When you book an Avios redemption on the British Airways website, you are – unless using a BA Amex 241 voucher or booking with a couple of obscure partner airlines – given the option to reduce the number of Avios needed in return for paying more cash.
BA doesn’t hide this option. It is offered to you in clear view:
However, the odd combinations they show of Avios and money means that you might not realise what a good deal you are being offered.
For long-haul economy / World Traveller redemptions, long-haul World Traveller Plus redemptions and all short-haul redemptions, it makes sense to pay more cash and use fewer Avios. It is the equivalent of ‘buying’ Avios for as little as 0.77p which is as cheap as you will ever see.
Here are some worked examples based on a return flight to New York, off peak:
26,000 Avios + £365
20,800 Avios + £415 (buying 5,200 Avios for 0.96p)
16,900 Avios + £445 (buying 9,100 Avios for 0.88p)
13,000 Avios + £465 (buying 13,000 Avios for 0.77p)
10,400 Avios + £485 (buying 15,600 Avios for 0.77p)
9,100 Avios + £495 (buying 16,900 Avios for 0.77p)
In the most extreme example, you pay an extra £130 cash in order to use 16,900 fewer Avios. That means you are effectively buying those 16,900 Avios for 0.77p each.
World Traveller Plus
52,000 Avios + £440
41,600 Avios + £530 (buying 10,400 Avios for 0.86p)
36,400 Avios + £570 (buying 15,600 Avios for 0.83p)
31,200 Avios + £620 (buying 20,800 Avios for 0.86p)
26,000 Avios + £650 (buying 26,000 Avios for 0.81p)
20,800 Avios + £680 (buying 31,200 Avios for 0.77p)
Again, you are offered the chance to ‘buy’ Avios for 0.77p – up to 31,200 Avios in this case.
This method doesn’t work in Club World however. Take a look:
100,000 Avios + £526
90,000 Avios + £726 (buying 10,000 Avios for 2.00p)
75,000 Avios + £996 (buying 25,000 Avios for 1.88p)
65,000 Avios + £1,226 (buying 35,000 Avios for 2.00p)
57,500 Avios + £1,326 (buying 42,500 Avios for 1.88p)
50,000 Avios + £1,426 (buying 50,000 Avios for 1.80p)
Club World is ludicrously expensive. There is no reason for anyone to take advantage of this deal. Even in the unthinkable scenario that anyone was willing to pay 2p for an Avios, they could buy them directly from BA for 1.6p.
Here are two short-haul examples. The plan works well on the Euro Traveller ticket but less well on Club Europe – although it is still worth considering.
Euro Traveller, using Reward Flight Saver
13,000 Avios + £35
10,400 Avios + £65 (buying 2,600 Avios for 1.15p)
9,200 Avios + £75 (buying 3,800 Avios for 1.05p)
7,800 Avios + £85 (buying 5,200 Avios for 0.96p)
6,600 Avios + £95 (buying 6,400 Avios for 0.94p)
4,300 Avios + £105 (buying 8,700 Avios for 0.80p)
and, a slightly worse deal:
Club Europe, using Reward Flight Saver
25,500 Avios + £50
23,000 Avios + £80 (buying 1,500 Avios for 2.00p)
21,200 Avios + £100 (buying 4,300 Avios for 1.16p)
18,700 Avios + £120 (buying 6,800 Avios for 1.03p)
17,000 Avios + £140 (buying 8,500 Avios for 1.06p)
13,600 Avios + £160 (buying 11,900 Avios for 0.92p)
Next time you book a short-haul or an economy or World Traveller Plus long-haul Avios redemption, without using a 241 voucher, seriously consider taking advantage of this opportunity. They will be some of the easiest and cheapest Avios you will probably ever ‘purchase’.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 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:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
Do you have a small business? Until 20th May 2021, you can receive a special sign-up bonus worth 29,900 Avios with the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card. This offer is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to learn more.
(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.)