British Airways offering you EU compensation as Avios – at a poor rate!

Over half term, my brother had a terrible time flying out to New York on BA.  His connection from Manchester to Heathrow was delayed due to a cancellation.  Because they had booked 5 x World Traveller Plus seats, BA struggled to reseat them on a Heathrow service and they had to take a taxi to Gatwick to take their NYC flight.  They arrived about five hours late.

He promptly filed a claim for his automatic compensation under EC261 for delays over three hours.   To give them credit, British Airways was very efficient and within a week he had received €3,000.

Recent reports on Flyertalk suggest that BA is offering customers the option of taking Avios instead of money.

This is allowed under the EU regulations, which state:

The compensation …… shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.

What I don’t understand is that BA appears to be treating this as another option to leg over its passengers.

The deal being offered is €600 (c £500) or 38,000 Avios.

This is a VERY poor deal if you take the Avios.  You are paying 1.33p per point.

Travel insurance

You can often buy Avios for noticeably less than 1.33p per point via the regular special deals run by BA and avios.com!  More importantly, most people would struggle to get more than 1.33p per point when redeeming – take a look at my core article on ‘What is an Avios point worth?’.

I would strongly recommend taking the money if you find yourself in this scenario.  Money is more flexible than Avios and if you really need 38,000 points an offer is likely to be along soon enough to buy them for less than 1.33p anyway.

BA could do itself a favour by offering, say, €800 of travel vouchers instead of €600 in cash.  This would be a more interesting alternative and would help retain a customer who (since they are making a delay claim in the first place) is probably not feeling very positive about BA currently ….

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Comments

  1. Last December we were delayed 7 hours at MCO waiting for a replacement VAA aircraft – Virgin were excellent at dealing with the compensation using their online form. They confirmed what we would get within days and had the money in our accounts within a week or so.

  2. Any advice on the following (that I’ve been sitting on for 6 months as I’m confused who should be paying compensation)? Booked on Orbitz and travelled in May 2016 LGW-BCN MAD-LHR in Business (I). O/B on BA was fine. Return was “Iberia 7462 operated by OPERATED BY BRITISH AIRWAYS — BA463”. Delayed for 4 hours. Orbitz recently sent me an email saying “You may be eligible for up to $172.25 per person for the delay under EU passenger law. Orbitz and our partners at AirHelp can help you get that compensation.” 1. Am I too late in making a claim? 2. Do I claim against BA or IB? 3. Should I use Orbitz/Airhelp? 4. Isn’t $172.25 light?

    • 1. If you live in the UK you have 6 years to make the claim.

      2. The operating airline is responsible so in your case it is BA. In some cases airlines can subcontract the processing, for example if your KLM transatlantic flight was delayed and you live in the US, Delta will pay the compensation, but this doesn’t apply to you.

      3. It depends on how much work you want to put in and whether you mind paying their fee.

      4. That looks like the amount you will receive after Orbitz takes their fee.

  3. We took a BA voucher instead of cash. Last year. They offered about 33% more as a voucher. However. It was only valid for flight only purchases. So no use when we tried paying for an Orlando Package. And also refused when we tried to pay for flights 24 hours after fixing the price on ba website. Also had a 15 month expiration. So beware of troubles in redeeming your vouchers. Cash may we’ll be better.

    • I refused a voucher and countered with avios (which they agreed to) for the reasons you listed – difficulty in actually using it and short expiry. Also note it can’t be used to pay the taxes on a redemption flight (at least that’s what they told me).

  4. Obviously a very poor deal indeed given that BA themselves only consider an Avios to have a standard cash value of 0.5454p per Avios (curiously enough also exactly the same 0.5p per point cash value as an old NatWest Yourpoint was considered to be worth on redemption) for redeeming any more significant number of Avios against the cost of a cash fare under their Avios part payment scheme as outlined at http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/spending-avios/part-payment

    Although It is true that when redeeming Avios on some very last minute bookings they can sometimes have a theoretical value as high as 20p per point (especially part Avios/part cash redemption deals) the fact is nobody would ever pay their own cash money for these exorbitantly priced last moment BA fares.

    And in general Avios don’t have a value higher than their regular 0.5p per point value under the Avios Part Payment Scheme because there is often such poor availability when trying to redeem the old fashioned way through the main avios.com or BA Exec Club Avios redemption scheme routes.

    • the real harry says:

      Disagree 100%.

      I generally buy @ T-355 – using Avios redemptions – and never get less than 1.3-1.5p value.

      Might just be my route, I guess – but I doubt it

      If I were getting under 1p value I would consider using cash instead, haven’t had to do that for a long time

      • +1

      • Lady London says:

        Harry in being able to plan and buy at T-355, you are truly an exceptional case.

        • the real harry says:

          Just a factor of kids, schools, holidays fixed by somebody else a year or more in advance, place & rellies abroad 🙂

        • the real harry says:

          the other thing is: I am usually buying in peak, ie school hols – so BA make the regular ticket price expensive even as soon as they are released – but Avios redemptions cost the same (peak) as usual

        • the real harry says:

          poor old AA Gill

          brilliant writer, died far too young

          just thinking right now I would dearly like to retire out at our place abroad – that’s 2 untimely deaths I heard this week, AA Gill and the brilliant car mechanic out at our village (‘Alex’, 60, stroke)

      • I also disagree – having had to pay a last minute BA fare (to visit a very suddenly and seriously ill grandmother and having no choice of flights because of other family members’ decisions at a difficult time) I had to buy a seat at T-72h. Return LHR to SFO was £2,300 in Y (Y class).

        Being able to get a last minute C redemption LHR-DUB and then an ex-DUB return (out in Y, back in J) for £600 less. Still a lot of cash but the Avios came into their own.

  5. This however could be a good deal for anyone using a 2-4-1 voucher!
    Especially if 2 of you are delayed on a flight a 2-4-1 voucher was used.

    For flight delay, I am having a nightmare against Enter Air
    As they have no UK base of operations, I cant take them to UK court.
    I have tried contacting them, using mediation services, CCA, etc.
    They refuse to pay out for my party of over 20 passengers!

  6. Lady London says:

    Can you not sue them in Poland (EU), where they seem to be incorporated?

  7. 2 Off Topic Questions
    1. I have a Gold card, how do I recommend a friend for the platinum card, I’m only given the option to recommend a Gold.
    2. If I use upgrade with avios to upgrade a WTP booking to CW, do i have to pay the taxes difference as well?

    • 1) They can pick the other card at the bottom of the referral link page (it’s all a bit poorly done!)
      2) Yes, although there shouldn’t be too marked an amount extra to pay

  8. I received a pay out in Avios for EU261 – but not at this rate! We got 1p/avios.
    Full story: In 2014 we had a plane go tech in BLR after boarding and next flight was 24 hours later.
    BA refused to pay out claiming extraordinary circumstances so I raised a MCOL and they said they would contest it in court. However a few days before the court date they offered the full £1000 (two of us travelling) but in travel vouchers with 1 year expiry. Given we wouldn’t use those I countered with 100,000 avios.
    They agreed and deposited that plus court fees. Given we’d flown Club on a reward flight with a 2-4-1 I was very pleased – meant the return trip had pretty much only cost us the “taxes”!

    • the real harry says:

      nicely done

    • Good for you and credit for hanging in there.

      • For early EU260/2004 claims I have been offered either the correct EU compensation by funds transfer, or 25% more value in vouchers (£800 voucher against €600 cash). They don’t seem to be offering this anymore, which is a shame as the additional value was worthwhile.

  9. Hi All,

    I made a claim in 2014/2015 for flights that occurred in December 2014 direct with BA after the delayed flight; they subsequently denied the claim for myself and party of 2 others. They advised us to claim via travel insurance however we didn’t purchase any.

    Upon reading all this – seeing that we have 4/5 years left of the 6 years to claim is it then worth re opening up and making a small claims court or this MCOL?

    All opinions greatly appreciated 🙂

    Thanks!!

    • If it is a clear cut EU261 claim then I’d personally have no qualms about going down the MCOL route.

      • Hi Alan,

        Thanks for your response. Yes, delayed flights and baggage – with missing items. BA was contacted immediately even their reps in the city of arrival only to give us the blurb of the claim didn’t reach them within seven days – however under the Montreal Convention even after receiving said delayed baggage one has up to 21 days to to report missing contents.

        Thanks again!

  10. Hi

    Hoping someone here may have some insight into my experiences with BA on a delayed flight in September.
    I was booked on a Baltiimore BWI to London Heathrow flight (BA 0228) on 6th September 2016. I arrived in plenty of time to check in my bag with my pre-printed boarding pass but was told by BA check in they were having a small technical issue and everybody would have to wait. Very little updates from BA but after a couple of hours waiting in line it was confirmed that there were problems with the BA computers and if necessary BA would switch to manual check in. (Around this time I discovered I was one of only a handful of passengers who had managed to check in and print my pass, not that it seemed to help me at all)

    Finally we did go manual which was sloooow and the flight due to depart at 21.50 left around 1.00 am. And almost worse still was that the flight was full and the inflight entertainment was not working.

    We then landed at Heathrow at 13.57 (by BA’s own flight checker) delayed from 9.55am. So just over the magic 4 hours by my calculation. I thought raising an immediate complaint via the BA website ought to be relatively clear cut. Over 3 weeks later I received a response from BA that they were sorry to hear about the delay and (non) entertainment system but:

    “Your claim’s been refused because BA0228 on 06 September was delayed because of airspace restrictions being in place that operational circumstances outside of our control. We always concern about our passengers’ safety. Under EU legislation, I’m afraid we’re not liable for a compensation payment in this situation.

    We take all reasonable measures to avoid delaying a flight and we always consider if there are any operational options available before we make a decision. We’re very sorry the delay was necessary in this case.” And that they have instead credited by BA account with 3,000 Avios.

    I’m very surprised to hear about the “airspace restrictions” as this was never mentioned by check in staff or the pilot/staff when apologising for the delays. Of course upon returning to London I discover on the news that ‘IT glitches’ have caused chaos with BA check in and flights, worldwide.

    So my question is, am I being naive in even wondering if BA could be telling porkies about the airspace restrictions? Or if there were some sort of airspace restrictions they don’t change the fact that the BA IT glitch was the primary cause. Should I persist with BA or consider the small claims route?

    Any pointers or similar experiences gratefully received. Apologies for the long rambly post but I noted elsewhere that a poster was asked for fuller details.

    Thanks

    • Hi Joseph,

      Sounds to me they’re def telling porkies!! I would file an MCOL in this instance under EC261 as they will now have to justify their petty response in court.

      Good luck!!

      • the real harry says:

        +1 you’ll get your compo but need to press it

        don’t fall at the first (spurious) hurdle