This article explains how the ‘Avios and Money’ feature of British Airways Executive Club works.
Many people don’t realise that it can offer excellent value, letting you ‘buy’ Avios for as little as 0.63p.
The “Avios Redemption University” series is a good starting point for beginners, although I hope everyone will learn something from it. Click here to see the other “Avios Redemption University” articles.
What is ‘Avios and Money’?
‘Avios and Money’ is the feature of the Avios programme that allows you to book a reward seat for up to 65% fewer Avios than the headline mileage price.
British Airways and Iberia Plus will, in effect, ‘sell’ you the extra miles you need during the redemption booking process. This may mean that a redemption you thought you couldn’t reach is in fact bookable.
The official ba.com text on ‘Avios and Money’ is here – scroll down to the bottom where it says ‘Ways To Make Your Avios Stretch Further’.
What are the key facts about ‘Avios and Money’?
There are six key things to know about ‘Avios and Money’ redemptions, which I will expand on below:
Everything you will read below only applies to redemption bookings and not for cash bookings. There is a similar scheme called ‘Part Pay With Avios’ for cash bookings.
‘Avios and Money’ cannot be used with a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher. These bookings can only be made using ‘100% Avios’.
The ‘cost per Avios’ varies depending on the sort of ticket you are booking – not all ‘Avios and Money’ options are a good deal, but it can be exceptionally good value
If you cancel an ‘Avios and Money’ booking, you will get back both the Avios and the additional money – you do not get your refund entirely in Avios based on the full Avios cost of the ticket
You cannot change the operating carrier or route on an ‘Avios and Money’ booking – you would need to cancel the whole booking and rebook.
Two partner airlines – Japan Airlines and S7 (Russian domestic carrier) – are not available with ‘Avios and Money’
‘Avios and Money’ options are shown to you automatically during the booking process, so you can’t miss them. However, it is possible that you don’t do the maths properly and end up doing a bad deal.
‘Avios and Money’ can be an excellent deal
So good, in fact, that it may be worth using ‘Avios and Money’ even if you have enough Avios to book your flight outright.
This is how ‘Avios and Money’ looks on the BA website during the booking process:
The odd combinations of Avios and money shown to you means that you might not realise what a good deal you are being offered.
For long-haul economy / World Traveller redemptions and long-haul World Traveller Plus redemptions, it makes sense to pay more cash and use fewer Avios. It is the equivalent of ‘buying’ Avios for as little as 0.77p which is as cheap as you will ever see.
(For a discussion on whether this is a good idea on short haul Avios flights, read our article from yesterday explaining how British Airways Reward Flight Saver works.)
Here are some worked examples based on a return flight to New York, off peak:
26,000 Avios + £231
20,800 Avios + £281 (buying 5,200 Avios for 0.96p)
16,900 Avios + £311 (buying 9,100 Avios for 0.88p)
13,000 Avios + £331 (buying 13,000 Avios for 0.77p)
10,400 Avios + £351 (buying 15,600 Avios for 0.77p)
9,100 Avios + £361 (buying 16,900 Avios for 0.77p)
In the most extreme example, you pay an extra £130 cash in order to use 16,900 fewer Avios. That means you are effectively buying those 16,900 Avios for 0.77p each. This is a very good deal.
World Traveller Plus:
52,000 Avios + £377
41,600 Avios + £467 (buying 10,400 Avios for 0.86p)
36,400 Avios + £507 (buying 15,600 Avios for 0.83p)
31,200 Avios + £557 (buying 20,800 Avios for 0.86p)
26,000 Avios + £587 (buying 26,000 Avios for 0.81p)
20,800 Avios + £617 (buying 31,200 Avios for 0.77p)
Again, you are offered the chance to ‘buy’ Avios for 0.77p – up to 31,200 Avios in this case.
This method doesn’t work in Club World however. Take a look:
100,000 Avios + £677
90,000 Avios + £917 (buying 10,000 Avios for 2.40p)
75,000 Avios + £1,187 (buying 25,000 Avios for 2.04p)
65,000 Avios + £1,417 (buying 35,000 Avios for 2.11p)
57,500 Avios + £1,517 (buying 42,500 Avios for 1.98p)
50,000 Avios + £1,617 (buying 50,000 Avios for 1.88p)
Club World is ludicrously expensive. There is no reason for anyone to take advantage of this deal. Even in the unthinkable scenario that anyone was willing to pay 2.4p for an Avios they could buy them directly from BA for 1.6p.
Here are two short-haul examples based on flying to Madrid. Using ‘Avios and Money’ works well on a Club Europe ticket and even better in Euro Traveller.
I have just included the options to use fewer Avios in the examples below. Since British Airways introduced the option for £1 taxes and fees on short haul you can also go in the opposite direction – using more Avios and less cash – but this is a bad deal and not recommended.
Euro Traveller, using Reward Flight Saver:
13,000 Avios + £35
7,800 Avios + £70 (buying 5,200 Avios for 0.67p)
4,300 Avios + £90 (buying 8,700 Avios for 0.63p)
and, a slightly worse deal:
Club Europe, using Reward Flight Saver:
25,500 Avios + £50
18,500 Avios + £115 (buying 7000 Avios for 0.92p)
14,500 Avios + £145 (buying 11,000 Avios for 0.86p)
So, which of these options offers a good deal?
There is, of course, no easy answer to that! This article attempts to put a figure on how YOU may value an Avios. There is no single answer that suits everyone.
You need to consider that this is the purest ‘no effort required’ method of getting Avios. It would be totally reasonable for you to say that you would be happy to ‘pay’ 1p per Avios this way whilst you wouldn’t do any Tesco Clubcard points offer unless it came in at under 0.75p per Avios, for example.
‘Avios and Money’ is not available with all partners
‘Avios and Money’ has been expanded since it was initially launched, and now covers most of the oneworld airlines. The only exceptions are Japan Airlines and Russian domestic airline S7.
You can also use ‘Avios and Money’ on redemptions with Aer Lingus, Alaska Airlines, Comair (South Africa) and SUN-AIR (Scandinavia).
Cancellation terms are slightly different
For reasons I do not fully understand, British Airways has historically had more restrictive change rules in place for ‘Avios and Money’ bookings than for standard redemptions.
You cannot change the operating carrier and you cannot change the route. You also cannot cancel one leg of a return flight – you need to cancel the entire flight and rebook, subject to availability, the leg you still want.
(These restrictions are not outlined clearly on ba.com, although the Executive Club terms and conditions say: “Route changes are only permitted for Reward bookings which are purchased using Avios points only (other than for the payment of taxes, fees and charges)”)
So …. if you booked American Airlines to New York and wanted to switch to a British Airways flight, it would not be allowed. With a 100% Avios redemption, it is possible. Similarly, you could not switch from New York to Boston.
In both cases, you would have to cancel your booking and rebook. This could cause an issue if you only wanted to change one leg of your trip, as there is no guarantee that the other leg would still be available as a reward flight.
You cannot ring up British Airways after you have booked an ‘all Avios’ redemption and ask to switch the mix of ‘Avios and Money’.
Next time you book a short-haul or an economy or World Traveller Plus long-haul Avios redemption, without using a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher, seriously consider taking advantage of this opportunity. They will be some of the easiest and cheapest Avios you will probably ever ‘purchase’.
‘Avios and Money’ is a surprisingly well-priced (in some circumstances) and useful tool which should be part of your Avios armoury.
Want to learn more about how to maximise your Avios redemptions?
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)
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:
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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 10,500 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.