Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Save 50% on ALL BA long-haul economy Avios redemptions – but is it worth it?

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British Airways has brought back its (fairly regular) Christmas sale on long-haul World Traveller Avios redemptions.

You save 50% on redemptions to 90 destinations worldwide.

Full details can be found on this special page of ba.com.

Is this worth it, or is there a sting in the tale?

Avios wing 7

On the face of it, this offer looks better than it has in previous years.  The reason is the very generous travel dates on offer.

Historically BA has used this deal to fill seats over the quiet Winter months.  Importantly, because cash prices are generally lower over the Winter than the Summer, economy Avios redemptions begin to look even poorer value at this time of year.

Even with an Avios discount of 50%, once you have paid the full taxes and charges – taxes and charges are NOT reduced by 50% – your redemption is still often a bad deal unless you want the flexibility to cancel your trip or change your dates.

This offer is valid for World Traveller redemptions until 30th June 2018.  This means that you can travel in late Spring or early Summer when prices are starting to creep up and still benefit from 50% off the Avios required.

Here are the core details:

This offer is only valid for World Traveller (economy long-haul) redemptions

You must book by 17th December

You must travel between 4th January and 30th June 2018

The discount only applies to British Airways flights and not partner airlines

And also note:  “Reward flights are strictly subject to availability which may be very limited or not available at all on some routes including Sydney, Santiago de Chile, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, San Jose (Costa Rica) and Grenada.”

I am guessing that a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher can be combined with these fares, although it is not specifically mentioned except that “this cannot be combined with any other offer”

The British Airways ‘Low Fare Finder’ tool (click here) shows how the value from the deal improves as you get further into 2018.

Los Angeles, for example, starts at £462 return for cash in January but moves to £546 after Easter.  An off-peak redemption in this sale will cost 16,250 Avios return plus £399 of tax.

In January, you’d be mad to use 16,250 Avios + £399 if you can pay £462 cash instead.  However, at £546, you are getting closer to 1p per Avios.

Johannesburg is also 16,250 Avios plus taxes (£334) under this offer on an off-peak date.  At £536 cash in January you are getting 1.25p per Avios.  When the cheapest cash tickets jump to £607 in April, you are getting 1.7p per Avios.

It is also worth noting that the cheapest cash prices I quote above may be at inconvenient times or inconvenient days of the week, so you may get an even better deal.

Conclusion

In general, redeeming your Avios for long-haul economy redemptions is the worst possible way to spend them.  That is not necessarily the case with this promotion, and you may find that there are good deals to be had.

Take a look at the sale page of ba.com here and see what you think.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable 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, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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.

Comments (71)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • TripRep says:

    Does this work will Lloyd’s upgrade vouchers to WTP?

    • Rob says:

      Good question … would be very attractive if you could.

    • Vivian Chan says:

      I’m assuming not since you can only redeem the upgrade voucher on a avios.com and not on BA.com.

      • Rob says:

        True, but the sale might carry across – we need to see.

        • Alex W says:

          Let’s hope so. I got a great deal on WTP one time using this exact method. I had to call Avios.com to get it to work though as it didn’t work online.

        • Mikeact says:

          The offer is also on Avios.com….chatting to them last night, flights were loaded. In fact I snagged two decent seats to Jo’burg when prices are high. They weren’t too sure about the Lloyds question and have to call back this morning. If it is valid, they will ‘ sort it out ‘ for me.

      • Rob says:

        Just had a look on avios.com with my voucher and it seems you can’t use the voucher on the discounted fares.

        I was checking to Toronto and it was indeed 13k return economy (instead of 26k return), however, I could not use the voucher with that. Prem economy using the voucher was 13k each way.

        • the_real_a says:

          As with everything on this voucher, phone up and anything you can persuade the agent to do is possible since its manual amendment of points on the transaction.

    • TripRep says:

      Hmmm, £200 &13000 Avios to NYC from INV via LHR one way

      Ts&Cs pretty restrictive on BA.

      Book directly with British Airways between 30 November and 17 December 2017 for travel between 4 January and 30 June 2018.
      This offer applies to both peak and off-peak Avios prices and can be booked by any British Airways Executive Club Member with a sufficient Avios balance.
      The required amount of Avios for reward flights in the World Traveller Cabin, travelling to or from London Heathrow or London Gatwick will be reduced by 50%.
      The full airline taxes, fees and Carrier charges will apply per person, per flight.
      Discounts are available on direct one-way and return British Airways operated flights in the World Traveller cabin only.
      All flights are subject to Executive Club Terms and Conditions and British Airways Conditions of Carriage.
      Reward flights are strictly subject to availability which may be very limited or not available at all on some routes including Sydney, Santiago de Chile, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, San Jose (Costa Rica) and Grenada.
      Reward flights may not be available on some dates.
      No registration is required.
      Not to be combined with any other offer.

  • Richard says:

    Is there a way of seeing the full list of 90 odd destinations?

    • Rob says:

      I am guessing it applies to all long-haul destinations – with possible exceptions for those I noted in the article – but until ba.com is working properly we won’t know.

  • James says:

    If I book a return flight using this offer and I cancel at least 24 hrs before, do I get a full refund on the taxes and fees I paid? I’m guessing a service fee to pay as well perhaps?

    Anyone know if DFW is on the list of 90 per chance?

  • RTS says:

    OT – Has anyone tried referring themselves using the new referral system? I have successfully referred the other half using my Platinum whilst she received the BA freebie card.

    I wonder if I am able to refer myself from my Platinum to say a Nectar card?

    • Anne says:

      Interesting, was thinking about doing exactly this referral for my other half – how many MR did you get for the referral to the free BA Card?

  • Ben says:

    If they did a 40% off WTP redemptions I would jump in.

  • Scott says:

    What will happen to free domestic add on? Will this still apply? If so very tempting. 9,500 avios and £30 for HKG-LHR-EDI.

    • RTS says:

      but.. how will you get out there?…

      • Lumma says:

        One way on Cathay from an EU country? Norwegian to Singapore?

      • Scott says:

        I live there a lot of the year.

      • Fraser says:

        Air China first class for 37.5k Virgin miles plus approx £375 taxes, then Cathay PE for 12k Avios and £20.

        I just did that 2 weeks ago, albeit back in Club World (ugh, give me Qatar any day).

        Very impressed with AC First, much better than Club World in terms of space, comfort, privacy, decent food and drink, United lounge…I’d thoroughly recommend this redemption. But do bring your own entertainment. I was one of only two First passengers in an 8 seat cabin, so got window seat plus separate bed across the aisle.

        Also thanks Rob for the Beijing tips. I used FHR 3-for-2 offer at the Waldorf (with suite upgrade) plus their airbridge-meet car service, which was even offset by the $100 FHR credit. Great hotel, location and service. Shame the visa is only 72 hours although I hear it’s going to change to 144 soon..?!

    • the_real_a says:

      I had had this in previous years, however full tax/charges apply for this sector which was almost £50 for LHR to LBA

  • Lumma says:

    As it says one ways are possible, surely this is a good deal. Amsterdam to Hong Kong on Cathay, 30000 Avios + £51, HKG-LHR for 9750 Avios + £33.

    Or spend just 19500 on two separate one ways on BA from London for £250 of taxes

    • James says:

      I thought partner airlines are excluded from this offer? Must fly in WT.

      • Lumma says:

        Yeah but it’s full price with Cathay, booked separately with a one way on BA booked with the deal

  • TripRep says:

    Of course one upside of this offer, is that VS might follow suit and yet pull a Reward Seat Sale out of SRB’s/Santa’s sack?? 😀

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