I have written many articles in the past about Reward Flight Saver redemptions, where British Airways caps your ‘taxes and charges’ fee at £35 return for economy, £50 return for business or £55 for First (now Moscow only, I think).
This article in our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series looks at how Avios Reward Flight Saver works on short-haul British Airways flights.
As well as shuttling around Europe with Reward Flight Saver, there is another way you can benefit from the low taxes – by taking a British Airways ‘Fifth Freedom’ flight.
A ‘Fifth Freedom’ flight is one where the plane stops en-route to its final destination to drop off passengers, and also takes on new passengers at the intermediate stop.
British Airways uses these so called ‘Fifth Freedom’ rights to sell tickets on flights which neither begin nor end in the UK.
Until around five years ago, ‘Fifth Freedom’ flights on British Airways contained a clever little bonus. However short and cheap the journey, like the sub-1 hour flight from Bahrain to Doha which existed then, you still received full long-haul tier points. This was a very cheap way to maintain your BA status. However, BA finally woke up to this and now you only receive standard short-haul tier points for these routes.
Here are the remaining British Airways ‘Fifth Freedom’ short routes. The list has got shorter in recent years as BA has launched more direct services, culling tags such as Bahrain to Doha and Abu Dhabi to Muscat.
- UVF (St Lucia) – GND (Grenada) (50 minutes, Wed)
- UVF (St Lucia) – POS (Port of Spain) (65 minutes, Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sun)
- ANU (Antigua) – SKB (St Kitts) (45 minutes, Wed and Sat)
- ANU (Antigua) – PLS (Turks & Caicos) (2hr 5 min, Thu and Sun)
- ANU (Antigua) – TOB (Tobago) (85 minutes, Tue, Fri)
- GCM (Grand Cayman) – NAS (Nassau) (95 minutes, Mon, Thu, Fri, Sat)
These routes are available as Reward Flight Saver although the pricing has got messier due to the new Avios pricing selection which can reduce the taxes and fees to as low as £1 in return for more Avios.
Club World on the routes above costs 15,500 to 18,000 Avios + £51 return, depending on whether you travel off-peak or peak. Turks & Caicos is a longer flight and costs 27,750 – 40,000 Avios + £50.50 in Club World, return, depending on date. Alternatively, you can use the new Avios pricing selection which can reduce the taxes and fees to as low as £1.
If you have never tried BA’s Club World then this is a cheap way to do so if you are in the region – and possibly turn your holiday into a ‘two centre’ one at the same time.
PS. It is worth noting that Heathrow to Moscow is also treated as a Reward Flight Saver route and is operated with long-haul aircraft – currently a Boeing 787 – on selected services. It is usually the early morning flight during the summer season. Whilst getting a Russian Visa is a bit of a pain, Moscow is a fascinating weekend break, especially if you can get there on a flat bed for virtually nothing in taxes and charges.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 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 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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.