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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.