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

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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:

and

and

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 ba.com ‘buy Avios’ page is here.


British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 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

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We 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

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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)

  • Callum says:

    While Avios points are not as flexible as cash, Avios bookings are almost invariably far more flexible than cash bookings. It therefore could quite easily make sense to pay 1.07p for 1.15p of value.

    • JamesB says:

      The flexibility was the best thing about avios or BA redemptions and why I used to favour them. The problem now is that on many popular routes in premium cabin the flexibility is more apparent than real because award seats can be so hard to find beyond T-355. Still, the option to cancel for £35 remains valuable.

    • Peter says:

      This is what many people forget when comparing Avios to cash flights. Avios flights are almost fully flexible so should be compared to ‘Y’ class economy tickets.

      • Genghis says:

        But your average Joe is unlikely to pay for Y. In reality in terms of any valuation, perhaps somewhere in between.

      • JamesB says:

        What many also forget or don’t know though is that for as little as £10s of pounds more than the cheapest headline cash fares you can often add a valuable amount of flexibility by going to the next booking class up. Doing so might also increase the likelihood of upgrades and decrease the risk of downgrade. Therefore, before booking a revenue ticket online it is alwas worth calling to get a price on the next booking class up and what improvement in coditions it offers.

    • Rob says:

      True – but you would also earn Avios and TP back on cash tickets, plus On Business points, which I never count.

      In truth, I value flexibility hugely as my wife has regular work issues which require rescheduling. Others may not value it much.

      • Alan says:

        Indeed – certainly in my case once I’ve booked my leave I have little flexibility (as I need to give six weeks advance notice) so don’t value that aspect as highly.

  • Jo says:

    Rob, any chance you could share the data points you collect in your spreadsheet with us?im looking to start one of me own…

    • Nick says:

      But it’s so variable depending on how you would personally value them as to be essentially meaningless!

      For example, Rob probably would pay for CW for his family holidays (albeit in sale), whereas I could only afford economy or maybe WTP at a push. Therefore my valuation would be significantly lower than his. If avios didn’t exist I would go Wizz from Luton whereas Harry would probably pay extra for heathrow (guessing here though, he might correct me!)

      So basically you need to work out the avios (+tax) cost for your redemption in the first columns, then the price YOU would be willing to pay in the next. Then it’s just a simple formula to find your value. And if you can’t do a simple maths formula, I’d suggest there are more basic problems to fix than finding an artificial value for an Avios point 😉

      • JamesB says:

        Yes, I understand Rob factors in what he would be prepared to pay for the same or similar flights. What I would love to see is how his valuations varied were he to factor in the best available acceptable revenue fare at time of redeeming as opposed to what he was prepared to pay.

        • Rob says:

          Agree, this is a fair point. Could I actually get fares over, say, peak half term dates for the prices I imply? Probably not. To be honest I have never done the analysis. I have ascribed £1500 to a J flight to Dubai 17-27 Oct for example. Is that possible now? Was it possible 5 months ago when I booked the redemptions?

          • the real harry1 says:

            @ Nick – we’re actually perfectly happy to go LCC when it’s the better option

            eg I just booked my wife Xmas 2017 outward from Bristol on Ryanair

            I like BA/ LHR these days purely because I get most of my Avios @ (say) 0.3p so it’s cheaper, with plenty of availability (in the old days I did give decent value to booze & luggage)

      • Cate says:

        Would agree with you on personal valuations being a major player. We’ve booked JAL biz flights for next year one way at 90,000 points plus 43.70 tax per person. JAL flights are typically expensive if paying cash so point value used here IMHO are more valuable.

  • KevMc says:

    O/T – Hit my Hilton £750 spend for the free night on August 1st but am yet to receive my e-certificate. I have rung Barclaycard this morning, who claimed I needed to speak to Hilton, as it is they who issue it. I then rang Hilton, who said I need to speak to Barclaycard, as they issue it.

    Anybody any idea who is correct here, and/or who the e-certificate normally comes from? I have sent a secure message via Barclaycard online in the hope that it is picked up by someone more senior/knowledgeable, but I don’t hold out too much hope!

    • JamesB says:

      This is the usual farce with both of them. I suggest you put it in writing to Barclaycard with 2 months to resolve or you will refer it to the ombudsman service. That should hopefully get a result. However, be aware that if you have already had a voucher you are not entitled to another under the t&c although others including me continue to get them.

      • james says:

        James B – I’m afraid you are becoming every bit as irritating as harry and genghis.

        • Genghis says:

          Genuinely interested, how are we irritating?

          • Lady London says:

            Only in that you’re always right and both of you are really helpful on here 🙂

            I’m all agog to find out what is meant by that comment too :-). @james, explain yourself 🙂 !

          • the real harry1 says:

            probably because you are several factors more successful @ acquiring cheap points

        • mike says:

          That comment does come across as a little abrupt

      • KevMc says:

        Thanks JamesB. So it is definitely issued by Barclaycard and not Hilton? It is the first time I have held the card, so have never received the voucher before. I will wait to see how they respond to my secure message, and if that gets me nowhere then I will threaten the ombudsman.

        • JamesB says:

          No, it will be issued by Hilton as it’s a Hilton certificate but Barclays need to trigger it as they monitor the spending. My best guess is that Barclays failed to do so. I understand from Hilton that the 4×2500 bonus points for stay is a Hilton offer but that problems sometimes arise because Barclays fails to register some new accounts for the offer. The CS problem is typical in that first response of Barclays staff is to transfer you to HH who largely know nothing about the UK card. I agree threatening the ombudsmen seems heavy handed but I think now we have to give them two months to respond which is a long time so best to use the threat early if in a hurry to get your free night.

    • Pid says:

      Can anyone confirm wether the 2500 bonus points for a Hilton stay will credit if I use the Hilton sup to my wife’s card to pay for a stay in my name?

      • John says:

        No, because it only gets triggered by a stay posting to the Hilton account number that was given to barclaycard when applying for the credit card (the “name” on the card or on the Hilton account is irrelevant).

        However, you can get some compensation from barclaycard because it doesn’t post (but now that you know it won’t, it may be fradulent to do so)

  • Waribai says:

    Pigeons in Galleries First is quite funny till you consider the following:

    http://www.cleankill.co.uk/news/pigeons-carry-more-diseases-rats

    Could easily ruin a holiday!

  • Jagguda says:

    O/T, but kind of on-topic too. I’ve been trying to figure this out – if I already hold an Amex Platinum, can I get the sign-up 20,000 MR points bonus for the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold, or should I be thinking about starting to cancel one, wait six months, sign up for the other, then rinse and repeat?

    • John says:

      If you are the main cardholder of a charge card that earns MR points, then you have to cancel and wait 6+ months before you can get a signup bonus for any other charge card that earns MR points (in the same country at least). This question seems to get asked nearly daily.

  • where2travel says:

    I’ve not been on the terrace for a while, how long have those deckchairs and the fake grass been there?

    • Rob says:

      It was a weird Summer thing …

    • AndyR says:

      At least a couple of months now and was still on yesterday. It is the summer gin festival. Shame I don’t like gin 🙁

      • HAM76 says:

        There’s also a non-alcoholic distilled “spirit” as well as herb infused water. I didn’t really like either of those, though.

  • rams1981 says:

    OT posted late yesterday but may have been missed. Lots of mentions of downgrades on the BA 2 for 1 voucher. Anyone ever been upgraded? My return from Rio with my wife has been bumped to first. Amazing surprise. Especially as my silver status is about to expire!

  • Richard says:

    OT, my 1,000 avios arrived in my BAEC account today!

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