When British Airways relaunched Air Miles and the Executive Club last November, the one change that came totally out of the blue – and in a very positive way – was the introduction of Reward Flight Saver. This allows anyone who has earned 1 mile in the last year to book a short-haul reward flight for just £27 in taxes and charges, or £34 for Club Europe.
Historically, short haul redemptions were a waste of time unless you needed the flexibility or were travelling at short notice. Miles & More is the perfect example of this – it is very easy to find M&M European awards where the taxes actually come to MORE than the price of buying a cash ticket, because LH artificially pushes down the taxes on cash tickets if a competitor on a route is charging less. Whilst BA never got this bad, you were still looking at c £100 of taxes for a short-haul flight to Europe which, when added to the 9,000+ miles required, made the redemption very, very bad value.
Now everything has changed. At 9,000 miles plus £27, a Reward Flight Saver redemption is probably the most valuable redemption you can get! A flight to Germany in economy will be around £150 these days, so you would be getting almost 1.5p per Avios of value. If I can get 0.75p on a long-haul J or F redemption then I consider it OK. Club Europe is also good value, especially if you have no status – upgrading just the outbound of a trip to Germany would be an extra 4,500 miles (one way) and £3.50. That’s a bargain for access to the Heathrow lounges and the Club Europe service, such as it is.
Other things you may not know:
- Reward Flight Saver flights are also available on Iberia and, in South Africa, on Comair, albeit Comair charges a slightly higher taxes number
- You can add extra domestic legs in the UK or Spain onto a Reward Flight Saver for free. This is a good deal if you live in the UK regions, and also a good deal for getting to parts of Spain (via a change in Madrid) that are not served directly from the UK.
The one downside of Reward Flight Saver is that it has made it pointless for me to chase a renewal of my BA Gold card. A lot of the tier points came from self-funded CE returns at c £250 each, but when I can get the same seats for 18,000 Avios and £34, I can’t justify paying cash.