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. Genghis says:

    Note that S7 does fly internationally

  2. Tom Collins says:

    Unusually for HFP this article only looks at this from one side – it doesn’t weigh up the value vs a cash ticket. Is 9,100 Avios + £394 really a good deal for an economy ticket to NYC? Admittedly it’s more flexible than the cheapest fare would be, but £394 isn’t any cheaper than you’d often find as a cash fare, which would *earn* Avios (and TP).

  3. If you book using part pay Avios, can you also upgrade using Avios?

  4. As the charges on straight redemptions continue to rocket, I am increasingly looking at selectively using my avios this way.

  5. Annabelle says:

    Re: reward flight calculator why do the taxes payable on a CW redemption vary for off peak and peak? Showing £367.12 off peak lhr to hkg and £383.12 peak. Not noticed that before.

    • Is that on the final page before payment? Sometimes the initial quote is not quite right.

  6. pauldb says:

    I don’t think avios&money bookings are more restrictive than normal redemptions. You can’t change the carrier on any reward, but you can always change the route within band. BAEC Clause 16.
    You are less likely to be paying total cash of <£35, which means your effective change/cancellation cost may be higher.

  7. Slightly OT – just redeemed avios at 2p!

    I used Part Pay with Avios and got a £5 discount for 250 avios.
    That was the only option offered as the flight cost £40 and I’ll get them back from flying anyway :p

  8. Just checked 2 x LBA-LHR-BCN flights I booked yesterday
    Part pay with Avios price £163.44 plus 2500 Avios (£20 off)
    Cash price £183.44
    Avios and money price 8700 Avios plus £190 cash

    • Big difference.
      Our DUB and BCN flights can be reduced right down, on part pay with avios. It can be surprisingly valuable.

  9. Yorkieflyer says:

    Avios and money also available when booking via Iberia plus. Can be 0.50 per per Avios in short haul but no RFS but good for return legs to UK. Long haul business can be around 1p per Avios

  10. CW can be a good deal when the flight is very expensive to start with. Avios and money to Bermuda or Grand Cayman can work out at 0.8 per avios as BA have a monopoly on these routes and cash prices reflect that.

  11. Just to clarify, as I wasn’t sure it was 100% clear in the article. Is Avios and Money only available on “Reward Flights”? (i.e. you can’t use this on all tickets if there reward flights are all gone?) – Thanks

    • Correct.

      However you CAN use ‘part pay with Avios’ to redeem some of your Avios for a cash discount. The problem here is that the value isn’t great, as a future article will show.

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