BA ‘40% off Avios economy redemptions’ offer – not so great, except for …

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British Airways launched its annual ‘big discount on World Traveller tickets using Avios’ promotion yesterday.

On the face of it, it sounds good:

You save 40% on the standard number of Avios required

You pay full taxes and charges

You have until 2nd November to book

You can travel until 20th March 2016

Only selected long haul destinations are included

The reason the deal is not so great is that, such is the scale of BA’s taxes and charges, the deal is still poor.

British Airways

The details are on the Executive Club News & Offers page, you need to scroll down to get to to it.

Here are the participating cities and the taxes required:

Heathrow: Moscow £70, Tel Aviv £167, Cairo £171, Beirut £172, Amman £194, Kuwait £282, Bahrain £284, Doha £286, Jeddah and Riyadh £287, Muscat £289, Abu Dhabi and Dubai £291, Mumbai £293, Luanda £297, Montreal £300, Nairobi and Toronto £302, Montreal and Hyderabad £303, Chengdu, Beijing and Shanghai £311, Chennai, Baku, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur £312, Delhi £315, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York JFK, New York Newark, Philadelphia, Washington Baltimore, Washington Dulles, Bangalore, Seoul and Singapore £317, Abuja and Lagos £322, Vancouver £325, Cape Town and Johannesburg £329, Calgary £330, Tokyo Haneda and Tokyo Narita £336, Accra £342, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle £343, Mexico £344.

Gatwick: Barbados £268, Tobago £274, Orlando £288, Bermuda and Antigua £296, St Kitts £303, Las Vegas £314, Providenciales £318, Punta Cana £327.

Out of season, you can pick up a cash ticket to many of these places for little more than the level of taxes shown here.  Take Dubai, for example. £325 for a return economy flight with a Middle Eastern airline is relatively common these days.  Paying £291 of tax – plus 15,600 Avios in this sale on an off peak date – is still poor.

The BA low fare finder tool throws up the following prices, for example, over the period to March:

Cheapest Dubai ticket £370 vs taxes in this sale of £291

Cheapest Cape Town ticket £705 vs taxes in this sale of £329 (looks good)

Cheapest Tokyo ticket of £546 vs taxes in this sale of £336 (not bad, gets you nearly 1p per point based on using 23,400 Avios off peak)

Cheapest New York ticket of £361 vs taxes in this sale of £317

Cheapest Barbados ticket of £525 vs taxes in this sale of £268 (looks good)

On some days, to some cities, it will be a good deal – see Cape Town and Barbados above.  You could have predicted that these destinations would work well as it is peak season.  Most of the time, I would think twice before redeeming.

One factor which makes the deal better this year is the cut in Avios earned on cash tickets.  Now you only earn 25% of miles flown, compared to 100% last year, it is no longer worth factoring in.

There are three ‘tweaks’ which most people will not spot.

One way redemptions are included – in either direction.  This will benefit some people.

Hong Kong is on the list.  There are no fuel surcharges out of Hong Kong due to local law as long as you are on a one-way or return starting in Hong Kong.

This is the cost for a one-way flight from Hong Kong to the UK:


11,700 Avios plus £19. You can’t complain about that!

Finally, the emails sent out by and British Airways states that ‘No changes or cancellations permitted.’ This line also appears on both the and pages promoting this deal – see here for example.

Is this really true? Some airlines, eg Lufthansa, have different rules which apply to mileage sales. Your booking is non-changeable and the taxes non-refundable. British Airways has never played this game.

If I make a dummy booking at, the cancellation policy shown on the screen is the same as usual – “For bookings cancelled up to 1 full day before outbound departure, a charge may be levied. All Avios will be re-credited to the member’s account and cash will be refunded.”

I am assuming that the latter is correct, as these are the terms showing during the booking the process.  I doubt that the small print of a marketing e-mail would, in court, trump the large print shown on the page before you pay.  In any event, many people will book these discounted seats who never got the original email.

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  1. You can also use your Lloyds upgrade voucher with this to get premium Economy for the 40% off economy avios rate(I checked). Still with the taxes, except to the exceptions you highlighted, it is hard to get excited about this compared to say the recent Club Europe or £500 off CW deals.

    I really wish BA would reduce their LH fuel surcharges. It makes long haul avios bookings in any class very uncompetitive compared to the current rock bottom fares (e.g. there are sub £280 return flights to LAX from Oslo with KLM next next month, BAs taxes are £100 higher on an avios economy booking)

  2. Taxes on Moscow are only £35 with reward flight saver, not £70. Shame the visa is so expensive and difficult to apply for.

    • …and they are £9.70 on the return leg, if booked separately (so £28 in total).

  3. There are fuel surcharges out of Hong Kong, but these are set by the government, rather than the airlines, although they still go to the airlines. Currently the departure tax is GBP10 and the fuel surcharge is GBP9 for long-haul flights.

    If you do a search for HKG-LHR, has an error as it initially shows the incorrect taxes and fees (around £128) on the page where you can choose your flights, but the correct amount is shown later.

    BA Y (to and) from HKG is abysmal, but I would do it at this price. Normally the discount for off-peak is not worth it when there is CX availability, unless I need to arrive in LHR at 0430. However for WTP I prefer BA.

    • James67 says:

      Thanks JQ, was just about to ask questins both about the pricing and the service because the ex HKG fares I was quoted were £119 ow and £313 return. I was almost tempted, moreso to try out Y on an a380 for the first time. Is it really that bad? I figured it would have the 19 inch wide seats, and probably a little better pitch than other aircraft too. Still it’s a long way to London on a long overnight flight at end of a long day.

      • I think BA fitted unnecessarily small seats on their 380’s, they aren’t like the Emirates ones (for example) at all.

  4. Thanks for posting the list of taxes, something of an eye opener. I simply would not consider BA for long haul Y travel as given the weakness of their premium products their Y product must be very poor.

    • Erico1875 says:

      Its not. You get fed, you get drinks. Seat back tv. Staff have always been good when i have done it.
      The only real difference is you get champagne and a big seat.

      • James67 says:

        Erico, have you done longhaul Y on BA a380, how was it?

        • plastikman says:

          Little cabin on the upper deck at the back was great (as Y goes). 2-4-2 formation I think.

        • Erico1875 says:

          I havent done 380 and I cant remember what planes it were each time we have done Y to Mumbai.
          All I can say, service has always been miles better than Finnair and Qatar Y.
          We may have been unlucky these flights, but the crew on these were as miserable as it gets.
          BA on the other hand were always excellent, as were Emirates..

        • I agree BA Y is better than most. I’ve done BA Y and CW recently on the A380 and service or food wise, there was very little difference in CW (the food is obviously better presented and served in courses, but no amazing difference taste wise). CW is all about the seat.

        • James67 says:

          Thanks to everbody for your feedback. Decided to pass in the end, I expect/hope there will be richer pickings around the turn of the year

  5. I’ve tried a few dates in August to new York but can’t seem to find any dates with a discount only standard avios prices am I doing something wrong?

  6. Don’t forget KLM, I have seem them do LHR to DXB via AMS return for around £270 cash recently.

    • Just emphasises how limited the use/value of Avios is if you wouldn’t otherwise spend decent money on premium class travel if you’re in Europe.

      • But Avios still very good for standard RFS tickets in Europe, saves us a couple of £grand a year.

        Does somewhat depend on your ability to acquire the Avios, in quantity. for a song.

  7. If you make a change to a sale booking after 2nd November would you get charged the full Avios for the revised booking? The dates I am looking for are not yet available. Thanks

  8. OT. Thanks Raffles for the heads up on the £400 club fares to NY. Late last night managed a booking for CPH-LHR-JFK and return. I added a stop over for a couple of months in London which added about £90 to the price but gives the foundation of a later weekend away in CPH. Also managed to upgrade our LHR to JFK segment to First for 20k Avios each. Great deal!! Thanks!!

    • +1 Thanks.
      How did you go about upgrading to First – was that during the booking or after? Have tried upgrading on our booking that we made a few days ago (family of 5 for <£1900), but don't currently get the option to upgrade. Get the message – Sorry, it is not possible to change this booking on Please call your local British Airways office to change this booking.

  9. At 10.50 pm yesterday I started my booking for CW Copenhagen to NYC. I opened a second window to see, out of interest what a flight LHR to NYC would cost. When it came to finishing the booking, the ba website didn’t allow me to complete the booking as I had two windows open. So I tried again at 11.00pm. Offer no longer available, I assume as it was past midnight and therfore the 20th in Denmark. My bad for not thinking of that, but pretty miffed with ba for not allowing booking to go through. Looked at time zone map in Europe and discovered that Portugal and Ireland are in same zone. No flights from Lisbon in deal, but Dublin was good. Paid £1200 for two tickets instead of £800, not such a great deal, but still good enough.

  10. Slightly off-topic – BA is having a three-day sale from Gatwick, though Heathrow seems to be included too. Tickets from 30 pounds each way to Europe – I didn’t get that, but I did get a return to Amsterdam for 132GBP HBO – this was pricing at well over 200 yesterday.

    • Got me excited there – but LHR definitely not included on all European routes, our route cheapest is £75 OW

  11. COMPLETELY OT (apologies) – does anyone know if the Amex Gold Credit Card (3000 bonus Avios for Gold Charge Card holders) has ceased to exist? I can get the ‘Click here to apply’ page but the next page has been failing for days.

    • Peter K says:

      Rob has recently said in comments that it seems it is only available to targeted people now, rather than to all.

      • Ah, thanks Peter – that makes sense. As a previous holder and canceller, I’m guessing I won’t be one of those!

        • I think I must have snuck in and got it just before they changed policy – but I haven’t had the bonus points post. I’m chasing via the secure message centre and crossing my fingers that I’ll get them.

    • I was told that it is no longer available unless you are specifically targetted. I should have removed it from the Avios Promos list but forgot – now done.

  12. Completely off-topic, but:

    How long do people find that it takes for IHG points to transfer from the IHG Barclaycard to their IHG account? I opened one about 6-8 weeks ago and there has been no transfer yet. I raised this with Barclaycard and they ‘assured’ me that they were looking in to it but I’ve heard nothing. Is this unusual, or just typical Barclaycard ineptitude? Thanks

    • If you want to see ineptitude try to get a Lloyds Avios Reward card and then try to get the Avios!

    • My original sign up bonus and monthly points post about 3 weeks after the statement is produced.

    • It took them 6 months to post my sign-up bonus from the 3x offer ealier this year. And this was only after a threat to report them to the Ombudsman. Even then my bonus pts posted by the spend pts are still missing. Its likely because they dont have your IHG number on file, but good luck explaining that to them on the phone. I would hang on for at least for a couple of weeks after 1st statement before contacting them though

      • Wow. Thanks. I dug out something that said it could take up to 8 weeks, which is next week for me.

  13. Do promotions like these effect availability elsewhere? I’m planning to book at trip to Japan in a few weeks and there’s always been a minimum of 4 first class seats available on each flight but just checked availability now and first is not available for pretty much every flight!

  14. OT – has the 3v scheme completely crashed it would appear you can no longer activate previously purchased 3v cards through the website. Have have gone into administration!

    • I’ve got 1 upstairs, waiting for activation 🙂

      I can test it I guess, hang on there! I doubt if it’s anything like them going bust, they already previously announced they were stopping the cards from supermarkets.

      • £25 paid out, nice & simple, same as always.

      • Your card wasn’t waiting for activation – it was activated when you bought it, I imagine. You simply had to register it online.

        No new cards can be bought anywhere.

        • Yep I bought it a few days ago, which is when it was activated. So sloppy language but you know what I meant 🙂

          So I got the Visa numbers etc same as always.

        • Hi was the card bought after 15 oct 15 – it would appear cards bought after 15 oct 15 can not be activated

        • Here is a quote from a thread on PaidToshop

          “Email sent to 3V customer queries on Sunday afternoon – reply received this morning confirming they are no longer offered for sale as of 14/10. State I should return to point of sale for a refund. (For what it’s worth, Morrison’s customer services by phone said the same thing and said any branch was fine). Next task: persuade a customer service desk gremlin to give me £1500 back!”

          Just looking for some confirmation from HFP – as we are usually the first on to something

        • a) I am on holiday!

          b) I am a little nervous given the UK libel system about repeating some of the comments re which have arrived in my inbox, so I am giving the dust a couple of days to settle

        • Before 14/10 in my case

        • I had £450 worth from morrisons that did not activate got a refund after a lot of fuss hey ho 3v was good while it lasted 🙁

    • FWIW, I found a huge stack of these in a tesco on the weekend. I could not get a single one of them to activate at the till. We tried a number of tills, and the (very patient) checkout girl tried to activate maybe 20 of the cards at each. Very odd. I’m used to them not activating at Co-ops, but I’ve bought plenty from Tescos (and that store in particular) and other than the occasional wobble, they tend to work fine.

      I’ve got some from July in a drawer upstairs – I’ll register them tonight. I wonder if this might mean that we can do free transfers to bank accounts again in the near future?

  15. Slightly O/T but relevant

    I guess most of us got the BA email about menu choice

    Whilst it seems only WT has to pay anything extra, it did strike me that BA would have to surpass themselves with great food if it was going to be remotely worth it. WT prices:

    Gourmet Dining £18.00
    • Poached king prawns with sliced mushrooms, lightly dressed in a traditional
    marie-rose sauce.1, 2, 5, 6
    • Braised Herefordshire beef cheek with potato mousseline, roasted root vegetables
    and Madeira shallot jus.1, 4, 6
    • Chocolate ganache bar with passion fruit coulis and crushed toasted hazelnuts.1, 3, 8
    • Cheddar cheese and crackers 1,9,11
    Great British Breakfast £15.00
    • Freshly baked bread including a selection of madeleines.1, 2, 3, 4, 9
    • Traditional British breakfast featuring Cumberland sausages
    and mature cheddar omelette.1, 2, 9
    • Chunky cherry compote with Greek yoghurt and homemade granola.1, 3, 4, 9
    Healthy Choice £15.00
    • Thai style rolls with sesame dipping sauce.9, 11
    • Sustainably sourced poached cod en papillote with steamed seasonal vegetables.1, 6, 10
    • Greek yoghurt and honey mousse bar with grapefruit carpaccio.1, 3, 4, 8
    • Cheddar cheese and crackers 1,9,11
    Taste of Britain £16.00
    • Loch Fyne smoked salmon with crème fraiche and caper berries.1, 10
    • Slow roasted Wiltshire pork belly with celeriac mash and sautéed broccolini.1, 4, 6
    • Summer berry pudding with Cornish clotted cream.1, 2, 4, 8, 9
    • Cheddar cheese and crackers 1,9,11
    Taste of the Far East £16.00
    • Vegetarian sushi featuring beetroot goat cheese maki, asparagus nigiri
    and fire roasted red pepper maki 9,1,7,11,4,8
    • Prawn crackers with sweet chilli sauce 5
    • Chicken pay ca paw with egg rice and wok fried vegetables 5,2,9,11,4,8,
    • Green tea tiramisu 2,9,1,3,4,8
    Vegetarian Kitchen £15.00
    • Glazed goats cheese with marinated beetroot salad.1, 2, 4, 7
    • Polenta crespelle with mascarpone, wilted spinach, wild mushroom and truffle
    cream sauce.1, 2, 4, 9
    • Lemon meringue pie featuring homemade lemon curd.1, 2, 3, 4, 9
    • Cheddar cheese and crackers 1,9,11

    Remember, this is a substitution to standard fare, which would have a cost, maybe £8-£10 I would guess. So if you add the 2 costs together, you’re effectively getting (say) Taste of Britain for £25. It looks rubbish value to me – unless the quality really is much improved, which I rather doubt!

    • Just got a similar email advising that meal selection will be available for an upcoming flight (its 5 months away!), but noted that selection will be available for my KUL flight, this wasn’t the case before, wonder if this is part of the new 787 service offering.

      • ankomonkey says:

        I got the mail too. My only current BA long haul booking is next July to Tokyo (not on the eligible route list). So BA’s targetting is not the best here…

        • They all sound tasty. But are they worth the extra money?, would be my question.

          You’re giving up standard fare (there’s a choice) – and don’t forget you can order something a bit better in advance free of charge eg Asian vegetarian, spicy – and yet BA expect you to pay another £15 or so on top to get a further choice, which doesn’t sound much better in quality terms, just in choice terms.

      • Peter K says:

        I have no flights booked and got the email. Seems a general way on garnering more money. However, better choice IS a good thing.

    • BA really have embraced the Ryanair method of charging for everything, haven’t they? Pay more for premium economy and then pay again for better food. Pay more for CW and pay an extortionate amount for seat selection. They are really backing their catering with this. If the paid-for food is crap, I think customers have every right to complain and demand a refund for it.

      Presumably, those in CW are better off pre-ordering though? I imagine choice once on board will be pretty slim from now on (which is fair enough – pre-ordering must reduce waste)

  16. I got the email re food and my next lh flight is for Easter. Remember there is an issue, if you get the preorder meal selection i think you can not upgrade or be upgraded i remember we discussed this last year.
    Anyone remembers this? I can not search and cross reference in this moment, sorry

    • I think it’s just the free upgrade (ie if BA has capacity issues) where you will go down the pecking order & possibly rule yourself out. You would still be able to upgrade yourself & BA would presumably still be able to serve you the food you asked for.

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