Avios has launched, as a trial, ‘Avios Advance’. This has been knocking around for a while on a limited basis but is now popping up for more and more people.
This is something new for airline loyalty programmes although Marriott has been doing it for years with its hotel programme.
You can book an Avios flight even if you don’t have enough points. You have until 35 days before departure to earn them.
How does it work?
If all of your Avios are in British Airways Executive Club, you will need to move them over to avios.com before you can do this.
The exact rules for ‘Avios Advance’ have not been published. This is how it seems to work – but please do not take this information as fully accurate:
You seem to need to book 6 months ahead of travel
You seem to need to have 75% of the Avios required already in your account
Note that there is no guarantee that you will be offered ‘Avios Advance’ even if you do meet these criteria.
Go through the flight booking process on avios.com and, assuming your potential booking meets the criteria above, the box above will appear on screen.
It invites you to ring the Avios call centre and make your booking. This is what happens:
Avios reserves your seat
You pay your existing Avios balance plus the full taxes for the ticket (the box only mentions £35 Reward Flight Saver taxes but I assume you need to pay the full taxes figure)
You have until 35 days before departure to earn the balance of the Avios required
It isn’t clear what happens if you don’t have the remaining Avios in your account 35 days before travel. Do you forfeit your ‘deposit’ (ie all of the Avios you used)? That sounds too excessive. I am guessing that the booking is cancelled and you receive your Avios and taxes back less the usual £35 cancellation fee.
What do I think?
This is an interesting move by Avios. It is customer friendly but also has the potential to cost Avios money:
It saves the customer from buying Avios points to top up their account at the punitive 1.6p per point rate
It creates additional call centre work as these bookings cannot be made online
Let’s see how it goes – the fact that it is now being offered more widely implies they are happy with it. Hopefully it will be a success.
PS. The Marriott version of this scheme is FAR more generous. Marriott Rewards members can make reward redemptions without having any points in their account! You have until 7 days before arrival to earn the points you need. I have a Ritz-Carlton booking for October currently booked via this route.
(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.)