Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

European Avios flight redemptions are no longer cheaper booked as 2 x one-ways

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Two weeks we exclusively revealed (click here to read) how British Airways is moving to ‘no taxes’ pricing on short haul redemptions.

So far this has only been rolled out on longer European routes such as Greece, Malta, Morocco and southern Italy.

If you book a flight to any of these destinations, you would expect (in Club Europe) to pay 20,000 Avios each way plus £25 in taxes.

However, you now see additional options:

25,000 Avios + 50p

22,500 Avios + £12.50

20,000 Avios + £25 (the usual deal)

As I stressed two weeks ago, 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.

The same applies to redemptions in Euro Traveller / Economy, which have moved from 10,000 Avios + £17.50 to 13,500 Avios + £0.50.

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

There is another downside which I hadn’t spotted.

Taxes and charges have gone up when booking from low tax airports

As we have written many times before, it is often to cheaper to book European redemptions as two x one-way flights rather than as a return.

Why?  Because, despite what you have been told over and over again, it is NOT true that Reward Flight Saver taxes are £17.50 each way in Economy or £25 each-way in Business.

In actual fact, they are £17.50 / £25 each-way or the actual taxes and charges, whichever is lowest.

Because you have very low taxes at some European airports, flights TO the UK can be very cheap.

Here’s an example.  Luxembourg to Heathrow has taxes of just £3 when you book a one-way in Business Class.  If you book a return flight in Club Europe on Avios, booked UK – Luxembourg – UK, you pay £50 in taxes.  If you book two separate flights, UK – Luxembourg and Luxembourg – UK, you save £22.  The outbound is £25 but the return is only £3.

You can save money flying from many European airports, including Dublin.

This trick no longer works with BA’s new Avios pricing

I have a flight from Corfu to Heathrow booked for this Summer.  It cost 20,000 Avios + £12 tax per person in Club Europe.

If you now look at the cost of a Corfu to Heathrow one-way flight in Club Europe, you see this:

The taxes for the ‘standard’ flight have gone up from 20,000 Avios + £12 to 20,000 Avios + £25.

If we hadn’t already booked, we would be on the hook for an extra (£25 – £12 x 4) £52 between the four of us.

Another money-saving quirk bites the dust

Looking at what has happened with my Corfu flight, it seems safe to say that once BA has fully rolled out ‘no Avios’ pricing to all European routes, there will no longer be any savings to be made from booking 2 x one-way flights instead of a return.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2024)

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

30,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital on Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year 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.

Comments (73)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Tajudeen says:

    BA needs to improve on honesty and ethics. The taxes charged for redemptions of Avios does not make economic sense because of the outrageous charges. BA should borrow a leaf from United where taxes on mileage awards is nothing to write home about.
    Except there’s a control mechanism this ridiculous taxes been charged by BA for all the past Avios should be refunded as majority of the funds collected for taxes are pocketed by BA as cost of tickets when Avios should be a balance of such service.

  • Tajudeen iyiola says:

    BA needs to improve on honesty and ethics. The taxes charged for redemptions of Avios does not make economic sense because of the outrageous charges. BA should borrow a leaf from United where taxes on mileage awards is nothing to write home about.
    Except there’s a control mechanism this ridiculous taxes been charged by BA for all the past Avios should be refunded as majority of the funds collected for taxes are pocketed by BA as cost of tickets when Avios should be a balance of such service.

  • BlueHorizonuk says:

    AVIOS devaluation incoming. Check your mailboxes.

    • Colin JE says:

      Not received anything yet – could you put us out of our misery? How bad is it? Which partners does it affect?

    • Kk says:

      and on the website…

      Our Avios prices on partner airlines are changing

      From 30 May 2019, we’ll be changing our Avios prices on reward flights with the following partner airlines: Alaska Airlines, Air Italy, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, S7, Sri Lankan and Royal Jordanian Airlines.

      The price of Avios upgrades on American Airlines only will also be changing from 30 May 2019. You will pay the difference between the Avios prices of your booked cabin and your upgraded cabin.

      Don’t worry if you have an existing Avios booking with one of these airlines. It’s still valid and you can make changes or cancel it if you need to*. Our new Avios prices will apply to any changes or new bookings you make after 30 May 2019.

      There will be no change to our Avios prices for reward flights and upgrades with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia or Vueling. The Avios prices for our other services are also unaffected, so you can continue to benefit from spending your Avios on our wide range of hotels, car hire and experiences.

      All Avios reward flight prices are subject to taxes, fees and carrier charges. See ba.com for full Terms and Conditions of redeeming Avios.

      *Subject to the Terms and Conditions of your booking.

      https://www.britishairways.com/en-hk/executive-club/news/air-partner-changes

  • ah says:

    If you are putting loopholes ‘out there’ & this site is read by BA, then any loopholes will get closed.

    • Rob says:

      The really good stuff doesn’t go on here. You need to come to the parties.

    • Mikeact says:

      Seems a bit strange maybe, that Aer Lingus are calling it a day with Qantas and Cathy around the same time ? I think that only leaves Aer Lingus with BA and Iberia as partners……prior to full One World membership perhaps?

      • Mikeact says:

        Sorry, not Iberia…..United. I guess they’ll be given the heave ho next

  • DavidK says:

    Check out IKOS Dassia if heading to Corfu.

  • Adam says:

    Which airport is in the picture?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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