Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

You can now use Avios points to pay for BA seat reservations – but is it a good deal?

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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.

Use Avios to pay for British Airways seat selection

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.

Pay for British Airways seat reservations with Avios points

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 dealAs 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.

Conclusion

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 points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

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

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) 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 BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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 BA Amex American Express card

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.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of 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 10,000 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 card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

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.

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

Comments (108)

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

  • Rike says:

    I have been blue tier for 5 years and have at least 1 million avios from biz spend. people like us with huge biz spend tend to have alot miles & points to redeem so we never earn any airline status though.

    • xcalx says:

      ” People in the Blue tier are unlikely to have a large number of Avios”

      I too Have well north of 1 million Avios and have never had any status above blue with BA . I feel sure that applies to many HfPrs

      • Rob says:

        Yes, but you didn’t get them from flying presumably – which means that you won’t be willing to let them go for 0.55p (hopefully).

      • Alex says:

        Similar here – not THAT many miles, but still al lot in my account through personal spending, and I never had anything above Blue

      • Lady London says:

        And British Airways would like to reduce the liability they might potentially have on their balance sheet, by getting you to spend your hard earned Avios in this low+value way. And on things like reservations that used to be free.

      • Mr Dee says:

        Same not acquired through flying or cc spend, I would let some go at 0.55p to reduce exposure to devaluations etc so things like car rental and hotels are an option also.

        Thinking though it might be worthwhile to go for gold to get more Avios availability

  • ChrisC says:

    It may also appeal to bronze as well and especially those who want to select ther seats at the time of booking rather than wait until t-7 for free selection because they want to sit in a particular seat or seats.

    As to the rate there may be many ordinary people who don’t care this may be seen by some as a bad use of avios because they don’t put a particular rate on them as they were ‘free’

  • TripRep says:

    Awesome new value adding “enhancement”.

    That said, expect it’ll get used by those that have a stack of Avios or are clueless about how to value them. Upto £90 to reserve a business class seat is ridiculous.

    How much do Virgin charge for UC seat reservations?

    • Gumshoe says:

      Nothing. VS only charges for seat reservations in Economy.

      • Alan says:

        And that’s only in Economy “lite”. Standard economy (Classic) now has free reservations

    • Rob says:

      Nothing.

      • Intentionally Blank says:

        Am I the only one who is beginning to think (current strikes / Lack of CEO notwithstanding) that the VS / AF / KLM deal may actually be quite disruptive to BA? There are those drones who will be loyal to BA regardless, but as KLM does a great job of flying from the provincials to AMS and then onwards….

        Looking forward to using my VS miles to fly to Reunion 🙂

        • Alan says:

          If availability and points required is good then I think the deal would be very good for me. I could then fly from BRS which is much less hastle getting to than LHR or LGW for me.

          My fear is that availability will be harder than now and devaluation will occur with the tie-up. I hope I’m wrong.

    • MattyS says:

      We booked UC tickets using miles back for a particular flight back in November as soon as it opened, and it allowed seat selection for free .

      • ankomonkey says:

        I have award flights booked on UC and PE flights for this summer and was able to select my seats immediately after booking for both. It’s good, but ultimately what I expect.

    • Carl says:

      Unlike BA, VS don’t operate a Ryanair style model in their business class product, so you can choose seats for free. You can choose your seats for free in F on BA, which is one of the many reasons people say that BA First is a great business class product.

  • Mike says:

    35,000 Avios to select a seat in advance for a return Club World flight is 70,000 Avios for two people which is ludicrous. 120 K for 2 people to New York with a 241 and then 70 K to just book the seats

    • Mike L says:

      I paid £200 for 2 seats on the upper of the A380 at Easter. No way would I be using 35 k Avios to pay for a seat. I’m now within touching distance of bronze which will ease the pain of T-24. I decided to chance it on the return from Miami. The upper deck was showing single seats only (everything else greyed out) but when I logged in at T-24 BA had pre allocated us the same seats I had paid for on the outbound.

      • Matt says:

        Oh just re-read this. Say what you spent £100 per seat one way?!

    • Matt says:

      That price is only for the 747 upper deck and I’m happy it’s that high for both cash and Avios rates. If it was low then you’d have less chance of sitting up there as a silver or higher status member.

      • MikeL says:

        No it’s not , it was the A380, £100 per seat one way (upper deck)

  • Alan says:

    I think the title of this particular article is a bit misleading. Surely you have always been able to use Avios for “Redemptions”.

    Perhaps it shoudl read “Reservations”?

  • Tom says:

    Travelling Norwegian short-haul last year, I prepaid the £10 for an exit row seat, but when it came to check-in at the airport, there were still other exit row seats available for free. I swapped us into those, and ended up getting refunded my seat booking fee.

    Any chance of that ever happening on BA…?

  • Chris L says:

    Ironically if Club World was on par with other business class products there would be far less incentive to pay for seat selection.

    • Doug M says:

      Exactly. BA rightly in my opinion keep the best seats for status passengers by over pricing them. But the reason regulars care so much about CW seats is the huge variation in space, privacy and access.

  • Charlie T. says:

    I’m not sure I agree that you should be willing to get worse value for your Avios simply because you got them for “free”. You wouldn’t sell a house you inherited for materially less than one you bought yourself. Rather the calculus should be “How Avios rich am I compared to my aspirations for using them?” Probably combined with “How much do I value my time to optimise their use?”. Similar to why people might use webuyanycar rather than a private sale.

    • Peter K says:

      I know people who have sold a house for materially less than the usual asking price as it was inherited. The lived no where near and it was a liability to them so they just wanted rid quickly.

      • Mike says:

        Charlie – inherited houses are frequently sold for significantly less than market value in order to speed up the sale

    • Rob says:

      People do undersell inherited houses, just after they’ve sold their parents possessions for £10 to a house clearance company who resell the best 1% for £1000 and junk the rest.

      • Charlie T. says:

        That’s me told then – I should probably change my statement from “you wouldn’t” to “I wouldn’t”!

      • Lady London says:

        I can’t tell you how much that sort of thing upsets me.

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

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