As regular readers will know, British Airways is currently running a trial on differential Avios pricing for short-haul flights.
As well as the usual option showing Reward Flight Saver taxes and charges of £35 in Euro Traveller or £50 in Club Europe, there are additional options which require less cash (as little as £1 return) and more Avios.
There was some confusion about how refunds are treated. What are the cancellation fees on an Avios booking? I now have an example of my own for how it works.
It makes it clear that – irrespective of how much or how little cash you use on your short-haul Avios booking – the cancellation fee is the lowest cash option.
This means you pay 50p to cancel a one-way ticket and £1 to cancel a return ticket.
The ONLY exception is short-haul flights which you book on a 2-4-1 voucher. If you use a 2-4-1, it seems that the BA website defaults to the old pricing system which a) forces you to pay £35 Euro Traveller or £50 Club Europe in taxes and b) takes the full £35 per person when you cancel.
Take a look at the screenshot below, from my own account. As you can see, I was planning a little hop to Madrid on 1st October to try the new Club Suite. Unfortunately my wife now has banking business in Frankfurt so I need to be at home.
This is how my cancellation looked on ba.com:
When I booked, I went for the ‘most cash’ option. This meant paying 13,600 Avios plus £141 in cash. The ‘traditional’ price would have been 25,500 Avios + £50. The most extreme ‘low cash’ option is 35,500 Avios + £1.
In theory, the cancellation fee should have been £35. This is under the rule that ‘the cancellation fee is the lower of £35 or the taxes and charges you paid’.
In fact, as you can see, I paid £1 to cancel the booking and got £140 back.
I’m not sure that British Airways will want to keep this going long term. It is costing them money and, eventually, will start restricting availability if members realise they can basically have ‘free’ options on redemption flights. Why not book five different breaks for Spring Bank Holiday next year? It will only cost you £4 to drop the ones you don’t want. Not sure when you want to fly home from a European trip? Why not book every single flight that day? You’ll only lose 50p (on a one-way redemption) per flight when you cancel the unwanted ones.
These are longer term strategic issues though. In the meantime, we now have personal proof that – unless you are travelling on a 2-4-1 voucher – cancellation fees are going through at just £1 per return flight on short-haul Avios redemptions.
(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.)