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BA extends ‘Part Pay With Avios’ on short-haul – will it replace normal redemptions?

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British Airways introduced ‘Part-Pay With Avios‘ back in 2013.  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.

Avios wing 6

Over the last three years, BA has been constantly fiddling with the scheme.  The maximum discount was increased to £50, but only on some short-haul routes.  We then had a number of limited time promotions when BA increased either the number of Avios you could redeem or the value you got per point.

British Airways now seems to have made some firm changes on short haul, and they are very interesting.  Take a look at the ‘part pay with Avios’ website here.  I’m not sure when this pricing came in but I hadn’t seen it before yesterday.

Here are the key points as I see them:

For Club Europe, you can now redeem 15,000 Avios for a discount of £100.  I had no problem getting a £218 Club Europe return to Bordeaux to reduce to £118 per person.

For Euro Traveller, you can redeem 7,500 Avios for a discount of £50.  On ‘longer routes’ you can redeem 15,000 Avios for a discount of £100. 

Because you are buying a cash ticket, albeit at a discount, you will still receive the usual Avios and tier points.  You do not receive On Business points if you use this scheme.

The other key rules presumably remain unchanged:

You cannot part-pay Air Passenger Duty or any equivalent foreign tax. What this means, in practice, is that the maximum discount offered will be reduced if the fare is too low to not cover the taxes.

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 Hotlines and presumably the MBNA Diamond Club credit card 10% discount

It works OK on the ‘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

What do I think about ‘Part Pay With Avios’?

Slowly but surely, BA is moving towards what I was hoping they would do from the start – give you the ability to pay for your flight entirely in Avios if you wish.

The price of 0.67p per Avios is probably acceptable in return for losing restrictions on availability.

The idea 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 also removes the common complaint of ‘I can’t use my Avios because there is no availability’.

My one worry, however, is that we are seeing ‘revenue-based redemptions’ on short-haul introduced via the back door.  From this new position – where you can offset at least 50% of the cost of many European flights – it would not be a massive move to say:

you can now redeem Avios for the entire cost of short haul flights, less taxes (full taxes, not £35 RFS), at 0.67p per point

it will no longer be possible to redeem Avios for short haul flights based on the standard redemption table

You would no longer be able to complain about availability.  The impact, though, would be that the net cost of most BA short haul redemptions would roughly double based on my calculations.  Let’s see what happens.

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

British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 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 – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

(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 (33)

  • Genghis says:

    Very OT but I downgraded my BAPP recently to BA Blue after hitting the £10k spend and receiving (and since using) the 2-4-1 voucher. I note on my Amex account that it says that I need to spend just under another £10k to get the 2-4-1 voucher (i.e. spending £20k on the BA Blue to get the 2-4-1).

    Does anyone know whether I would actually receive this additional 2-4-1 on the BA Blue despite having received one on the BAPP prior to the downgrade?

  • ECR says:

    I think that pricing has been around for quite some time as I had a few LCY/DUB flights that I bought quite some time ago (I’m sure well over 6 months) when they had a £199 sale on and I used 15000 avios to reduce the price by £100 to £99.

  • Rehnn says:

    Unless I’m mis-reading the page at it’s really not that great as the most you can save is £200pp and that’s on Business Class Long Haul. A business class return to New York is between £3,000 £5,500 so relative to the total ticket price a saving of just £200 isn’t actually that great.

    I wonder why they’re not rolling this out to Premium Economy of Economy.

  • Michael says:

    Qantas has been doing ‘pay with points’ for years now – it’s exactly the same concept, however you can choose exactly how much (upto the whole ticket) that you’d like to pay for in points. This usually works out being more than a reception ticket, however since you’re getting the perks of a revenue ticket it’s usually well worthwhile. Also good for taking the sting out of premium cabin bookings!

  • nwmgc says:

    As someone avios rich but tier points poor, I find this very useful indeed. Of course, it will only be a matter of time until that is enhanced away…

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