Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: why BA changed the Club World bedding, pigeons in the BA lounge, 50% ‘buy Avios’ bonus

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

News in brief:

New PR shot of the improved Club World bedding

I was sent a new PR photo of the improved ‘The White Company’ Club World bedding which is soon to be rolled out on the JFK route – see below.

It does, you have to admit, look good and an improvement on what has gone before.  It will be 2018 before it rolls out on the rest of the network, however, which is odd.  I can understand why they may want to trial the new food service before committing to all of the new serving trolleys etc, but surely bedding is bedding?

However …. spot the difference.  Here is the new photo:

New British Airways Club World White Company bedding

…. and here is the original one supplied earlier in the year:

It seems … allegedy … that the original design failed a safety test.  Apparently the navy colour was too close to the colour of the carpets in the Club World cabins.  This meant that it was deemed a trip hazard, so the whole project was sent back to the drawing board.

Pigeons in the Terminal 5 First lounge

Meanwhile, the pigeon problem on the Terminal 5 Galleries First lounge terrace continues. Here are a few shots sent in by a reader:



Should you buy Avios with a 50% bonus?

A few people have contacted me this week about a targeted 50% ‘buy Avios’ bonus that is being emailed to some Executive Club members.

There are a few permutations, with the most generous being a 50% bonus on any purchase.

Here are a few price points:

5,000 Avios – was £95 (1.9p), now 7,500 Avios for £95 (1.26p)

10,000 Avios – was £175 (1.8p), now 15,000 Avios for £175 (1.16p)

20,000 Avios – was £335 (1.7p), now 30,000 Avios for £335 (1.12p)

50,000 Avios – was £815 (1.6p), now 75,000 Avios for £815 (1.09p)

100,000 Avios – was £1,615 (1.6p), now 150,000 Avios for £1,615 (1.07p)

The cheapest price is therefore 1.07p per Avios point.

Is this a good deal?  Well, it is fair to say that you won’t lose money at this level.  I have a spreadsheet showing the last few million Avios I redeemed and my average value is 1.15p per point, based on what I would have personally paid for the same flights.

It would be crazy to pay 1.07p per Avios if you were going to redeem them for 1.15p.  Avios points are obviously not as flexible as cash and are issued by The Central Bank of IAG which, frankly, has an inflationary track record to rival many third world countries. 

Personally, I would be targetting somewhere closer to 0.66p before I would be a speculative buyer – but that is based WHOLLY on my personal circumstances.

This is my long ‘what is an Avios point worth?’ article (click here) which takes a more scientific view based on different ways you may spend your points.  These valuations tend to come out at nearer 1.5p in the best cases.  On this basis, paying 1.07p – with no more effort required than picking up your credit card – may work you.

If you are only topping off an account with the last few thousand you need for a redemption, the price per point doesn’t really matter anyway.  Many people are offered a version of this deal which gives the 50% bonus however few points you buy, even the minimum of 1,000.

Before you buy, though, think about the options.  Could you or your partner take out an American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card instead?  The card is free for the first year and you’ll get 20,000 Amex points (= 20,000 Avios) when you spend £2,000 within 90 days.  That is a better deal than spending around £250 buying points under this deal.  

If you’ve got a BA Amex and a Gold or Platinum, how about the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card?  The 10,000 points you get for signing up convert to 10,000 Avios and you only need to spend £1,000.  (The Starwood Amex has a representative APR of 36.2% variable including the annual fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit.)

The deadline to buy is 29th September.  If you want to see if you are targeted, the ‘buy Avios’ page is here.

how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 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 (91)

  • Frenske says:

    Pigeons are frequent flyers too.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    Sorry! I guested the pigeon in, I never realised it would be so rude 😉

  • JamesB says:

    “The cheapest price is therefore 1.07p per Avios point.
    Is this a good deal? Well, it is fair to say that you won’t lose money at this level.”

    150000 avios would be a zone 7 CW return so £1615 plus let’s say £700 tax and fees = £2315. Shouldn’t be too hard to find business class fares exUK to most zone 7 destinations, these will provide avios or other miles, the ability to hit a spend target on a new card, perhaps use of an amex offer like Trailfinders .Sure a 241 or Lloyds voucher will sweeten the deal but then we have seen zone 7 cash fares going East at least for about £1300 so effectively a waste of the vouchers in such circumstances. Not forgetting every which is popular with HFP readers. All depends where and when used though.

  • Anna says:

    Looking at redemption prices where you can reduce the avios element by paying more cash, it seems to me that “buying” avios in this way is quite a bit cheaper, even with a 50% bonus offer. Is this right or have I just got the maths wrong?

    • Anna says:

      E.g. LHR to GCM at peak time in WT is 25,000 avios plus £223.97 tax, or 12,500 avios plus £318.97 tax. So you’d be “buying” 12,500 avios for £95. The unenhanced purchase rate for 12,000 avios is £207, so you are effectively getting more than a 100% bonus in this case. I haven’t checked it on other routes, but presumably it’s a standard pricing structure.

      • JamesB says:

        There doesn’t seem to be a general rule as far as I can tell. Sometimes I’ve seen great deals like your example, other times it is a waste of time. I just check out the options on a redemption by redemption basis.

        • Anna says:

          I’m wondering if the better deals are on WT fares to encourage people to book redemption flights in long haul Economy. As well all know these are usually poor value, but with expensive routes like the Caribbean, using avios in WT can easily equate to a saving of £500 pp on the cash fare.

      • Lady London says:

        Are other people thinking about this differently? If BA will reduce my fare by £95 in exchange for 12,500 Avios, that means they are only giving me 0.76 per Avios. As my valuation of Avios is more than 0.76 for the other uses I will put them to, I’ve not found a fare I’ve wanted to reduce so far by giving Avios.

        It’s come close a couple of times when I’ve calculated the Avios I would earn on the fare, though, overall.

        Are other people finding better bargains when there is the opportunity to part pay a fare with Avios?

        • Rob says:

          Agreed – I might do the ‘2000 for £20 off’ but not too keen at anything lower.

          • Anna says:

            That’s the “part pay” option – my example is a redemption flight, which offers the option of increasing the cash element in return for using less avios.

          • the real harry1 says:

            a lot of people don’t get it, Anna 🙂

        • Genghis says:

          Surely it depends on where you’re starting from. Put simply, do a quick revenue fare vs avios redemption comparison to see which is the best based on your own valuation (and assuming you’d pay that revenue fare in the first place).

          Then if you choose a revenue fare and there are options to pay pay with avios, you are offered a price to effectively sell your avios.

          If you choose a redemption and there are options to lower the amount of avios paid by increasing the amount of cash paid, then you are offered a price to effectively buy avios.

          Does this logic hold?

        • Anna says:

          My example means that I would pay an extra £95 and keep 12,500 avios. So I’m effectively buying the avios back for £95 – less than half of what I would pay if I was buying them from BAEC or It’s not the same as parting with 12,500 avios to get £95 off the fare.

          This booking would be made as a redemption, not as the “part pay with avios” option.

    • Genghis says:

      Have you missed TRH1’s posts commenting that he bought avios for 0.8p? Pricing varies constantly so need to double check each time.

      • the real harry1 says:

        yep Anna is absolutely right as far as our regular route goes – 4 of us on RFS redemption —> I pay £160 to save 20,000 Avios = 0.8p

        I did a random check on Vienna-London and it got as good as 0.75p

        Having said that, even with 8 flight legs a year & 4 of us on the redemptions, the most I can get/save @ 0.8p is 160,000 Avios this way (200K next year if my nephew times his wedding right!)

        I’ve got the 50% offer in the article and am tempted but not sorely enough to actually wipe the dust from my wallet 🙂

        If you haven’t got the 50% offer, the Irish Independent 30,000 Avios offer is now coming out not too far north of 1p (£ strengthened)

        • the real harry1 says:

          currently 30,000 Avios = £307

          = 1.02p

          so don’t cry in your beer if you don’t have the 50% bonus lol

          • the real harry1 says:

            @ Anna tbh I am a tad surprised Raffles has not done an article on this as it is open to all and generally gives a ‘cost’ per Avios of about 0.8p – on occasion 0.75p

    • Alex W says:

      I thought you lost flexibility by paying extra cash to reduce the Avios? More cancellation fees?

      • Anna says:

        My own booking which I made using the 12,500 avios/£95 offer states that I can cancel it for £35 per person, which is the standard charge for cancelling a redemption flight.

        • Anna says:

          This works out at 0.76 per avios. In future I will look at this option before purchasing avios, even at 50% bonus!

    • JamesB says:

      Or put a pigeon dish on the menu.

    • The Original Nick. says:

      Bicester Village also have someone waking around every morning with a Hawk to keep the pigeons away. No dogs aloud either. Unless you’ve got a dog you can fit in your hand bag. So, as I have a Dogue De Bordeaux I never step foot inside the place.

  • Nigel says:

    I too have had the 50% Avios bonus emailed to me. I have over 300,000 AmEx points waiting to be sent to either BA or Virgin when a suitable enhancement comes. This is what I want to try and do…..will it work?
    We have a family Avios account, however, can I set up a separate Avios account for my wife and then “gift” her 100,000 Avios from my AmEx points?
    Then I would do a “combine my Avios” from her new Avios account and send the 150,000 Avios to her BA account.
    Would that work?

  • The Original Nick. says:

    Sorry O:T, does anyone have any idea when the or if the exit row opens up for availability in WT+ for Silver Status? I’m flying in 76 hours time to DXB.

  • George Budd says:

    The mattress topper seems to have disappeared? The original photo shows pillows/duvet/white mattress topper. The new photo seems to show pillows/duvet/blanket.

    • Alan says:

      Also no nice washbag – hopefully just an oversight and not a sign they’re going back to the old mini-shoebag!

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.