Two more quirks – one good, one bad – 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 

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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  1. Shoestring says:

    It’s quite easy to add an inactive member to your HHA, isn’t it, Kitty? They don’t need to fly when you book tickets for everybody else – so don’t even need a passport.

    • Shoestring says:

      Miaow, master.

      • You are a legend, plain and simple. Hello from BA lounge Prague!

      • Mikeact says:

        How does your pussy accrue Avios in his/her account to use ?

        • xcalx says:

          He/she doesn’t

          • You have to be kidding…even has it’s own points/miles earning health insurance and is a compulsive online shopaholic with a taste for fine wines, not milk!

          • Not forgetting it needs 9 life insurance policies 🙂

          • Roberto says:

            Good call Harry, will add an extra “person” to my HH account. I dont have a cat ( it died after the tesco pet insurance coughed up ) but my two dogs still do have a sup amex card each….

          • xcalx says:

            “You have to be kidding…even has it’s own points/miles earning health insurance and is a compulsive online shopaholic with a taste for fine wines, not milk!”

            Meant to take advantage of RFS so a no activity member

          • Sorry folks, in my haste to laud Harry’s feline friend it looks like I may have caused some confusion or muddied the waters for some.

      • Kitty says:

        mestre, simplement no em culpo quan bebeu massa whisky escocès, caure per les escales, trencar els ossos i gairebé morir de pneumònia

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Trying to work out why you would want to do this? Any pointers?

      • Rooster says:

        Its cheaper in circumstances mentioned in recent articles

      • Stuart_f says:

        It’s literally the point of the article. Read quirk 2 again.
        Inactive members can book cheaper redemptions.

  2. If there are inactive members in a household account, can they book for active members at the actual taxes/fees rate?

    Since BOB I haven’t booked that many RFS, as I found that the price of revenue flights actually did come down, especially for the furthest Europe bands i.e. Malta, Romania, etc I have paid less than £50 one-way, so even with that Band 3 error I probably wouldn’t redeem (and I’m not enthused with CE either).

    While the increase in fees for the low tax/fees origins to UK redemptions is annoying, it is still a good deal when I actually need to use RFS, as they are last minute bookings (literally, I tend to do them at/near the airport) or when prices are sky high (then I can live with CE if it’s the only cabin available 🙂 )

    • Polly says:

      As last minute, rfs fantastic value be it y or ce. We try to get y and chose exit seat if flt under 2.5 or 3 hrs.

  3. for those, like me still holding on to a Lloyds voucher, being that the only booking option is by calling avios, would this change be the same with their system?
    having checked Avios-com for LCA-LON this is what came up:
    Avios: 20,000
    Cash: £0.00
    Taxes, fees & surcharges: £21.40

    which implies firstly that they are not working with the new system (I assume booking on the phone for Lloyds voucher purposes would be the same). secondly, all flight which had taxes cheaper than the standard RFS would still be applicable for the saving if booked through avios dot com

    • Brian W says:

      Just as a data point re the Lloyd’s vouchers and the online issues since the demise of the ARTP, I successfully booked using a Lloyd’s 241 voucher via a couple of weeks ago, so some of the IT seems to be working again. Still got one 241 to go which is showing when I log into so I’m hoping it stays fixed.

      Wife had to call to use a Lloyd’s upgrade one last time as she got the same errors as others but that was months ago. That issue may now be fixed too.

      • Rooster says:

        Don’t use the website if you value your time, it can charge you and not book the tickets and no error messages so you won’t know till you check your card statements.

        • Lady London says:

          Looks like quite a few of us whose cats won’t cooperate will have to use Avios dot com in future though @Rooster! And, depending, perhaps IB too.

          Would it help to give it 24hrs after any booking on and then try to find the booking on checkmytrip it whatever people are using these days? Used to be that if you found a ticket number under your PNR number on checkmytrip, you knew you’d been ticketed and everything was in order. If no ticket number, then you could chase up.

          What are people using instead of checkmytrip now?

        • Brian W says:

          To my knowledge, the error was that it charged you whilst the website told you that it had not booked anything. In reality it had actually booked the flights. I ended up with 6 charges and 6 sets of flights booked and 6 amounts of Avios deducted from my balance in the morning as I attempted it 6 times with 6 different payment cards as I thought the card processing was the issue. As I said though, my experience is that this has now been fixed.

          • Eli Goldberg says:

            Firstly, in response to Brian W I don’t know of a Lloyds 241 voucher. It was the upgrade voucher I was talking about. Secondly you’re lucky for being able to see the voucher online (unless it’s a different voucher you’re talking about) my account was closed down, I opened a new one just so that I could see availability of Are Lingus etc. I have to call up every time I want to enquire about or use a voucher. Thirdly, booking through seems to now no longer use RFS at all (unless it has something to do with inactivity) making it a bad choice for short hall’s in most instances

          • Brian W says:

            Eli, your account was closed and everything moved to BAEC by the sounds of things as you didn’t open a Vueling or AerClub account prior to the closure of the Avios Travel Rewards Programme.

            Your upgrade vouchers won’t show in now as a result I’m pretty sure so you’ll be stuck with calling BAEC to apply them unfortunately.

            RFS is still bookable via the platform but as you say, your account was opened so you could see availability. If you haven’t earned on it in the last year you won’t see RFS pricing.

            The Lloyds 241 were earnable from the Duo Premier cards which were ended a good few years back.

  4. Andrew says:

    If you’re gold, you can just create an inactive person and transfer Avios to “them” in order to book under these terms.

  5. Good to see Rob has started using the term “taxes and charges”. 👍👌🆗

    • Lady London says:

      Although based on the magnitude of the charges paid to British Airways on each award ticket, as compared to the amount of taxes (at least for longhaul tickets), it should really be called “charges and taxes” 🙂

  6. I saw this redemption price change just yesterday and thought it was a glitch – so thanks to all for confirming – a very happy vol 😀

  7. OT as no BITTS today:Read the yesterday comments a bit late,apparently a downgrade to charge gold from platinum is possible if you DID have gold charge in the past.I thought that was possible if you DIDN’T!Any experiences on this?
    Just thinking of a scenario:referred to G-upgrade to P-downgrade to G(charge)-upgrade back to P???Obviously not in a short period of time with good spending put through each card as the upgrades require a much higher amount now for the bonus!

    • Polly says:

      No Gold charge card any more, credit card only.

      • Simon says:

        Not so, Polly — possible to downgrade to Gold charge from Plat charge. Comments over recent months bear this out.

  8. GRIMZ says:

    OT, I transferred 2.50 of tesco cc points to BA to see if the the Shell bonus would track. Any idea how long it should take for the bonus to arrive?

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

    • 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.

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