Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Why you shouldn’t appeal your British Airways compensation

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A friend of mine recently flew British Airways First Class.  After a litany of issues, including BA only loading one fish plate for a cabin of nine people and only loading one bottle of a particular wine, he wrote to complain.

10,000 Avios was offered.  He felt that was not suitable and wrote back to say so.  This is what happened (note that the person is BA Gold):

Apparently he can have the 10,000 Avios back if, at any point in the next 12 months, he changes his mind and decides that it is suitable compensation.

PS.  I have, in the past, received a written complaint from BA for referring to Avios as ‘Avios points’, which apparently they are not.  It seems no-one told the app development team.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £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 famous annual 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 a huge range of valuable 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

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

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 bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 (158)

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

  • Pauk says:

    My wife and I flew back F from Tokyo in Feb and we had the exact same issues (only one fish plate, one wine selection). My wives IFae also didn’t work for the majority of the flight. We were offered 10000 Avios each which were dropped into the account. I went back to them to say this wasn’t good enough and they reviewed it and gave us a further 7000 each. At the time I was BA Bronze and my wife silver.

  • egg says:

    With such a monopoly, its not like there are many other options.
    Never see the point in complaining. Just dont use whoever you are unhappy with again.

    • ALTubist says:

      But there are other options! Usually more than a few. Your following sentiment is of course cogent; take one’s business elsewhere. BA is a different animal now than it used to be and certainly different than the majority of users would wish it. But that’s the reality.
      Yes, it feels good to have a moan once in a while, particularly when something really rich happens but acceptance of service delivery is simply a matter of setting one’s expectations. With BA and on the occasions where there really is no alternative or it is just convenient to use them just keep pushing that ‘expectation-ometer’ needle further into the red and be prepared to accept the outcome. Who knows, you may (sometimes) be pleasantly surprised!

  • Matt says:

    In 2016 during a Avios 2-4-1 flight, my partner’s first class seat controls did not work at all so no lie flat. This was no huge issue because there was a spare seat in first class so he simply moved seat. However we complained none the less mainly on the basis of what if there was no spare seat! Surprisingly within a couple days we were given 17,000 Avios which I actually thought was too generous but hey not going to say no to them! My partner is only a blue exec club member too, and I am only silver.

  • Si says:

    I’ve had cause to complain on 3 or 4 occasions about a BA long haul flight in Club or First when they have failed to provide adequate food for a vegan diet. When it’s a cash flight they’ve tended to offer Avios as compensation. I’m not sure if it’s common experience but when the flight is an Avios redemption all you get is a standard email saying how they’re always looking to improve and thanks for the feedback.

    • Kathy says:

      BA’s special meals are appalling! And you can forget ‘Club Kitchen’ snacks if you can’t have dairy – even the pretzels are cheese flavoured, if you’re lucky they might have a bag of nuts left over.

      I woke up half way through SIN-LHR absolutely starving (it being my breakfast time) and then had to wait 5 hours with nothing but black tea and a packet of cashew nuts to tide me over till breakfast.

      • Anna says:

        I requested a kids’ meal in CW last year and they gave my son chicken nuggets from the PE cabin!

        • Rob says:

          BA Club Europe kids meals are really good. Chicken nuggets and mash. I am always very envious of my kids.

        • Save East Coast Rewards says:

          @Rob – you can always order a kids meal for yourself, no different to me ordering a muslim or kosher meal for a bit of variety 🙂

          I’ve seen adults order the kids meal before, sometimes the crew checks with the passenger to see if a mistake has been made.

          Can you confirm whether you’ve travelled with kids since the last service changes a year ago? I was led to believe the kids meal is no longer anything special, if they’re back to their old style I might order one myself next time!

          • Rob says:

            The last one, definitely chicken nuggets, was three weeks ago but Stockholm is Band 3? Can’t remember what they got on recent Germany flights.

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    It’s pretty obvious their 1st line response is a copy/paste job. Happens every time. They don’t actually have authority to award service recovery. You have to respond and ask a Manager to review the case. Our latest incident was the Snow delays last month & our flight MAN>LHR was delayed about 4 hours. When finally boarding there was no catering of any sort and we were in CE. We got 10k each after escalation with no quibbles.

    • Nick says:

      Someone at BA is a John Grisham fan. He or she must have read the rainmaker and adopted the policy of refusing all claims. I have had some issues with lack of service recovery but these stories of BA telling their customers to bugger off really irritates me, and the pathetic language of their emails is inexcusable. On some occasions the think people are complaining about trivial issues but serious failures should be dealt with properly.

  • Jo says:

    OT: how soon after do you get the 10000 MR points on gold card? Is it only after they apply the renewal fee and if so when? Keen to apply for plat upgrade do you get refund on gold renewal fee if u upgrade to plat?

    • Jack says:

      It can take a few weeks, I rang about the same issue and was advised I could upgrade the day after my anniversary date and still receive the points

  • Frenske says:

    A £100 worth of compensation for having to skip the fish dish and with a certain wine is in my opinion more than enough. He just tried to milk it, still BA should have not taken the points back.

    • Leo says:

      I kind of agree…hubris?

    • Chris says:

      Certainly not! In BA First they serve LPGS (£120 a bottle) – I can drink 2 bottles on a Lh flight no problem, so that’s £240, without any consideration for white/red and food…

      • Matt says:

        If you’re drinking 2 bottles of champagne on a flight then I think you need to first see a doctor about a drinking problem, and then learn the art of class and restraint.

        • LB says:


        • Rob says:

          2 bottles of champagne over 12 hours is manageable! I am a bit old for that now but I had lunch with someone yesterday who had managed to get 5 gin and tonics off BA in a one hour CE flight …..

        • Gavin says:

          Feel a bit of a lush here given I’ve drunk two full bottles on a Larnaca flight (4.5 hours)

        • Rebecca says:

          Between the lounge and the flight I managed about the equivalent of two bottles of red on a flight to Abu Dhabi. I had a lovely time!

      • HAM76 says:

        At least on BA you can get proper drinks in Busines or First. On my last Lufthansa flight in Germany they had a total of three miniature bottles of Gin and three cans of Tonic loaded in business class. They managed to fill five glasses. Unfortunately my second round would have been glass number six (sitting in row one).

        Two bottles of Champagne… That‘s only three large glasses of beer in Bavaria, Germany.

    • Combat Johnny says:

      Agreed. He basically said he didnt want the avios

    • Andrew says:

      Or 15% of the avios needed to get to New York first class off peak. That does seem rather generous for missing out on your first choice of meal and only getting one glass of your favourite wine.

      • David says:

        You are either selling a first class product or you are not.
        If you are, you need to deliver it.

        • Andrew says:

          I’m not sure what you’re suggesting. Should this passenger have been given a full refund just because there wasn’t an unlimited amount of their favourite wine? Obviously not. The only question is what amount of compensation is appropriate. I think 10,000 avios isn’t too bad and had we not all been conditioned by the last 10 years when BA tossed avios around like candy for even the most frivolous complaint I think more would too.

          That’s not to say BA shouldn’t try a bit harder to not run out of things in all classes.

        • Leo says:

          What constitutes First class is subjective however. Air China versus SQ?

    • callum says:

      Having spent so long in customer service dealing with ungrateful customers, I sorely wish I had the power to take back initially offered compensation and say “fine, have nothing then”!

      Not that I’m saying this guy reacted badly – I obviously haven’t seen their interactions. Though I agree it’s adequate compensation to me (perhaps those with more money just value it less?).

      • HAM76 says:


        If the company decided that 10,000 Avios is adequate to compensate for *their* failure. Why should you take this away when the customer doesn‘t agree. This is childish behavior. If you don‘t want to give more, just say so.

    • shd says:

      Did they offer GBP100, or was it actually 10k Avios? 🙂

  • Mark1980 says:

    Noooooooo! This was my go-to MR redemption. So many good hotels for a family with young children who don’t want to fly long haul. Genuinely gutted.

    • s sud says:

      @ Mark – I quickly scanned the comments and yours was the only one about the loss of melia!

      I’m surprised such little response is general….and so perhaps they withdrew it because not enough people knew about it or used it?

      In fact, I am one of those but just when I thought of devoting some MRs to Melia on a forthcoming trip they pull the plug. I hope that is because they are going to make Melia a full MR transfer partner…..thereby doing away with the unwieldy booking process described by Rob.

      • Mark1980 says:

        Hi, whilst I agree with the sentiment – points redemptions in the actual Melia loyalty programme seem to be unrealistic. For me, getting a night in a Sol hotel for 5500 MR points was a steal! Granted many Sol properties are pretty poor but there are some gems in there, some of which cost £200+ per night in school holidays. I’m still hoping it may be an IT glitch at Amex but doubt it.

        • s sud says:

          @ Mark1980 – sadly, I don’t think its an IT glitch, as I have an email from Amex saying the only way to get a Melia nite at present is via pay by points (i.e. not a good deal). Although I never used it, I agree on the Sol nites. Paradisus fully inclusive for 17,500 MR points with kids also a steal! As a UK Cent, they give Melia Platinum, with which you get their Red service including access to their The Level lounges – again not tried it, but it looked pretty impressive. So I’m lamenting that part of it too. (1st world problem i know – but still, especially when you consider the cost of holidays with kids!!)

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