Is it worth spending Avios points on wine and champagne?

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Wine delivery company Laithwaites is back as an Avios redemption partner after being pulled a few weeks ago.  Laithwaites was forced to close its operation for a period whilst it restructured to keep its warehouse staff safe, but it is now open again.

Given the current climate, we thought it would be interesting to see how using your Avios for wine compares to a typical flight redemption.

Laithwaites and BA have a long-standing partnership called ‘The Wine Flyer’ and often offer bonus Avios or other perks when ordering wine.  The current offer is 1,000 Avios for new customers as well as free delivery.  You can see the offer on your ‘Executive Club offers’ page on ba.com here.  You can currently get a 12 bottle case of red, white or mixed wines for £71.88, so £5.99 per bottle.

Should you use Avios to buy wine?

Whilst ‘The Wine Flyer’ lets you earn Avios on cash purchases, British Airways also allows you to redeem your Avios for wine and champagneTo do so you must go to this page of ba.com. This is what you will see:

Redeem Avios for wine

The majority of options are wine cases, but you are also able to use Avios to buy a variety of single bottles and spirits as well.

The good news is that the alcohol is genuinely ‘free’.  You don’t need to pay a penny of postage.  Simply order online and your alcohol will be delivered to your door “within 7 days”.

Does wine represent good value for your Avios?

Now, of course, the question you should ask is : “Is this good value for my Avios?”.  And, to be honest, the answer is usually No.

This is a little beside the point, though.  If you are Avios-rich, then trading in a few for a nice treat is a good way to go.  One of our readers, with far more Avios than he needs, recently cashed in a large number for a LOT of champagne – the photo below is only part of it! – to hedge his bets over BA not surviving the current crisis:

The mixed cases differ from those offered on ‘The Wine Flyer’ so it is difficult to compare prices.  However, it is easy to compare single bottles. For example:

This is Laurent-Perrier Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature champagne.  It costs 13,300 Avios or £60.  This works out at about 0.45p per Avios which is roughly what you would expect from an Avios partner redemption.

A 70cl bottle of Sipsmith Gin sets you back 7,300 Avios.  Sipsmith is heavily discounted by the supermarkets, however, and is available for £22.50 at Sainsbury at the moment.  This works out at just 0.3p per Avios, although the Avios option does come with delivery.

You also have the option to reduce the Avios component with a cash supplement as you would on a flight redemption. Taking the Laurent-Perrier option above and ignoring the shipping costs, the choices are (based on a cash price of £60):

10,000 Avios + £20 = 0.4p per Avios
7,300 Avios + £35 = 0.34p
5,300 Avios + £45 = 0.28p
4,000 Avios + £50 = 0.25p
1,300 Avios + £65 = MORE than the cash price!

So it’s important to be careful with this. You might even end up paying MORE than you would if you were to order the exact same bottle via Laithwaites for cash (excluding shipping, of course).

Using Avios for wine and champagne isn’t how we would usually recommend you use your points.  However if, like myself, you are sitting on a large pile of them, the potential to swap a small percentage for a coronavirus pick-me-up is tempting …….

You can see the full list of cases and bottles available 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. BlueThroughCrimp says:

    Work colleague used to use his Avios for this after every economy transatlantic trip with his family.
    Gave me a shiver down my spine when he told me.

    • I recognise that piccy Rob! 🙂 We are doing our duty and working our way through it all.

      I had been keeping my eye on the wine ordering page coming back and yesterday I used the remainder of my miles and ordered another stash of LP Blanc de Blancs! I now have no miles to speak of. I just feel happier with the cash back in my own wine store and will buy tickets with cash when I want. For what it’s worth I feel a tremendous sense of release as to a degree travel plans were defined by the miles and 241s and now I have a totally free choice. I also actually don’t mind EU in economy taking some IC mini-bar sized miniatures and sandwiches bought in the terminal. I feel that the system has been beaten. 🙂

      I have a sense that people have totally under-estimated how this enforced shutdown of business travel will have forced many business travellers to realise that they can in fact survive without the need to travel to meetings and use the really excellent online apps and tools and a larger than appreciated percntage of business travel may never return to the air. What this presents as risk to business dependant airlines we can only guess.

      I am so looking ofrward to drinking my wine lake. 🙂

    • GaryC says:

      I used to have the same view. A similar shiver to when I saw people using their Tesco clubcard vouchers to pay for groceries in store. But finding myself with an awful lot of avios after a bunch of cancellations, yesterday I spent 10-15% of my the stash on a few cases, including a 6 pack of the LP blanc de blanc.

      Trying to work out the “present value” of an avios point is tricky of course, and depends a lot on personal perspective. Pre-crisis I tended to use Rob’s general 1p./avios rule. But factor in all of the uncertainty (BA failing or being radically restructured, avios being devalued, travel restrictions or lack of insurance restricting allowed travel, concerns about personal safety making me less inclined to travel etc), and it was clear that they are worth a lot less now.

      Ultimately I think you need to ask yourself how much you’d pay to buy avios at the current time. Right now I wouldn’t be a buyer at 0.4p/avios, partly because I have such a big exposure to them anyway. If there were other ways of cashing out I’d probably take them right now, but ultimately there’s only so much wine I can drink.

      • Shoestringo says:

        My problem is getting somebody to store it for me while I’m away! Otherwise I’d be in for £2K/ 200,000 Avios & maybe more

      • There are lot’s of different ways that an individual can “value” their Avios. I bought some as I went along because over many. many yers I have been successful in finding First availability twice a year using 241s to both Oz and Singapore and of course leisurely trips to both. I also had a few generous service recovery refunds when they were generous .. on one trip it worked out we’d got the two First returns to Oz for free. So the average “cost” of my miles i don’t think is too far from the 0.45p stated elsewhere. So nothing lost.

        But another way of valuing them is that I had already had much more value from all the travel we’ve had over many years on miles than all acquisition costs and that from that viewpoint the miles I had left had already “paid their way” and the extraordinary wine lake is free. I’ve bought a quality of wine that I’m too mean to use cash for and now having tasted the LP I’m thrilled I can drink it daily.

        We said we’d travel until we are bored with it and that was 40 years ago. Avios and 241s changed our lives and gave us travel we wouldn’t have otherwise had. We’ve now largely come to the end of most of our travel as we have a couple of homes to relax in. So from that point of view what is to regret about an enormous quantity of lovely champagne.

        The champers is simply capitalising miles I probably don’t need.

        • GaryC says:

          A great way of looking at it, and what better way to sit back and reflect on past trips in First than with a glass of LP in hand 🙂 Enjoy in good health!

        • BlueThroughCrimp says:

          Oh yeah, it’s all what suits the individual, and whatever the market at the time is.

          I can understand why the avios-rich would maybe like to get something, just in case.
          I’m lucky, I got back from my long saved for holiday at the beginning of March, so my Avios exposure isn’t that great at the moment, and I’m comfortable with what I do have.

          I have changed tack as my companion vouchers were used when travelling with the parentals, but seeing as they’re in their late 70s, I can’t see them taking many, if any, longhaul flights now.

  2. Thanks Gary. Safe and enjoyable travels.

  3. Riccatti says:

    On a hotel reception, temperature check is a doodle because they provide a service.

    On an arrival to a busy international airport, you and 500 of your new best friends, breathing down your neck and on your face — you can feel it — are getting squeezed into the tiniest, un-ventilated corridor, where you are let go one-by-one during the process which takes hours.

    At the same airport, the staff will NEVER question a badly coughing person in the boarding gate area or person with profound bleeding from the nose — because they are “boarded” and no one wants to deal with taking the passenger off the flight, calling medical staff, making arrangements.

    Airports don’t work/personnel does not act like they provide a service.

    • The Original David says:

      Sounds exciting! At which airport have you had that experience?

      • Riccatti says:

        I personally had at say a very popular destination in SE Asia. An international airport.

        Videos of Americans arriving to Chicago in March (last days of regular scheduled flights) and waiting 4 hour temperature check in the said conditions are widely available. Same at DFW and other arrivals.

        Singapore Changi was more friendly but multiple temperature checkpoints throughout terminals, so you will be scanned more than once.

        I think with trepidation how would Spanish police will organise this, or what would be happening at Rome which is super-chaotic at immigration booths. Lisbon airport on arrival — you go through tiny walkway after baggage hall.

  4. Has anyone else had problems accessing the “Wine” page on BA.com ? I click the link , check the box to say I’m 18+ and then get stuck in some loop where it keeps trying to load “https://britishairways.switchfly.com/images_w/britishairways/nav/default/error.cfm” … log out , log in, different browser.. nothing seems to work.

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