When is it a great deal to use ‘Avios and Money’ for flight tickets? (Avios Redemption University, Lesson 4)

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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.

How does Avios and Money work

‘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:

World Traveller:

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:

Club World:

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)

BA 787

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’.

Conclusion

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?

You can see the full list of all 15 articles in the ‘Avios Redemption University’ series here.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. These “university” articles should have been updated more rather than copy/pasted from previous years. The redemptions are now a sliding scale of mixing avios/money. Not just two redemption methods of normal redemption and “avios and money” as you call it. Is 15000 avios and 1 gbp “avios and money” ? because you use avios and money for that redemption. Is 4400 avios + 81gbp “avios and money” ? You are treating the sliding scale as two separate redemption methods but it’s a SLIDING SCALE. You choose which part of scale you want to use for booking. This affects the cancellation cost, since the cancellation cost is never more than the money part and when the money part is 1 gbp the cancellation fee is 1 gbp. But the articles are quick copy/paste from previous years and don’t mention this.
    Btw the link you give which supposedly explains “avios and money” REDEMPTIONS is for a page about UPGRADES.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I think it’s just the way you are viewing it

      There are STILL two methods. Traditional Avios + TFC’s or more Avios less TFC’s (it’s always had a sliding scale)

      (Turns out) Online the cancellation cost is never more than the cash component but on the phone the cancellation cost is £35 regardless of how much cash you paid.

    • The article mentions £1 redemptions and links to the analysis of the scheme Rob did when it was launched 🙂

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        I think this feature is worth expanding to it’s own lesson.

        For those avios rich it makes sense. Saved me a lot of agro cancelling 4 CE tickets recently when I could just write off the cash component. For others, given the value, perhaps less so.

        While here, is my mind playing tricks or do these articles not typically run over the summer? Given the number of extra articles dropping daily there seems lots of content around now.

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          The value reference is to the price of the avois. I was not trying to indicate I am a baller because I can write off £1 a flight. #thuglife

        • No, always Easter. There are basically three things we cycle annually: University (Easter), credit card reviews (October) and the hotel scheme overviews (moves around). University and card reviews require 15 articles and so nicely cover a 15 day holiday over Easter and October half term.

  2. This is also useful when booking last minute flights for family. My daughter who lives and works in Zurich (now earning a decent income) had her Swiss flight to London cancelled (about 3/4 weeks ago) using Avios and money I could get her a BA Club Europe seat using minimal Avios and some of her cash. She wasn’t keen on spending over £400 for an economy ticket on the same half empty plane.

  3. Do you still get full Avios and TPs when using cash + buy avios?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Cash fares where you discount with Avios yes

      For Avios fares where you pay more Avios to reduce TFC’s no.

  4. Concerto says:

    For European redemptions, how do you choose between the Sliding Scale method mentioned in the first post and the Avios and Money deal described by Rob in the main article?

    • it would be easier to understand if rob did not invent the term “avios and money” for the second kind of booking when the first kind of booking also involves paying with avios and money.
      avios and money now seems to mean two different things – coming up with the term “avios and money” does not reveal there are two different methods.

  5. ChrisBCN says:

    I’m really confused – isn’t this exactly the same as the £1 avios page, except you have chosen more expensive destinations? Or what am I missing? It’s all booked the same way, right?

    • Yes, same concept but just explaining from a different angle why you shouldn’t take the £1 option and indeed should potentially not take the £35 option.

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