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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 credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (43)

  • 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.

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