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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.)

Comments (53)

  • BSI1978 says:

    Morning all,

    Having looked at this yesterday, and noting the rather impressive number of Laurent Perrier Rose your reader has clearly pictured above along with the other bins, I can only surmise that they dropped a chunky level of Avios on that order.

    Probably the order that caused them to pause this option!

    • Andrew says:

      And non-vintage Champagne like that only keeps for about 3 years )especially stored on its side like that) before the fizz starts to escape and isn’t as enjoyable. So this person will need to be drinking it quite regularly for it not to be a false investment.

      • BJ says:

        What are you doing with the 300k avios you recently purchased Harry?

      • BSI1978 says:

        Enjoy your bubbles SS…….

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        It is not a hedge. It doesn’t increase or decrease in value dependent upon Avios.

        It is the limiting of credit risk to Avios perhaps. Or simply the desire to source booze in lockdown.

      • Peter North says:

        Talking sense Harry, you must be sober.

      • General Mayhem says:

        Not sure that is correct Andrew. If its a decent quality NV with a properly constructed stopper, (a laterally cut disk at the base) then the wine will keep it swollen and gas tight for quite a lot more than 3 years. I have had NV getting for for 30 yeas old which had lost none of its fizz.

        Storing the wine standing up? Now that MIGHT cause a bit of shrinkage.

        • Stu N says:

          Agreed, decent NV Champagne shouldn’t “loose its bubbles” in such a short time period. Also it should be stored on its side to keep the cork moist as if the cork dries out it will become more permeable. Most NV is made to drink within a couple of years of dosgorgement – leave it longer than that and it will lose flavour and start to taste thin and acidic. Not that that’s ever much of a possibility in our household…

          • The Original David says:

            I also was confused – I thought wine is supposed to be stored sideways!

          • David P says:

            Some NV champagne only starts to lose its searing acidity after 3+ years of storage (hello Lanson!)

            The champagne houses recommend drinking NV champagne within a couple of years so that you buy more of their product. Most wines, and NV champagne is no exception, will benefit from some bottle age because the flavours mellow and integrate. If you ever get a chance to compare the Lanson “Extra age” bottle against the “standard” bottling, you’ll see what I mean.

          • Stu N says:

            Anything with a natural closure is best stored in its side, with possible exception of very sweet wines, but not read anything conclusive either way on that.

            For synthetic closures (plastic corks or screw caps) it doen’t really make much difference. Anything with a plastic cork is unlikely to have much keeping potential anyway.

    • uk1 says:

      ……… I have spent roughly 1.6m miles on champagne ……..

  • Scott Lawrie says:

    Can’t see any option to get free delivery? Is a specific code needed to get this?

    • Rhys says:

      I assume you mean for Wine Flyer? The code is on the information page when you click through from Executive Club.

  • Andy says:

    I’d be tempted to buy some if the selection of Italian reds wasn’t so rubbish 🙁

  • Crafty says:

    Find using “alcohol” as a synonym for “drinks” slightly bizarre! Are we all 14 again?

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    Enough booze there to drown your sorrows when you realise in a few months you wish you kept those avios as no sharp devalue or BA going bust! 😉

    • Riccatti says:

      Neither devaluation nor BA solvency are problems.

      The huge problem is — do you really want to travel?

      Where? Southern Europe for a summer destination?

      Do you think that countries like Singapore or Australia will lift quarantine requirements? They will shut the stable doors with a week of the next outbreak.

      US is also unlikely to open for visitors. European Union citizens were the first ones blocked from entry.

      • Rob says:

        Four Seasons Athens seems the way to go (we were there last year for a long weekend). Absolutely astonishing post refurbishment, has a beach, 30 mins from Athens Airport and – due to it being reassuringly expensive – there aren’t many guests around. Very very little CV in Greece (death rate is 1.4 per 100k vs 43 per 100k here) and they need the cash so likely to let you in.

        • Harry T says:

          @Rob
          Just wanted to say that I booked my first hotel through Emyr this week and I was very impressed with his service (booked the Saxon in Johannesburg). I think he will be our go to moving forward.

          • Genghis says:

            Looks v nice. Just seems a bit toppy on price given the reasonable points options in Joburg.

        • Barry cutters says:

          Any points options for this rob?
          Im Avios, IHG rewards and Amex points rich

          • Harry T says:

            @Barry
            You can’t use points to book the Four Seasons. If you use Emyr of Bon Vivant, he should be able to book you a date that includes a lot of extra perks, as he is a Four Seasons Preferred Partner member.

            You can use your Avios to redeem flights on BA to get to Athens though! Will be a Reward Flight Saver, so likely good value during the summer months.

          • Harry T says:

            Rate*

        • Riccatti says:

          High-end hotels in Greece are surprisingly luxurious. They don’t economise on amenities, lounges, cigar rooms.. the only place I saw Hermes toiletries!

          It’s not the destination that is risk, it’s the airport, planes and public transport (such as HEX). I keep being confident that even the temperature check on arrival will be carried out in the most inconvenient and unsafe way (airport personnel and authorities do not REALLY care if you get a humane and safe experience).

          • The Original David says:

            Don’t worry, temperature checks are a doddle. I’m getting checked about 10 times a day in China, it takes 3 seconds with someone pointing a thermometer at your wrist.

      • JohnG says:

        @Riccatti – A nicely put summary of why the issue isn’t as simple as just considering the current complete lockdowns and flight cancellations. Even if countries do lift restrictions do people really want the risk/hassle of booking trips unsure if they’ll end up cancelled and/or get there and then being in a panicked rush to get back. You only have to read a couple of the tales of people stuck in BFN without medication, or unable to leave their room for weeks, because they couldn’t get flights back and the foreign office was astoundingly negligent when it came to people who were overseas.

        Rob’s suggestion sounds good if that’s your kind of holiday, but even then a trip to Greece is only going to burn so many Avios.

        • Harry T says:

          @John
          Agree. The best thing to do is only book flights and hotels with points (flexible rates for hotels would also do). That way you can cancel up to the last minute for free.

        • Riccatti says:

          @JohnG @Harry T

          Hotels and chains proven to be surprisingly flexible. Not the least that no one wants to have a sick person on the premises of a resort. It is more cost in the end. (Unless your entire operation is isolation.)

          Airlines and refunds don’t instil confidence on other hand — that is why Rob called for airlines to be reasonable and very flexible on rebookings from the very start — not to destroy the leisure travel market.

      • uk1 says:

        The picture is of part of my stash.

        The reason why I sunk the miles was because our long-haul travel was solely SINGAPORE which we had been visiting at least once per year sometimes more using miles and 241s in F. Thye were however getting more difficult to get.

        We have no plans to visit Singapore before the expiry of the second 241. I’m not certain when we’ll feel safe on flights of that length soon. I am happy to use cash to buy tickets in other lines in F or possibly business in a few years if we decide on a trip. Getting the wine seemed rational and I’m pretty certain the wine will not deteriorate before it is drunk.

  • LukeM says:

    Or you could pop down to Lidl or Aldi and get some decent wines for not much cash!

  • SuzyQ says:

    Well I for one have been very grateful for the notification re the Laithwaites offer returning. I had not checked my Avios for a year or so and only had 11.000 +. I was sitting on them in case I wanted the shuttle from MAN to LHR to catch an international flight with VS, being a collector of VS Flying Club miles now. But that is highly unlikely now before Feb 21 when they expire. So 6 bottles of Chardonnay on their way is a good way to spend them. Cheers!

  • Anna says:

    I am trying to home school my teenager and all this is really making me want to crack open a bottle 😂

    • marcw says:

      I´ve done it already!

    • ankomonkey says:

      I’ll teach your teenager if you teach my 8 year old. I’ve discovered that his lack of knowledge at home during normal times is not actually an act!