British Airways went live yesterday with its well-trailed plan to allow you to use Avios to pay for seat reservations.
You can find out more on ba.com here.
“It will be of particular benefit to those in the Blue tier” said James Hillier of the Executive Club in a statement of the blinkin’ obvious, given that all other Executive Club members receive free seat selection.
You won’t be surprised to hear that this is a terrible use of Avios.
I would also be surprised – and quite worried – if it proved popular.
People in the Blue tier are unlikely to have a large number of Avios and are unlikely to want to use up to 35,000 Avios to select a seat in advance for a return Club World flight.
What do BA seat reservations cost?
Full details are on ba.com here.
BA now uses dynamic pricing for seat selection. Pricing varies by seat and by how many seats are available.
Here are the minimum charges, each way:
- Short-haul economy – from £7
- Long-haul economy – from £20
- Long-haul economy exit row – from £50
- World Traveller Plus – from £18
- Short-haul business – from £14
- Long-haul business – from £62 (upper deck seats on a Boeing 747 are £90+)
Seat selection in First Class is free.
What is the value per Avios?
It is …. and no surprise …..
0.55p per Avios.
This is the same rate that Avios uses for most of its other non-flight redemptions, such as redeeming for wine, experiences, hotels etc.
0.55p per point is a bad deal. As I wrote here in my ‘what is an Avios worth?’ article, you should be looking at 1p to 1.5p per point.
You should never redeem Avios obtained via credit card spend, Tesco Clubcard, Heathrow Rewards etc at 0.55p per point. You would have been far better off using a cashback credit card, using your Clubcard points for another transfer deal or using your Heathrow Rewards points for airport shopping. You need to be getting at least 1p per Avios if you are transferring in points from other places.
I am fully in favour of giving people more way to use their Avios. If you earned your Avios exclusively from flying, so they were effectively ‘free’, then even getting a poor 0.55p per point is worthwhile. For everyone else, I would try to avoid this redemption option if you can.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.