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EXCLUSIVE: British Airways trialling new Avios flight pricing – NO taxes but more Avios

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Here is something very interesting.  British Airways is trialling Avios redemptions with virtually ZERO taxes.

Take a look at the screenshot below.  It shows a one-way Avios redemption on British Airways from London Heathrow to Chania in Greece.

If you look at our full list of Avios redemption pricing by route (click here), you will see that Chania costs 20,000 Avios per person in Club Europe each way.

I would expect to see a price of 20,000 Avios + £25 for a Reward Flight Saver one-way redemption.

Instead, I see this (click to enlarge):

The ‘headline’ price is shown as 25,000 Avios + 50p in taxes and charges.

When you click through to the payment page, you are given this list of options:

The ‘proper’ price of 20,000 Avios + £25 is still there.  However, two additional options are shown:

25,000 Avios + 50p

22,500 Avios + £12.50

These two new options are very poor value.

In the first one, you are using 5,000 additional Avios to save £24.50.  This means you are getting 0.49p per Avios.  This is very poor.

In the second example, you are using 2,500 additional Avios to save £12.50.  This means you are getting 0.5p per Avios.  Again, very weak.

There is one upside.  If your plans were tentative, you would basically have no cancellations fees if you did this, as the fee is the lower of £35 or the cash supplement paid.

British Airways trialling Avios pricing with no taxes

It happens in Economy too

If you try to book an Economy return flight to Chania (picture above), you get these options on a peak day:

27,000 Avios + £1

23,500 Avios + £17.50

20,000 Avios + £35 (the ‘usual’ price)

and then the standard mix of ‘Avios and cash’ combinations.

The maths is the same here.  You are using either 3,500 Avios to save £17.50 or 7,000 Avios to save £34.  Both get you 0.5p per Avios or thereabouts.

Is this a good thing or not?

On the face of it, it is fine.  It gives people more options and that is generally a good thing.

Whilst you’d need to be a little crazy to accept 0.5p per Avios if you earned your points from credit card spending, Tesco Clubcard conversions, Heathrow Rewards conversions etc, you may be happy with this if all your points came from flying.

It could be a sign that BA is planning to add 7,000 Avios return to the cost of Economy redemptions and 10,000 to Club Europe and make this the new baseline, as reflected in the reward charts.  This would make BA better off – because the extra Avios are being redeemed at a poor rate – and, bizarrely, may also make the Avios scheme look better to the casual traveller.

I have only seen this happening on the Chania route which implies that it is a small scale test.  I imagine that if most people choose the 50p or £1 option, even though it is bad value for your points compared to the standard Reward Flight Saver option, it will be extended elsewhere.

PS.  If you are wondering why British Airways has not reduced the taxes to zero, there is a technical reason.  ba.com cannot handle a transaction with no charge attached to it.  Until a few years ago, domestic Japan Airlines redemptions has £0 of taxes but ba.com could not book them – it only worked if you added a £1 donation to Flying Start during the check-out process!


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (120)

  • Rp says:

    Rob, just pricing up a long haul avios journey for next year and it looks like an extra 18,000 avios for the Ncl to lhr connection. Hopefully a glitch, but possibly not….

    • BJ says:

      Louise/Rob/Rp. Just called CS. Technical errors., they are working on it. They are happy to take the booking over the phone fee-free for the correct avios.

      • Rp says:

        That’s good news!!!! Thanks for checking. I’ll probably use the spare avios for a few bottles from laithwaites!

      • Louise says:

        Hopefully. I will call them too in the morning to book.

        • Louise says:

          Just a short update.

          I called BA this morning and they did book me at the normal rates. Took an hour to sort out though as they said they were not aware there was an issue.

  • Harry says:

    Put simply, this is great as any option that increases choice is worth having. I personally would not use it as the rate is so poor. My best BA redemption was last month when I booked a Business ticket London to Manchester for 7,750 Avios when the cash rate was close to £400.