How to use your Avios for car hire excess insurance

I was having a poke around the Avios website yesterday – trying to find any other redemptions which are being quietly withdrawn! – when I spotted something I hadn’t focused on before.

You can now redeem Avios points for car hire excess insurance.

The relevant page of the website is here.


Car rentals in the UK generally come with an excess of £1,000 – that is what Hertz quoted me just before Christmas.  You can pay an additional sum to get rid of this but, if bought directly from the rental company, it tends to be disproportionately expensive.

A number of internet-only companies have sprung up to offer a better alternative – Insurance4CarHire is the biggest.  You can buy an annual or one-off policy which will cover you for any claims you need to make.

Another option is to get an American Express Platinum charge card.  You get a similar policy as one of the benefits.  I claimed on it this year and got £200+ back – for a scuffed wheel trim – with no difficulty.

A third option is now to use your Avios to pay for a policy.  It covers you and up to six other people for up to 56 days of rentals per year.

An annual policy costs either 10,000 Avios or you can pay £60 and earn 300 Avios back.  This means that you getting 0.58p per Avios point.  You can also buy policies for individual trips.

It certainly isn’t the best value Avios redemption out there, by a long way, but if you are Avios rich and cash poor then it is something worth bearing in mind.  It is certainly far better value than buying excess cover from your rental company.

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  1. Still waiting for Amex to pay out my £700 excess from a smash last January.

    • the_real_a says:

      Why is there a delay? Genuinely curious.

      • Amex say waiting to hear from Hertz that Hertz won’t refund my excess. Hertz say claim is still not settled. Hertz are waiting to hear from other driver’s insurance company, so Hertz won’t confirm anything.

        The personal injury claim was settled last April, so no idea what is causing the delay. I’m going to try to escalate my claim with Hertz and then Amex after the anniversary. I’m miffed because I’m the one chasing this.

        • I found the same when going through Amex – that I was the one doing the chasing as regards my claim and status

  2. Really sorry but O/T here, I booked a hotel prepaid before early December, the stay is for end January, they’ve not taken the money yet. I cancelled the card yesterday any one know what will happen, will they just cancel the booking as they can’t get the money from the credit card or will they demand payment another way?

    • the real harry says:

      entirely depends what contract you have entered into with them & how the counterparty normally deals with non-payment

      why WOULDN’T you contact them to try to cancel properly?

      • Hi the real Harry, the hotel booking is full payment on booking no refunds if cancelled, I assume therefore cancellation would mean they would demand the money, (that I assumed was taken on booking) unless anyone has found hotels prepared to cancel these rates free of charge.

        • Travel Yoda says:

          Why wouldn’t you contact them to offer alternative payment card. If you still need the booking.

        • Indeed, I’ve found most properties quite helpful if you contact them directly re this sort of issue. Normally best to do so during normal weekday working hours as they might need to put you through to the billing/accounts team, but I’m sure they wouldn’t have a problem with changing the card details on file for you.

        • From the sounds of it, he wants to escape a non refundable booking.

    • The charge could still be processed, given that you agreed the purchase before the cancellation, and the card company could chase you for the money, especially if you have other cards with that provider. In reality you will probably get away with it.

    • the_real_a says:

      The charge will most likely still be processed – just because a card is closed does not mean it cannot be processed. The record for me is a charge 9 months after the card was cancelled. I had forgotten a hotel stay booking.

  3. I’m pretty sure most credit card agreements allow the card provider to chase you for any charges incurred on the card, usually up to 6 months, after you cancel the card.

    Therefore chances are that the hotel will still be able to take payment from the “cancelled” card and that the card provider will be able to claim those costs back from you under the agreement you signed when you took out the card.

    • Thanks Tim, think your most likely spot on there, I don’t want to cancel the booking as it’s in Perth for our Aus trip (thanks the HFP) just looking for clarity on it, many years ago a hotel took a stay from me on two credit cards it took for ever to resolve, this is my issue in trying to clean up my cards I canned one a little early.

      • Planning a trip there myself later next year.

        What routing are you doing to Perth, any good stopovers?

        • Hi, I bagged on a 241 two first tickets to Sin out, and from Sydney back, had some Sing A miles so it’s Sin to Perth on Singapore, then using Avios in Aus to flit around, stopover again in Sin on way home. Really lucky and hard work to get my 241 in F, most of that is down to this site

        • Doing similar, Tried to get BA F on way out but still happy with CW, might come back via KL to try F on the 787.

          Paid £90ish+4k Avios for SIN-PER one-way on Qantas thought that wasn’t too shabby for a 5 hr flight. It could be had for as little as £29 + 12.5k Avios, but I’m saving Avios for future trips..

        • By not spending them, I’m effectively buying them at 0.72p/Avios. Hope that makes sense.. 🙂

      • Some hotels in Australia (and in many countries including the UK) only take the payment just before you arrive even on supposedly prepaid rates.

        You can either call the hotel and give them an alternative card and ask them to take the payment straight away, or you can turn up early on the day of check-in and sort it out then, before they have sold all their rooms (not guaranteed if there is a big event going on)

        • Hey anon was that 4k avios to fly qantas economy or business? And was it an award flight?

        • Economy redemption on QF via BA sit, like I say for one-way it’s not a bad price. Business (much harder to find) is 37.5k Avios + £29 for same route.

  4. Wow, a post on car hire and Avios and no-one has chipped in about not receiving a bonus from a recent Promo… 😉

  5. Last night booked what seemed to be a pricing error for an expensive sports car in Germany with AVIS. It’s a guarenteed model and have prepaid.(prepay price was around 8 times less than pay at station,hence price error I believe)

    Do car hire companies have the right to charge more on collection or cancel the rental(like airlines do with error fares) I’ve done nothing wrong and was booked with no discount code etc. I’ve screenshotted all the terms for the rental etc. I’ve got a confirmation email/number too. Any advise would be gratefully received.

    • Case law shows that, ignoring the usual laws of contract, if something was clearly a mistake then the deal can be voided. By being 8x cheaper than the collect on arrival rate, it falls into the ‘clearly a mistake’ category.

      Oddly, if both options had been dirt cheap, you would be on firmer ground.

    • If a contract was signed erroneously it can be voided according to §119 BGB. It needs to be a mistake that would be obvious to a reasonable person and must be voided immediately after the affected party realizes the error.

      So yes, the car hire company could cancel the rental. However, they can not charge you more without you agreeing to that contractual change. So, the worst outcome would be that they initiate the refund process when you come to pick up the car and you have to find another car at the current rate.

      You would gain clarity if you asked them in writing whether the reservation is valid pointing out the price difference as your concern. If they confirm, they have no ground to void the reservation later on. If the fare was an error, it would obviously discovered at this point, though.

    • the_real_a says:

      I’m always confused why contract law is discussed at the point of service. The company can do whatever it likes in whatever way it feels at the point of service (hyperbole). Contract law only becomes applicable when you file a court order from your solicitor to get redress – which obviously most people do not peruse.

      • Lady London says:

        Be very very careful when picking up any rental car. Particularly if picking up at an airport. What you are asked to sign on pickup is apparently a contract that replaces any previous terms you might have agreed when you booked, say, online. If they do not honour what you booked or if they, say, add other fees, and if you accidentally do not spot this and sign, then what you signed replaces the contract you agreed.

        Be very very careful on this even with the big name rental companies. Especially after long flights or if you’re tired, stressed or not paying attention for other reasons. Always check that what they ask you to sign matches what you booked.

    • I used a very obvious pricing error for a car rental company for years. Don’t worry about it.

  6. A quick question on AVIS bookings. Do you have to book through the BA website or avisba site to get the additional free driver, or can you book through the normal site but ensure your BA number is listed in your account and still get the free driver?

    I also note that if you have AMEX Plat you can join the preferred scheme and get a 1 car upgrade and 15% off bookings. Do you still get these if you book through avisba?

    • Oft found AVIS discount codes on flyertalk AVIS forum trump discount given after logging into myavis and with AMEX Platinum details in profile. Even as a President’s Club member. I do not use avisba as receive additional driver free in any event.

      After receiving a quote on website, “change details” and try a couple of other AWDs from flyertalk to compare.

    • I have booked direct at and just shown BAEC card on pick-up to have the free additional driver added.
      They did it without fuss.

      Similarly for the Hertz-ICAEW tie-up which also gives free additional driver.

  7. Twice I’ve used Direct Car Excess insurance and it’s been good value at around £13 for 5 days hire. I only hire once or twice a year but the Avios yearly policy at only £60 (less 300 Avios back) is excellent value, thanks Rob.

  8. I have had a policy with Insurance4carhire for years.
    On the two occasions I have claimed the service has been excellent.

  9. RussellH says:

    Many thanks for pointing this out, Rob.

    For someone like me who hires cars about once every 2-3 years, this is far cheaper than insurance4carhire – from whom I have never had to claim.

    insurance4carhire require you to take out a 365 day policy, at over £100 if you are hiring in the USA; the Avios policy lets you buy a policy for just two or three days, if that is all you need.

    The Avios policy is also more flexible in terms of who is covered.

    I would not pay for the policy in Avios though!

    All assuming that I have read the policy document accurately!

  10. We just had a very frustrating time in RSA with Hertz. As a Hertz Gold Rewards 5 Circles member and having taken out an insurance4carhire policy, I was expecting a quick pick the keys up and go! How wrong could I be! Hertz RSA implemented a new policy about 4 weeks ago (apparently, with no emails to me about changes in terms) where if you decline all insurance products they have to take the entire cost of the vehicle as pre-authorisation on your credit card. Of course taking out their overpriced insurance products will reduce the deposit needed. I was asked to leave a deposit of £21.5k!! Another chap whose company insurance was covering the insurance waivers was having exactly the same argument. Uk Hertz reservations were next to useless saying they are simply a booking agent for a Hertz affiliate brand and had now power over changes to terms locally. My first booking in joburg they eventually took insurance4carhire docs and waived large deposit. Cape Town was a slight battle but I had single insurance on my booking so deposit was small. Yesterday back in Jo’burg was 1.5 hours of pain and arguments with what I believe to be tantamount to blackmail. I wonder if and Amex Platinum card holders have experienced (or any one else) this and what was the outcome? Very frustrated and not a service I expect as a top tier Hertz card holder.

  11. Does anyone know if it’s possible to find this deal through BA Exec Club? Most of my Avios are there and not on the Avios site,itself. Or is it possible to transfer from BAEC to Avios please?