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Another loophole closing – European Avios redemptions 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.

Avios taxes for European flights

Taxes and charges have gone up when booking from airports which are ‘low tax’

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.

Corfu Airport

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.

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Comments

  1. Mikeact says:

    I dont think that it’s actually the end of the world……our Avios routes are still excellent value for money, and we will continue to book one ways like we have always done, if only for changes, cancellations etc. If it means that we have to pay a few more pounds within Europe, then so be it.
    I agree that these charges that are imposed on us are annoying, I don’t mind so much paying the statutory amounts, but BA and others should be more transparent. This is why we have two long hauls coming up, out of Madrid on Iberia….the savings,both charges and Avios are mind boggling, more than offsets any European one way increases.

  2. Anyone tried to use a non-RFS-enabled account (e.g. a ‘dormant’ member of Household Account) to see if the fees and pricing are still the same? Guess they can’t be charged for the £25 ‘fee’

  3. Suppose it only really matters if you can find the flight you want available with avios… Long haul biz class from Asia to Europe is rarely available and makes the 800,000 avios pretty useless.

    Almost worth while giving up gold status for a year to jump to another programme.

  4. Not the best news. I’ve just checked out some of the prices and it seems RFS flights into UK cost more in avios than the outward leg? I’ve always assumed that the same number of avios were need each way.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      They should be. This could all ofcourse just be bugs in the IT/website coding for this new feature.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

    • 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

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

    • 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

  9. DavidK says:

    Check out IKOS Dassia if heading to Corfu.

  10. Which airport is in the picture?

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