Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Avios sale – my thoughts on the ‘50% off hotels’ deals starting at noon

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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.

(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 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.

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.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2023)

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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 10,500 Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 Read our full review

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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (16)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • 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.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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