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Is BA changing Reward Flight Saver? Might be, might not be ….

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A reader dropped me a line last night regarding Reward Flight Saver.  Her question was:

“Has the text describing RFS on ba.com changed?”

It currently says this on the booking page (click to expand):

AA1

and, if you click through for more details:

AA2

Now, this could just be ambigious wording, especially with the first image.  Nowhere does it says “one way redemptions are no longer valid for Reward Flight Saver”.  This does appear to be the implication of the text in the second image, however.

Don’t bother looking in the British Airways Executive Club terms and conditions because they are unchanged since January.

At present, RFS flights are still pricing up as they always did – ie £17.50 one way in Euro Traveller and £25 one way in Club Europe.

Regular HFP readers will know that, ever since BA dropped fuel surcharges on short haul flights, many European RFS redemptions are cheaper booked as 2 x one-way flights rather than a return.  This is because a one-way from a European airport which doesn’t charge a departure tax will only have nominal fees, usually less than £17.50 and certainly less than £25.

A one-way from Luxembourg to Heathrow, for example, only has £3 of charges.  In this scenario a Reward Flight Saver ticket defaults to the cheapest option so you only pay £3.

British Airways may have decided that it has had enough of people paying £20.50 instead of £35 for return flights to Luxembourg by booking it as 2 x one-ways.

(If you think that is petty, note that crew have reportedly just been told flowers will be removed from the loos in First Class in order to save money.  They were removed from Club World some time ago.)

There is another possible explanation.

One quirk of Reward Flight Saver is that you only pay the reduced taxes figure when you choose British Airways for all legs.

If you mix BA with another airline on the same ticket, you pay full taxes on the BA flight.

At present, this is only really a problem via ba.com on one route – London to Madrid.  Booking BA one way and Iberia the other way triggers full taxes on the BA flight.

However, if we assume that Aer Lingus availability will soon be bookable online, as well as the fact that Royal Air Maroc is about to become an Avios partner, it will be cropping up as an issue more often.

The ba.com wording may just be an attempt to clarify the fact that you need to book both the outbound and return on British Airways, and not mix in Iberia, Aer Lingus or Royal Air Maroc, to get the discount on the BA flight.

For clarity, as I mentioned above, ba.com still shows the standard pricing for RFS tickets and nothing has changed.

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Comments (36)

  • Fraser says:

    I wonder if this is related to the change that, since March, apparently outbound legs can be cancelled without fees. Stupidly I booked an EDI-LCY return last year to lock in a cheap fare, but now may need to cancel the outbound flight. Since being a no-show would trigger cancellation of the entire ticket, I asked and was told it would cost me £90 as a “change fee” to not take the outbound flight I’ve already paid for…because I booked before March.

    • harry says:

      Is it true that outbound legs can be cancelled free of charge?

      I personally doubt that…

      • harry says:

        quick google – I’m right!

        From 10th May, British Airways will begin implementing a change to the refunds policy for British Airways fares. This will enable our trade partners to automate refunds as it will use industry standard ATPCO Category 33. The automation will lead to a reduction in the time taken to process refunds for British Airways customers. We will begin this process with public fares, and later private fares, helping to streamline the overall customer experience.
        Current Refunds Policy
        As per the standard text in Category 16 (‘Penalties Category’) of the fare rules, our current policy reads:
        When combining fares that have cancellation fees, the highest cancellation fee of each of the cancelled pricing units applies with the following exception.
        When combining a refundable fare with a non-refundable fare:
        1. The amount paid on the refundable fare component is refunded less any applicable penalty
        2. The amount paid on the non-refundable fare component will not be refunded
        New Refunds Policy
        We will be simplifying the policy to apply all cancellation fees per fare component. This will be reflected in the fare rules.
        When combining non-refundable fares with refundable fares:
        1. The amount paid on each refundable fare component is refunded
        2. The amount paid on each non-refundable fare component will not be refunded
        3. When combining fares, charge the sum of the cancellation fees of all cancelled fare components

        • Jonny says:

          I’m still waiting for a refund 2.5 weeks on…..! Apparently still not got to it…

        • Rob says:

          This only applies to cash tickets, not redemptions. BA swear that this will not increase cancellation revenue overall but, in some circumstances, it will sharply increase what you pay.

  • Tilly71 says:

    OT:
    Clubcard Vouchers have appeared today, mines on auto convert to VA, can anyone tell me how long until the points show in VA account as I was under the impression auto converts happened first.

  • James67 says:

    OT: new accelerate available from IHG 1 June through 31 August. My challenges more difficult than previous two despite my ignoring those in the hope that future challenges would be easier. Still, 5 nights would get me 60k points pluse base plus spire status bonus which is potentially useful. However, I’m increasingly liking Hilton simply because they are making me feel valued whilst I feel conned by IHG spire.

    • ankomonkey says:

      I got 37k points for 15 nights! I doubt I’ve done 15 IHG nights in my entire life…

    • CV3V says:

      Agree with your comments 100% on Hilton Diamond versus IHG Spire. Just completed my fourth Hilton stay this year and once again got the benefit of a good quality free breakfast and all day lounge access (and all day food and drink!). The free IHG drink voucher (or a few hundred points) seems paltry in comparison. The big advantage of Hilton is that these are the minimum guaranteed benefits, upgraded rooms are also common, compared to IHG where it seems to require a negotiation.

  • N says:

    Data point – I just booked a one way RFS redemption LHR-ATH

  • harry says:

    Those RAC code prices do look a bit higher than normal – could it be we are too close to the parking period in question to get the usual keen prices?

    Whereas Virgin portal still manages it…?

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