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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

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.


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 here and see what you think.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 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 £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.

  • Matt says:

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though you can use the voucher with these reduced redemption prices. I get the same result in required Avios on London to Singapore whether I use the voucher or not. The only difference is that when I do select the voucher, the flight options don’t include any partner airlines.

  • Bob says:

    Hi ,
    Amex Platinum Question:
    I’ve just got my card, when does my 3 months period for 40k sign up points start?
    The date I receive the card? or activate ? or first use?

    • the real harry1 says:

      date card was issued, ie a day or so before you got it

      • Genghis says:

        When you login to your online account there should be a counter showing this date.

    • Polly says:

      Has the Plat card sign up bonus increased then???

      Only reason to use Y avios LH is flexibility to cancel..invaluable that way.. and l would equate that with a fully flexible Y TATL flight that can be £100s more. So a far higher avios valuation thus.

      Wondering if you book in this sale with 50% off and you change a date later…would you then be charged the normal avios amount in the ‘re booking process?

  • wobblywings says:

    LAX. According to ITA-matrix the tax on this itinerary is approx £120. Much of the remaining £280 is a co-pay element to use the miles. According to the same source the tax Jo’burg is the same, or approx £120 in total.

    United Kingdom Air Passenger Duty APD (GB) £78.00
    United Kingdom Passenger Service Charge Departures (UB) £44.91

    If the wording “tax, charges and surcharges” sounds tedious (and misleading given the order of the words) a closer approximation of the charge required to use the miles is perhaps “BA-levied charges”, “BA charges”, or perhaps just “co-pay”.

    • Julian says:

      I would have thought that somebody here who had booked a long haul Economy Avios redemption (especially one for say a group of six travelling together) might have taken on BA in the small claims court by now to suggest that their long haul taxes and charges are being misrepresented and do not reflect the actual taxes and charge involved.

      I still don’t get why it is that BA/IAG continues to honour the Reward Saver concept in the old Air Miles Zones 1 to 3 but repeatedly refuses to extend it to their whole range of flights worldwide. After all I’m sure there are still just as many or more seats that are difficult to fill long haul in Economy on certain flights so why are BA so grudging about making these seats available for Avios redemption at a fair and attractive cost. And surely the fair cost is the real taxes and charges BA pays plus the Avios mileage involved. Especially after the number of Avios required for these journeys have themselves already also been increased by 50% in quantity.

  • Bungle says:

    “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.” – So this means that there are some places that don’t release reward flights? I thought there was at least 6 seats on each plane?

    • Anna says:

      No, it means all the redemption seats have been taken, so there won’t be any sale availability. They won’t be releasing extra seats for the sale, I am assuming they are just trying to offload the ones which don’t “sell” as well.

  • Mavg says:

    Did BA stop flying to Maldives after March?

    • Flyer68 says:

      Maldives went seasonal a while back from what I recall

    • TripRep says:

      MavG – It’s been Oct-March for a few years…

      Recommend Feb/March as best time to go. Assume you’ve seen my review of the Conrad…

  • Mikeact says:

    The offer is also on….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.

    • Braiden says:

      I can also see it on , but doesn’t seem to work with the lloyds upgrade voucher.

  • Chris says:

    You have to remember that you are not earning points either with redemptions, so when you add the cost of these lost points to the cost of the points you have to pay, it is even worse. Or am I missing something? If it costs 16,000 points for the flight, and I do not earn, say, 4,000 points I would had I paid the cash price, the actual cost to me is 20,000. BA and their economy deals are almost a con.
    Can you take these into consideration in future posts?

    • Rob says:

      I tend not to, because it over-complicates things as it is dependent on route and whether you have BA status. A BA Blue, earning 0.25 Avios per 1 mile flown, is going to get about 1,500 points from a flight to New York. That’s not enough to make much difference. LA is a different question of course.

    • TripRep says:

      Chris – +1 – I tend to do this for Virgin Miles aswell… But as Rob points out it varies depending on your earning rate

  • LondonFoodie says:

    Good value on TLV flights. Cash flights are £457+ on most dates in May. Deal is £397+20,000 so 2.5 per Avios.

    • Genghis says:

      I think you might need to check your numbers. I make that only 0.39ppa

      • LondonFoodie says:

        Sorry my bad! – these prices are for two pax.
        So each is 10,000 Avios + £198

    • Gerald says:

      Why would you even fly BA on this route on a redemption when there are other pay flts, via ATH for example? Just asking?

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