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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.

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 UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios 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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable 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.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 (26)

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

  • 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.

  • Will You Pay Delta More to Earn More Miles, Pay the UK Lower Taxes, and Fly Airline Partners for a Better Experience? (Bits 'n Pieces for March 20, 2014) - View from the Wing - View from the Wing says:

    […] U.K. intends to reduce its draconian ‘Air Passenger Duty’ (aka ‘premium cabin departure tax’) for long haul […]

  • 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?

        • 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.

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

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