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When a BA Gold should book a ‘double Avios’ Gold Priority Reward

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A while ago we were with some friends when the conversation turned, as it always does when the other person is a traveller, to miles and points.  The wife was unleashing her frustration about being unable to get the short-haul redemption seats she wanted to fit around her kids school holidays.

“But John is BA Gold and, as he flies to New York every fortnight on BA, is clearly not short of Avios.  Why don’t you just book a Gold ‘double Avios’ ticket?” I said.

This was met with confused looks all around.  For some reason, British Airways does a bad job of communicating Gold Priority Rewards to its Gold members.

British Airways BA

What is an Avios ‘Gold Priority Reward’?

Very simply, a British Airways Gold member can book a seat on ANY BA flight using Avios.  The catch is that you have to use DOUBLE the normal amount.

You cannot use an American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

Your flight must be booked more than 30 days before departure.

There is some further information on the BA Gold benefits page here.

Normally, these rewards are poor value for long haul.  Let’s take one of our regular family runs to my sister-in-law in Dubai.  4 Club World tickets on a peak day, including one on an Amex 2-4-1, cost 360,000 Avios.  Using a Priority Reward, it would cost a crazy 960,000 Avios – plus the standard taxes.  You won’t catch me doing that in a hurry.

There is one tiny exclusion

There is one catch.  You can’t use a Gold Priority Reward on a BA CityFlyer service which means all of the short-haul services from London City Airport.  This is because, technically, CityFlyer is a separate business inside British Airways and not treated as part of the ‘mainline’ operation.  Strange but true.

Are Gold Priority Rewards a good deal for short haul?

For short-haul European bookings, these rewards have some use.  Let’s take our standard run to Hamburg to visit the parents in law.

A standard Avios reward ticket on a peak day is 9,000 Avios + £35 taxes

A ‘Priority Reward’ would cost me 18,000 Avios + £35 taxes

In theory, changes to Gold Priority Rewards are meant to be free although I have had mixed success with that in the past, and it is not written anywhere that this should be the case.  Cancellation is free.

Importantly, I can cancel the BA ‘Gold Priority Reward’ and switch to a normal reward at any point as long as seats open up.

Let’s look at the costs here.  If a flight has no Avios availability, it is likely to be a busy flight.  This means that the cash price is also likely to be higher than average.  Let’s assume we are heading to Heathrow from school on a Friday afternoon and need to be on a particular service.

You’d be looking at £175 return to Hamburg for cash in Economy.  Knock off the £35 Reward Flight Saver tax charge and I am saving £140 for using 18,000 Avios points.

This is not the greatest use of Avios by any means – we are looking at 0.78p per point.. However, I am locking in a hard cash saving and I get to travel on the exact flights I want.  0.78p per point is also not a terrible deal.

The best use of Gold Priority Rewards flights is for ski resorts at February half term.  British Airways likes to push up economy tickets to £500 if you want Saturday to Saturday – which is what the hotels often insist on – and this is an excellent way to avoid that.  It arguably justifies a push for a Gold card on its own if you are getting close.

(In actual fact, the cheapest Economy BA return flight to Salzburg for February 2020 half term, outbound Saturday 15th February and returning Saturday 22nd February, is currently £560 per person.  This involves taking the awkward late flight on the outbound – you pay more for a morning departure.)

If you are Avios rich – and especially if you got most of your points from work-funded business travel and do not need to justify a minimum value when you spend them – the Gold Priority Reward can work well.

(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. Stephen Oxley says:

    Thanks for pointing that out. Can a gold card member book for friends and family using gold priority rewards if he/she is not travelling on same flight?

    • Yes – I’ve done that before. If you’re in a household account then only for people on your friends and family list though.

  2. Shoestring says:

    [The best use of Gold Priority Rewards flights is for ski resorts at February half term]

    that may well be true – but I know from ‘acute wanting pat on back syndrome’ that peak economy flights out on the crucial Friday or Saturday at start of school hols, to our place in the sun, are frequently £600 (just the outward flight) a month/2 weeks or so before the flight, particularly Xmas and Easter

    which trumps £500

    good job I’m organised in a T-355 sort of way

    • I’ve seen Tenerife at £800 for economy at October half term – more than flying to Dubai 😯

  3. O/T An offer on my BAPP appeared today. Purchase 20k Avios or more via BA and get an extra 10k. So for £335, you get 30k Avios. So 1.11p per Avios. Maybe a bit better as you also get about 500 Avios from spend. Valid until 15 July.

    Half tempted as could do with a top up. Then again, think we are going to see major devaluation of Avios soon…

    • LewisB says:

      I was just about to post the same thing. I was wondering if anyone else had a different bonus attached to this offer.

    • Tom Cook says:

      Same offer for me.

      • Spurs Debs says:

        Same offer for me, I’m quite tempted to use this offer. I was going to upgrade gold charge to platinum for 20k but it’s changed from 1k spend to 4K that’s not going to happen, so this seems a possible alternative.

        • Polly says:

          I was reassured by amex on Friday after l did the green upgrade that the new spend is still 1k. I asked him to double check as my daughter might upgrade. I was surprised but worth double checking and maybe go for it if you can use the benefits. Even tho l upgraded June 9th, they still gave me a metal card, which l didn’t want! But it’s s quite a nice card, saying that.

    • Tracy says:

      OH has this offer on his ba blue, I do not have it on my bapp….

      • LewisB says:

        I’m surprised this offer has made it’s way to BA blue, thought they might at least have a higher offering for BAPP. I am tempted…

    • Do you get 1.5 or 3 Avios per pound when purchasing Avios on BAPP?

  4. Matt B says:

    Sorry no bits so O/T – looking to book a flight next Easter but the hotel I also want to book to make it a package isn’t coming up on the BA site. I was thinking of booking a car for 1 day for less than £50 to enable me to just pay a deposit now and spread cost – do BA ever care if I don’t bother picking it up?

    • A couple of people reported Avis trying to fine them €50 for non collection. This is very isolated, however, and I see it as low risk.

      • Matt B says:

        Thanks Rob, this would be in the US for what its worth.

      • Nigel the pensioner says:

        Or pick the car up. Drive it round the car park and hand the keys back saying it is unsuitable. You are not obliged to say why, but 3 x 32kg luggage per person in Business will not fit in a compact! You have done the paperwork and simply returned the car forfeiting your 24 hour rental charge.

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          Or just drive it round the block and back and say you’ve completed your rental; as you’re so decadent you hire a car to take auntie Mabel’s bags from outside the airport 100 yeards to the bus stop 😀

    • Charlieface says:

      I don’t see why you can’t call Avis and cancel before pickup. Avis are very unlikely to get that info back to the agent (BA Holidays) to then void the flight ticket.

  5. Steve says:

    Also useful way to get flights to Nice around the late May bank holiday weekend to see the F1 in Monaco. F1, Cannes file festival, UK bank holiday and invariably the end of half term does not make for very pleasant flight costs.

  6. Shoestring says:

    O/T the Amex Morrisons offer can be tweaked if you get change. I only got 5% (others got 7% & 10%). They give change perfectly happily under £5, you might succeed getting £9 back if you got fuel for (say) £31 but staff said that standing instruction was ‘no change’ but they’re happy to treat M vouchers as cash and give smallish change.

    OK, so I bought on a 1% Gold card + my 5% statement credit = 6%. But I bought £45.50 of fuel, getting £4.50 change. So effectively I got 6% off £50, ie £3 – but only paid £45.50. So I got £3 discount on £45.50 = 6.6% discount. Making my diesel 116.7p/ litre instead of 124.9p. With a 60 litre tank I’ll eventually save (£74.94-£70.02) = £4.92/ tank.

    I guess if you were patient enough you could buy (say) £15.50 of fuel, get £4.50 back in change. Math: 6% discount on £20 = £1.20. But in reality you got £1.20 back on £15.50 = 7.7%. Making your diesel 115.3p/ litre instead of 124.9p/ litre. With a 60 litre tank you’d eventually save (£74.94-£69.18) = £5.76/ tank.

    • EwanG says:

      Sssssh!

    • Doug M says:

      Where do you buy Morrisons vouchers. My local one has Amazon, John Lewis, pretty much all the usual suspects but not their own.

      • Shoestring says:

        kiosk

        fwiw I just put £42 in my truck and got £8 change back no problem

        • Doug M says:

          Cheers.

        • Harry T says:

          Yeah, I spent around 40£ of Morrison’s vouchers the other day on diesel and received cash as change.

          If you have 10% on 30£ spend, this is a great offer.

      • Harry T says:

        You can buy them at the Kiosk. They rang the petrol station to confirm I could use them as cash. They were a little unprepared for my purchasing 100£ of vouchers at my local North-East Morrison’s store but they were happy to sell them.

  7. Simon says:

    O/T – any idea when the Virgin/KLM/Air France merger will be ratified and, more importantly, when we can use the virgin miles to redeem flights on the other two airlines?

  8. Sussex Bantam says:

    Thanks for the reminder on this – I just picked up flights for May half term next year which I had resigned myself to having to pay cash for…

    V Happy !

  9. OT Tesco debit card, so the 3% interest rate has ended, but is there a time limit on the 2 points per £ rate at Tesco? Should I still be paying with the debit card at Tesco fuel stations, or just use it as clubcard and pay with something else?

    (No Morrisons PFS where I go so the shoestring trick doesn’t work for me.)

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Best point collecting method for Tesco for me (both in-store and fuel):

      Use Pay+ – Set your clubcard number in the clubcard app to that of the one on the back of the Tesco Debit Card.

      Pay for purchases using Tesco Debit Card in Pay+.

      Let’s say you spend £40 in fuel/items then that’s:
      40 points from clubcard (same for fuel due to setting number in-app)
      40 points for tesco spend
      10 points pay+ bonus

      That’s 90 points worth 216 Avios.

  10. Memesweeper says:

    One more potentially very good use of gold priority is one-way tickets. Even in economy, booked months ahead of time, these can be laughably expensive on BA for mid- and long-haul.

  11. O/T There’s a £335 for 10,000 Avios offer doing the rounds on the BA Amex.

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