British Airways offering you EU compensation as Avios – at a poor rate!

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Over half term, my brother had a terrible time flying out to New York on BA.  His connection from Manchester to Heathrow was delayed due to a cancellation.  Because they had booked 5 x World Traveller Plus seats, BA struggled to reseat them on a Heathrow service and they had to take a taxi to Gatwick to take their NYC flight.  They arrived about five hours late.

He promptly filed a claim for his automatic compensation under EC261 for delays over three hours.   To give them credit, British Airways was very efficient and within a week he had received €3,000.

Recent reports on Flyertalk suggest that BA is offering customers the option of taking Avios instead of money.

This is allowed under the EU regulations, which state:

The compensation …… shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.

What I don’t understand is that BA appears to be treating this as another option to leg over its passengers.

The deal being offered is €600 (c £500) or 38,000 Avios.

This is a VERY poor deal if you take the Avios.  You are paying 1.33p per point.

Travel insurance

You can often buy Avios for noticeably less than 1.33p per point via the regular special deals run by BA and!  More importantly, most people would struggle to get more than 1.33p per point when redeeming – take a look at my core article on ‘What is an Avios point worth?’.

I would strongly recommend taking the money if you find yourself in this scenario.  Money is more flexible than Avios and if you really need 38,000 points an offer is likely to be along soon enough to buy them for less than 1.33p anyway.

BA could do itself a favour by offering, say, €800 of travel vouchers instead of €600 in cash.  This would be a more interesting alternative and would help retain a customer who (since they are making a delay claim in the first place) is probably not feeling very positive about BA currently ….

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  1. Lewis Watson says:

    Within a week that must only happen if your brother has a armies blog. I put in a claim on the 4th of November still nothing

    • As I get b*gger all from BA (in any respect – it was only 6 months ago they agreed to send me press releases FFS) I doubt that my brother is getting any favours!

      My ticket to join Nicole Scherzinger on the New Orleans jolly has noticeably not turned up. I sense Business Traveller has one as they got worryingly enthusiastic about the rip-off eBay auctions last week 🙂

  2. For what it’s worth – had a claim sorted in 7 days and got paid the full 600 EUR. I did say I would consider a substancial Avios equivalent but they didn’t even offer. This all happened this week so perhaps it’s not a blanket policy with BA.

  3. Individual choice.
    Yes I may be able to buy them cheaper, but 36k avios gets me 9 off peak domestic RFS from LCY to Scotland. As these are usually over £120 that works out at around £1,200 value to me…..

  4. TigerTanaka says:

    2 weeks ago due to my inbound flight to Heathrow being delayed, i missed my connection to LBA and eventually arrived 5 hours late. Put in a claim as would have made the connection if conformance would have let me through with 32 minutes to departure.

    Got a response 6 days later offering €250 or an “enhanced offer” of 16,000 avios. I took the money but my feedback was that the avios was a very poor offer and 25,000 would be my idea of an enhanced deal.

    • I was once offered £80 or 1000 Avios in compensation by Lloyds. Perhaps there’s some kind of behind the scenes rule about how you can value Avios in these scenarios? It doesn’t seem to make sense for these companies to be offering such dreadful valuations (unless people regularly fall for it?).

    • Lady London says:

      With respect @TigerTanaka, if you gave that feedback to BA but proceeded to take their offer anyway, what do you think BA will learn from this?

  5. Last December we were delayed 7 hours at MCO waiting for a replacement VAA aircraft – Virgin were excellent at dealing with the compensation using their online form. They confirmed what we would get within days and had the money in our accounts within a week or so.

  6. Any advice on the following (that I’ve been sitting on for 6 months as I’m confused who should be paying compensation)? Booked on Orbitz and travelled in May 2016 LGW-BCN MAD-LHR in Business (I). O/B on BA was fine. Return was “Iberia 7462 operated by OPERATED BY BRITISH AIRWAYS — BA463”. Delayed for 4 hours. Orbitz recently sent me an email saying “You may be eligible for up to $172.25 per person for the delay under EU passenger law. Orbitz and our partners at AirHelp can help you get that compensation.” 1. Am I too late in making a claim? 2. Do I claim against BA or IB? 3. Should I use Orbitz/Airhelp? 4. Isn’t $172.25 light?

    • 1. If you live in the UK you have 6 years to make the claim.

      2. The operating airline is responsible so in your case it is BA. In some cases airlines can subcontract the processing, for example if your KLM transatlantic flight was delayed and you live in the US, Delta will pay the compensation, but this doesn’t apply to you.

      3. It depends on how much work you want to put in and whether you mind paying their fee.

      4. That looks like the amount you will receive after Orbitz takes their fee.

  7. We took a BA voucher instead of cash. Last year. They offered about 33% more as a voucher. However. It was only valid for flight only purchases. So no use when we tried paying for an Orlando Package. And also refused when we tried to pay for flights 24 hours after fixing the price on ba website. Also had a 15 month expiration. So beware of troubles in redeeming your vouchers. Cash may we’ll be better.

    • I refused a voucher and countered with avios (which they agreed to) for the reasons you listed – difficulty in actually using it and short expiry. Also note it can’t be used to pay the taxes on a redemption flight (at least that’s what they told me).

  8. This however could be a good deal for anyone using a 2-4-1 voucher!
    Especially if 2 of you are delayed on a flight a 2-4-1 voucher was used.

    For flight delay, I am having a nightmare against Enter Air
    As they have no UK base of operations, I cant take them to UK court.
    I have tried contacting them, using mediation services, CCA, etc.
    They refuse to pay out for my party of over 20 passengers!

  9. Lady London says:

    Can you not sue them in Poland (EU), where they seem to be incorporated?

  10. 2 Off Topic Questions
    1. I have a Gold card, how do I recommend a friend for the platinum card, I’m only given the option to recommend a Gold.
    2. If I use upgrade with avios to upgrade a WTP booking to CW, do i have to pay the taxes difference as well?

    • 1) They can pick the other card at the bottom of the referral link page (it’s all a bit poorly done!)
      2) Yes, although there shouldn’t be too marked an amount extra to pay

  11. I received a pay out in Avios for EU261 – but not at this rate! We got 1p/avios.
    Full story: In 2014 we had a plane go tech in BLR after boarding and next flight was 24 hours later.
    BA refused to pay out claiming extraordinary circumstances so I raised a MCOL and they said they would contest it in court. However a few days before the court date they offered the full £1000 (two of us travelling) but in travel vouchers with 1 year expiry. Given we wouldn’t use those I countered with 100,000 avios.
    They agreed and deposited that plus court fees. Given we’d flown Club on a reward flight with a 2-4-1 I was very pleased – meant the return trip had pretty much only cost us the “taxes”!

    • the real harry says:

      nicely done

    • Good for you and credit for hanging in there.

      • For early EU260/2004 claims I have been offered either the correct EU compensation by funds transfer, or 25% more value in vouchers (£800 voucher against €600 cash). They don’t seem to be offering this anymore, which is a shame as the additional value was worthwhile.

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