British Airways has launched an Avios redemption sale – but with a catch.
Until 17th June over 90 long-haul routes can be redeemed at 50% off, but in Economy only.
Which routes are included? The small print says that:
“Reward flights are strictly subject to availability which may be very limited or not available at all on some routes including Sydney, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, San Jose (Costa Rica), Grenada, Cancun, Lima and Male.”
….. but I think this is just referring to the general difficulty in redeeming to these cities in the first place. What we do know is that Moscow, Cairo, Amman and Tel Aviv are excluded, so it is possible that ‘mid haul’ is not included.
Unfortunately taxes, fees and carrier charges are NOT reduced and will set you back around £350 per person (£275 for the Middle East).
This offer is for flights from or to London Heathrow and Gatwick between 1st September 2018 and 31st May 2019. In reality, despite what the rules say, regional departures seem to work OK too. If you live near Inverness this means that you can wipe out the Air Passenger Duty by starting from there as it is exempt.
One way redemptions are allowed.
You cannot combine this offer with a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher or a Lloyds Avios Rewards upgrade voucher.
Avios part payments are excluded from this offer, but Avios plus cash is included. The reduced Avios price will automatically be applied when booking.
Here are some typical prices for return World Traveller (economy) flights including taxes with this offer:
- Bermuda for 13,000 Avios + £367.16 (peak 20,000 Avios)
- Seychelles for 16,250 Avios + £369.61 (peak 25,000 Avios)
- Hong Kong for 19,500 Avios +£341.35 (peak 30,000 Avios).
James Hillier from British Airways Executive Club, said:
“Our Executive Club Members appreciate a range of ways to collect and spend Avios so it’s great to be launching this promotion which makes reward flights even more accessible. This means that customers can go sandboarding in Dubai, spot stars in Los Angeles or visit Singapore’s Orchard Road for half the number of Avios normally required.”
The problem, of course, is that even at half price most of these deals remain poor. Should I want to go sandboarding in Dubai, for example, it will cost me 13,000 Avios + £259 on an off-peak date. Cash tickets can often be had for £295 to £325 which means that the redemption is still a bad deal unless you need the flexibility to cancel if needed.
That said, do the maths. If you are travelling in high season it may still make sense. Whilst economy redemptions are usually not great value long-haul, this offer would make sense if a cash ticket would otherwise set you back £550 – £600 or so. This would value your Avios points at 1p each which is fine by us.
Can I rebook an existing flight?
If you have an Avios redemption booked in Economy for these travel dates, you should check to see if it is worth rebooking.
Only do this if there are additional reward seats available to rebook. Do not cancel an existing booking in the hope that the seats you cancel will immediately go back into the system. It doesn’t always work that way.
The cancellation fee is £35 per person so it should be worthwhile given that you will saving at least 7,000 Avios.
You must book by 17th June for travel between 1st September 2018 and 31st May 2019 to redeem for 50% fewer Avios – and 0% fewer taxes.
To maximise your miles when paying, your best bet is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card which earns double Avios (3 per £1) when you book at ba.com or via BA Holidays. You do not get double Avios if you book with the free British Airways American Express card.
Another option is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.
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:
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.