Over the last few days we have been looking at odd side-effects of British Airways trialling ‘£1 taxes and charge’ Avios redemptions on UK and European flights.
As a catch up:
here is our article showing how cancellation fees on these tickets are, for some odd reason, just 50p per ticket rather than £35
There are two more quirks I’ve come across with these new redemptions which are worth knowing about.
Quirk 1: Club Europe redemptions to Zone 3 on peak dates are now cheaper
As Tim at Points To Be Made points out here, the ‘base level’ pricing for Club Europe Zone 3 redemptions has got cheaper, for no logical reason.
By ‘base level’, I mean the number of Avios required if you decide to pay the usual £50 Reward Flight Saver fee, which is what you should be doing because it is the best value option.
Take a look at London to Malta on a PEAK date:
There is something odd here which ONLY appears for Club Europe redemptions in Zone 3 (the very longest short-haul routes) on peak dates.
The standard price for such a ticket used to be 40,000 Avios + £50. I would have expected to see this as the ‘middle’ option above, which is what happens on ALL other 11 pricing combinations (3 zones x 2 cabins x 2 price levels of peak and off-peak).
Instead, however, you only need to pay 35,200 Avios + £50, which remains the best value option.
This means that Zone 3 Club Europe redemptions on peak dates are now 12% cheaper!
Quirk 2: You can no longer get cheap one-way redemptions FROM Europe
Not many people outside of our readership are aware that Reward Flight Saver pricing was not set at £17.50 each-way in Economy or £25 each-way in Club Europe.
It was actually set at £17.50 / £25 or the actual taxes and charge each-way, whichever is lower.
This made no difference when you flying FROM the UK, because Air Passenger Duty and the high charges added by Heathrow and Gatwick meant that the cost was ALWAY above £17.50 / £25 for your outbound trip.
Coming back, however, you could make savings. Whenever we went to the in-laws in Hamburg, for example, I would book it as 2 x one-way tickets because the actual tax figure FROM Hamburg was only £21 in Club Europe vs the £25 Reward Flight Saver fee.
The most extreme example was Luxembourg. The taxes and charges on a one-way ticket from Luxembourg to London was just £3 so – as long as you booked your trip as 2 x one-ways – this is what BA charged you for the return leg rather than £17.50 / £25.
This no longer works under the ‘£1 taxes’ scheme. Irrespective of how cheap the taxes are in reality, you now pay the same.
This is what an ‘active’ BAEC member pays for a one-way flight from Luxembourg to London in Economy:
Here is what an ‘inactive’ BAEC member pays for the same flight (an inactive member is one who has not earned an Avios in the last 12 months) which is the same as everyone used to pay before last Monday:
An ‘active’ Avios member needs to pay 4,000 Avios + £15.50 if they want the best value option. An ‘inactive’ Avios member – and, until last Monday, ‘active’ members too – only pays 4,500 Avios + £3.40.
The difference is even bigger if you look at Club Europe (one-way from Luxembourg, peak date). An ‘inactive’ member pays 9,000 Avios + £3.40, which is what everyone paid before last Monday. An ‘active’ member now pays 9,000 Avios + £25.50!
Luxembourg is the most extreme example, of course, but there were plenty of short-haul routes where booking 2 x one-way redemptions was cheaper than booking a return. This is no longer the case and represents a price increase.
PS. An interesting suggestion appeared in the comments below. If you are a BA Gold – and so able to transfer 27,000 Avios per year, for free, to six other people – you could open a new and therefore inactive BAEC account in a random name, transfer across Avios from your account and make a booking for yourself!
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