Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Revealed … the peak and off-peak Avios redemption calendars for 2017

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We now have full visibility of the peak and off-peak Avios redemption calendars for both British Airways and Iberia for 2017.

The big change, as eagle-eyed HfP readers booking for February half-term had already realised, is that Tuesday and Wednesday flights will no longer automatically be off-peak.  

If you want to travel on British Airways between 7th July and 5th September you will be paying the peak Avios price.  If you are wondering why this covers nine weeks and not the traditional six weeks of the school Summer holiday, it is because it appears to be based on the public school calendar and not the state school one.  

Avios wing 15

This is why October half-term straddles two weeks and Easter covers 3.5 weeks.  That said, February half-term is only blocked out for one week and not two.

You will see calendars for both BA and Iberia below.  There are substantial differences between them.  If you are flying on a route shared by BA and Iberia, it may be cheaper to book on Iberia.

For example, 15th February is peak for BA and off-peak for Iberia.  On that day, a Club World return from London to New York would be 120,000 Avios.  It would only be 68,000 Avios from Madrid to New York.  The tax would also be £335 lower on the Iberia ticket as long as you book via the Iberia website (£480 v £145).

British Airways calendar:  (click to enlarge if necessary)

British Airways peak offpeak Avios calendar 2017

British Airways peak offpeak Avios calendar 2017

British Airways peak offpeak Avios calendar 2017

British Airways peak offpeak Avios calendar 2017

British Airways peak offpeak Avios calendar 2017

Iberia calendar:

Iberia peak offpeak Avios calendar 2017

Iberia peak offpeak Avios calendar 2017

Iberia peak offpeak Avios calendar 2017

Iberia peak offpeak Avios calendar 2017

Iberia peak offpeak Avios calendar 2017


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points 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 (80)

  • Owen Rudge says:

    In Scotland we’ve always had two weeks for the October holidays (the “tattie picking holidays”), and our summer holidays start at the beginning of July, so perhaps BA is just trying to cover all its bases… often the best time to get away is before the English schools go on holiday!

    • Erico1875 says:

      Im in West Lothian and Oct hss always been just a week

      • Sandgrounder says:

        I have often found cash fares in the last week of August which merit a three hour drive North.

    • Brian W says:

      Scottish School Holidays in the central belt have always been one week for as long as I can remember. My eldest is 9 and it’s been one week since before she was born. We’re in the West and Erico in the East so seems one week is the norm where the majority reside.

  • harry says:

    another good reason to pinch the Friday (31/3/17) if you are taking the kids off on holiday at Easter next year (state schools) – saved us 4000 avios 🙂

    not sure why they didn’t make it peak

    • Genghis says:

      Do parents still get fined for taking kids out of school? Ie. Did you pay anything for those 4k avios? 🙂

      • Scott says:

        Depends on the school sometimes if you ask permission they allow it others refuse and you just go anyway lol

      • harry says:

        they’re more concerned about whole weeks off, not odd days at the end of term

        our kids go to 3 different schools so no pattern will emerge 🙂

        actually (Scott) – all schools have been guided to refuse permission for term time hols without exceptional circumstances – so it’s better to pull a sickie, sickies are authorised absences

        • Worzel says:

          I am reminded of the days when all you had to do was to hand in a form at the school office in order to take your kids away for a couple of weeks- 5 or more holidays in the Greek Islands!

          Surprisingly, having missed all that school time, our 3 have all turned out OK, are solvent and have decent jobs 🙂 .

          • pauldb says:

            In fairness the argument is not just about the impact on your children. They’ll have missed certain ground and the teacher will need to spend time helping them catch-up, even if it’s just arranging with you how you cover it. That time affects all the other kids in a way that, across the whole class/school, cannot be assessed or justified by your own children’s outcomes.

          • Worzel says:

            How would you quantify teachers time spent dealing with the Duffers/lazy parents v a couple of weeks away?

          • Fenny says:

            If the kid is not having any issues, a week off only affects their scores for the league tables. It has very little effect on anything else long term.

        • Callum says:

          They should be equally concerned by both, otherwise they’re breaking the law… Attendance is a legal requirement, and saving 4000 avios isn’t a valid reason to withdraw a kid from school (though it will most likely be justified by “they wouldn’t be doing anything anyway” or “but the holiday will be educational”!)

          (For the record I have no personal qualms with missing the last day of school, but the law is the law. It’s not there to protect your no doubt well looked after children, it’s for those with bad parents. The superficial difference between them not always being obvious).

          • Genghis says:

            Do you always drive at 70mph in a motorway’s middle lane?

          • John says:

            No, I keep left unless overtaking.

          • harry says:

            actually saving 4000 avios was just lucky, it was flying out on Friday vs Saturday that I wanted

            last day of term is a complete waste of time at Xmas & summer term, less so the other hols – and the schools are generally useless at announcing training days a year ahead of time, so they might end up not missing anything at all…

          • Boris says:

            In this case I’d say the law is there to make sure that parents whose children are not going to suffer are for politically-correct reasons given the same punishment as those whose children will suffer through absence.

            Appropriate judgement is not allowed any more if it appears to a crude aanlysis that it causes diskwimination.

  • Flyoff says:

    This another devaluation of Avios for people with school kids as you can’t use the Tuesday/ Wednesday dates anymore. Avios now to the Far East isn’t good value anymore, and is even marginal with an Amex 241, due to the very cheap business flights currently both ex EU and occasionally the UK. Raffles, some state schools now have 2 weeks in October but I think February is quite unusual hence why BA haven’t put it as peak.

  • Will says:

    well this is a shame for me. My wife is a prep school teacher- we typically go away during the private sector extra weeks of holiday because flights have historically been slightly (although really not much) cheaper. Given that my only use of Avios is going to be go away wth the wife on holiday the Avios devaluation has hit us hard.

    • Mikeact says:

      “Hard”?
      “Flights have historically been slightly (although really not much) cheaper.”

      • Will says:

        merely pointing out that teachers as well as those with kids are effected by this. If anything teachers more so. That said I am well aware it’s my wife’s chosen carrier and as such, as with all jobs, there are positives and negatives. It’s just a shame.

        And yes historically it’s been slightly cheaper to fly when the private schools are on holiday than the state sector. any price differential though has been eroded in last ten years as, quite unsurprisingly, travel industry pricing models have become more sophisticated.

  • Liz says:

    I am currently watching flight availability from LHR to ORD as we want to book for the end of next April so I am pleased that week is showing as all off peak – it’s great having kids at Uni age so we can travel off peak! The two flight options we have are 11.20 am on a 747 or 4.00 pm on a 777 – looking to book CW and need the connecting flight down from EDI. As we haven’t yet flown our first CW long haul flight which aircraft is the better option?

    • Mikeact says:

      The iconic 747.

      • Scallder says:

        Also if flying 747 get the seats upstairs. Nice mini CW cabin with c20 seats in it all in 2-2 formation. There’s 2 cabin crew as well so get pretty attentive service!

        • Simmo says:

          Agree – If you can get the upstairs of a 747! in my opinion it’s not far from the BA First cabin (apart from the seats, and some snazzy PJ’s)

  • Billy Buzzjet says:

    Hi Liz.
    Definitely the Upper Deck of the 747 if you can (or are prepared to pay to reserve) seats. However , be wary that these super High J versions of BA ‘s 747’s are crazy busy downstairs and it feels more like a flying dormitory.

    • Liz says:

      Ok great – we are actually booked for Chicago this Aug on a 747 which will be our first long haul flight so we should enjoy that. Haven’t paid to reserve the seats – we don’t have any status but as we have the connecting flight from EDI we can book in a few hours earlier than those from LHR so I will look then. What are the best seat numbers to look out for. There will be 2 of us travelling.

      • Mikeact says:

        No, check in on line 24 hrs prior, to the minute, and then select your seats.

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Hi Liz,

        Have a look at paid Business flights from Madrid to St Maarten (SXM) in the Caribbean and return to Edinburgh.

        They seem an amazing bargain at around £1,070. The great trick is that you don’t need to spend all your time in SXM – you could visit just for the day and then break your journey in Chicago on the way back for the main stay!

        Suggest that as the outbound MAD-MIA-SXM is a good flight – and you have Iberia (with Avios) or Easyjet from EDI-MAD.

        Fares like these to the US and the middle eastern flights to the Far East make me think that the BA Amex is no longer a bargain and things like Hilton or SPG rewards are the way ahead.

        • Liz says:

          This trip for next year is a month long drive along Route 66 with several detours so not looking to add more to the journey by going via other airports – got plenty of Avios and a 2-4-1 so keeping our cash for eating out and shopping!!! Was hoping to get F on the A380 on the way back from LAX but there is never any availability! Keeping options open for San Jose or San Francisco.

  • Mikeact says:

    Forgot to also mention, check out SeatGuru for best seats.

  • Billy Buzzjet says:

    Hi. Personally I think the best window seats are 62 A/K or 64 A/K on the upper deck, failing that i usually opt for the last row in Club World on the main deck so I don’t have to climb over anyone to get out of my seat, although you are usually last to be served , so can present a risk.
    Have a great time.

    • Liz says:

      Thanks – I was having a look at seat guru ! I didn’t realise it had an upper deck. Thanks for your help!

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