Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Want to go to Sydney? Good Avios availability just released in British Airways Club World

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British Airways has just turned on the taps for Avios redemptions to Sydney this coming (northern hemisphere) Winter.

Sydney is one of the most popular redemptions on the British Airways network. Avios seats often get snapped 355 days in advance – when British Airways starts selling tickets – so extra availability is always good news.

That has just changed. British Airways has opened the floodgates for Club World (business class) Avios flights to Australia for December until March.

Take a look at this screenshot from SeatSpy which shows Avios points availability for two people in Club World.  Outbound is on the left, return dates are on the right.  It is correct as of 10am on Wednesday.

The charts above show dates where there is availability straight through, without a stopover in Singapore.  If you are willing to be flexible and transit in Singapore for a day or so, you will find more options.

British Airways operates a Boeing 777 to Sydney.  You should expect the legacy Club World seat, not the new Club Suite, although it is not out of the question that you will get a refurbished Club Suite 777.

How many Avios do you need to fly to Sydney?

On a peak day, you require, from the UK:

  • 100,000 Avios return for Economy / World Traveller
  • 200,000 Avios return for World Traveller Plus
  • 300,000 Avios return for Club World
  • 400,000 Avios return for First

On an off-peak day, you require:

  • 65,000 Avios return for Economy / World Traveller
  • 130,000 Avios return for World Traveller Plus
  • 250,000 Avios return for Club World
  • 340,000 Avios return for First

….. plus, of course, a large chunk of cash for taxes and charges, which varies by class.

For a couple, you can halve the number of Avios by using the 2-4-1 voucher which comes with the British Airways American Express credit card.  You still need to pay the full taxes for both people.

Avios tickets offer flexibility

You may be wondering whether booking flights to Australia for this winter is a good idea given how strict Australia has been with its travel bans.  You won’t be able to travel unless the country chooses to open up substantially.

The good news is that, as these are Avios tickets, you can cancel up to 24 hours before departure with a full refund of Avios and the taxes and fees with nothing more than a £35 penalty per person.  That makes them one of the most flexible flight bookings you can make in the current climate.

Do NOT pay for seat reservations in Club World if you don’t have British Airways status.  These are NOT refundable if you voluntarily cancel your booking later.  Wait until you are 100% certain to fly or simply don’t bother and save the money.

If you want to travel off-peak to save Avios, the 2021 calendar of peak and off-peak Avios points dates is here. You can see how the British Airways companion voucher works in this article.

To maximise your miles when paying the taxes, your best bet is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card which earns double Avios (3 per £1) when you book at or via BA Holidays.  You do not get double Avios if you book with the free British Airways American Express card

Another option is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.

These tickets are likely to go quickly.  You can book on the British Airways website here.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 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 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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) 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.

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

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 10,500 Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 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

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 sign-up 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.

Comments (88)

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

  • A Marks says:

    £1316 and 125K for 2 in club return on a companion, most definitely worth the £70 gamble. Booked 🙂

    • Amit says:

      Isn’t it 250k?

      • Paul74 says:

        I’ve just done a dummy booking and it came to £759.79 plus 275,000 Avios for 31/12-15/1. For comparison, on a quick search I’ve found an itinerary booked through Lufthansa travelling on a combination of Star Alliance airlines (inc ANA) for £3,072.24 (can be cancelled for the loss of £250). Equal or better flexibility starting in London was far more expensive with the other airlines I looked at.
        On the basis of that Lufthansa fare, this comes to roughly 0.8p/avios (haven’t factored in not earning points on a money fare which would be significant on such a route). Of course, there’s extra value in there only being a £35 cancellation fee with the avios option. On the other hand, having done it before, the possibility of going all the way from London to Sydney on an ‘eight across in Club’ 777 with inconsistent service isn’t terribly appealing (relative to other long haul business class options).

  • Andrew says:

    Inevitably the route will be cancelled nearer the time as the borders remain closed – so at least people won’t have to pay the £35 fee. Also Club World really does seem the worst place to sit for social distancing facing your seatmate – perhaps they will allow the screen to remain up all the time to avoid this face to face contact.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      London to Australia on an old 777, couldn’t think of anything worse!

    • Anna says:

      I was thinking that – is this BA trying to rake as much money in as possible from taxes & fees in the full knowledge that people will snap up the award seats and may be persuaded to accept a voucher when the flights are cancelled in a few months? It’s going to be interesting to see if the normal cancellation process is disabled indefinitely.

      • Polly says:

        Def a plan, why else would they open up those seats. J cabin practically empty on the dates we have booked. Might strike lucky with a half full cabin…but they will probably cancel it.

        • Rob says:

          It wouldn’t be a bad strategy in my view, except for the extra admin when the flights are cancelled and everyone has to ring the call centre!

    • Lady London says:

      I dont think it will be cancelled around the Christmas holidays.

      There’s freight and I’m guessing enough expats who will want to go home in both directions around then to see their families. The normal length of trip they’d make could accommodate quarantine or stretch a bit for that as it’s long anyway.

      • SydneySwan says:

        If quarantine is still in place then (and good chance it will be for UK residents given the current uncontrolled community spread in the UK) then expect it to fully negate any cash saved from these avios bookings. Quarantine costs are currently borne by the government but once tourists start arriving it will definitely be a user-pays system at full market rates (budget A$300 per day minimum for 14 days).

  • Snorri says:

    OT: No article on Iberia offering 4x (or 2x if over 3k miles) Elite Points?

    • Rob says:

      Wasn’t planning to. VERY tight booking and flying deadlines, Iberia not running many routes, and BA’s reduced tier point thresholds make it more attractive anyway.

      I’ll look at it again if/when the UK announces a travel corridor to Spain.

  • John T says:

    Its unlikely Australia will allow British nationals into the country this year. They have contained the virus by doing the opposite of what the UK has done when it comes to travel.

    • Joan says:

      @John T, thanks for the misery. Did you miss the bit about Avios bookings cancellable for just £35 per person? Getting seats to Sydney is normally like finding rocking horse sh.t so anyone looking to get to Sydney with Avios would be well advised to get booked while there is some availability.

      • Nick says:

        I think John T has hit the nail on the head!

      • Jeff 99 says:

        So a family of 4 would have to pay £140 in cancellation fees. Waste of money.

        Ignore and don’t book if you’re sensible.

        • Rob says:

          If BA cancels the flights, you don’t pay the £140 – which is likely is Oz isn’t letting people in. There’s not going to be much repatriation traffic left to do come December.

          Oddly, looks like Australia is going to be on the ‘air bridges’ list announced next week if you believe the papers.

          • TimS says:

            There is no way Australia will form an “air bridge” with the UK any time soon. Right now, Australia is worried about 20 community transmissions of COVID19 per day, and has called in the Defence Force to assist with containment in some Melbourne suburbs.

            My guess is that Australia’s international border will re-open only to New Zealand before Christmas, but not to anywhere outside of Oceania before Easter 2021 at the absolute earliest (unless a viable vaccine is magically available in the interim).

            All you would be doing is loaning money to BA until they refund it, and tying up Avois that could be used elsewhere in the meantime (if you aren’t Avois-rich)

          • Jeff 99 says:

            “ which is likely is Oz isn’t letting people in”

            So what’s the point even booking it then? Use those Avios for a trip that’s actually going to happen rather than tie them up for this, as already mentioned.

  • Polly says:

    Does anyone know what the max layover allowed is in Singapore. Just can’t seem to book when l accept the layover? Let’s me book when travelling straight through tho. Thoughts anyone.

    • marcw says:

      ATM no layover allowed at SIN. only connections.

      • Polly says:

        Tnx, just found that out after being on hold a while with BA. V helpful chap tried lots of dates for us. Finally settled on our original plan out end of Jan, ret end of February, but fully expect the flights to be cancelled!
        Now to cancel HKG in J for those same dates….

        • Lady London says:

          or you could wait and see if the HKG flights get cancelled nearer the time in which case a voucher extension might be given. might tie up your avios for too long though.

          • Polly says:

            True, good idea. Thinking someone might be able to use them too. Was really looking for KUL, but nothing appearing. Managed to get an F sector and layover in SIN on way back from oz, pleased with that. Will keep an eye out for other F sectors to upgrade to. And if it’s cancelled, will just go with the flow.

  • Claire says:

    Thanks Rob! Booked 15/2 – 8/3. Outbound is last day our oldest 241 is valid. Think this is the 4th attempt to redeem it and second for SYD (amid uncertainty used your java workaround to get the cash refund on same route booked for this June when BA opened these up first time around – whenever that was, seems like a lifetime ago…) and third involving an Australia trip. Oh well got to be in it to win it… £1519 + 275k

  • memesweeper says:

    Sydney isn’t the only destination with lots of availability all of a sudden on Seatspy — Tokyo and Vegas look much better than I’d expect.

    • Peter North says:

      Doh! (Hits head on wall) you won’t get in!!!

      • Andrew says:

        Yes BA are deliberately picking destinations that won’t allow U.K. passport holders in for the next 6 months at least – a good way to get some cash flow in from taxes/charges and from Avios (which as a separate company pay BA when they are redeemed).

      • Kathleen says:

        @Peter North, how exactly do you know now? You are talking absolute tripe. I’ve got First class flights to Miami booked for November and if I can’t go, I get a full refund or I can cancel for £35pp. What’s not to like. Get a grip man.

        • Amber Lynn says:

          How delightfully Middle class, “you are talking absolute tripe”

  • Leigh says:

    Even if they do cancel it, I wonder what the chances are to be rebooked on QR who would be operating?

    • marcw says:

      There are two options really: BA will fly… but you won’t be allowed in. Or BA won’t fly, but you won’t be allowed in either.

      • marcw says:

        Third option, and desired, BA will fly and Austrlia allows you to enter the country.

      • Leigh says:

        I’m a citizen so will be allowed in, albeit with possible two weeks quarantine, likely at my own expense. So I’m more curious around BA’s rebooking policy especially QR who are flying to most capital cities

        • Michael Jennings says:

          I’m also a citizen. As things are right now, I would be allowed in (but required to spent 14 days quarantined in a hotel) but I would not be allowed to leave again, and I would not be allowed to cross certain state borders. Most of this isn’t going to change any time soon.

          • John says:

            You’d be allowed to leave if you had a specific reason for going to Australia temporarily and your home is in the UK.

            My reason for going would be “to escape the second wave in the European winter” so I suppose I wouldn’t be allowed to leave

    • Lady London says:

      Excellent chance but you prob will have to know and use your EU261 rights and it may be a fight.

      As other posters have said it’s up to you how you get yourself into Oz. It may be impossible or onerous but if the flight is flying then the airline is not responsible if you develop an immigration problem. Hence as Rhys says thisnis a way to keep it flexible.

      • Stuart says:

        Eu261 will not cover Uk to australia after 31/12…

        • Rhys says:

          Except the plan is that EU laws as they apply in the UK will be drafted into UK law

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