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Two more quirks with the new British Airways ‘£1 taxes’ short haul Avios flight redemptions

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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 main article on how it works, and why I think it is poor value 

here is our article showing how long-haul redemptions with regional connections now cost more Avios than they used to (BA is trying to fix this issue) 

here is our article showing how cancellation fees on these tickets are, for some odd reason, just 50p per ticket rather than £35 

Avios wing 14

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

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.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (April 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

25,000 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 a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee 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

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

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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 (43)

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

  • Lee says:

    OT – Anyone received bonus Nectar points for booking LN/Virgin train ticket last month?

    • EwanG says:

      My experience for the end of June is VT gave 25 bonus points instead of 1,000, and LNER there were no bonus points. I’ve not yet contacted support but it should be an easier matter to resolve than for the LNER transactions at the beginning of May where I didn’t even get the normal transaction points crediting – live chat have already been contacted but no points have been credited yet.

  • Azlozi says:

    It seems internal UK flights still carry the £35 RFS fee. Aberdeen to London is not displaying the £1 option. Aberdeen to Nice (Via Heathrow) is coming up as £36 so the Heathrow to Nice part is £1 but the other leg is the full £35. Anyone know if this is correct or should the ABZ to LHR be £1 as well?

    • Rob says:

      They switched domestics back to RFS. I think they did this to correct the bug with connections to long hauls being charged at higher rates.

      • Azlozi says:

        Aah ok thanks Rob. From the perspective of us folk in the region’s, we hope they switch the £1 option back on soon and have the bug sorted too. Fingers crossed.

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

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