Over Easter, I will be answering a number of the reader questions that were submitted via this article. If you didn’t take part this time, don’t worry as I will be re-running this feature in the Summer. Feel free to expand on or critique my answer using the Comments section below!
Today’s question is from av who asked:
“I have roughly 13k BA EC Avios (collected through my BA Amex), as I am new to the whole Avios thing, I would like to know what the best thing to do with them? Is there any way to swap these into Membership Rewards?”
Well, the good news is that Avios is one of the few airline programmes that offer good value redemptions for small quantities of miles. And by ‘good value’ I mean both in terms of the miles needed AND the taxes required for a short-haul redemption.
With 13,000 Avios points, you will be limited to European redemptions using Reward Flight Saver, assuming you want to come back as well!
Because British Airways also offers ‘cash and Avios’, which allows you to save up to 50% of the Avios points required in return for paying a small amount of money, you can look at any route requiring up to 26,000 Avios return.
As I outlined in this post on Reward Flight Saver, 20,000 Avios + £30 will get you a flight to anywhere within 2,000 miles of London. The same flight can be bought using ‘cash and Avios’, and the best fit for your 13,000 Avios collection would be 12,000 Avios + £100. That would get you a return Economy flight to Moscow, for example.
If you want to take a friend, getting your collection up to 15,000 Avios would allow you to get 2 ‘cash and Avios’ economy seats to, say, Madrid or Rome.
Even for domestic flights in the UK, using full Avios points and not ‘cash and Avios’, 13500 points is enough for 3 one-way flights between London and, say, Edinburgh.
Don’t forget that you can also redeem on BA’s short-haul partners, although Reward Flight Saver is not available here and you need to pay full taxes.
Options include Vueling (to various destinations in Europe from London, Cardiff and Edinburgh), Sun-Air (to Denmark), Finnair (to Helsinki) and lots of airberlin European routes. Search the blog to find relevant posts.
You can also transfer your avios to avios.com and redeem on flights on Air Malta, Aurigny, Monarch and Flybe.
‘Cash and Avios’ is often not available on non-BA flights, however. You should also compare the Avios taxes to the cost of a cash flight, as you may be getting a poor redemption deal.
And if you REALLY don’t want to fly with your Avios, ba.com lets you redeem them for a hotel room or car hire (13,000 is worth about £100 of hotel booking) or you could redeem them via avios.com for wine, theme park tickets, Eurostar tickets or other bits and pieces. None of these necessarily offer great value, however – you should be looking to get 1p per Avios if you can.
(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)