Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Sunday 30th August

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Comments (146)

  • GT says:

    Have BA increased the Carrier Imposed Charges on redemption bookings ?

    Looking at business class return to Seattle. The Carrier Imposed Charge on a cash ticket is £150 but on an Avios redemption it’s bumped up to £400, making the total taxes & fees £670 compared to £420 on the cash ticket. I’m sure these used to be the same.

    • Anna says:

      They’ve increased regularly over the past few years and again a couple of months ago. At some point it’s going to get to the stage where long haul redemptions aren’t worth it.

      • meta says:

        Agreed. I increasingly find redeeming on other oneworld airlines more attractive. I am often using 241 vouchers on short hauls or ditching BA all together and redeeming on other airlines. Just recently I ditched CW using 241 voucher with BA to Japan and went with JAL Business as taxes were £300 cheaper and I also got a free seat selection.

      • Lady London says:

        Already past that point. In Y, BA’s ‘taxes’ cash component required on award bookings, regularly exceeds both their own fares now, and their competitor’s cash fares since at least a year or two. This in low-ish seasons.
        Getting very , very close to that point in J. If you’re prepared to consider other major airlines on US routes, BA’s taxes are about the same in J as their low season market prices.

        Is either travelling in F, or booking in high season price periods, the new (and only) sweet spot left for Avios bookings? Some days it feels as though you really have to work hard to support BA.

        • Doug says:

          LondonLady, you know your post is just wrong 🙂
          Which major airlines offer J return cash fares to the US for under £700 which is BA fees ball park. Ex-EU is fabulous at anything getting close to £1000, and you have to pay for positioning and possibly hotels, and have time and a tolerance for travel risk and disruption.
          If you compare the cheapest economy ticket with a flexible Avios ticket it’s simply apples and oranges.
          No one likes the fees, but I think you have to be realistic about Avios value and the fees compared to appropriate cash tickets.

          • meta says:

            Iberia for starters charge £180rtn or so to NY. Even with positioning you’re always better off unless you cannot tolerate traveling longer.

          • Louie says:

            “If you compare the cheapest economy ticket with a flexible Avios ticket it’s simply apples and oranges” – not if you don’t need (and thus value) flexibility.

          • Lady London says:

            You are correct I am looking at ex-EU. I just dont even think of doing any longhaul from the UK. Why hand the taxman upwards of £200 for nothing? With planning ex-EU is not at all onerous and frankly if it all goes wrong then you can walk home. Admittedly if the alternative was swimming then you need travel insurance.

            It’s amazing what Continental airlines will sell at especially if you include codeshares. BA has started catching up in past year or two as well.

            My only worry is that this could end in 2-3 years because of the damage being done to supply side of travel while Governments are all over the place with Covid.

      • Doug M says:

        Are you sure they’ve increased differently to the cash ones?

        • Anna says:

          Yes, BA has been upping their fees by stealth at an exponential rate over the past few years. As soon as we’re free to travel outside the school holidays as a couple I can see us moving away from BA and using more convenient airlines for long haul like Qatar and Emirates (and Virgin if they still around!), and just use one 241 for a BA trip in F once a year perhaps. At the moment, however, school holiday prices are so ridiculous that using avios still makes for a big saving on cash fares.

          • Doug M says:

            I get the fees really wind people up, but my point was are you sure that the fee on a redemption differs to a cash ticket? I’m almost certain that GT in his original post has quoted PE fees on the cash comparison, and Business on the redemption.

          • Lady London says:

            @Doug M charges have rocketed from £3nn to £7nn and even more in a very short amount of time. It’s been the gift that keeps on giving for BA.

            While we were all looking around fearful of the next BA devaluation, there it was unannounced right under our noses.

            Of course if you travel First you wouldnt have noticed. For those of us who aspire to J there is now much less space between BA’s ‘taxes’+value of avios, and even BA’s cash fares, and value can make it better im lowish season to give all cash to fly on other major airlines instead.

            You wont get these sold by the airlines themselves though except for a very few promotions, these fares are in OTA-land…. so risky as we have seen during Covid. But at the right time of year a good look around makes BA ‘taxes’+avios look worse even on the odd J route now.

          • Polly says:

            Which is why we Started using QR ex EU more and more. At one stage there was only a couple of £100 between the ex eu as opposed to our taxes and fees in F241. And QR was def the better J product. Served us well. Yes, of course we had to position, but looked forward to visiting the various Scandinavia cities to depart from.
            Couldn’t believe how much they had crept up. We have an F241 to HKG for Jan which they have cancelled one leg already. Haven’t dealt with it yet but will probably take a FTV to extend our 241. But yes this fee creep up is def happening, no notice, nothing. Just a surprise when it’s pay time!
            Don’t know what we can do about our BEL one in Nov with QR, probably take another voucher from them also. As we can’t get into Malaysia atm. Will see.

        • GT says:

          Yes.

          Check out the example I quoted

      • Aston100 says:

        I’ve managed to build up about 230k Avios and a companion voucher.
        This looks to be enough to get to KUL or SIN, but the charges are quite high.
        I’m wondering if there is better use for the Avios on other airlines, even foregoing the companion voucher.
        By the time I’m ready to book for Summer or Xmas 2021, I may have around 260k avios. Could anyone kindly suggest if this is enough to get two adults to a longhaul destination on a different airline – preferably Qatar or Sri Lankan? Or am I doomed to use the companion voucher and pay BA outrageous charges for a sub par club world experience?

        I’m new to miles & points, but its looking to me like I should perhaps focus on IHG points going forward; forget BA & Avios (after using up my current Avios and companion voucher) and instead pay cash prices for my travel, using airlines that have a superior J product than BA.

        • Anna says:

          Rob has done articles on using avios on Iberia long haul where the taxes are much lower (though you usually need to start in Madrid and they tend to go West rather than East). You need to have an Iberia Plus account to get the lower taxes.

        • Vit says:

          @Aston, I will be doing the same. My partner will keep the blue BA amex but most of the major spend now will go to IHG after this final amex card churning and I should have around 200k and 1 companion voucher to burn before May 2022. I can fly out in INV so using 2-4-1 voucher is still appealing without APD.

          • Polly says:

            Vit, always worth a short upgrade to the premium plus card to obtain that 2 yr 241 tho, if you are putting spend on the blue. When you are close to a 10k spend tho..handy to have one stored in case of unexpected large spends. Lucky, you got INV near you too.

      • BS says:

        This is entirely the reason I have abandoned spending avios on flights. Yes, I use them occasionally for wine or hotel bookings when I fly BA. But redeeming them for flights are exceptionally poor value.
        I expect with the cheap fares that will be coming out to ensure the landing slots are all used, they will be even poorer value.

    • Doug M says:

      I think the YQ on a BA cash booking return to Seattle is £400. Where did you get £150 from?
      ADP £178, and other things totalling £93.86 so total addons £670 ish. Think your cash numbers are wrong.

      • GT says:

        This is from the example I quoted (LHR-SEA rtn)

        BRITISH AIRWAYS FEES AND CARRIER CHARGES
        Carrier imposed charge
        £150.00 per adult
        Carrier imposed charge
        £28.60 per adult
        ba.com booking fee
        £0.00 per adult
        Total
        £178.60 per adult
        Total charges
        £419.87 per adult

        • Doug M says:

          Don’t know what to say, I see this.

          Government, authority and airport charges* Per adult
          Air Passenger Duty – United Kingdom £176.00
          Passenger Service Charge – United Kingdom £48.66
          Animal & Plant Health User Fee (Aphis) – USA £3.00
          Immigration User Fee – USA £5.30
          Customs User Fee – USA £4.50
          Passenger Civil Aviation Security Service Fee – USA £4.20
          Passenger Facility Charge £3.40
          Total £245.06
          British Airways fees and carrier charges Per adult
          Carrier imposed charge £400.00
          Carrier imposed charge £28.60
          ba.com booking fee £0.00
          Total £428.60
          Total charges £673.66

        • Doug M says:

          Actually now I think about it I think you’re quoting PE taxes and fees, that’s a £150 YQ. Not business. Honestly believe there is no difference between YQ on cash and redemption.

          • GT says:

            I’m getting this. It’s definitely Club World (11 – 18 May)

            Price breakdown

            FARE BREAKDOWN
            TOTAL £1,137.87
            1 ADULT
            Fare
            £718.00

            Taxes, fees and carrier charges
            £419.87

            Total per passenger
            £1,137.87

            Total*
            £1,137.87

          • Doug says:

            £1137 return club to Seattle! Wow. I’m thinking error, but who knows. For those dates I see what you’re seeing now. But it’s that low because as you say the YQ is £150. I’d jump on the cash fare and hope they ticket it.

          • Doug says:

            GT – if those fares suit you I’d book that pronto. Looking at the low fare finder there’s a small window where the price is that low, and I think they’ve screwed the YQ. I looked at the cheapest fares to other US destinations and the YQ is always £400.
            US redemption fees have been £600 too £700 for the USA for a while.

      • Lady London says:

        in Y even Lon-Sea not impossible some parts of the year £465-485. Even seen £360. Lots of these do include BA flights ahem. For J I agree cash fares are more but £1100 or so defo not impossible and i believe less. I dont spend much time looking at J cash fares except on QR and occasionally SQ so I am less knowledgeable there.

    • Michael C says:

      I priced a GRU-LHR-GRU in Y, and the Avios + “fees” was certainly more than a BA Hotline ticket.
      Last couple of 241s have simply been Club Europe tickets.

      • Jonathan says:

        Hotline is not a fair comparison really though as not available to general public. Taxes, Fees & Surcharges are often very nearly the same as the cheapest economy fares but I don’t recall ever seeing them as less as that would involve a negative fare component.

        Obviously Avios tickets come with flexibility & luggage so have some additional value but I’d agree if you have flexibility to travel off-peak then they’re a fairly rubbish redemption in Y & J without a 241.

        • Charlieface says:

          Lufthansa went negative at one point. The whole thing is stupid, they’re using it to screw over travel agents, corporate clients and award tickets. It’s the main reason I feel airlines are out to get us.

  • Ron says:

    Is BA waiving all change fee? I changed two Avios bookings to the US next year, the agent only charging me the addition tax, never mentioned the change fee. I’ve clearly asked how much will be charged to my card, she told me the addition tax for two tickets £40ish (£20ish per ticket). My card not been charged yet, as it hasn’t been re-ticketed yet. I wonder how much will I actually be charged.

    • GT says:

      I wouldn’t necessarily believe what the agent tells you. Last year I made a change to a multi-carrier Avios redemption and was told £600 would be refunded. When it was eventually ticketed I got £50. The explanation being, the agent made a mistake.

      • Lady London says:

        I hope you pursued that one? does not sound likely. Plus if you proceed on something based on what the agent told you, I would have though they are responsible for honouring that.

        • GT says:

          I did pursue it for 3 months. Even to the point of demanding a transcript of the conversation. Official response was, it hadn’t been recorded.

          In the end I cancelled the flights for unconnected reasons.

          • Lady London says:

            I am sorry to hear that @GT. A few people on here seem to have reported this kind of thing where to things promised by agents turned out not to be fulfilled. Sounds like it’s almost worth pre-emptively recording any call and holding onto the recording until anything promised has been done.

          • Polly says:

            Yes l agree LL, worth having your own resorting of these calls. Would we have to advise them we were recording their conversation tho?

          • Lady London says:

            legally I think in UK only one party in a two-party telecon has to be aware it’s being recorded.

            If I’m requesting something I anticipate they should do, but might not, I regularly ask before the sticky bit ‘is this conversation being recorded” tgrn when they say Yes i say “Oh, good”. Kinda puts them on notice.

    • Andrew says:

      Yes it’s booking with confidence – no change fees

  • Pid says:

    If I have flown the outward journey on a return redemption ticket with a 2-4-1 and I then have to cancel the return journey, can I get a refund of the avios for the return jorney?

    • Anna says:

      How are you planning on getting home? (Or is it a “nested” trip?) Or are you saying you just want to use the 2 4 1 for a one way trip, which you can anyway?

      • Pid says:

        2 4 1 was booked back in Feb For 14 day return trip but considering booking an additional return flight on the middle Fri to aim off if the quarantine rules change mid trip. So if I no longer require the original return flight can I cancel it for a refund or perhaps change the date to a later date when I could tag on a single outward journey to it.

  • GT says:

    I have an Avios 2-4-1 booking which has been cancelled by BA. Can someone remind me how long I can leave it before rebooking alternative dates. Is it up to the date of the first flight or later ?

    I know this has been covered before, but I can’t remember what the answer was.

    • Polly says:

      We are leaving ours to closer to departure date to change it, but don’t know specifics to your question.

  • Aston100 says:

    Hello again.
    After finally getting Bendy and making use of that to procure some Sandy Bondies and obtaining some Crowney Pointies as a byproduct, I’m looking at Revolting now and wondering if it’s possible to pay the Yankies. I tried using the virtual debit card but this caused an error on the Yankie payment page, so I presume that’s a no.
    Could anyone advise if there is another way to use the Revolting app for this payment? perhaps some kind of transfer?

    By the way, did I do well with the code?!

    • Harry T says:

      Paying the purveyors of rapid Yankee delivery seems to work best when using a Revolut card beginning with 4 instead of 5, my good fellow/lady.

      • Aston100 says:

        Forsooth, the Revolting card doth begin with the number betwixt 3 and 5, per your instruction.

        The Yankees appeared to accept this but upon authorising the modest payment through the Revolting app, the Yankee website logged me out, and there is no trace of the payment at all.

        Most peculiar, hence the reason for my question.

        • Wally1976 says:

          I’ve been having this happen to me recently when using Chrome. I’ve switched to Microsoft Edge and its worked OK.

          • Aston100 says:

            Thanks! kept failing when using Chrome. Switched to Opera and it went through first time.
            Did a small payment, as I don’t know if this incurs any charges or interest or whatever.

            Thanks again.

    • Brighton Belle says:

      Do your own analysis is the preferred method and take the pain when the tears of woe start.

    • Anna says:

      Card starting 4 usually revolves fine – you can even save it so you don’t need to re-enter all the details. Very occasionally the Yanks have an IT blip and computer says no, but it’s usually all good if you wait a few hours then spin it again.

      • Aston100 says:

        Aha, I see this may well be of significant relevance to my reply to Harry T a moment ago.

    • Polly says:

      Excellent coding, and use of the olde English language!

  • KBuffett says:

    I have the old Curve Black Legacy. I haven’t been following the Curve for ages (since they had the failed AMEX relaunch).

    Would someone be able to tell me if I still have Curve Rewards available on my card?

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Yes, you should. Though I used my Black Legacy card last week on Boots and haven’t got it this time…

  • Anna says:

    The Millionaire’s Holiday Club on BBC2 is usually the kind of thing I love, but it’s just left me feeling utterly deprived and depressed! It’s quite autumnal today here in the north and I’m not relishing 6 months of cold and wet. It’s exactly 12 months today since we returned from our last “proper” holiday (i.e. one with nice weather). 😥

    • Polly says:

      We actually lit a fire sat and sun night , finally gave in..Too early to be feeling autumnal. Should be in France now, so feeling out of sorts.
      Had to do an Amex shop small at our local wine shop, so that felt good getting out £10 bottles down to £4. Using all the family cards at £10 a go. Hope no repercussions. Nice selection.

  • Martha says:

    Who are the Yanks please?

    • Doug M says:

      Unless you mean The Bronx Bombers it was probably code for American Express. The terms people don’t like to use are Amex, Curve, Revolut and NS&I. So think of those 4 when reading what looks random.