What Jamie did right – and very, very wrong – when he booked his Indonesia holiday on Avios

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Over the last couple of weeks we have run a series of flight reviews from Jamie’s recent month-long holiday in Asia.  The majority of the international flights were booked with Avios.

Before we go on, I should say that I wasn’t involved in the booking of this trip and didn’t know he was going until I got an email offering me the reviews.  You’ll see why I said that in a minute!

As a reminder, this is what he flew:

Heathrow – Kuala Lumpur, British Airways Club World – reviewed here – 105,000 Avios one-way (peak date)

Kuala Lumpur – Jakarta, Malaysia Airlines Business – reviewed here – 15,000 Avios one-way

Bali – Doha, Qatar Airways Business – reviewed here – 75,000 Avios one-way

Doha – Gatwick, Qatar Airways Business – reviewed here – 60,000 Avios one-way

In theory, this itinerary should have cost him 255,000 Avios.  In reality, Jamie only paid 200,000 Avios.

This is why.

Welcome to the Avios multi-partner redemption chart

99% of British Airways Avios collectors do not know that BA also has a second redemption chart.

I bet that most of you have never seen this chart before (click to enlarge):

OneWorld Avios redemption chart

You can see the original by clicking here to ba.com and scrolling down to click on ‘Partner Airlines’ and then ‘Avios costs for booking on two or more oneworld airlines’.

This is the reward chart that British Airways uses to price redemptions which include two or more oneworld partner airlines, excluding British Airways (although BA can be included on an itinerary).

The chart is for economy travel.  Multiply by two for business class and by three for first class.

Let’s take a look at Jamie’s itinerary

Because Jamie’s itinerary used two oneworld airlines, plus British Airways, he could use the multi-partner Avios redemption chart to price his trip.

Let’s look at the flights again:

  • Heathrow – Kuala Lumpur (6593 miles)
  • Kuala Lumpur – Jakarta (699 miles)
  • Bali – Doha (4873 miles)
  • Doha – Gatwick (3244 miles)

This is a total of 15,409 miles.  You can get exact distance figures from gcmap.com – click on ‘Distance’ and use airport codes, eg ‘LHR-KUL’.

Look at the multi-carrier Avios reward chart.  15,409 miles falls into the 100,000 Avios band (14,000 – 20,000 miles flown) for Economy.  We double that for Business Class.

This is why Jamie only paid 200,000 Avios for his trip, and not the 255,000 Avios that it would otherwise have cost if he had booked it one flight at a time.

Except:

He made a BIG mistake!

Look again at the reward chart.

Jamie’s trip was 15,409 miles.  He paid 200,000 Avios, which was the cost for trips of between 14,001 and 20,000 miles.

This means he could have added an additional trip of up to 4,591 miles for FREE! 

Well, not quite free because taxes and charges would have been due, but no additional Avios would have been required.  He could have added on:

a one-way in Club World from London to Miami (4425 miles)

or

a return in Club Europe to Athens (3020 miles) AND a return in Club Europe to Berlin (1180 miles)

or

a one-way in Club World to Delhi (4191 miles)

….. or many other options – for no additional Avios!

So …. well done to Jamie for remembering to ring BA and book his itinerary via the multi-carrier redemption chart, which saved him 55,000 Avios.  But a slap on the wrist for missing out on the chance to add a couple of future trips onto his itinerary for no extra Avios …..

(PS.  As someone asked in the comments ….. to book these flights, search availability for each flight separately on ba.com and then call BA Executive Club. The rules for how pricing works if you have mixed classes is not published anywhere and is not fully clear to anyone. It really needs a separate article of its own, suffice it to say that sometimes you can sneak in one flight in a higher class for free.)

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Comments

  1. Ian McDowall says:

    Hi. I am fairly new to this and am. On a very steep learning curve.
    I just used the avios calculator through the article link and put in LHR AKL business.
    Result said, no flights available!
    Qatar fly this via Doha.

    How should I proceed?
    And is there a calculator for mileage on a particular route so I can see what avios points range the flights I want will fall?

    Thanks.

    Ian

    • IIRC the BA Avios calculator only works for for single legs and then only for BA metal, hence the no availability. When using the book with Avios bit of the website the partner flights are shown, where there are seats available.

    • The Great Circle Mapper, and Oneworld interactive map?, shows point to point distances flown for single or multi-leg flights.

  2. I knew this chart existed but didn’t have a clue you could chuck in a random flight or 2 that had nothing to do with your original itinerary.

    • You can’t really.

      I don’t think Rob has actually ever booked one of these cos some on his comments previously also sounded quite uninformed/misleading. It’s a niche and generally not spoken about by those who understand it…

      • I know people who have done this, adding on random flights at the end. Certainly possible.

        • That’s not very reassuring, I’m with Mkol on this. Sounds a bit random. You price up/book the main trip etc and at the end say chuck us a return CE flight to Berlin in there while you’re at it?

          • Why not? I know people who have added on numerous back to backs on the same route, eg chucking in 3 x London to Paris on different dates. There are no rules on backtracking etc AFAIK as long as you stay inside the distance limit.

        • look forward to trying this out one day as I missed this opportunity earlier in the year

      • You can, really.

        There is genuinely no restriction on ‘chucking in a return Berlin leg’ at the end after a stopover. I have booked three of these now. Most trips contain 6 sectors that I want, and, normally at the start or end I’ll add in a return J flight.

        All I’d say is you can’t include BA Metal on these tickets and it has to be eight sectors or less.

      • Why not? You’re just purchasing an amount of permissible mileage for flights, up to you how you use it.

  3. O/T – plan to fly to Vancouver or Seattle next year and can do open jaw if required. Have newly earned 241 and Lloyd’s upgrade vouchers to use but will only have @100k Avios at time of booking. Any suggestions on how to max the class of travel using these rather than paying cash in full?

    • Forgot to add is Mr & Mrs travelling.

      • Using both with a 100k limit will not work, others here may disagree, and supposing you’re seeking to minimise actual cash outlay, how about …
        4xLHR-SEA/YVR-LHR in PE using 241 = 100k (peak) + £900(!)
        vs.
        4xINV-LHR-SEA/YHR-LHR-INV using 241 = 118k (peak) + £70
        Off-peak is 35k less on both counts.

        Simplistic. Probably nothing you didn’t know already. But what else does one do awaiting a delayed train having forgotten book at home?

        • Thought it was only APD you don’t pay from INV? £70 fees sounds very low!

        • Anna – suffice it to say that i thought so too, but that’s what the was returned when searching on my phone this morning. Two caveats: I didn’t click the continue button through to booking and … it’s the ba.com website!! hahahahaha

    • You might struggle to use both vouchers given the BA metal and/or depart from UK stipulations. You could get off peak CW returns to the East coast using the 2 4 1, then book onward cash flights to the West coast.

      Your other option is to use avios plus cash, but DON’T go for the option where you use avios to reduce the cash price as this is generally a terrible deal. When you select reward seats you will be given an option to “purchase” extra avios to make up the amount you require. This can sometimes be good value – you need to compare the extra cash cost against the full cash fare to decide if it’s worth it (there was a HFP article on this some time ago).

      Finally, check whether the cash price of the flights would make it worth buying extra avios with the current 50% bonus offer. Only you can decide whether you think this is a good deal for you!

    • If you can get your avios up to 118,00 and you priority is the best travel experience possible you could use the 2 4 1 to travel off peak in F outbound and CW home using New York/Boston/Philadelphia/Chicago or a couple of others as your transit point then use cash for connecting flights. I would far prefer this option to doing the whole trip in PE and I think it’s much better use of avios and the companion voucher. You’d get the Concorde lounge at LHR as well, PE doesn’t get you lounge access at all.

      • Thanks guys – gives me something to work with in terms of research. Just have to hope there is availability during my window to travel!

        • There’s pretty much always availability to the Eastern US and you shouldn’t have a problem getting connecting flights unless you leave it till the last minute and you’re travelling at Thanksgiving or similar! I got 2 F seats to NYC near to Memorial Day weekend using a 2 4 1 – the cash price for our F out and CW back flights is now £10k!

  4. BA credit card hack update – 11 unrecognised transactions on my account now with a few still pending. Lloyds doing their best to reverse them but said this might take quite a while. How reassuring that BA will cover all my damages…

    • Can’t be true. BA said publicly there hasn’t been a single case of known fraud despite your details being openly for sale on the dark web ….

      • Hahaha! I was thinking about this actually – do BA have to give authorities access to the leaked data so that they can figure out who’s responsible? Is the fact that my number is on that list sufficient to make BA pay for the damages? I’ll get my money back either way, but it doesn’t feel that Lloyds (or their insurance) rather than BA are having to pay up…

        • *doesn’t feel right

        • If it’s being investigated that information will form part of the evidence. I would expect a financial investigator to apply for a court order if BA didn’t hand it over voluntarily (some companies, especially banks, won’t hand over any sort of details without a court order).

        • Doesn’t matter if it feels right or not, it’s Lloyds legal responsibility not BA’s – even if you could prove it was them.

    • My Lloyds Amex got cloned and a series of small online transactions got through before Lloyds fraud team alerted me. Spend include…. 9.99 Netflix subscription and £10.XX at Peacocks online… Lloyds refunded me fairly swiftly, took about 3 days.

      • Mine were a lot bigger than that – most got declined eventually, but a few hundred quid went through. Hoping for a swift refund as well!

  5. sinewavves says:

    OT: If paying HMRC on a Curve Card, can you split the payment across multiple payments. I used to be able to but I have a feeling they stopped allowing it? Thanks!

    • I paid HMRC roughly a week ago I made three separate payments to cover my bill. Using curve linked to my Lloyds card. I think rob mentioned previously, it’s if you are using a different card number for each transaction that it becomes an issue.

    • You can’t use multiple CARDS. You can make multiple payments – and I do.

      • sinewavves says:

        That’s great thanks Rob and Andy. If you are using Curve I assume you have to wait for new daily limits?

        Thanks

      • Rob Walker says:

        I didn’t realise multiple cards was an issue. That might be my plans scuppered. I still have a £10k Curve limit with 8k remaining. I asked for in increase and was told to try again in a few months.

        • sinewavves says:

          Thanks for all this help. Do people do the same (multiple payments) with their VAT and Corporation Tax for business as well? (I run my own business..)

  6. Colin MacKinnon says:

    OK, so I want to go to Denver a few times a year. EDI-Den is about 5k miles.

    So for 160,000 x 2 = 320,000, I can get four BA club world returns plus some Finnair or Iberia out of Edi – or route on Denver trip on American (if only there’s was ever availability!) from Edinburgh via East Coast to Den?

    • I’m not 100% sure what you’re saying but I think Denver would be 150,000 avios peak and 125,000 off peak with BA – this would include the regional connection.

    • Scallder says:

      Yes Colin, you will be able to do that.

      So 4 return journeys would be 40k miles flown on BA, so you then have 10k miles distance flown to use with Finnair or Iberia (or as you mention maybe do some routing on American whilst in the US (either to Denver, or whilst you’re in the US pop somewhere else from Denver).

      Would imagine you’d be looking at perhaps minimum £3k of taxes and fees (on assumption that each return journey to Denver is perhaps around £650 each time).

      • Scallder says:

        Sorry I should stress the 10k miles flown would need to be used on a minimum of two other Onewolrd airlines

        • Colin MacKinnon says:

          Thanks. Makes it interesting!

          At 80k per CW return to DEN, that’ll be quite bit of a saving in avios (although with the fees, will still be keeping an eye out for sub–£1500 business fares).

          Now we have a grandchild over there. the 241 is not so much use since I still have to work to pay the BA fees while wifey stays longer to be granny! Using our last Lloyds vouchers in the new year.

      • Interesting point implied here not stressed in original article: if one’s focus is on a BA long haul trip, one can add on a couple of Europe trips on E.g. Iberia and Finnair to access this table.
        So long as two non-BA OW carriers are involved, nobody said that they had to be for the flights one first thought of!

  7. wouldn’t it be better to transfer the avios to iberia and use their oneworld multi award. Jamie’s 15409 mile trip would fall into their 12401-18000 mile band which is 82500 avios in economy and 165000 in business. Lower than the 200,000 used via BAEC.

    • Scallder says:

      Very handy to know Riku, thanks. Whilst not Avios, I know that Asia Miles has a similar chart to the BA one, but the price in Asia Miles is cheaper for a number of the bands than BA (and both Avios and Asia Miles are 1:1 from Amex). Although have never compared the Iberia chart to the Asia miles one.

    • Scallder says:

      I guess using Iberia’s chart also means that from the UK, you can use BA and one other oneworld member too, so perhaps easier to utilise from the UK!

  8. Very interesting article and something I never knew, thanks.

    So if I’m planning a number of trips next year I could lump them all together, ring BA and potentially use less Avios than with a 241? Obviously fees and taxes have need to be calculated.

    • Potentially, as long as you have 2 x oneworld carriers.

      One thing to note – once you’ve taken the first flight, I imagine the rest of the itinerary cannot be cancelled, although dates could be changed. You would therefore need to be fairly firm about your plans. You would also need to take all the flights or see all of your remaining flights cancelled.

  9. Rob, can see lots of people asking about taxes. You should share my bargain multi-carrier trip I recently got which I emailed to you. 🙂

    • Actually it was your email that partly gave me the idea for this article!

      • Haha cool! 🙂 But can see lots of comments anxious that this may be a “waste” and that the taxes will overrule the savings. Which in my case wasn’t true and was able to get a return OZ trip with just £459 taxes!

        • I would love to hear more about this please Nik. Did you fall in to the 20,000 miles plus bracket.

        • +1

        • Shoestring says:

          Maybe Nik can explain? But it must be something like that, £459 in taxes, fees, carrier charges for Economy route sounds feasible, don’t forget many/ most other countries don’t levy such high fees as UK.

          Points on top, of course. Would be good to know the route & points requirement 🙂

        • Shared my tips in the next page of comments. Let me know your thoughts and happy to answer any questions. It took a bit of time and patience, yes, but so satisfying and worth it! 🙂

  10. Thanks for the Oz/NZ connection ideas, will explore further over next few days.

    In terms of using the Lloyds vouchers with that scheme about to close what’s the current view on booking process and what happens should you need to cancel?

    • People whose avios accounts have been closed have still been able to use their vouchers, so the terms and conditions should still apply until the point at which the flight can no longer be cancelled or changed (I can’t remember if you can cancel a flight made with a Lloyds voucher).

      • IIRC you lose the voucher if cancelling but people have reported being able to use it against a new flight provided the new reservwtion was made during the call to cancel. If CSA does not play ball I suppose best to just abandon the cancellation and try again later with another CSA. In theory this could go on until 24h before departure.

        • That’s exactly what I did…..change of destination and date…..having first checked availability on the BA site. I got the impression that the lady at the other end didn’t blink an eyelid!

  11. Is there a mileage chart to major airports somewhere or is it a case of Google. Thanks in advance

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