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Why the British Airways ‘triple Avios’ offer is worse than we thought

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On Tuesday I wrote a piece about the new British Airways ‘triple Avios’ promotion.  To say that the website for it left something to be desired was putting it mildly, with contradictory statements, misleading statements due to poor punctuation and key terms and conditions missing.

Someone was reading the criticism on here and on Flyertalk, because on Tuesday night the registration page for the offer was changed.

Avios wing 14

The dodgy punctuation remains – ‘You can earn triple Avios on all British Airways flights and when you fly with our partners American Airlines, Finnair and Iberia on flights between Europe and North America.’ which implies that only flights between Europe and North America are included. This is not true.

There is now a FAQ.  This makes clear that when the website was wrong – and remains wrong – when it says that you should go to the BA Avios-earning calculator to work out how many Avios you will get.  The one thing you won’t be getting in many cases is 3 x the number shown in the calculator.

This is because triple Avios is now defined as triple BASE Avios before the application of any cabin bonus.

At least, I think it is, because as far as I can tell these two statements from the rules are totally contradictory:

8) Eligible Participants who book and complete their journeys on Qualifying Flights within the Promotional Period will qualify for a triple Avios bonus based on cabin of travel.

9) Eligible Participants will receive triple Avios Points before any cabin or tier bonuses on all tickets except reward flights.

British Airways A350

In my original article on Tuesday I used this example:

Berlin to Hong Kong on British Airways, Club World, 8th-16th November

Cash cost: €1,737 (£1,454)

Avios earned as a Blue member (a status member would get more):

Calculated at this web page as (869 + 8969 + 8969 + 869) x 3 = 59,028

I was wrong.  This is because a cheap Club World ticket earns 150% of base Avios.  For any particular flight due to the cabin bonus.  The base Avios earned is what the BA calculator shows for a Y-class Economy ticket.

In reality, this is what you will get:

Berlin to Hong Kong on British Airways, Club World, 8th-16th November

Cash cost: €1,737 (£1,454)

Avios earned as a Blue member (a status member would get more):

Calculated at this web page as (869 + 8969 + 8969 + 869) + a bonus of (579 + 5979 + 5979 + 579) + (579 + 5979 + 5979 + 579) = 45,908

It still isn’t a bad deal, of course, just not as good as I first though.

If you haven’t already registered for triple Avios, the page you need is here.  It is open to readers worldwide.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 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:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also 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

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 (86)

  • David says:

    That doesn’t make sense – or their own worked example is also wrong.

    Lets look at their worked example, they say:
    “If you were to buy a World Traveller (economy) return ticket in K,L,M,N,S or V class from London Heathrow to Los Angeles, you would normally earn 5,442 Avios. With our Triple Avios offer you would earn 16,326 Avios.”

    BA say that for a return in these fare codes you would normally earn 5442.
    These agrees with the BA calculator, but lets look at that number.

    According to gcmap.com the distance i miles between LHR and LAX is about 5456, which is close to 5442 in BAs figures. Therefore this confirms, that the fare codes they mention in their worked example are getting a 50% cut from the flown distance.
    I.e. the ‘fare class adjustment factor’* is 50% (*we can’t really call it a ‘cabin bonus’ now since premium cabins do not earn at a single level).

    Now BA are doubling the answer for a return to get the standard earn rate.
    Then they are tripling that answer to get the total earning during the promotion.
    But that answer is using a figure that contains the fare code adjusted value, not the base avios.

    *IF* BA are doing it that way, then your original worked example would be correct IMO. As it is tripling the fare code adjusted answer.

    HOWEVER, I have a feeling was is most likely is the worked example is wrong. I think ‘base avios’ will mean what it has always meant – 100% flown distance, before ANY adjustment factors (fare code/cabin, or status).

    THEREFORE, I do think your new example may be correct – but coming from that, I think people in cheaper fares might be the real winners here.

    • Raffles says:

      Here’s the thing. I thought that too and even wrote that. I then went back through the rules and changed my mind.

      When the rules say ‘base Avios’ they don’t mean ‘100% flown miles’ (in my interpretation). They mean ‘whatever you get before cabin bonus’.

      Literally, I agree, it sounds like a cheap Y ticket gets an 800% bonus ….

      • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

        But don’t they count the 25% as the base for Q, O and G while for premium cabins they count 100% as the base (same as B, H and Y) and then any extra as the cabin bonus. That is how they post on BAEC as well, if you fly O you may get one posting of 125, Flying I you’ll get one posting of 500 and another of 125 (and a third of status if applicable). It sounds like it’s that first posting that will get tripled, i.e. 375 in O and 1500 in Y and I plus the extra 125 in I = 1625.

  • Rami says:

    It’s confusing, the offer say only flights between Europe and North America. But here you giving example of trip between Berlin and Hongkong, which they are not transatlantic flights. Did i miss something, is the offer for all the flights?

    • Adey says:

      That’s what Rob was getting at with his comment about poor punctuation….

      It may be that for partners airlines only flights between Europe and the North America earn triple miles, whilst for BA all flights earn the bonus BA’s wording is imprecise.

      Adey

    • harry says:

      It seems it’s really for all flights

      • Riku says:

        The offer is for all flights but if you are going to do lots of long haul flights then you could waste some of the 3x bonus on short haul flights, since the first eight flights earn 3x points.

        So TXL-LHR-HKG counts as two flights. On this route two return tickets would earn 3x points. The third return ticket earns normal points.

        For me (based in HEL travelling long haul from LHR) i’ll be careful to book AY operated flights HEL-LHR, since these will not use up any of the 8 possible 3x points offers. So i’ll have the chance of 4x return tickets at 3x points instead of 2x return tickets if I booked HEL-LHR as BA.

        • Genghis says:

          Oh but if you travel on AY operated flights with your BAEC no attached, you will earn 3x avios on those sectors, no?

          “Do I get triple avios on other airlines”
          “Yes, you will receive triple Avios when you fly with our partners American Airlines, Finnair and Iberia on flights between Europe and North America only”

          • Riku says:

            3x avios on AY is only for transatlantic flights. Not something like HEL-LHR

            HEL-LHR-HKG on BA ticket with BA LHR-HKG
            HEL-LHR on AY metal: one flight counts for 3x avios
            HEL-LHR on BA metal: two flights count for 3x avios

            So if I plan several trips to HKG then best to book the HEL-LHR flights on AY and get as many LHR-HKG flights on triple avios as possible and not waste them with 3x points for HEL-LHR.

  • BillyBoy says:

    I am currently sitting next to a junior lawyer (big City firm, 2 years post-qualification) who is helping my client with some contractual work.

    I just showed her the BA page and she was horrified.

    She said “OMG even a 1st year law student would get a fail for such crap drafting !”

    Horse’s mouth and all that…

    • Fenny says:

      What makes anyone think they would get a lawyer to write it? Some idiot in Marketing has clearly written it, then it was adjusted by the boss to the rubbish it is now.

      • Genghis says:

        My wife works in Marketing and some of the drafting she sees (and shows me) is atrocious!

    • Seb says:

      Do you think someone writing for BA.com is comparable to a junior lawyer at a top firm!?

      • BillyBoy says:

        Seb,

        No and that’s the point really.

        Here’s a promo, governed explicity by a set of T&Cs, which is inducing people to spend thousands on the premise they will get hundreds in value back (in the form of Avios).

        And yet the exceedingly poor drafting leaves gaping holes in the reasonable interpretation of those T&Cs which BA will almost certainly use to the detriment of the customer.

        More than pocket money at stake + contractual wiggle room = ripe for legal challenge.

        Hence, would it really have killed them to shell out a few hundred quid to make sure the words were correctly puntuated !!!???

    • Nick says:

      Exactly the comment I made. The original release was terrible and they have tried to fix it – what is more worrying is that they didn’t manage it!

      BA: find a grown up who owns a dictionary to do it for you. And put in an example of a gold in CW while you are at it. If my experience is anything to go by, about half of the passengers you carry nowadays are gold.

      • Genghis says:

        BA – you seem to read these comments…
        I’m happy to offer my services on a consultancy basis.

  • Alex W says:

    My guess from Wednesday still stands. I think that you get an extra 200% of miles flown regardless of cabin or tier, but less if you are in discounted economy.

  • Genghis says:

    “This is because a cheap Club World ticket earns 125% of base Avios”.

    Not 150%?

    http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/collecting-avios/flights

  • mark2 says:

    OT
    We have just left the notorious No 1 lounge at Gatwick north.
    It was about 25% full. And the Egg Benedict arrived in five minutes. It was quite impressive except for the un-ergonomic toilets.
    Now sitting in aircraft (BA painted gold) while they fix an engine fault.

    • Wayne Phillips says:

      I thought it was fine when I was there too, and thought I must have the wrong place based on all the complaints I read online

      Not as good as the BA lounge was of course, but fine to pass some time.

      My only minor complaint was the coke was from a dispenser and flat

      • harry says:

        yes but 7am on a Friday is not the same as 7am on a Mon-Thursday, business travellers want the weekend at home

    • Gin and Tonic Please says:

      Agreed. We were there last Fri around 7pm and thought it was great. Drinks service was super fast, and the food wasn’t bad either, especially the millionaires shortbread! The loos are the same layout for much of LGW North btw. I quite liked it (felt like an ‘open plan private’ bathroom) but can see how it might lead to queuing.

    • idrive says:

      i like the Golden Dove!

      ROB:something wrong on the code, Chrome doesn’t like the blog today. I see there are some errors (reload/reload , seems plugin related)

  • Ian says:

    I booked all of my flights between now and Feb 2017. Theres no room to book any others, I’m literally flying 3-10 times a week. And I get nothing.

    I understand that they are trying to encourage more bookings but its so short minded. It puts me off booking ANYTHING past Feb 2017 because they might have another offer.

    Why can’t it be for anyone that travels on those dates that register? Its literally penalising everyone who is loyal to BA.

  • VP says:

    I booked BA Flight+Holidays for Jersey for a weekend break in Club Europe and my account is showing that this flight is eligible for 80 tier points and 2500 Miles. I am a Silver card holder so this seems to be calculated as (500 base+250 cabin bonus)*3 + 250 (Silver).

    Of course what posts once I take the flights is another story but at least the good thing is BA Holiday flights count.

    • Dwadda says:

      I booked a flight+hotel yesterday because of this promotion expecting to get the 3x Avios – I just checked, and I did NOT receive the extra avios so count yourself lucky if you get them..

    • Fsl says:

      When you say 2500 miles do you mean 2500 Avios? If yes, then I’d say that doesn’t include this promo at all. A silver card holder gets 1000 Avios per leg in CE so that makes 2000 Avios. The rest comes from the holiday booking so I’m guessing you paid about £250 (2×250 = 500 Avios).

      Whether you’ll also get Avios from this promo, I don’t know. But I don’t think it would or should show up in MMB yet.

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