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 (May 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
Do you have a small business? Until 20th May 2021, you can receive a special sign-up bonus worth 29,900 Avios with the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card. This offer is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to learn more.
(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.)