Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Four special Avios offers for Executive Club members in the British Airways sale – worth it?

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We published an article yesterday featuring our pick of the Club World deals in the new British Airways Winter sale, which is now live.

There are four Avios-based special offers running alongside the sale.  As always with such deals, you shouldn’t necessarily assume that they are good value.

Full details of these four offers can be found on the BA sale site here.

Here is my view:

Offer 1:  Get better value on certain routes using Avios part payment

What’s the deal?  Get improved redemption rates when you buy a cash ticket in the BA sale and use Avios to reduce the cost

What’s the catch?  It is only valid on San Diego, Boston, New York City, Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, Kuala Lumpur, Bahamas, and San Jose (Costa Rica) and only in World Traveller

Is it a good deal?  We are not big fans of ‘part pay with Avios’ because you are usually offered a rate well below our target Avios redemption value of 1p per point for large quantities.

A £350 test booking to New York brought up the following options:

£20 off for 1,600 Avios (1.25p per Avios)

£40 off for 4,400 Avios (0.91p per Avios)

£70 off for 9,300 Avios (0.75p per Avios)

The first one would be a no-brainer for me and I might be tempted by the 2nd option.  I doubt I’d accept 0.75p for 9,300 valuable Avios however.

This is a good deal if you are booking a qualifying flight (not very likely given the class and location criteria) and are offered the equivalent of 1p per point to ‘part pay with Avios’.  This will only be the case when using a very small number of points.

British Airways sale Avios offers

Offer 2:  Get an extra 15% off hotels when booked with Avios

What’s the deal?  If you use your Avios to book a hotel, paying either wholly or partly with Avios, you save 15% on the standard rate

What’s the catch?  It is only valid for 12 destinations and not all are bookable yet:

Las Vegas, Madrid, Orlando and Prague booked between 19 December to 2 January

Dubai, Edinburgh, Rome and Miami booked between 3 January to 16 January (so not live yet)

Cape Town, Nice, Dublin and San Francisco booked between 17 January to 30 January (so not live yet)

Is it a good deal?  Not when using ‘100% Avios’, no.  You usually get around 0.55p per Avios when using them to pay for a hotel.

Oddly enough, the 15% discount doesn’t change the value per Avios you get.  This is because you can choose to use any quantity of Avios (1,000+) and any quantity of cash.  The 15% discount applies regardless.

The best way to benefit from this deal is to select just 1,000 Avios at check-out and pay the rest in cash.  You will still get a 15% discount on the usual cash price.  Remember, however, that these are ‘third party bookings’ which do not earn hotel loyalty points and you will not get any hotel elite status benefits.

British Airways buy Avios bonus

Offer 3:  Get up to 3,500 Avios back when using Avios to pay for car hire

What’s the deal?  Use your Avios to pay for an Avis or Budget car rental and you will be emailed a voucher worth up to 3,500 Avios

What’s the catch?  You need to spend 10,000 to 20,000 Avios to receive a voucher for 1,500 Avios, or over 20,000 Avios to receive a voucher for 3,500 Avios back.   Your rental needs to be completed by 30th June

Is it a good deal?  Probably not.  At the very best (ie you spend exactly 20,000 points) you are only getting a rebate of 17.5%.

When you use your Avios to book a car rental, you are usually getting around 0.6p per point.  This is a long way from my target valuation of 1p.  Even the highest possible rebate of 17.5% won’t move the needle and your value per point would probably not reach 0.7p per Avios.

British Airways buy Avios bonus

Offer 4:  Get a 30% bonus when you buy Avios

What’s the deal?  You will get a 30% bonus when you buy or gift Avios at this page of ba.com by 30th January

What’s the catch?  None

Is it a good deal?  No. We have seen a bonus of 50% on multiple occasions during 2019, so if you are not planning to use the Avios immediately I would wait to see what 2020 brings.  You can also get a lower price via this Groupon Ireland promotion which is still running – it is a little more complex but worth it for the extra saving.

Click here to buy Avios at ba.com.  Click here for the Groupon Ireland offer – and read this HFP article which explains how it works.

Conclusion

The best way to use your Avios is to use them for premium long-haul flights or for short-haul flights in any cabin.  You should be able to get 1p per Avios on a good day.

None of the other ways of using your Avios get close to this, and the small tweaks offered during this offer don’t change that.

You can check out all of the BA sale deals on this page of ba.com.

(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.)

Comments (9)

  • David the 1st says:

    Offer 1: I’d suggest another way to look at the maths, considering the increment between stages rather than the average price per Avios for the offers. Second offer is really an extra £20 saved for an additional 4,800, which is too expensive in my books.

    • Shoestring says:

      sure – but there are plenty of people for whom Avios = free money (ie not their own cash)

      ie they do not really ascribe a monetary value to the points, just seeing points as a general freebie

      you’d be amazed how many people use (say) their Tesco points to buy groceries at face value, hazarding a guess I’d reckon something like 80%?

    • ADS says:

      i think that looking at the incremental/marginal stages can be misleading – it’s the net return at each points level that is the most important thing to look at

      • will says:

        Imagine you pay 0.9p per avios.

        At £20 your getting 1.25 p value, so for £14.40 your getting a £20 discount.

        Now at £40 you’re buying £39.60 of avios for a £40 discount, still a discount but when you consider you paid an additional £25.26 to get a £20 discount marginally it is a very bad choice.

  • ChrisC says:

    Need to take into account the value of the avios earned from the flights not just the cost of the avios used to reduce the cost.

    And there will be some people who would rather use some avios in ordet to save some actual cash because they don’t calculate the avios value down to 24 decimal places and woud rather save some actual cash.

    • memesweeper says:

      If/when we get ‘fully pay with Avios’ for long haul as for short haul I imagine for a lot of people Avios — even at a poor return of points per pound — will become the gateway to a free flight again. Which if your cash poor and Avios rich is fantastic news.

  • Lady London says:

    Aren’t all the routes above this offer of Part Pay with Avios applies to, “dogs” for BA? Meaning prices have a good chance of being lower anyway.

  • Thomas says:

    Recently I have been unable to find Zone 1 off-peak avios redemptions under 15,000 for an economy round trip from LON-AMS. Last year it was around 9000 points and the award chart indicates that it still should be in this range. Please could you share any tips? Has the award chart changed? Thanks!

    • Rob says:

      Last year it was 9k + £35 taxes. BA now advertises a ‘base’ deal of 15,000 + £1 taxes. If you click through to book, there will be other pricing options, one of which will be close to 9k + £35.