On Wednesday, I flew up to Manchester for the day to have lunch with a friend. The total cost was a grand total of £0 in tax and 0 Avios, which made it excellent value for money.
How I did I do this? By tagging a free UK domestic flight onto the start and end of two other Avios redemptions.
You may remember that I was in Amsterdam last month, to check out how easy it was to do a back-to-back flight there. My actual flight back to London was ticketed like this:
XX February – Amsterdam to London Heathrow
XX March – London Heathrow to Manchester
The cost of this ticket (4,500 Avios plus Reward Flight Saver tax) is the same whether you fly Amsterdam to Heathrow or fly Amsterdam to Heathrow (long stopover) to Manchester. This is because Avios allows UK domestic connecting flights at no charge on Reward Flight Saver redemptions.
Coming back from Manchester, my ticket actually looks like this:
XX March – Manchester to London Heathrow
XX April – London Heathrow to Hamburg
Again, the Manchester to London leg is effectively free because I was booking the Heathrow to Hamburg flight anyway.
There is only one thing to be wary of here. All of your trips suddenly become inter-connected, so it is difficult to cancel one. If I had not taken the Manchester to Heathrow flight on Wednesday, my Heathrow to Hamburg flight next month would have been automatically cancelled. (Of course, I could have called BAEC and paid £25 to cancel the first leg before the date of travel – that would have preserved the Hamburg leg.)
You should also note that this only works for European Reward Flight Saver redemptions.
Whilst you can add a domestic leg to long-haul redemptions for 0 Avios, these WOULD incur an additional tax charge for fuel surcharges and Air Passenger Duty if you wait a few weeks before flying the domestic leg. As an example:
New York to London in Economy is 20,000 Avios + £149
New York to London (2 month stopover) to Manchester in Economy is 20,000 Avios + £190
In this scenario, it is relatively pointless adding on the extra leg. Compare that to:
Paris to London in Economy is 4,500 Avios + £17.50
Paris to London (2 month stopover) to Manchester in Economy is 4,500 + £17.50
If Manchester doesn’t appeal, there is always Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle etc etc ….
Note: these tickets can only be booked at ba.com, because avios.com does not allow stopovers. If your Avios points sit in avios.com, you will need to move them to BA via ‘Combine My Avios’ on either website.