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Is British Airways 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:

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  Nowhere does it says “one way redemptions are no longer valid for Reward Flight Saver”.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 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.

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)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Oyster says:

    I’d be more concerned that BA are thinking of removing RFS from all one-way flights.

    • John F says:

      It could be could just be ambigious wording, asin the existing terms and conditions it states (15.8. One way tickets can be issued as Rewards on British Airways flights at 50% of the Avios points required for a return journey to the same destination.)

  • BrianDT says:

    I usually book one ways for flexibility if a change of plan is required getting back home, ie saving Avios and Taxes etc.

  • harry says:

    You can’t book returns T-355!

    • Nathan says:

      This is the most concerning fact I agree. Especially at busy times like school holidays.

      • harry says:

        Live life dangerously! The first few times I just booked outward first, I was a bit worried – but for both outward & return the RFS seats always pop up @ midnight GMT on T-355. And as others have said, the returns are usually cheaper bought separately plus you get more flexibility (though I guess if you had to cancel, you might be in for slightly higher charges than cancelling a return).

  • Gavin says:

    Worrying for me as I often book a cash ticket : rfs mixture and usually under separate PNRs as well.

    Hopefully just poorly written content on the BA website which wouldn’t be a first

  • harry says:

    In the worst case scenario, ie can only book return flights in RFS in future, of course like Nathan I’d worry that availability for school hols became more difficult to manage, since you’d risk losing the outward leg whilst you waited for the return flight to go to T-355.

    So I just checked our route for Easter 2017 – you are quite limited on choice of days as Easter Monday falls on 17/3/17 with most state schools starting the summer term the next day (Tuesday).

    I’ve been watching the cash cost and dynamic pricing makes it clear that cash ticket buyers have indeed been forced to fly on the ‘obvious’ days ie 31/3 or 1/4 OUT and 17/4 BACK. Ie the ticket prices have gone sky high already.

    I expected more Avios redemptions on those days – 3 flights daily. But as of yet, I’m the only person to have grabbed any Avios flights! (Making those Avios points remarkably good value if you compare them to cash cost.) I bet that wouldn’t be true of destinations such as Maldives or Aus!

    So maybe if the worst happened, it might not be so awful, provided you got up at midnight T-355 to ensure you got the return flights.

    • JP says:

      I think Easter Monday is 17/4/17 not 17/3/17.

    • James67 says:

      Same risk with outbound on longhaul redemptions if wanting to use the 241 or Lloyds vouchers for a return. It’s a real pain for destinatiins with a single daily rotation as availability is freqyently gone around T-355, rarely to return. Like Brian, I value ow for flexibility.

      If RFS becomes return only, I wonder if we may once again see free connections from the regions, but I wont hold my breath

  • Liz says:

    OT: For Pizza Express fans there is an offer on our BAPP £20 off a £50 spend up to 30/6/16.

    • abu says:

      That’s been there for months… I claimed mine about 4 weeks ago when Raffles did the offers for those giftcards.

      • Worzel says:

        I don’t remember the article.

        The PE offer is on the “Amex Offers” list. However, In fairness to Liz, it is not hitting card accounts at the same time-hit our BAPP a couple of weeks ago, hit the BA basic no more than a few days ago. It might therefore appear as “new”.

        Wish I’d checked our BA basic(or indeed the offers page) yesterday, as it would have saved another £20!

  • Alan says:

    They better not be getting rid of the ability to do one-way RFS redemptions!! Tax not an issue as when connecting onto a domestic flight we get stung for LHR charges anyway so it’s never really that relevant but I wouldn’t want to start booking a return and throwing away one leg if they stop allowing one way bookings – that would be a minimum 200% increase in cost over the old style RFS from the regions!

  • Lev441 says:

    OT: On upgrading an Amex gold to platimum, do you get a refund of the fee pro rata if midway through chargeable year?

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