British Airways launches 50% off Avios Economy redemption flights – 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. Using the rewards seat sale booked an open jaw flight to LA and return from San Francisco for 75k Avios plus taxes for 2 adults and one child. The cash price for the seats would have been 3k alone. Paid taxes and car hire less than half of this. Not sure why using Avios on economy is seen as bad deal, if you are not going to fly in other classes, this rewards sale is good value on Avios. Get in there quick as availability was already starting to go on peak dates on popular routes. Thanks as always for H4P for posting up-to-date travel information.

    • lev441 says:

      Not always a bad option – I totally agree. Seems like you’ve done well out of the sale so well done for snapping up the flights.

      • John F says:

        Would agree that it can be good option, just booked o/w INV-YVR for £133 and 8125 avios for next May on A380 service, decent saving on a standard one way fare

    • I think its also a case of many being spoiled in J or F (including me)

      The thought of travelling long haul in Y simply doesn’t appeal to many of us (including me) BUT where it does, its a good deal, such as you have achieved. Enjoy California!

    • I also used this offer to book flights and worked out I was getting around 1.7p per Avios, which is the sort of value you might expect to get when booking Business with a 2-for-1 voucher according to some of Rob’s examples here:

      So I agree that Economy can be an excellent way to use Avios, esp. when you combine the new off-peak rates with a 50% off offer!

      This is also particularly relevant for couples travelling with kids, where Business class might no longer be a feasible option.


    Excuse me if it is writen somewhere but I couldn’t find – where is it writen that Moscow is excluded? Is it possible to do GIG-LHR-DME and a month later do HEL-LHR-GIG ?
    Both ways only pass through London – there is no stopover – I mean I only connect flights, even in this case do I have to pay that huge tax ? In afirmative case is there a way to bypass the problem and save my vaccation? Tks for the help

  3. David Pires says:

    Looking at going London – NYC over Christmas for 40k points +£746. The price would otherwise be £1260. Looks like it can be a good deal.

  4. Keep getting technical error when searching. Would love to know availability and avios and tax prices for Male in December if anyone can get it to work.

  5. Akkers says:

    Does anyone know any departure points in the US or Caribbean which have reduced APD (like Jersey or Inverness on this side of the pond). I’m looking at a one way back to London in Feb next year and this maybe beneficial.

  6. Chris H says:

    Worked for me thanks! Abu Dhabi next Easter was coming out as c£3k cash for a family of 4 or 80,000 Avios and £1,200 – seems like reasonable value?

  7. Marco says:

    Seems that BA is adding “extra charges from Brazil”….from RIO to LHR one way first it shows 30.45Euro then afterwards when clicking continue it is 171.89
    I thought it is not allowed to use extra surcharges for flights originating from Brazil

  8. A few questions from a relative novice. I have an existing economy booking to Cape Town and it looks I could save 9000 points by rebooking. Using those points to rebook, I would save about £150 – or £75 after fees are deducted. Should I book the new flight first and then cancel the old one? And will it affect my (business) return, which I booked separately?

    • Yes, you definitely should book new flights first, as cancelling the old flights doesn’t guarantee that those seats will drop back into the system as reward seats.

      If the business return is a completely separate booking, then it shouldn’t matter what you do to the outbound reservation.

  9. David says:

    TLV is definitely included. Just booked for May 2019.

  10. James says:

    IST doesn’t seem to be working but Cairo is (on the ex-BMI A321). Gutted it’s not club as I prefer this club layout to standard CW !!

    Annoyed IST isn’t working.

  11. Shelly says:

    Arghhhhhhhhh I missed this as I’ve been without internet in Nepal hiking. I hope this offer appears again!

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