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Avios to launch ‘redeem your points for a discount on a cash ticket’?

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I have mentioned before that I have it on decent authority that Avios will launch a scheme later this year to allow you to pay for all or part of a cash ticket with your Avios points.  I was there interested to see that some people have received a survey from Ipsos Mori asking for their views on the idea.

I was sent over some screenshots of the options that the survey laid out.  Respondents were asked for their enthusiasm about the following scenarios:


  • Redeem 5,300 Avios for a £40 cash saving on a Club Europe ticket (0.75p/Avios)
  • Redeem 9,000 Avios for a £130 cash saving on a World Traveller (Economy) long-haul ticket (1.44p/Avios)
  • Redeem 60,000 Avios for a £700 cash saving on a Club World ticket (1.17p/Avios)

The questionnaire said that the tickets will be treated as standard cash tickets and will therefore earn standard Avios and tier points when you fly.

Now, as ever, the devil is in the detail here.

I do not, for a second, believe that you will be getting 1.44p per Avios redeemed.  That would be ludicrously generous.  The ONLY scenario I can see where this would happen is if the number of Avios you could redeem was capped.

There are two ways BA could play this, as I see it.  At present, if you redeem your Avios points for a hotel stay, you get 0.58p per Avios of value compared to booking the same room for cash – I did a long post on this a while ago.

If you are able to pay the ENTIRE cost of a flight in Avios, the redemption rate will be low – probably the same 0.58p per Avios they use for hotel redemptions

If you are only able to pay a small part of the cost of a flight in Avios, the redemption rate can be a lot more generous, possibly above 1p.  You will still be paying out a lot of cash for your ticket, though.

BA seems to be considering both scenarios.  One of the questions, for example, is

‘If you were booking a flight for £500, how attractive would the option be of paying £370 + 9,000 Avios?’

However, a second question is:

‘If an easyJet flight was £100 and you could book the same flight on BA for 5,300 Avios, how attractive would this be?’

We need to see how this plays out.  My personal view is that BA should allow you to redeem for the full cost of a flight in Avios, even if this means a lower redemption rate per Avios point.  It will, for a start, stop people being able to claim that they can never use their Avios points.

For long-haul economy flights, the rates will actually look pretty attractive – it is very poor value at the moment redeeming for long-haul economy with their £375+ fuel surcharges.

Keep an eye on Head for Points for future developments on this!

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Comments (21)

  • Jus says:

    I wonder how the companion voucher would work with this?

  • knifeandfork says:

    I’m probably in a similar boat to our esteemed leader in that I’m lucky enough to be sitting on oodles of Avios and am growing increasingly hacked off at the dramatic contraction in US availability in J and F. I’d happily cough up a grand plus whatever avios if it meant I could book a seat.

    I’m watching this one with great interest.

    • Phil says:

      You may be happy but plenty won’t be. As it used to be (and still is if you can find availability) you used to throw £1000 for WT+ Ticket and 25,000 Avios for Trans-atlantic J.

      Under this new model that would look like £1000 + 150000 Avios for the same thing. Not great for a family of 4.

      However, 70,000 Avios for WT Y with no taxes doesnt look too bad !!

    • xcalx says:

      Knifeandfork dont know if your BAEC Gold. But if you are I understand Golds can use 2 X Avios to get any seat released .. Would be interested to see where folk stand on the 2 X Avios Versus Avios for cash tickets and which is the most worthwhile.

  • Richie says:

    Back to topic I personally would be happy paying 9000 avios for 130pounds off a flit, I value my avious at 1p so this gives me a 40odd % benifit , plus the huge bonus of still receiving tier and avious points, although if these are pro rata as suggested it makes no difference

  • Polly says:

    Off topic here.. But does anyone know of any Irish credit cards that earn avios, miles etc of any sort!? My coz searching! Or does UK amex accept ROI address in applications? Thanks