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Avios Redemption University – Lesson 4 – Why you should consider using ‘Avios and Money’

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The “Avios Redemption University” series is a good starting point for beginners, although I hope everyone will learn something from them. Click here to see the other articles.

This article explains how the ‘Avios and Money’ feature of British Airways Executive Club and avios.com works.  Many people don’t realise that it can offer excellent value, letting you ‘buy’ Avios for as little as 0.77p.

‘Avios and Money’ is the feature of the Avios programme that allows you to book a reward seat for up to 65% fewer Avios than the headline mileage price.

British Airways, Iberia Plus or avios.com will, in effect, ‘sell’ you the extra miles you need during the redemption booking process.  This may mean that a redemption you thought you couldn’t reach is in fact bookable.

The official ba.com text on ‘Avios and Money’ is here – scroll down to the bottom where it says ‘Ways To Make Your Avios Stretch Further’.

There are six key things to know about ‘Avios and Money’ redemptions, which I will expand on below:

Everything you will read below only applies to redemption bookings and not for cash bookings.  There is a similar scheme called ‘Part Pay With Avios’ for cash bookings.

‘Avios and Money’ cannot be used with a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.  These bookings can only be made using ‘100% Avios’.

The ‘cost per Avios’ varies depending on the sort of ticket you are booking – not all ‘Avios and Money’ options are a good deal, but it can be exceptionally good value

If you cancel an ‘Avios and Money’ booking, you will get back both the Avios and the additional money – you do not get your refund entirely in Avios based on the full Avios cost of the ticket

You cannot change the operating carrier or route on an ‘Avios and Money’ booking – you would need to cancel the whole booking and rebook.

Two partner airlines – Japan Airlines and S7 (Russian domestic carrier) – are not available with ‘Avios and Money’

‘Avios and Money’ options are shown to you automatically during the booking process, so you can’t miss them. However, it is possible that you don’t do the maths properly and end up doing a bad deal.

‘Avios and Money’ can be an excellent deal – and may be worth it even if you have enough Avios to book outright

This is how ‘Avios and Money’ looks on the BA website during the booking process:

The odd combinations of Avios and money shown to you 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:

World Traveller:

26,000 Avios + £370

20,800 Avios + £420 (buying 5,200 Avios for 0.96p)

16,900 Avios + £450 (buying 9,100 Avios for 0.88p)

13,000 Avios + £470 (buying 13,000 Avios for 0.77p)

10,400 Avios + £490 (buying 15,600 Avios for 0.77p)

9,100 Avios + £500 (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 + £445

41,600 Avios + £535 (buying 10,400 Avios for 0.86p)

36,400 Avios + £575 (buying 15,600 Avios for 0.83p)

31,200 Avios + £625 (buying 20,800 Avios for 0.86p)

26,000 Avios + £655 (buying 26,000 Avios for 0.81p)

20,800 Avios + £685 (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:

Club World:

100,000 Avios + £531

90,000 Avios + £771 (buying 10,000 Avios for 2.40p)

75,000 Avios + £1,040 (buying 25,000 Avios for 2.04p)

65,000 Avios + £1,271 (buying 35,000 Avios for 2.11p)

57,500 Avios + £1,371 (buying 42,500 Avios for 1.98p)

50,000 Avios + £1,471 (buying 50,000 Avios for 1.88p)

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 2.4p for an Avios they could buy them directly from BA for 1.6p.

Here are two short-haul examples based on flying to Madrid.  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)

British Airways 350 2

So, which of these options offers a good deal?

There is, of course, no easy answer to that! This article attempts to put a figure on how YOU may value an Avios. There is no single answer that suits everyone.

You need to consider that this is the purest ‘no effort required’ method of getting Avios.  It would be totally reasonable for you to say that you would be happy to ‘pay’ 1p per Avios this way whilst you wouldn’t do any Tesco offer unless it came in at under 0.75p, for example.

‘Avios and Money’ is not available with all partners

‘Avios and Money’ has been expanded since it was initially launched, and now covers most of the oneworld airlines. The only exceptions are Japan Airlines and Russian domestic airline S7.

You can also use ‘Avios and Money’ on redemptions with Aer Lingus, Alaska Airlines, Open Skies (France), Comair (South Africa) and SUN-AIR (Scandinavia).

Cancellation terms are slightly different

For reasons I do not fully understand, British Airways has more restrictive rules in place for ‘Avios and Money’ bookings than for standard redemptions.

You cannot change the operating carrier and you cannot change the route.

So … if you booked American Airlines to New York and wanted to switch to a BA flight, that would not be allowed. (With a 100% Avios redemption, it is possible.) Similarly, you could not switch from New York to Boston.

In both cases, you would have to cancel your booking and rebook. This could cause an issue if you only wanted to change one leg of your trip, as there is no guarantee that the other leg would still be available as a reward flight.

You cannot ring up BA after you have booked an ‘all Avios’ redemption and ask to switch the mix of ‘Avios and Money’.

Conclusion

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’.

‘Avios and Money’ is a surprisingly well-priced (in some circumstances) and useful tool which should be part of your Avios armoury.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. Hi HFP community, this is my first ever post and hoping you could help me! I have always been good at earning Avios points but realized in the last few days that I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to redeeming them! I need to book 3 economy seats to Bangkok for this April (a bit late for Avios seats!). When I am shown the price of approx £1500 it then says “As an Avios Travel Rewards Programme or Executive Club member you could save up to £540 on this booking by using your Avios” The options that follow look on paper very good as I can knock down up to £540 but I suspect that they are not a very good deal. e.g.99.000 Avios for £540, 51000 Avios for £330, 34500 Avios for £240. Can I confirm with you that this is not really the best of deals? I am thinking of not spending Avios and just keeping them for another trip in which I can book Avios seats. Thanks for your input!

  2. Is my understanding correct that if you book a one way ticket using Reward Flight Saver, pay £17.50+Avios and then cancel, you only lose £17.50, and if you use Avios+Money option then you lose £35 in case of cancellation?

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