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Cheaper Avios redemptions as Air Passenger Duty cut in budget

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From a miles and points perspective, the key point in the UK Budget Statement yesterday was not the cut in Bingo Duty to 10%, nor the freezing of cider duty, but a cut in the rate of Air Passenger Duty to certain long-haul destinations.

Budget box

Except for one flight from Belfast, the current rates of Air Passenger Duty are as follows:

0 – 2,000 miles:   Economy £13, Other £26

2,000 – 4,000 miles:  Economy £67, Other £134

4,000 – 6,000 miles:  Economy £83, Other £166

6,001 miles:  Economy £94, Other £188

The distances are NOT based on your flight but the distance from London to the capital city of the country you are visiting.  The exact band for each country can be found in Appendix 1 here. In the changes announced yesterday, the two highest bands will be abolished from 1st April 2015.   Based on the current figures, which will be adjusted for inflation before April 2015, APD on Economy tickets to anywhere over roughly 8 hours flying time will fall by up to £27 and by up to £54 in Business. The numbers are still crazy, of course.  A family of four flying in Economy will still face a tax bill of £268.  Any reduction is better than nothing, though.

The Chancellor also announced an increase in the Regional Air Connectivity Fund, which either a) wastes your money by paying airlines to operate uneconomic routes or b) encourages airlines to launch new routes at a time of economic hardship, depending on your political leaning.

how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

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

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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.

If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (26)

  • Morgs says:

    I think this makes a difference to those using a 2-4-1 from Amex on long haul premium seats as it makes it cheaper to fly from London than head to, say, Jersey, to lower the APD element of the charges imposes on top of the abios.

  • Nun says:

    Now BA can raise their YQ to match the difference and customers won’t notice.

  • Brian says:

    Slightly off-topic – there seems or seemed to be increased reward flight availability to the States today, for some reason.

  • Simon says:

    I read the Brazilian government does not allow airlines to charge for the fuel surcharge, I’ve never tried booking one but if you go on the Brazilian Expedia site there are some really cheap fares e.g. London return to Perth (Australia) £422.

    • Rob says:

      Correct. However, tickets are meant to start in Brazil – the current fares are mistakes.

    • Trevor says:

      I’ve done some redemptions in/from Brazil, and they were cheap. On their local ff programs, the cost after points was negligible and when doing a long haul to London, a single on half points, half cash still only cost £160 – £80 each for ticket portion and for fees. Double that for a return and it’s still far less than you’d pay on BA for a full points redemption.

      As for the new “savings”, fares move around so much there is no way you’d be able to see if a fare is cheaper tomorrow than yesterday, and so while BA and pals may claim to pass on savings, you know you won’t see them. But it’s ok, cos instead you can stay home and save your 1p per pint at the local!

      • david says:

        Hi Trevor…

        Did you use avios for internal flights in Brasil…would be interested to here how that worked out?
        [email protected]

        • Trevor says:

          Not Avios, I was a member of their local ff programs as stated above, for GOL and TAM. At the time TAM was still a Star Alliance member, but since it’ll be Oneworld in 10 days time, it’ll be interesting to see what redemptions cost there using Avios.

  • Ken says:

    I just refuse to fly into or out of a country that is so tax happy. I’ll arrive by train instead.

  • ADS says:

    No doubt I’ll be shot down in flames, but I take issues with your claim that APD charges are crazy!

    I’m a regular traveller, so pay my fair share of the tax … but I accept that flying causes pollution, and is therefore something that should be taxed (especially as we don’t pay VAT on our tickets).

    Whilst leaving aside the minority of people who take an extra trip to Amsterdam to avoid the UK APD rates, it does work in that we either pay it, or we reduce our travel to avoid it.

    • Ken says:

      How does taxing air travel reduce pollution? It’s a money grab, plain and simple. If anything the tax increases pollution as people fly further to avoid the tax.