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 (September 2023)
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.