Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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.

Avios wing 15

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.

Conclusion

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 points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)

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 card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (86)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • The Original David says:

    Any indication whether this applies to part-flown bookings?

  • John says:

    Apologies as I’m guessing this question has been asked before…

    If I have a BA booking made for three people (two using Avios and a 241 voucher and another just using Avios) for the same flight, how does the voucher scheme work if I chose to cancel the tickets?

    Also, how far out are BA cancelling flights? This is for a mid July flight from LCY. Should I play poker and wait to see if BA cancels first?

    • pauldb says:

      Each person gets a voucher which holds the value of their booking: i.e. can be used for a new flights that costs the same. The voucher for the non-241 passenger is essentially no different to the 241ers. I assume if you want to fly further each person would have to pay the same full difference in avios (i.e. no 50%/241 saving on the increment) and any extra taxes.

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    So, if I want to buy Avios, I buy a ticket to a non-entry city in USA in July, and wait for it to be cancelled.

    If it isn’t cancelled then I take a book with confidence voucher?

    • marcw says:

      Yes. But maybe this is a temporary promotion and by the time your flight is cancelled it´s not there anymore.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      And this time triple avios on bapp

    • Andrew says:

      It’s like the IHG buy points by booking a cash and points and cancelling trick. Beat BA at their own game! 😉

  • Nick says:

    Thanks for the HT… ahem

    • Rob says:

      Kids today, no manners 🙂

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        I blame the parents! 😉

        • Chrish says:

          Secret [email protected] “Blame the Parents” i once did a long while ago our firm was taken over and they sent a new Personnel Officer (he was Scottish apologies in advance Scottish readers lol)
          My was he foul mouthed, i was called to his office because of my refusal to work overtime
          He gave me a mouthful “told me i would” i laughed at him told him i don’t blame him for his mouth it must have been the way his parents dragged him up
          Red faced & spluttering he gave me a warning i complained about his foul mouth (they have never heard me swear because i didn’t) i didn’t get the warning he was laughed at all week, month later he was sent back to Scotland & our old P.O was back down

  • Anon says:

    Way to improve BA cash flow, but also a potential sign of Avios inflation.

    • Rhys says:

      Not really. BA usually issues millions of Avios per day on its flights. This clearly isn’t happening since no-one is really flying.

      Of course, that also means nobody is really redeeming. If I were BA I’d use Avios as a lever to kick-start demand again once it starts flying properly. Planes are unlikely to be full so it’s a good way of filling them up a little and making some money off the ‘taxes and fees’…..

      • BrightonReader says:

        BA only makes momey from its own surcharges

        How can it make money from proper taxes when it has to hand those to the governments and airport passenger service charges to airports?

        Is it too much to have some accuracy on this?

  • Briandt says:

    Seems worthwhile to go ahead and by a ticket…if it’s going to be cancelled.

    • BSI1978 says:

      Surely BA is now only selling flights/seats with a reasonably good chance of actually flying?!

      • Andrew says:

        Is there still a blanket ban on non-US citizens entering USA? And are they only accepting passengers who can enter via those original 7 cities?

  • Andrew says:

    I’ll be taking a cash refund – prefer the money in my bank account rather than an airline’s at this time.

  • BJ says:

    Let’s be honest, this is garbage! I’ve banked 198,000 avios for £0 this year. Last year over 100,000 at 0.4Xp was easy enough thanks to Tesco Mobile. Year before that 90,000 was available for £220ish. That BA is offering this should set off every alarm bell from Land’s End to Timbuktu, never mind John O’Groats. Don’t touch this with a bargepole folks, demand your money back.

    • Harry T says:

      I just want to know how you’ve made nearly 200k Avios this year?!

      • BJ says:

        Explained that to you way back then Harry, you must not have seen breakdown. The 198k was the simple part; household account amex referrals to first time amex card holders who were then using their bonus to get to a family wedding.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Unless your only amex was bapp there was acost to them there avios had, insofar as the money or cash equiv you could have had from referring from another card…

          • BJ says:

            We have to play games with numbers to get to the costs whatever they might be. People here would debate all day as to the validity of every approach. At the end of the day my return on amex offers exceeds the fees I pay to them so I feel justified in saying they cost me nothing. Furthermore, I use these avios largely for one specif redemption in which the return vastly outweighs what I could obtain by taking my benefits in any other way that would be useful to me.

        • Harry T says:

          Think I missed that – what an excellent plan! Thanks for clarifying.

          • BJ says:

            Hardly a plan Harry, just luck and opportunity. Anyway, we should get the discussion back to the article as it will be a very important one to many readers I’m sure.

          • Harry T says:

            Hopefully you can get that lucky every year!

          • BJ says:

            @Harry T, matchmaking is not my thing.

        • Hazel says:

          I’ve seen Breakdown. Great movie with Kurt Russell.

      • Anna says:

        22 referrals from BAPP?

    • Lady London says:

      So other than that you quite like it then, @BJ ?

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      How many sims did you do BJ?
      I gave up after 5x…

      • BJ says:

        I cannot remember the detail, I think I ended up with about 108,000 avios. Should have been a little bit higher but I got bored when it came time to go for the last two sins I planned.. I had to redeem myself after passing on IB+.

        • Polly says:

          Yes, Genghis told me l should not have passed up on that one too. Couldn’t quite get around the IB site, must try better….

          • BJ says:

            At the time I had a moral objection to it. There was also the belief in the early days it might have to be used on hotels or something IIRC, and at the time I turned same money into a higher return on hotel promotions.

          • Lady London says:

            As is usual for me when the very best stuff comes along i was unable to partake…. at that time due to travelling. Grrrr…

    • Charlieface says:

      Nothing is free in the sense there is nearly always an opportunity cost of cashing out in a different way

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