Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Updated: Avios sale – my thoughts on the '50% off hotels' deals starting at noon

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(EDIT:  Now the sale is ‘live’, it is clear that Avios has halved not only the ‘pay with Avios’ price but also the ‘pay with cash’ price.  This means two things – a) these are EXCEPTIONAL cash deals and b) using Avios is not a great deal, as you still only getting 0.57p per Avios.  I have therefore rewritten this post to reflect that.)

The third deal in the Avios sale launches today at noon!

For 72 hours, until noon on Monday, you will be able to book selected hotels using your Avios points for 50% off the standard rate.

The list of cities available will be:

  • Vienna
  • Dubrovnik
  • Prague
  • Copenhagen
  • Berlin
  • Budapest
  • Istanbul
  • The Algarve

You will be able to book for stays up to 30th September. There is a special booking website you need to use, but the selection of properties seems decent.

Hotel logo

Is this a good deal?

Booking hotels with Avios points has only been available since the November 2011 scheme changes.  You can book a hotel with Avios miles via ba.com or avios.com – the avios.com page is here – although different landing pages will be used for booking these special deals.

Last year, I ran an experiment where I looked at prices at four different hotels.   This is what I found, picking a random four star hotel for 2 adults.  I took the top ‘recommended’ option in all cases.  Cash prices included all taxes.

  • London – Holiday Inn Stratford City – 20,700 Avios or £118
  • Bangkok – Metropolitan – 20,000 Avios or £114
  • Moscow – SkyPoint Hotel – 12,300 Avios or £69
  • New York – Millennium Hilton – 31,950 Avios or £182

10 seconds with the old calculator shows that these all give you a value per Avios of 0.57p.

It is not quite that simple, of course.

Is the avios.com ‘cash price’ fair?  I turned to Expedia to check.  The results were interesting.

  • London – avios.com price £118, expedia.co.uk price £104
  • Bangkok – avios.com price £114, expedia.co.uk price £95
  • Moscow – avios.com price £69, expedia.co.uk price £64
  • New York – avios.com price £182, expedia.co.uk price £328!

These results were, frankly, amazing.  I expected the price to match, but Expedia prices varied from 77% more expensive to 17% cheaper!

Finally, I went direct to the hotels websites:

  • London – avios.com price £118, priorityclub.com £104 (same as Expedia)
  • Bangkok – avios.com price £114, hotel site £95 (same as Expedia)
  • Moscow – avios.com price £69, hotel site Rub 4,278 (£83) (£19 more than Expedia)
  • New York – avios.com price £182, hilton.com £328 (same as Expedia)

So …

What we have seen here is two things:

1.  Based on the hotel prices at avios.com, you get 0.57p per Avios when you book a hotel with them (compared to the cash price charged by Avios)

2.  The prices charged at avios.com can be cheaper than the hotel is charging directly, but not necessarily

Because avios.com has halved BOTH the ‘pay with Avios’ and ‘pay with cash’ prices, the exchange rate is still the usual 0.57p.  I am therefore in the odd position of recommending that you take advantage of the Avios sale by paying in cash, and saving your Avios for something else.

(One final point.  Redeeming Avios for a chain hotel via avios.com, or paying for one via Expedia, is likely to mean that you will not earn hotel points from your stay.  You may also not receive any status benefits.  You should bear this in mind when booking, especially if your status would otherwise get you free breakfast or free internet.  For what its worth, Hilton is generally seen as the best chain for giving you your status benefits when booking via a third party.)

Comments (16)

  • Rob says:

    There are some AMAZING cash deals here.

    Conrad Algarve is there IN PEAK SUMMER. August 3-9th, for example, is £1,290 for a Deluxe Double half-board. On Hilton.com, you would be paying €3,546 Euro for (advanced purchase) dinner, bed and breakfast.