British Airways launches 50% off Economy redemptions – but is it still a bad deal?

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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.

British Airways half price Avios sale

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 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.

The special offer page for the deal is here.

(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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  1. Stephen C says:

    No availability on our regional flight into Heathrow for an Easter trip next year so I took the risk and cancelled. Waited five minutes and availability was there so rebooked on the same flights, just choosing the same seats again now. £138 (cash part went up by £2 for some reason) for 84,500 Avios saved, great start to the day 🙂

  2. It’s not always a bad deal

    I booked a LHR-BOM return for £322 and 20k avios. Cash price was £550, so I got around 1p per avios.

    Im happy with this as at the end of the day it saved me £230 which I can use for internal flights within india

  3. Essexgeeza says:

    Why is it when I try to book an off peak reward flight LHR to Hong Kong I am being priced at PEAK avios?

    • Lumma says:

      Are you sure it’s an off peak date? Booked an avios flight for this Wednesday 30/5 that was showed as off peak on the booking page but I’m sure it shouldn’t have been seeing as it’s a school half term week. Was charged the peak avios price.

  4. I had booked a fly LHR-EZE for December using a 241 voucher. This sale means I could now rebook for the exact same avios+cash, but I get to keep the voucher. Not that bad.

    • Making use of the voucher in Eco is byter than making no use of the voucher!

      I have two with one expiring at the end of the month… as a single traveller, I don’t have much use for them.

      I will probably take a friend to any destination that I can find at the last minute

      • Alex W says:

        In this instance it’s not better. There’s no point using the voucher if he can cancel and re-book at a 50% discount. Only downside is that would presumably incur 2 x £35 cancellation fees.

  5. flight*.

    Unless I’m missing something, seems like a decent deal if I was already planning on flying Eco (which I know is not a great way to use a voucher..)

  6. Can you book a Gold Priority Reward and get 50% discount?

  7. Roberto says:

    I booked..

    Early January for a brief 6 day hop to Barbados. Paid £550 for two economy seats with just 32k avios. I am gold so bagged two extra leg room seats for free as well. Its about half the cash price so quite happy with the value from effectivly is one plat churn.

    I prefer to fly club or First long haul but factoring in the duty/tax it would be £1100 plus 200k avios which is a fair chunk more than I paid.

    Lots of availabilty.

  8. I remember that if you depart from Brazil there is NO fuel surcharge as per Brazil rule.

    When you search for GIG-LHR one way, you will see 9750avios + 26.51€ but on the next page it will reprice and it will add Fuel surcharge.

    If you change your country residence to Brazil, the BA website will tell you that it isn’t possible to book online award ticket from Brazil.

    In any case the ANAC should fix the problem about the fuel surcharge

    Please if the ANAC will receive complaints, the airline will be forced to fix this!

    • razvan says:

      I just booked two tickets GIG-LHR on with £22.40 tax and 9750 avios each

  9. Brian says:

    Economy redemption can be a good deal. I paid c72000 Avios + £140 for four return flights LHR to Larnaca in August last year. Flights would have cost £1800-1900. Worked out at 2.3p per Avios.

    • That’s short haul though. Short haul economy redemptions are usually a good deal.

  10. Sorry for a slightly silly and OT one: but what’s the difference beteeen Avios plus cash and Avios part payments? The link to a relevant HFP article will do, thanks

    • Genghis says:

      “Avios and Money” starts with a redemption booking (and therefore there must be availability) and lowers the amount of avios by increasing the amount of cash paid. “Part pay with avios” starts with a cash booking (no availability issues, earns avios and TPs etc) and lowers the amount of cash paid by paying some avios.

      • Does it make sense? Why wouldn’t they unify the two? And what is the rule of thumb on what is more beneficial for a pax?

        • the real harry1 says:

          IMV it makes perfect sense having the 2 options.

          As to which is most beneficial, it depends on you, your points, whatever you value them at, convenience etc.

          Rule of thumb is: Avios + money is for smart people, part pay with Avios is for numpties 🙂 (or people who see Avios as free money, I guess)

  11. dwadda says:

    Is there a list of the 90 destinations? Not on the offer page. I have tried but found nothing.

    Otherwise, it is really annoying to see if there is anything interesting..

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