Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

BA extends ‘Part-Pay With Avios’ – gets a bit more interesting

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Last October, British Airways introduced ‘Part-Pay With Avios‘.  This allowed you to pay part of the price of a cash ticket using Avios points.

At the time, a lot of people felt deflated by the product.  BA had been making noises for a long time about allowing Avios points to be used for revenue fares, but the actual implementation was a damp squib.

It turned out that you could only redeem for short-haul and you could only save £30 maximum.  This was the offering:

Save £10 per person by redeeming 1,500 Avios per person (0.67p per Avios)

Save £20 per person by redeeming 3,000 Avios per person

Save £30 per person by redeeming 4,500 Avios per person

The maximum saving is reduced by 50% to £15 if you are booking a one-way flight.

Part Pay With Avios

British Airways has now announced two improvements to the scheme.

The maximum saving is increased to £50 per person at a charge of 7,500 Avios points.

This is valid on the following routes:  Agadir, Athens, Bucharest, Beirut, Casablanca, Catania, Gran Canaria, Istanbul, Kiev, Lanzarote, Larnaca, Malta, Marrakech, Mykonos, Paphos, Pristina, Santorini, Sofia, Tenerife, Thessaloniki, Tirana

For BAEC members based in Europe, I understand that the discount is increased to £50 for 7500 Avios from any starting point, as long as you connect to a long-haul flight.  I have not been able to test this, however.

Because you are buying a cash ticket, albeit at a discount, you will still receive the usual Avios, tier points and On Business points for the flight.

The other key rules remain unchanged:

You cannot part-pay Air Passenger Duty or any equivalent foreign tax. What this means, in practice, is that you cannot redeem 4,500 Avios to reduce a £30 one-way ex-UK ticket to £0, because £13 of that is Air Passenger Duty. In such a scenario, the maximum discount offered would be £10 for 1,500 Avios.

Only BA operated flights are valid, not codeshares (so, for example, only BA flights to Madrid can be discounted, not the ones flown by Iberia with a BA flight number)

Any itinerary with a non-BA flight on it will not be offered ‘Part-Pay With Avios’ even if it also contains a UK or short-haul flight

You can only book at or via the BA call centre

It cannot be combined with promotional discount codes or ‘flight plus car’ / ‘flight plus hotel’ packages

It CAN be combined with Hotline and shareholder discounts, and presumably the MBNA Diamond Club credit card 10% discount

It works OK on the new ‘hand baggage only’ fares

If you are in a Household Account, you will be allowed to use Avios to part-pay flights for people who are outside the Household Account

The Avios are deducted from the account of the person making the booking, even if the other passengers have their own BA or accounts

Moscow and Tel Aviv are excluded as they are classed as long haul

What do I think?

This change is a minor improvement to ‘Part-Pay With Avios’.  I still feel it is a missed opportunity, though.  It does not nothing to help people who have large Avios balances and would be happy, for example, to redeem 100,000 Avios for £670 off a long-haul flight, assuming the same pricing logic applied.

The price of 0.67p per Avios is acceptable although – as you cannot redeem for the full cost of a flight – it would not have hurt BA to be a little more generous.

It remains a clever marketing move on BA’s partOn many routes, a member could use Avios to bring down the cost of a short-haul flight to less than the cash cost of easyJet or a similar low cost carrier.

It will also remove the common complaint of ‘I can’t use my Avios because there is no availability’ – although I would have been a lot happier if it was possible to pay for 100% of a flight this way.

The official ‘Part-Pay With Avios’ webpage is here.

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 (20)

  • susan says:

    As they say YMMV – I tend to redeem short haul Europe to UK regions one-way often at the last minute so 7500 miles +£15 is excellent value when the BA cash cost would be £3-400 – and (thank you Raffles!) usually has plenty of availability whatever says (rugby week-ends excepted!)

    • squills says:

      You might need to check out a few dummy tickets – the saving does not appear to be anything like as good as that.

      • Graham says:

        I fly to and from the EU mainland last minute very often and I regularly get avios seats on planes where the cash ticket is £300+, in fact it is a rare day when I can’t fly at the exact time I want and even rarer (one day in 1.5 years) when I couldn’t fly on the day I wanted to. Also, in my case this is for only 4500 miles + £15.

        • squills says:

          Well, I could be wrong of course but I think some people are possibly confusing RFS flights for this particular offer. It looks pretty clear that the maximum saving here is £50 for 7500 Avios – which is where Raffles calculates 0.67p/ Avios.

        • John says:

          You must be flying at not so popular times as I regularly need to move my plans (or destination airport) a day forward for backward. But this is for straightforward redemptions;
          the post is about cash ticket discounts.

  • Rich. S says:

    I used this recently on a domestic hand baggage only single fare to Glasgow.
    The original ticket was cheap enough, but I used some Avios to reduce the cost to around £26 and then of course received miles and tier points back, as opposed to spending £17.50 and 4,500 Avios

    It also opens up flights that may not otherwise have Avios availability.

    My only concern would be if this was the start by BA of a move of the Avios scheme to value all Avios points at this rate and we ended up having to redeem on that basis.

    i.e. Cash club world fare = £2,500 including tac and fuel nonsense

    Might then equal around 300,000 Avios plus around £500 tax. Ouch.

    • John says:

      Qantas’ points and pay works like this: I recently got an email offering me SYD-LHR for 250,000 points + $5000!

      But their normal redemptions aren’t that good value either.

  • Erico1875 says:

    For Malaga and Barcelona and Nice, hand baggage only fares can be as low as £65 rtn from LGW.
    So at 7500 Avios + £15 , this can be a better deal than the current RFS where you would be spending 15000 Avios + £35 (9K for Nice)

    • Erico1875 says:

      Oops, I’v just realised, none of the above routes are covered 🙂

      • Erico1875 says:

        However, I assume although you cant get the maximum £50 saving, those cheap routes would still qualify for the £30 off for 4500 Avios.

          • Erico1875 says:

            And for a Blue, rtn to Malaga I would earn 2044 Avios, so the real cost of my £30 discount would be only 2456 Avios.
            Considering you get a drink, a snack and can choose your seat for free, at worst T24 then they should really be hitting Easyjet and Ryanair a lot harder than they actually are.

  • Polly says:

    Don’t suppose we could use a spare 241 ticket on this type of booking… Any thoughts? Have checked t and c but can’t find it excluded….

  • andystock says:

    Cant moan got a flight for a mate from Prague to LHR for £39 + 1500 avios. Had a look on Ryanscare this week and thier fares are around this price point to Stansted. Add the extra train costs, drinks, seat allocation and this makes BA using part avios for the discount a good deal. Plus my mate earns some avios points.

    The chicken flat bread served in economy was actually quite tasty!

  • Erico1875 says:

    So a Gold Member could redeem 7500 Avios on a rtn to Larnaca for £50 discount and get 8100 Avios back.
    A Blue would get 4040 back.
    So the £50 discount is really only costing 3500 Avios at most.

    • squills says:

      Yep that’s true enough AFAICS

      • squills says:

        Hasn’t really changed anything on my route. Quick calc: cheapest flight I can see £82 OW, £15 off = 2250 Avs but I earn back c.925 Avs, so net Avs = 1325 to save that £15.

        = each Av is worth 1.13p, which is pretty good

    • John says:

      But then you need to value the original cash price in two parts – the fare plus a purchase of some avios. So the discount is not really £50 then.

  • Matt says:

    Just a heads up that as a US-based member, I’ve noticed the ability to take $75 off long-haul round-trips for 7,500 avios.