How to buy Avios for 0.77p whilst making your next redemption!

When you book an Avios redemption on the British Airways website, you are – unless using a BA Amex 241 voucher or booking with a couple of obscure partner airlines – given the option to reduce the number of Avios needed in return for paying more cash.

BA doesn’t hide this option.  It is offered to you in clear view:

However, the odd combinations they show of Avios and money means that you might not realise what a good deal you are being offered.

For long-haul economy / World Traveller redemptions, long-haul World Traveller Plus redemptions and all short-haul redemptions, it makes sense to pay more cash and use fewer Avios.  It is the equivalent of ‘buying’ Avios for as little as 0.77p which is as cheap as you will ever see.

Here are some worked examples based on a return flight to New York, off peak:

World Traveller:

26,000 Avios + £365

20,800 Avios + £415 (buying 5,200 Avios for 0.96p)

16,900 Avios + £445 (buying 9,100 Avios for 0.88p)

13,000 Avios + £465 (buying 13,000 Avios for 0.77p)

10,400 Avios + £485 (buying 15,600 Avios for 0.77p)

9,100 Avios + £495 (buying 16,900 Avios for 0.77p)

In the most extreme example, you pay an extra £130 cash in order to use 16,900 fewer Avios.  That means you are effectively buying those 16,900 Avios for 0.77p each.

World Traveller Plus:

52,000 Avios + £440

41,600 Avios + £530 (buying 10,400 Avios for 0.86p)

36,400 Avios + £570 (buying 15,600 Avios for 0.83p)

31,200 Avios + £620 (buying 20,800 Avios for 0.86p)

26,000 Avios + £650 (buying 26,000 Avios for 0.81p)

20,800 Avios + £680 (buying 31,200 Avios for 0.77p)

Again, you are offered the chance to ‘buy’ Avios for 0.77p – up to 31,200 Avios in this case.

This method doesn’t work in Club World however.  Take a look:

Club World:

100,000 Avios + £526

90,000 Avios + £726 (buying 10,000 Avios for 2.00p)

75,000 Avios + £996 (buying 25,000 Avios for 1.88p)

65,000 Avios + £1,226 (buying 35,000 Avios for 2.00p)

57,500 Avios + £1,326 (buying 42,500 Avios for 1.88p)

50,000 Avios + £1,426 (buying 50,000 Avios for 1.80p)

Club World is ludicrously expensive.  There is no reason for anyone to take advantage of this deal.  Even in the unthinkable scenario that anyone was willing to pay 2p for an Avios, they could buy them directly from BA for 1.6p.

Here are two short-haul examples.  The plan works well on the Euro Traveller ticket but less well on Club Europe – although it is still worth considering.

Euro Traveller, using Reward Flight Saver:

13,000 Avios + £35

10,400 Avios + £65 (buying 2,600 Avios for 1.15p)

9,200 Avios + £75 (buying 3,800 Avios for 1.05p)

7,800 Avios + £85 (buying 5,200 Avios for 0.96p)

6,600 Avios + £95 (buying 6,400 Avios for 0.94p)

4,300 Avios + £105 (buying 8,700 Avios for 0.80p)

and, a slightly worse deal:

Club Europe, using Reward Flight Saver:

25,500 Avios + £50

23,000 Avios + £80 (buying 1,500 Avios for 2.00p)

21,200 Avios + £100 (buying 4,300 Avios for 1.16p)

18,700 Avios + £120 (buying 6,800 Avios for 1.03p)

17,000 Avios + £140 (buying 8,500 Avios for 1.06p)

13,600 Avios + £160 (buying 11,900 Avios for 0.92p)

Conclusion

Next time you book a short-haul or an economy or World Traveller Plus long-haul Avios redemption, without using a 241 voucher, seriously consider taking advantage of this opportunity.   They will be some of the easiest and cheapest Avios you will probably ever ‘purchase’.

Thanks to Harry and Anna for badgering me into writing about this!

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Comments

  1. Do you earn tier points with part cash part avios bookings?

    • the real harry1 says:

      depends what you mean – if you buy using the method in this article (ie Avios redemption), then no

      if you are not getting a redemption but paying cash – and use Avios points to reduce the cost – then yes

      • So what are the other differences between reducing the cost of paying cash with Avios, and adding cash to use fewer Avios in a redemption? Which one should you normally use?

        • The key thing to bear in mind is that when you start with a redemption and then lower the avios cost by paying more cash, you are BUYING avios

          When you start with a cash fare and then lower then cash cost by paying more avios, you are SELLING avios.

          Both can be good deals, depending on the price you are getting. I.e. Buy low, sell high.

        • If you normally buy avios to top up your balance, the best price you can normally get them for is around 1p, when there’s a 50% bonus on. However, if instead of buying them through your BAEC or avios.com account, you pay for them at the time of booking a redemption flight (i.e. using the avios plus cash option), you can get them for as little as 0.7p each. You need to work it out as per Rob’s example, though, to know whether you’re getting a good deal or not. Say you were short of 75,000 avios for the flights you wanted. If you bought 50,000 avios from BAEC with a 50% bonus, they would cost you £815 for 75,000, but if you “bought” 75,000 at the time of booking your redemption flight at 0.7p each, they would only cost £525.

  2. My redemptions are all 8000 avios/return RFS out of LCY, I always check the pay more cash options when I book, but I’ve yet to come across anything really worth it.

  3. I have used this a few times when ive needed a lh o/w tix. I had to cancel a few and had a fight with ba on some of them to get cash bit back. The rules are clesr imho but the computer said no and requests to ticketing fell into a black hole..

  4. O/T when will BA publish 2019 peak/off peak calendar? Trying to plan a trip to HK around CNY 2019. Thanks.

    • This year they didn’t bother publishing it until mid year – until then all you could do was look, day by day, at the pattern of what was being released 355 days in advance.

      I doubt they would mess much with the current 2018 system.

    • The only major change might be at Easter as the Bank Holiday weekend falls much later in 2019 than it does in 2018.

  5. Scottydogg says:

    OT
    I was reading about BA tier points on their website today
    ‘At 5000 Tier points, you will also receive two executive club silver partner cards and one Gold partner card, so that you can share your benefits with those who matter to you the most’

    Has this ever been covered on head for points ? a family member of mine must be over 5000 tier points , how can i use this to my advantage ? could he give me silver / gold ?

    • That’s 5000 tier points in one year isn’t it? There must be very few who manage that!

    • If he has a Concorde Room card then yeah he could.

      I’ve heard there are less than 500 people with Concorde Room cards so probably why it doesn’t get much coverage.

    • Yes, easy. Five minute job, all he needs is your BAEC number, passport number and date of birth. It is best to wait until your new BA membership year starts, as you then get 26 months of Gold – the rest of the current year and all of the following year, plus the three months grace period at the end. You are not meant to get a soft landing to Silver – you are meant to drop back to Blue – but it doesn’t always happen.

  6. guesswho2000 says:

    This article is well timed, I just made a redemption on QF MEL-ADL return, various options around 1-1.5p/Avios or the full 9,000+GBP 24.40. I took 8,000 + 34.40, 1p/Avios, as I know I’ll beat that value wise. Every little helps!

  7. GOD SAVE THE POINTS says:

    Why anyone would pay most of the econ prices listed while also throwing away miles is far beyond my reach of comprehension.

    • Obviously! But at peak dates, or if needs must …

    • the real harry1 says:

      I don’t follow you – the RFS flights (European) are return tickets so the prices are pretty cheap – to a 6500 Avios single destination in Economy – why do you think a cash ticket (enabling you to earn miles) would be a better option?

      Same for the New York flights – off peak returns. Just did one cash comparison LHR-New York off-peak, cheapest available 8-12 Nov, it came in @ £590 vs the example above [9,100 Avios + £495 (buying 16,900 Avios for 0.77p)]

      The £590 flight would earn a few points but even including them, there’s no particular advantage to paying cash & earning points. And I did choose the very cheapest cash fare – there are redemptions available around those dates where alternatively you’d be paying cash >£1000+

    • Gilbert btw where are you now on your homeless year!

      It’s fantastic value if like many of us.. you are trying to complete the 4 legs on ba metal to retain ba silver. E.g. our positioning flights next month to HEL..we have CE going out and Y back. Reason for Y is once we land in HEL on way home l call ba when we are in passport line. And get on an earlier ba flight back to UK…you can change this y flight on the day. We always get a great use avios offer on these types of flights . So our cash pay out is substantially smaller. Other return we then do hbo to Dub.
      So def a winner all round esp as Rob says school holiday time when people have no other choice.
      I also think Anna And Harry you two are still very much focused on school hols time therefore this perk in very valuable for you esp flying if 4 or 5 pax. We still value it highly going to Dub in the peak summer time…been using it as long as ba are pushing it.
      As Rob says they offer it quite openly and am sure people use it when they need to.
      But your concept of actually buying these avios for 0.7 p might not be how people see it. They basically see it as using up avios to reduce tkt prices. But costing it out is useful and will focus people’s mind on the advantage in future.

  8. Can you upgrade the redemption from WT to CW ?

    If you can, then as WT to CW upgrades are fixed (presumably ?) then go to WT first and then up to CW instead of buying into CW directly as the rate is prohibitive.

  9. For people who earn their points through flying (it took me a while to realize there are many on this site who this does not apply to) then buying more points does not always make sense since they’ll have a huge number of points anyway and using as little cash as possible is the important thing. Making good use of the points is important but if you have half a million points balance then why would you buy even more

    • Half a million avios isn’t that many… That is a Club World or First redemption for a family of four. It’s more a matter of whether you make this amount annually by flying (you are Avios rich) or whether this is your balance (not so rich).

  10. OT – trying to book a hotel on the accor website.

    I have selected all hotels that I can pay using points.
    When it gets to the payment stage, it gives me no options to pay with points….

    Anyone know if there is a button I am missing or some obscure part of the website that I need to go to?

  11. Speedbird676 says:

    Most of my Avios spend goes on Club Europe RFS and I almost always do this, reducing the number of Avios I’m burning and get access to Club Europe and the lounge for a small amount of cash. Tier points aside, it is much better value than buying a cash fare and reducing with Avios.