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When should you consider using ‘Avios and Money’? – Avios Redemption University – Lesson 4

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The “Avios Redemption University” series is a good starting point for beginners, although I hope everyone will learn something from it.  Click here to see the other “Avios Redemption University” articles.

This article explains how the ‘Avios and Money’ feature of British Airways Executive Club works. Many people don’t realise that it can offer excellent value, letting you ‘buy’ Avios for as little as 0.77p.

‘Avios and Money’ is the feature of the Avios programme that allows you to book a reward seat for up to 65% fewer Avios than the headline mileage price.

British Airways and Iberia Plus will, in effect, ‘sell’ you the extra miles you need during the redemption booking process. This may mean that a redemption you thought you couldn’t reach is in fact bookable.

The official ba.com text on ‘Avios and Money’ is here – scroll down to the bottom where it says ‘Ways To Make Your Avios Stretch Further’.

What are the key facts about ‘Avios and Money’?

There are six key things to know about ‘Avios and Money’ redemptions, which I will expand on below:

Everything you will read below only applies to redemption bookings and not for cash bookings. There is a similar scheme called ‘Part Pay With Avios’ for cash bookings.

‘Avios and Money’ cannot be used with a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher. These bookings can only be made using ‘100% Avios’.

The ‘cost per Avios’ varies depending on the sort of ticket you are booking – not all ‘Avios and Money’ options are a good deal, but it can be exceptionally good value

If you cancel an ‘Avios and Money’ booking, you will get back both the Avios and the additional money – you do not get your refund entirely in Avios based on the full Avios cost of the ticket

You cannot change the operating carrier or route on an ‘Avios and Money’ booking – you would need to cancel the whole booking and rebook.

Two partner airlines – Japan Airlines and S7 (Russian domestic carrier) – are not available with ‘Avios and Money’

‘Avios and Money’ options are shown to you automatically during the booking process, so you can’t miss them. However, it is possible that you don’t do the maths properly and end up doing a bad deal.

How does Avios and Money work

‘Avios and Money’ can be an excellent deal

So good, in fact, that it may be worth using ‘Avios and Money’ even if you have enough Avios to book your flight outright.

This is how ‘Avios and Money’ looks on the BA website during the booking process:

The odd combinations of Avios and money shown to you means that you might not realise what a good deal you are being offered.

For long-haul economy / World Traveller redemptions, long-haul World Traveller Plus redemptions and all short-haul redemptions, it makes sense to pay more cash and use fewer Avios. It is the equivalent of ‘buying’ Avios for as little as 0.77p which is as cheap as you will ever see.

Here are some worked examples based on a return flight to New York, off peak:

World Traveller:

26,000 Avios + £264

20,800 Avios + £314 (buying 5,200 Avios for 0.96p)

16,900 Avios + £344 (buying 9,100 Avios for 0.88p)

13,000 Avios + £364 (buying 13,000 Avios for 0.77p)

10,400 Avios + £384 (buying 15,600 Avios for 0.77p)

9,100 Avios + £394 (buying 16,900 Avios for 0.77p)

In the most extreme example, you pay an extra £130 cash in order to use 16,900 fewer Avios. That means you are effectively buying those 16,900 Avios for 0.77p each.  This is a very good deal.

World Traveller Plus:

52,000 Avios + £468

41,600 Avios + £558 (buying 10,400 Avios for 0.86p)

36,400 Avios + £598 (buying 15,600 Avios for 0.83p)

31,200 Avios + £648 (buying 20,800 Avios for 0.86p)

26,000 Avios + £678 (buying 26,000 Avios for 0.81p)

20,800 Avios + £708 (buying 31,200 Avios for 0.77p)

Again, you are offered the chance to ‘buy’ Avios for 0.77p – up to 31,200 Avios in this case.

This method doesn’t work in Club World however. Take a look:

Club World:

100,000 Avios + £668

90,000 Avios + £908 (buying 10,000 Avios for 2.40p)

75,000 Avios + £1,178 (buying 25,000 Avios for 2.04p)

65,000 Avios + £1,408 (buying 35,000 Avios for 2.11p)

57,500 Avios + £1,508 (buying 42,500 Avios for 1.98p)

50,000 Avios + £1,608 (buying 50,000 Avios for 1.88p)

Club World is ludicrously expensive. There is no reason for anyone to take advantage of this deal. Even in the unthinkable scenario that anyone was willing to pay 2.4p for an Avios they could buy them directly from BA for 1.6p.

Here are two short-haul examples based on flying to Madrid. Using ‘Avios and Money’ works well on the Euro Traveller ticket but less well on Club Europe – although it is still worth considering.

Euro Traveller, using Reward Flight Saver:

13,000 Avios + £35

10,400 Avios + £65 (buying 2,600 Avios for 1.15p)

9,200 Avios + £75 (buying 3,800 Avios for 1.05p)

7,800 Avios + £85 (buying 5,200 Avios for 0.96p)

6,600 Avios + £95 (buying 6,400 Avios for 0.94p)

4,300 Avios + £105 (buying 8,700 Avios for 0.80p)

and, a slightly worse deal:

Club Europe, using Reward Flight Saver:

25,500 Avios + £50

23,000 Avios + £80 (buying 1,500 Avios for 2.00p)

21,200 Avios + £100 (buying 4,300 Avios for 1.16p)

18,700 Avios + £120 (buying 6,800 Avios for 1.03p)

17,000 Avios + £140 (buying 8,500 Avios for 1.06p)

13,600 Avios + £160 (buying 11,900 Avios for 0.92p)

How do you use Avios and Money?

So, which of these options offers a good deal?

There is, of course, no easy answer to that!  This article attempts to put a figure on how YOU may value an Avios. There is no single answer that suits everyone.

You need to consider that this is the purest ‘no effort required’ method of getting Avios.  It would be totally reasonable for you to say that you would be happy to ‘pay’ 1p per Avios this way whilst you wouldn’t do any Tesco offer unless it came in at under 0.75p, for example.

‘Avios and Money’ is not available with all partners

‘Avios and Money’ has been expanded since it was initially launched, and now covers most of the oneworld airlines.  The only exceptions are Japan Airlines and Russian domestic airline S7.

You can also use ‘Avios and Money’ on redemptions with Aer Lingus, Alaska Airlines, Comair (South Africa) and SUN-AIR (Scandinavia).

Cancellation terms are slightly different

For reasons I do not fully understand, British Airways has more restrictive change rules in place for ‘Avios and Money’ bookings than for standard redemptions.

You cannot change the operating carrier and you cannot change the route.  You also cannot cancel one leg of a return flight – you need to cancel the entire flight and rebook, subject to availability, the leg you still want.

So … if you booked American Airlines to New York and wanted to switch to a BA flight, it would not be allowed.  (With a 100% Avios redemption, it is possible.)  Similarly, you could not switch from New York to Boston.

In both cases, you would have to cancel your booking and rebook. This could cause an issue if you only wanted to change one leg of your trip, as there is no guarantee that the other leg would still be available as a reward flight.

You cannot ring up BA after you have booked an ‘all Avios’ redemption and ask to switch the mix of ‘Avios and Money’.

Conclusion

Next time you book a short-haul or an economy or World Traveller Plus long-haul Avios redemption, without using a 241 voucher, seriously consider taking advantage of this opportunity. They will be some of the easiest and cheapest Avios you will probably ever ‘purchase’.

‘Avios and Money’ is a surprisingly well-priced (in some circumstances) and useful tool which should be part of your Avios armoury.

(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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Comments

  1. Richard says:

    Avios and Money throws out some comical pence per point values of the redemption that demonstrates the folly of simply taking the cash price and the points and dividing them if you max it out – ie a last minute cash ticket in economy one way TATL will usually be £1400 and up, or if there is avios availibility you can spend the minimum ~5000 points and £250 or so – and generate ludicrous 20p per point or higher “savings”

    • Shoestring says:

      But you (and xcalx earlier) and just pointing out that cash tickets can go up or down depending on demand, whereas a reward ticket (100% Avios or Avios + Money) will stay the same in cost.

      So if you were comparing an Avios + Money fare to cash only, at (say) T-355, odds are the cash fare might win/ seem cheaper.

      Whereas if you compare much nearer to flight date, your reward flight is pretty much always going to look better value, because by then there are ferwer seats left & the cash price has rocketed.

  2. For some reason Avios+Money is not available on AA domestic routes.

  3. Avios related query.
    I have a BA household account. I have just transferred my Avios from Iberia Plus to Aer Lingus Aer Club. Now I’m trying to transfer those miles to BA via Avios.com but it’s saying my details don’t match. The only thing that is not matching is my email address which I can’t change! What do I do?

    • Shoestring says:

      If you’re pushing from Aer Club to BAEC, you can try pulling from Aer Club to BAEC instead. Ie log into BAEC and try pulling from there. Or whichever platform you’re on, try the other one.

      Failing that, phone them up and get them to move the points for you – PITA but it works

      • Thanks. Tried it from BAEC website and again no luck! Will try and call BA.

  4. In the phone options, do I ask for e-mail address to be changed i.e. the one that I have for Aer Lingus. Is that the easiest way now and to avoid this in the future?

  5. Rob, Can you still upgrade using Lloyd’s voucher after Avios and money option?

    • No idea, sorry. It would be tricky because you are dealing with Club World taxes and WTP Avios. Note also that the 241 BA Amex voucher requires 100% Avios.

  6. I got some crazy value on a Cathay ticket. Needed two one ways for me and my partner from Hong Kong to shanghai and the cash price was near £600 total.

    Instead I was able to book two tickets for £150 and just 5000 Avios on my BAEC account. Madness.

    Like rob said I also used only small
    Amount of Avios and cash for WTP back from shanghai it was £700 and 31k Avios total for me and my partner.

    Now I just need some avilibility from Hong Kong so I can cancel those and fly straight from Hong Kong 😂

    Or wildly off topic but does anyone know if PVG has somewhere you can securely store hold luggage for the day? In that case I can keep booking and meet up with a friend who lives in shanghai.

    • Shoestring says:

      I refer hon gentleman to my 15:52 from yesterday

      your ‘crazy value’ is basically ‘I found reward flight availability when cash fares looked expensive’

      • Isn’t that the whole point here that miles let you save money, when the cash fares are expensive.

        Why would I ‘ find reward space when fares are looking cheap’

        If the fare was £300 I would have just paid cash and never even considered looking for award space as I would have been happy with that price.

        I guess value perceived is individual and everyone perceives it slightly differently as we all want different things.

        • Genghis says:

          Yet you can’t value your avios at this high price since replacement cost is only about a penny (ie buy them for a penny if you don’t have them). But agreed, miles let you do things when prices are high / alternatives are inconvenient. We got 8p / avios on a Spanish domestic last year. I’d never have paid the cash price. Alternative was a 8 hour train journey or similar time drive so saved a day of our holiday.

        • Shoestring says:

          [Why would I ‘ find reward space when fares are looking cheap’]

          Because reward flights are very flexible, can be cancelled at low cost. Because of cashflow advantage.

  7. Sorry, it’s 8.30 on Sunday and my brain is a bit slow.

    I’m looking to book a OW flight to Prague in business. The cash fare is a ridiculous £533 which I would never pay. A flight with Ryanair for the same date and around the same time is £70.

    The standard redemption is 9000 + £25
    But also on offer is

    8100 + £35
    7300 + £45
    6500 + £50
    5600 + £60
    5000 + £70

    My instinct is to go for the 5000+ £70 or is this terrible value?

    • Shoestring says:

      Any of those BA choices are pretty good value on several scores, incl vs the scrum of Ryanair & (on BA) superior airport/ lounge access, 2x 32kg checked luggage included/ drinks & snack on board/ priority boarding/ headline saving vs cash. Rule of thumb is Avios are worth 1p so you’re paying £115-120. I’d probably go for the 9000 + £25 in this instance but there’s not too much in it, partly depends if you’d rather preserve Avios stash (at a cost) or not.

      OTOH on such a short flight I’d always go for an Economy reward flight if available which I guess is 4500 Avios + £17.50 (with checked luggage included) – so easily beats Ryanair and is more directly comparable (compared to Business BA vs LCC Ryanair).

      • Shoestring says:

        Another consideration is the Prague flight departs LHR T3 so with the Business ticket you could do a tour of several decent lounges (for free) including BA, Cathay Pacific, Qantas – if arriving 3 hrs before your flight and making the most of some great lounges appeals to you, you could get decent value out of the extra cost vs Ryanair ticket (or BA Economy).

    • £45 for 4000 Avios is a bad deal. Pay 9000 – unless you are fairly low on Avios.

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