British Airways offering Avios points as a flight refund option – is it worth it?
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British Airways has added the option to take Avios rather than a cash refund or voucher if your flight is cancelled.
This only applies to normal cash tickets, not the taxes element of Avios redemptions, and it requires your flight to have been cancelled. It is not available if you voluntarily ask for a refund under the ‘Book With Confidence’ guarantee.
The offer is only available over the telephone, although that doesn’t make a lot of difference at the moment given that online refunds are still unavailable! It does mean that you won’t be offered it if you are cancelling a travel agent-booked flight, however, as these are cancelled electronically.
This is a one-shot offer – you cannot change your mind once you have accepted. To be clear, this offer is in addition to your cash refund rights and vouchers which will continue to be offered.
Is this good value?
You need to look at this as buying Avios with cash since that is effectively what you are doing given that the cash alternative is on the table.
You should only go ahead if you would have done the same deal if BA had launched a ‘buy Avios’ deal at the same rate.
That said, the rate is VERY attractive at half the normal ‘buy Avios’ price. In other words, it is the equivalent of getting a 100% bonus on the usual ‘buy Avios’ price.
Here are some typical examples, assuming that British Airways is using exactly half of the standard ‘buy Avios’ price:
£127 – 15,000 Avios – 0.85p per Avios
£250 – 28,600 Avios – 0.83p per Avios
£567 – 70,000 Avios – 0.81p per Avios
£1607 – 200,000 Avios – 0.8p per Avios
0.8p is better than the 0.92p you would have paid under the 75% buy Avios bonus that British Airways recently offered. This was the most generous bonus we have ever seen. Even the irregular Groupon Avios offers are generally just above 1.0p per Avios.
At this rate, you should be able to make a ‘profit’ when using the Avios on flight redemptions. Based on Rob’s spreadsheet of the last 7.7 million Avios he redeemed, he got 1.18p of value. This is using very conservative valuations for the flights booked, eg valuing a Business Class flight to Dubai at £1,500 because even if BA isn’t charging that there is usually a deal with a secondary airline.
As our core article on ‘What is an Avios worth?’ shows, it is easy to get a lot more than 0.8p. Rob’s 1.18p real-life valuation is low because he does a lot of Gold Priority Rewards (using double Avios to force open a seat, mainly due to school holiday restrictions) and doesn’t always have a BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher to use.
In the current circumstances, you might be happier to have cash in the bank rather than adding to your Avios collection. I wouldn’t blame you for that.
However, if you don’t need the money urgently, this is an EXCELLENT opportunity to pick up a lot of Avios VERY cheaply indeed.
Remember that this offer is in addition to existing cash refunds or vouchers, and not a replacement, so no-one is losing out.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review
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.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
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.
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.