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.
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 ba.com 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 avios.com 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 part. On 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.
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.