Why BA ‘triple Avios’ is worse than we thought

On Tuesday I wrote a piece about the new British Airways ‘triple Avios’ promotion.  To say that the website for it left something to be desired was putting it mildly, with contradictory statements, misleading statements due to poor punctuation and key terms and conditions missing.

Someone was reading the criticism on here and on Flyertalk, because on Tuesday night the registration page for the offer was changed.

(The dodgy punctuation remains – ‘You can earn triple Avios on all British Airways flights and when you fly with our partners American Airlines, Finnair and Iberia on flights between Europe and North America.’ which implies that only flights between Europe and North America are included. This is not true.)

There is now a FAQ.  This makes clear that when the website was wrong – and remains wrong – when it says that you should go to the BA Avios-earning calculator to work out how many Avios you will get.  The one thing you won’t be getting in many cases is 3 x the number shown in the calculator.

This is because triple Avios is now defined as triple BASE Avios before the application of any cabin bonus.

At least, I think it is, because as far as I can tell these two statements from the rules are totally contradictory:

8) Eligible Participants who book and complete their journeys on Qualifying Flights within the Promotional Period will qualify for a triple Avios bonus based on cabin of travel.

9) Eligible Participants will receive triple Avios Points before any cabin or tier bonuses on all tickets except reward flights.

British Airways A350

In my original article on Tuesday I used this example:

Berlin to Hong Kong on British Airways, Club World, 8th-16th November

Cash cost: €1,737 (£1,454)

Avios earned as a Blue member (a status member would get more):

Calculated at this web page as (869 + 8969 + 8969 + 869) x 3 = 59,028

I was wrong.  This is because a cheap Club World ticket earns 150% of base Avios.  For any particular flight due to the cabin bonus.  The base Avios earned is what the BA calculator shows for a Y-class Economy ticket.

In reality, this is what you will get:

Berlin to Hong Kong on British Airways, Club World, 8th-16th November

Cash cost: €1,737 (£1,454)

Avios earned as a Blue member (a status member would get more):

Calculated at this web page as (869 + 8969 + 8969 + 869) + a bonus of (579 + 5979 + 5979 + 579) + (579 + 5979 + 5979 + 579) = 45,908

It still isn’t a bad deal, of course, just not as good as I first though.

If you haven’t already registered for triple Avios, the page you need is here.  It is open to readers worldwide.

(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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Bits: Etihad sale ends TODAY, crazy £698 business class to New York on La Compagnie
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  1. That doesn’t make sense – or their own worked example is also wrong.

    Lets look at their worked example, they say:
    “If you were to buy a World Traveller (economy) return ticket in K,L,M,N,S or V class from London Heathrow to Los Angeles, you would normally earn 5,442 Avios. With our Triple Avios offer you would earn 16,326 Avios.”

    BA say that for a return in these fare codes you would normally earn 5442.
    These agrees with the BA calculator, but lets look at that number.

    According to gcmap.com the distance i miles between LHR and LAX is about 5456, which is close to 5442 in BAs figures. Therefore this confirms, that the fare codes they mention in their worked example are getting a 50% cut from the flown distance.
    I.e. the ‘fare class adjustment factor’* is 50% (*we can’t really call it a ‘cabin bonus’ now since premium cabins do not earn at a single level).

    Now BA are doubling the answer for a return to get the standard earn rate.
    Then they are tripling that answer to get the total earning during the promotion.
    But that answer is using a figure that contains the fare code adjusted value, not the base avios.

    *IF* BA are doing it that way, then your original worked example would be correct IMO. As it is tripling the fare code adjusted answer.

    HOWEVER, I have a feeling was is most likely is the worked example is wrong. I think ‘base avios’ will mean what it has always meant – 100% flown distance, before ANY adjustment factors (fare code/cabin, or status).

    THEREFORE, I do think your new example may be correct – but coming from that, I think people in cheaper fares might be the real winners here.

    • Here’s the thing. I thought that too and even wrote that. I then went back through the rules and changed my mind.

      When the rules say ‘base Avios’ they don’t mean ‘100% flown miles’ (in my interpretation). They mean ‘whatever you get before cabin bonus’.

      Literally, I agree, it sounds like a cheap Y ticket gets an 800% bonus ….

      • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

        But don’t they count the 25% as the base for Q, O and G while for premium cabins they count 100% as the base (same as B, H and Y) and then any extra as the cabin bonus. That is how they post on BAEC as well, if you fly O you may get one posting of 125, Flying I you’ll get one posting of 500 and another of 125 (and a third of status if applicable). It sounds like it’s that first posting that will get tripled, i.e. 375 in O and 1500 in Y and I plus the extra 125 in I = 1625.

  2. It’s confusing, the offer say only flights between Europe and North America. But here you giving example of trip between Berlin and Hongkong, which they are not transatlantic flights. Did i miss something, is the offer for all the flights?

    • That’s what Rob was getting at with his comment about poor punctuation….

      It may be that for partners airlines only flights between Europe and the North America earn triple miles, whilst for BA all flights earn the bonus BA’s wording is imprecise.


    • It seems it’s really for all flights

      • The offer is for all flights but if you are going to do lots of long haul flights then you could waste some of the 3x bonus on short haul flights, since the first eight flights earn 3x points.

        So TXL-LHR-HKG counts as two flights. On this route two return tickets would earn 3x points. The third return ticket earns normal points.

        For me (based in HEL travelling long haul from LHR) i’ll be careful to book AY operated flights HEL-LHR, since these will not use up any of the 8 possible 3x points offers. So i’ll have the chance of 4x return tickets at 3x points instead of 2x return tickets if I booked HEL-LHR as BA.

        • Oh but if you travel on AY operated flights with your BAEC no attached, you will earn 3x avios on those sectors, no?

          “Do I get triple avios on other airlines”
          “Yes, you will receive triple Avios when you fly with our partners American Airlines, Finnair and Iberia on flights between Europe and North America only”

          • 3x avios on AY is only for transatlantic flights. Not something like HEL-LHR

            HEL-LHR-HKG on BA ticket with BA LHR-HKG
            HEL-LHR on AY metal: one flight counts for 3x avios
            HEL-LHR on BA metal: two flights count for 3x avios

            So if I plan several trips to HKG then best to book the HEL-LHR flights on AY and get as many LHR-HKG flights on triple avios as possible and not waste them with 3x points for HEL-LHR.

  3. I am currently sitting next to a junior lawyer (big City firm, 2 years post-qualification) who is helping my client with some contractual work.

    I just showed her the BA page and she was horrified.

    She said “OMG even a 1st year law student would get a fail for such crap drafting !”

    Horse’s mouth and all that…

    • What makes anyone think they would get a lawyer to write it? Some idiot in Marketing has clearly written it, then it was adjusted by the boss to the rubbish it is now.

    • Do you think someone writing for BA.com is comparable to a junior lawyer at a top firm!?

      • Seb,

        No and that’s the point really.

        Here’s a promo, governed explicity by a set of T&Cs, which is inducing people to spend thousands on the premise they will get hundreds in value back (in the form of Avios).

        And yet the exceedingly poor drafting leaves gaping holes in the reasonable interpretation of those T&Cs which BA will almost certainly use to the detriment of the customer.

        More than pocket money at stake + contractual wiggle room = ripe for legal challenge.

        Hence, would it really have killed them to shell out a few hundred quid to make sure the words were correctly puntuated !!!???

    • Exactly the comment I made. The original release was terrible and they have tried to fix it – what is more worrying is that they didn’t manage it!

      BA: find a grown up who owns a dictionary to do it for you. And put in an example of a gold in CW while you are at it. If my experience is anything to go by, about half of the passengers you carry nowadays are gold.

      • BA – you seem to read these comments…
        I’m happy to offer my services on a consultancy basis.

  4. My guess from Wednesday still stands. I think that you get an extra 200% of miles flown regardless of cabin or tier, but less if you are in discounted economy.

  5. “This is because a cheap Club World ticket earns 125% of base Avios”.

    Not 150%?


  6. OT
    We have just left the notorious No 1 lounge at Gatwick north.
    It was about 25% full. And the Egg Benedict arrived in five minutes. It was quite impressive except for the un-ergonomic toilets.
    Now sitting in aircraft (BA painted gold) while they fix an engine fault.

    • Wayne Phillips says:

      I thought it was fine when I was there too, and thought I must have the wrong place based on all the complaints I read online

      Not as good as the BA lounge was of course, but fine to pass some time.

      My only minor complaint was the coke was from a dispenser and flat

      • yes but 7am on a Friday is not the same as 7am on a Mon-Thursday, business travellers want the weekend at home

    • Gin and Tonic Please says:

      Agreed. We were there last Fri around 7pm and thought it was great. Drinks service was super fast, and the food wasn’t bad either, especially the millionaires shortbread! The loos are the same layout for much of LGW North btw. I quite liked it (felt like an ‘open plan private’ bathroom) but can see how it might lead to queuing.

    • i like the Golden Dove!

      ROB:something wrong on the code, Chrome doesn’t like the blog today. I see there are some errors (reload/reload , seems plugin related)

  7. I booked all of my flights between now and Feb 2017. Theres no room to book any others, I’m literally flying 3-10 times a week. And I get nothing.

    I understand that they are trying to encourage more bookings but its so short minded. It puts me off booking ANYTHING past Feb 2017 because they might have another offer.

    Why can’t it be for anyone that travels on those dates that register? Its literally penalising everyone who is loyal to BA.

  8. I booked BA Flight+Holidays for Jersey for a weekend break in Club Europe and my account is showing that this flight is eligible for 80 tier points and 2500 Miles. I am a Silver card holder so this seems to be calculated as (500 base+250 cabin bonus)*3 + 250 (Silver).

    Of course what posts once I take the flights is another story but at least the good thing is BA Holiday flights count.

    • I booked a flight+hotel yesterday because of this promotion expecting to get the 3x Avios – I just checked, and I did NOT receive the extra avios so count yourself lucky if you get them..

    • When you say 2500 miles do you mean 2500 Avios? If yes, then I’d say that doesn’t include this promo at all. A silver card holder gets 1000 Avios per leg in CE so that makes 2000 Avios. The rest comes from the holiday booking so I’m guessing you paid about £250 (2×250 = 500 Avios).

      Whether you’ll also get Avios from this promo, I don’t know. But I don’t think it would or should show up in MMB yet.

  9. Whilst its possible that a myriad of things have gone wrong with the preperation of this promotion, I suspect its probably one (or combination) of these three that caused it;
    – it was horribly rushed
    – gross incompetence
    – they just don’t care

    In any event, You don’t need to be a lawyer to get this sort of thing right, although running it past one before publication is always a good idea!

    BA really does need to stop the rot across a number of fronts.

    • Quite frankly, is it any surprise, with the number of people leaving school, and indeed higher education today, who can barely write in anything more than text-speak?! :-)

      • m8 r u serus? :)

        Marketing people are usually pretty literate, esp senior marketing people – looks very rushed to me.

        I’d say the IT failures are more serious.

        • If you don’t FULLY understand how Avios works you cannot write this copy properly. And as there are only about 100 people who do ….. :-)

  10. Can anyone please shed some light on buying TF gift vouchers for amex offer?

    • If bought in a TF shop it would almost certainly be ok. Online, you never know.

      • Cheers Rob.
        I guess online limit is £500 GC, so it must be used in store to benefit from the offer.
        For flight bookings would TF match the same fare as you would get from OTAs likes of opodo, expedia?
        If so it’s a no brainer to buy GC now and use it for flight bookings for next few flights.
        I have offer on 6 different cards so not sure whether to max out on that and use it for flight bookings later on.

  11. It’s the sort of thing the litte coffee shop down the road would get wrong but you’d expect someone as big as BA to have things like this wrapped up before release.

    Do they get the kids on work experience to know this stuff up and then don’t bother to check it.

    I’m sorry but if one of my staff organised a shambles of a promotion like this they would be getting a rather quick demotion or the option to go to evening school!!

  12. O/T

    Does anyone know if priority pass allows access to “Aspire Plus” sections of Aspire Lounges?

    At ncl the aspire lounge is essentially now an extension of the main terminal with every tom dick and harry using the lounge. The aspire plus section which is a lounge within a loung is more befitting of a typical airport lounge but is unbelievably charged at £15 per head.

    • When anyone can get a PP (like yourself) it’s no wonder that every tom dick and harry can get in.

  13. O/T: Re Virgin’s miles booster. Finished call with them. Only base miles included and only on VS operated flights (so Delta doesn’t count). Normal miles and TP apply of course. However, anyone who booked Chicago for next year (mine is April) will find that they can’t do the miles booster offer because that flight number doesn’t yet exist in VS’s system! Am on hold while supervisor works out what to do to let me participate…

  14. I booked a first class flight to the USA yesterday on the strength of this offer. The BA operator who took my booking said it was a very generous one. I am now totally confused about how many Avios I will receive. If it’s triple the economy amount, I will be seriously unhappy.
    I will contact BA for clarification and if my worse fears are confirmed I will let you know.

  15. the_real_a says:

    Its rather more serious than just poor communication, because something like this can persuade someone to make a booking that otherwise would not with BA

    It rather illustrates the point, that we should all be taking screenshots of T&C`s when booking through offers.

    • Without wishing to stray in to hyperbole, one can imagine that if a dispute ever arose because a customer made a booking on the basis that the 300% offer would apply to the cabin bonus, BA might have a bit of difficulty explaining that it does not.

      Of course I don’t imagine anything like this would ever get that far, but para. 8 is pretty clear, in isolation. And if memory serves, BA have in the past awarded these uplifts on the cabin bonus too.

      What is so annoying is that this is still a pretty decent offer really. I am beginning to wonder if BA did actually include the cabin bonus in this to begin with, just to give them something to “enhance” my removing it the next day!

    • yep I was kicking myself that I did not screenshot the Sunday Times Travel offer – fortunately all worked out OK :)

    • I agree. I have started taking screenshots of this offer. I had a reply from BA saying I would earn triple points on my 1st class booking. I had asked them to quantify the figure, but they didn’t, so I have sent them another request.

  16. OT Anyone know if you can pay npower bills at paypoint?

    • ISTR only if you have a pre-payment meter

      ie they want to facilitate payments from those who need extra help but are unwilling to give this option to standard metered customers

    • Just don’t go there.

      Even if npower gave you a gold bar every quarter, it would not be worth the hassle you may receive.

      When I tried npower as a switch they grabbed my neighbours gas and my electric, and it took well over a year to resolve.

      • On the topic of energy switches, the MSE collective switch comes out 13 Sep. Register beforehand to get notification and to be able to participate.

        • I was just able to pay in £1000 to my EON a/c (BMI DC VISA 1000 Avios) – they don’t like you to go more than £300 in credit but I did it on the phone, nae problemo

    • Don’t they give you £100 off if you have a direct debit set up?

      • I use Scottish Power as they are cheapest for us and have a direct debit. I greatly overpay pref using Go Spend It with money off coupon from Tescco and then ask for a refund. I have has £300 twice to bank
        in the last few months. It is all done online nut they may notice eventually.

        On the subject of energy comparisons you need to check the assumptions that they have made about your current supplier. If your fixed price finishes in the next year they may assume that you will move onto an expensive standard rate. There is an energy equivalent of Apr which will be hidden somewhere.

  17. As a newly retired person who has just achieved Silver status with BA, I thought I was on to a winner with the TRIPLE points deal as I was going to Malta, Phuket and Barbados in the allocated time. Then I realised that the caveat used was NEW bookings and TRAVEL during that specified period.What an absolute bummer.
    I am sure that the vast majority of leisure travellers do not book and travel within 3 months.
    (Must admit the punctuation in the BA offer was terrible).

    • true, i book a few weeks before or less :-)

    • Similar for me – just re-gained my silver, and have return flights booked in each month of the offer. All booked a few weeks ago or more. Some reward for our loyalty! Just another way which BA demonstrate that they don’t care.

      • I think it’s a bit of an unfair/ naïve gripe tbh – they are trying to drum up new business, not give extra discounts to tickets already bought

        as to whether they should be sympathetic on the phone if you have a little moan, that is a different matter :)

  18. OT: Amex just honoured the pledge to give me 6000 additional avios on my BA card when I hit the spend target (the day I signed up it was 3000 avios not 9000). Also what is the best way to buy the new iPhone 7? You can’t click through from avios estore.

    • I’ve just clicked through from avios estore (4avios/£) and was taken to the page where I could preorder. Why do you think it wouldn’t track?

      • it says so it the t’s & c’s

        • Ah. Didn’t see that. Perhaps go down the Currys gift card bought at Tesco route for use at Dixons travel.

        • yeah T’s and C’s. Avios say it will be included when it is on general sale so will probably just wait until then. I don’t want to miss out on 3500 avios for the sake of getting the phone a couple of weeks earlier.

  19. Dan Mortimer says:

    I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed but the Book & Uprgade tool is not working and hasn’t for the last 5 days!! (Since the Triple AVIOS offer was posted??) Interestingly, though, the book with AVIOS part does work – I have Tweeted BA three times asking if the Book & Upgrade tool will be working before the sale ends, “we are aware and working hard to fix it” was the response! I was pointed in the direction of the booking line, to which I responded that reward seats are few and required customer flexibility – and booking them would take hours over the phone!

  20. The dodgy punctuation remains – ‘You can earn triple Avios on all British Airways flights and when you fly with our partners American Airlines, Finnair and Iberia on flights between Europe and North America.’ which implies that only flights between Europe and North America are included. This is not true.)

    Maybe I’m not quite as literate as I thought, but that clearly says all BA flights anywhere in the world, and the partner flights between Europe and North America to me. Granted the standard of English is low (though I’ve seen similar on this normally well written blog many times! – it’s much more important for BA to get it right though), but it seems clear enough to me.

  21. Wyle E Coyote says:

    For heaven’s sake, when a promotion is too complicated that your own PR people can even understand it maybe, just maybe, it needs to be simplified.

    • Wyle E Coyote says:

      *can = can’t

    • Thing is, it is a very simple offer. And, to be frank, a good one too.

      The problem here lies not with the guys who came up with the offer, but (I assume) the marketing department who made a right mess of communicating it.

      I hate to be critical, but whomever is responsible for this really needs to ask themselves if they really are the best person to run this sort of thing. It’s embarrassing. I’ve had ‘difficult conversations’ with juniors on 20k a year for lazy wording like this. If anybody on 50k+ a year had anything to do with this, they are overpaid.

      The English language can be like a Swiss watch: beautiful, and precise. This promo is more like the counterfeit version which is such a pity because rather than getting excited about what a great offer this is, we are bemoaning what it is not because they are incapable of clear communication.

  22. Pateldaku says:

    English is not my first Language, but I don’t see anything wrong with the Punctuations.
    2 categories
    and in the second 3 sub categories.

    You can earn Triple Avios

    1. on all British Airways flights
    2. when you fly with our partners
    a. American Airlines
    b. Finnair
    c. Iberia
    on flights between Europe and North America

    1. 2. separated by “and”
    a b separated by “,”
    b c separated by “and”

  23. OT: Having hit my BA PP £10K spend and the 241 voucher duly received, is it possible to :
    1.Downgrade to the free BA Card and get a refund on the remaining annual fee?
    2.Does it affect the 241 validity?
    3.Do you get a new card number. i.e a new application and new credit check?
    4.Can you upgrade to the Premium card after the anniversary date to start the cycle of £10K spend to gain another 241?

    Any advice much appreciated, my first tryst with BA PP Amex!

  24. I read that as

    – All BA flights
    – And long-haul flights between N.America/Europe for partners airlines.

  25. Apologies but so OT:

    Hilton free night certificate, once you redeem if you need to cancel do you get the certificate back in your account? Thanks

  26. The dodgy punctation has been fixed :-)

    • And clause 8 has been rewritten.

      My bill is in the post.

      • Maybe they’ll just let you write how to get exit seat for free on Avios/ RFS redemptions?

        • Been racking my brains as to exactly who here is CWS from FT but I must confess I don’t have a clue, so probably nobody (just a reader) or else I have been well & truly stuffed

          • I’ve sat next to CWS at a dinner, albeit a couple of years ago, and I don’t think he comments over here. But I could be wrong!

  27. As an update to my two previous posts, I phoned BA about my booking yesterday and asked them for the number of Avios I will earn . The figure I was given was 3 times the amount I would normally earn for the booking as a bronze member.
    I recorded the conversation for future evidence should there be any dispute.

  28. I registered for the offer on Weds, booked a flight out of Riyadh to LHR (via the BA app) on Thursday and flew on Friday morning. Points credited at standard rate today with no sign of the triple points offer. Lets see how this goes then ….


  1. happack-news-api.humanwares.net

    British Airways triple Avios glitches emerge