Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Confirmation that BA is now only charging 50p Avios cancellation fees on short haul flights

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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.

This was our full article on how they work.

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:

What are the cancellation fees on an Avios booking?

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.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2022)

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. 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

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

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

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Amex Gold

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

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital on Tap Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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 card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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.

(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 (65)

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

  • Sandra says:

    Opened the BA app on my iPad this morning to check some Avios had posted & got a message saying ‘hang on we are cleaning things up’. Had to then log in again only to be told things had changed. Yes they have – there is an account balance and the option to search for a flight & that’s it! No future bookings showing, no account statement, nothing. Has anyone else experienced this or is it a BA IT glitch again that will eventually correct itself?!

    • Anna says:

      Mine seems fine, I can see all my bookings when I open the “My flights” section.

  • Doug says:

    Got another question, I got a 241 but I won’t use it as I don’t think it is worth for long haul I checked Canada and South Africa and both are somewhat cheaper in cash, so 2 euro couch tickets, what is better £330, 13k + £70 or 40k + £2?

    • Doug says:

      Well decided for avios out cash back, this 241 never works for me :/ air canada works cheaper in cash than 241 taxes lol

    • pauldb says:

      You cannot use the different avios&money options with a 241: you have only the 13k+£70 option. But that’s the best of the three anyway by a country mile.

  • memesweeper says:

    The CEO of BA has stated he wants people to be able to pay for *anything* from BA with Avios. Logically that would extend to cancellation fees if he really means it…

  • MattyS says:

    Is the £1 cancellation on all RFS tickets now ?

    I need to cancel a CE booking to Dalaman for next year which I booked two weeks ago paying £50 fees each, using a 241 voucher, from our household account, as a blue member. The website today still shows the £35 cancellation fee each when I go through the process.

    Have I missed something, luck of the draw, based on status etc. ?

    • Polly says:

      Applies only if you paid minimum cash, ie £2 plus 50k avios..

    • MattyS says:

      I read Rob’s from comment – “irrespective of how much or how little cash you use on your short-haul Avios booking” – that all RFS bookings were cancellable at £1, so wasn’t sure if there was some other reason why it wasn’t working for me.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        241 bookings are I think the exception

      • SimonW says:

        Using the 241 has ruined it. Just defaults to standard 9k plus 35 quid etc. So no other alternatives…

      • Mikeact says:

        Correct.

        • Polly says:

          Tried to cancel ours to arn today, not 241, but rfs, and the 17.50 fee applied x 2…just to check. Rob must have booked his recently.

          • Rob says:

            Yes, it needs to be one booked since the new £1 option became available.

          • MattyS says:

            As a final point of reference on this, just now cancelled the other two bookings on the same flight, which I made separately though at the same time. They went through with a £2 cancellation charge, although I paid the standard £35 RFS fee each at the time of booking.

  • JH says:

    “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”
    I love this, if we all the abuse the system, it will be replaced by something less convenient and more expensive…yay!

    • Russ says:

      It isn’t abuse. It is what it is.

    • Roberto says:

      No… I live overseas and have booked 5 one way flights into london. 4 into LGW and 1 into LHR. We will go somewhere long haul out of London, the where is yet to be decided.

    • Alex Sm says:

      The amount of miles in your account is not indefinite – this will serve as a natural cap for the number of bookings you can make. There are always extreme cases but an average BAEC customer will be able to make 5-10 bookings max. I guess the airline can leave with that

    • Polly says:

      Sincerely hope people don’t start booking multiple flights. Would be very unfair on others needing those seats, often in an emergency. Like l did frequently when my mum was v ill.
      Definitely call that abuse.

    • Nick says:

      I think Rob is pointing out the scope for abuse that will inevitably kill it , rather than advocating people actually do this. Just like 3V and loads of other things – people will inevitably get greedy and kill the opportunity.

  • Bootlace says:

    O/T I don’t know if this has been covered already, but there is 3000 miles and more points currently on offer with Enterprise car rental from 1/9/19 until 31/10 minimum 3 day hire.

    Also Eurostar have £29 one way tickets to Paris, Brussels from today until the 9/919 for club Eurostar members.

  • Bootlace says:

    ……..and 6000 miles and more points with National for a three day hire ( although they have far fewer rental locations in UK)

  • Roger says:

    OT- Is there any problem with BA’s flight cancellation system?
    I cancelled a ticket thinking I will get a breakdown of refund of Avios plus money on next page but instead it just said tickets cancelled with following message

    “We have received your information and are currently processing your refund.

    We will refund any money owed to the card used to make the
    booking and we will send you a confirmation email when it’s been
    done”.

    This is not normal AFAIK.

    • Rob says:

      This wasn’t a cash booking where you had reduced the cost with Avios was it? You don’t get anything back on those. If it was an Avios booking where you had juggled the cash portion it shouldn’t be an issue. If you are not logged in when you cancel you often get this message.

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