days and it lets you do a deposit.
    Tried it with car hire for 2 days too but again it wants full payment. Using safari on my iPad (but not the BA app)
    Any ideas why it won’t let me do a 2 day hotel for a 7 day trip and pay just a deposit?

    • Now you mention it, there may be a 3 day minimum. Try that.

      • Just tried four days and it’s still requiring full payment
        LHR-BOS 21/1/17 – 28/1/17

        • wetboy1uk says:

          Same problem here with only booking hotel for 2 nights out of a 10 night trip to orlando – no option to pay deposit. May work if your trip is only two nights in total but does not work when only booking a hotel for part of the trip no matter how many nights you book

    • 2 nights should be fine, I booked a 2 nighter recently and it offered a deposit. I was going to say is it over £300, but it must be if you are going to Boston.

  6. 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!

  7. 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). […]