Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What is an Avios point worth?

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I am often asked for my thoughts on how to value an Avios point.  In our articles we use 1p as a ball-park figure, and it is the value I use myself, but the real world is more complicated.

For the value of the new readers who always join us in January, looking to plan travel for the year ahead, I want to run through my thinking again today.

What is an Avios worth TO YOU?

The value of an Avios point to you is based on numerous factors:

where you fly

what cabin you fly in

whether you normally use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher and (the one rarely considered)

what class and/or airline you would pay for if Avios flights were not available

You need to know how YOU value an Avios because it impacts on what you are willing to pay for them.

What is an Avios point worth?

We occasionally see offers which allow you, indirectly or directly, to pick up Avios for 0.75p to 1p each.  Should you jump in at these prices?  You can’t be sure unless you have valued your Avios for your personal circumstances.

You need to be sure that you are getting substantially more for an Avios than your cost price to make it worthwhile.  This is especially true because you are substituting something very liquid – cash – for something that is not very liquid at all.

The same goes for Avios-earning credit cards.  Once you’ve got your British Airways Premium Plus American Express ‘2 for 1’ voucher in the bag, you need to know whether 1.5 Avios per £1 is a better deal than a cashback credit card or, say, 2 Marriott Bonvoy points per £1 via the Marriott Bonvoy American Express.  If not, your British Airways Premium Plus Amex card can go back in the drawer.

Here are six different Avios scenarios – which is right for you?

Instead of answering the question of Avios value directly, I devised six scenarios for an Avios redemption.  As you can see, each puts a different value on an Avios point.

Before we start, remember that Avios points now have a ‘floor’ value.  The partnership with Nectar, launched in early 2021, lets you trade 250 Avios for 400 Nectar points, worth £2.  This means that your Avios are worth 0.8p each when used to shop at Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay etc.  Do not redeem your points for flights if you get less than 0.8p.

If you ever have the opportunity to acquire Avios for less than 0.8p, you will definitely come out ahead because you can always spend via Nectar.  Whether higher valuations make sense depends on how you spend them.

Here are some potential Avios redemption scenarios.  Which one is right for you?

What is an Avios point worth?

1. Andrew takes two long-haul holidays a year with his wife and two children, requiring four Club World tickets per trip.

Let’s assume these are 120,000 Avios per seat Club World redemptions (eg Dubai, Boston). One of the two holidays uses the 2 x British Airways American Express 2-4-1 vouchers which Andrew and his wife earn each year.

Let’s assume £533 of taxes per ticket – the curent figure to Dubai.

Andrew is financially well off.  He redeems on leisure routes (Middle East, Caribbean etc) where in a BA or other airline sale a Business Class cash ticket during the school holidays would cost around £1,499 return.  He can afford to pay cash if necessary.

Total Avios spent per year for two holidays = 720,000 for eight people across two trips (6 x 120k, adjusting for the 2-4-1’s).  This assumes that all the flights are at peak pricing periods.

Value received: £1,499 per flight if paying cash – £533 taxes on Avios tickets = £966 per seat x 8 tickets = £7,728

Value received per Avios = 1.07p

1.07p is a ‘real’ saving since Andrew would pay cash in a sale for Business Class seats if necessary.  There is intrinsic extra value from the ability to cancel the Avios seats if needed. However, the calculation ignores the miles and tier points that cash tickets would bring.

If one of these trips fell into an off-peak period, saving 20,000 Avios per person (80,000 Avios in total), then the value would increase to 1.20p.

The annual fee for the two British Airways Premium Plus credit cards is not factored into this analysis.

What is an Avios point worth?

2. Jez and Louise live in the South East and use their Avios to do European short breaks, flying Economy from Friday to Sunday. They do not spend enough to be able to generate a BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher, and do package holidays for their ‘main’ holidays.

Avios required for an Economy flight to Prague: 9,000 plus £35 taxes based on a peak weekend.

I have used the ‘mid point’ pricing because this is generally the best value of the various ‘cash and Avios’ combinations offered by BA.

British Airways cash price: £180 per person for a shoulder season ticket on a ‘hand baggage only’ fare, booked three months in advance.  However, Jez and Louise would use easyJet from Gatwick if Avios seats were not available, with a typical price (out Fri, back Sun) of £150.

Value received per Avios = 1.28p.

This is a ‘real’ saving compared with the easyJet price. There is extra value from the ability to cancel the Avios ticket.

If Jez and Louise travel on an off-peak weekend the cost of the trip would fall to 8,000 Avios per person which takes the value per Avios point up to 1.43p.  The value also goes up if they would take checked luggage, since Avios tickets allow one free suitcase per person.

What is an Avios point worth?

3. Glynn and Sarah live in Yorkshire and use their Avios to do European short breaks, flying Economy via Heathrow. They do not spend enough to be able to generate a BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher, and do package holidays for their ‘main’ holidays.

Avios required for an Economy flight to Prague from Manchester via Heathrow: 18,000 plus £70 taxes on a peak weekend

BA cash price:  Not comparable as they would fly Jet2 from East Midlands if they could not use Avios.  Typical cash price for a shoulder season weekend, booked three months in advance, is £170.

Value received per Avios = 0.55p

Glynn and Sarah would be crazy to transfer in Heathrow and add two hours to their travel time for such a poor return.  It would make more sense to redeem their Avios points for a hotel room in Prague and receive around 0.5p per point.

Even if Glynn and Sarah travel off-peak, it remains poor value.  At 16,000 Avios per person the value per Avios point only increases to 0.62p and in reality the direct Jet2 flight would be cheaper off-peak too.

What is an Avios worth?

4. David is single and happy to take an odd routing if necessary. He only flies Economy when using his own money but is happy to fly Business Class when using Avios. He would normally spend around £350 on a holiday flight to New York in Spring.  He lives in the South East.

David flies Iberia in Business Class from Madrid to New York for 68,000 Avios + £160 in tax return, based on an off-peak date (plus 15,000 Avios + £35 for a British Airways Economy flight to Madrid from Heathrow to position).  His total cost is 83,000 Avios plus £195.

Value received per Avios (based on £350 cash for a direct flight): Not clear   

David has spent £155 less in money than the cost of an Economy cash ticket, and gets to fly in Business Class instead, but obviously using 83,000 Avios to save £155 is not smart. 

The real value, of course, is that he is flying Business Class and not Economy but he would never pay for Business Class.  How should he judge the value?  

He knows that he giving up around £500 of free hotels rooms by choosing to use his 83,000 Avios for the flight instead of for a hotel booking in New York, so presumably he must value the upgrade at least this highly.

What is an Avios point worth?

5. Alex and Nicky earn enough Avios per year for one long-haul redemption to California in Club World, using their BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher. They would be willing to pay £1,750 each for a cash ticket in a BA sale or flying BA ex-Europe. Taxes will be £660 per person.

This is potentially the most likely scenario for a Head for Points reader without children.  You use using one 2-4-1 voucher per year for one major redemption for a couple.

Alex and Nicky spend 150,000 Avios (with the BA American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher) and pay £1,320 of taxes. This assumes they travel in a peak period.  The cash alternative would have been £3,500 for two.

Value received per Avios: 1.45p

This is a ‘real’ saving because they would pay cash otherwise. They also gain cancellation flexibility which a cash ticket would not have, although they lose out on the Avios and tier points earned on a cash ticket.

The value increases to 1.74p if they travel to California in an off-peak period for 125,000 Avios.

The annual fee for the British Airways Premium Plus credit card is not factored into this analysis.

What is an Avios point worth?

6. Charles and Vicky also do one long-haul redemption each year to California in Club World. They earn fewer Avios than Alex and Nicky, so prefer to ‘Upgrade Using Avios’ a World Traveller Plus ticket to Club World.  They expect to pay £900 in a BA sale for their WTP ticket and would pay up to £1,750 for Club World.

The ‘miles for upgrade’ cost of this ticket would be 50,000 Avios per person during a peak period. This saves them £850 per person on the cost of the Club World ticket.

Value received per Avios: 1.7p

This is a ‘real’ saving because they would pay for Club World if necessary.

If Charles and Vicky travel off-peak, the value per Avios point DROPS to 1.42p.  This is because the cost of upgrading World Traveller Plus to Club World is higher – at 60,000 Avios – during off-peak periods.  Crazy but true.

What is an avios worth?

What about First Class?

You will notice that none of these people flies First. That is because very few of us would pay cash for First, even if we would pay cash for Business Class. The additional Avios you spend for First over Club World give you intrinsic satisfaction and perceived value, but do not translate to a hard cash saving.

(In the last example, if Charles and Vicky would never pay £1,750 for Club World but would pay £900 for World Traveller Plus, then the 1.7p valuation per point is NOT ‘real’ because they would never have spent the extra money for business class in the first place.)

If you earn your Avios for free by flying, the value you get per point is not a concern. However, let’s assume you earn your miles via an Amex credit card at a net cost of (say) 0.5p per Avios.  There is a cost to these ‘free’ Avios because you could earn a different reward from other credit cards if you wished.

In this case, you need to understand that the extra 50,000 Avios for First over Club World to California is actually costing you £250 (50,000 x 0.5p) in lost rewards from other cards.

Whether that is good value is down to you – but if you’ve paid for the Avios, you need to understand the choice you make.

What about long-haul economy redemptions?

You will notice that none of these people flies British Airways long-haul economy.  This is generally a poor use of Avios points because of BA’s taxes and charges.

However, the guaranteed availability of four Avios seats per flight at peak periods may lead to times when economy redemptions do offer value.

As an example, an off-peak redemption to San Francisco in World Traveller / Economy is 32,500 Avios plus £350.  Any cash price of over £600 would see you getting 0.75p+ per Avios of value, although this would be rare at off-peak periods.

How should you value your Avios?

How YOU value an Avios is totally dependent on how you use them.

As I have shown above, there are good deals to be had in the right circumstances.  It is, easily, possible to get over 1p of value per Avios point.

British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 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 and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 (60)

  • John says:

    1 avios is worth 0.6p. Which means that when I redeem at 1.2p (based on what I would actually pay) I can say that I have doubled my money or better.

  • Mike says:

    What is the set value of a AVIOS is to be used in divorce settlements and where is this listed ?

    • Genghis says:

      Not sure this is documented anywhere. I guess it also depends on who has the avios and who wants them. If it was me and my wife wanted my points, I’d be arguing, “21.1. Avios points, and all rights of title to and property in such Avios points issued at any time, remain with AGL at all times and never pass to the Member.”

      • MattB says:

        I’m sure Rob posted about a divorce settlement involving a 7 figure balance and the one party had to buy half the amount for the other party at 1.6p!!

      • Alex Sm says:

        Well, it is also written on a 50-pound note that it remains a property of the Bank of England (or similar), but a court would unlikely accept this argument in a divorce settlement

        • Genghis says:

          Not “promise to pay the bearer”? Slightly different. I’ve no Salmons around to check!

        • QFFlyer says:

          The note might do (although I don’t think it does say that exactly), but the value of the note does not – the banknote is a promissory note (i.e. a promise to pay the bearer the value of said note).

  • Rob S says:

    Wow, I wish the business class seats on the route I fly (MAN-LHR-LAS) were only £1,500; they’re usually nearer £5,000. I usually use 60,000 Avios to upgrade from WTP to save around £3,000 so I have always thought of them as having a pretty high value (~5p!).

    Your point about intrinsic value is a great one one though as I’d actually always hop to Dublin and go ex-eu on cash for a net cost of nearer £3,000 but a whole bunch of extra TPs..

  • Steve R says:

    We are from Yorkshire & use RFS during the summer school holidays. Also includes the suitcases. Absolute slam dunk

    Driving to LHR is a pain, but also an excuse to see family

    • Anna says:

      It was fantastic when BA were briefly flying direct from MAN. One year we got 4 RFS seats to NCE on Monaco GP weekend when cash rates were over £400 pp!

  • Mikeact says:

    Interesting to just see a Google add pop up on here for John Lewis. The new Avios partner maybe ?

    • memesweeper says:

      John Lewis only allow cashout in a certain place in the form of Avios. You might be on to something…

    • QFFlyer says:

      Probably not linked, it’ll be based on your cookies. I regularly get ads for Qantas, Westpac and Amex Australia, don’t think any of those will be partnering with Avios any time soon, sadly.

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    “In this case, you need to understand that the extra 50,000 Avios for First over Club World to California is actually costing you £250 (50,000 x 0.5p) in lost rewards from other cards.Whether that is good value is down to you – but if you’ve paid for the Avios, you need to understand the choice you make.”
    I think most people would recognise that £250 to upgrade from Club to First is a no brainer! Compare to the normal cash cost of an F vs a J seat!!

    • C says:

      I can see many who would rather have £250 in their pocket.

      • Rob says:

        Certainly not worth £250 to upgrade, say, an overnight flight from the US to London when you will be awake for 90 minutes max if you’re lucky.

        • QFFlyer says:

          I booked F on an overnight SIN-SYD on BA15, and it worked out exactly as you’ve described! I blame the Concorde Bar; my connection to MEL the next morning seemed much longer and painful than before…

      • Russ says:

        Generally siding with Nigel on this, with a small caveat. I’d probably upgrade to F when there’s been an unscheduled equipment swap and I found myself faced with a most disliked business product. If the upgrade also made me eligible for add-ons such as hotel transfers, the best lounges or even hitting a very attractive Amex offer, then frankly £250 sounds rather a bargain. But I wouldn’t do it as a matter of routine.

    • J says:

      I ask this question a lot to friends who travel long haul for work – often a mix of economy or business depending on the client budget. If they were personally paying the upgrade cost, how much would they be willing to pay? The answers tend to be in the £50-150 range.

      • J says:

        To clarify this is what they say they would pay to upgrade from economy to business.

      • Rob says:

        But that just shows that you are dealing with the uneducated, because if the upgrade triggered business class miles (depends on airline and when you upgrade) then you’d get most of that back purely from the extra miles earned.

        A 5,000 mile flight at 200% mileage earns 10,000 miles vs often 25% mileage (1,250 miles) in discount economy. If you got tier points too it would kick you down the line towards lounge access etc on future flights.

        Emirates was charging £600 one way on Sunday back to London.

        It’s like saying you can’t afford to hire a cleaner. If hiring a cleaner frees up x hours per week to allow you to earn more money in other ways, you should be doing it. This is separate to the ‘how much would pay for more leisure time’ argument.

        • J says:

          Oh absolutely, and that is then my follow up rant to their answer! But it is an indication as to how people (who, despite your readership growth, are largely still uneducated) value the on board experience upgrade. I can’t imagine Nigel’s ‘most people’ comment is anywhere near true.

          Haha the cleaner example is another frequent frustrating conversation! I know plenty of smart, busy, successful people who stubbonly refuse to spend money on a cleaner. Again, I would be surprised if the majority of those for whom it made logical sense actually acted in their best interest.

          • sayling says:

            Don’t forget there are some people that can’t work more hours to get more money, so for them the cost of a cleaner can’t (easily) be offset by the non-existent opportunity to earn income…

          • Brian says:

            It takes me half an hour to do the cleaning

        • cinereus says:

          That’s all predicated on putting a decent value on biz miles earned.

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    Shouldn’t there be a YQ component to the calculation in scenario 6?

    • Rob says:

      I was assuming the upgrade was done at the time of booking, so no, because it would be factored into the original ticket price.

  • Alway_in_the_air says:

    I would love for someone to value the following!

    In the 50% October sale last year I booked 4 seats in F (3 adults and 1 child) from LHR-GRU return using one 2-4-1 and two GUF2 vouchers for a total cost of 246,151 AVIOS and 2,346GBP Taxes.

    Cost for F at the time was circa 17,500 GBP, since booking there has been an airline change and we have been downgraded to J.

    Assuming I accept the proposed downgrade and take the flight I understand I should be entitled to a cash compensation for 75% of the cash value of the ticket (at the time of purchase) less some non-applicable costs (please correct me here if i’m wrong), or i can request 75% Avios compensation and 75% of the taxes in cash?

    So a couple of questions;

    1) Can I get cash compensation to the value of 75% of the cash price of the tickets?
    2) What is the per avios value? if i take a 75% avios compensation option?

    I’m pretty happy that I got a really good deal either way, but would love to put a figure on the value of the avios I used!

    • Sean says:

      cash price of ticket at time of booking is irrelevant – formula is based on what you paid which was avios. You will however have to fight for 75% of avios used and 75% of YQ. If go to MCOL suggest 1.6p per avios is the value to claim.

      • Alway_in_the_air says:

        Thanks for the reply, it prompted me to do a bit of my own research!! I see MCOL calculate the 1.6p/avios based the cost to purchase avios from the website, but this doesn’t account for the 2-4-1 voucher or the two GUF2 vouchers.

        Do you think it would it be fair to value the 2-4-1 voucher at the same value as the redemption ticket? ie, one redemption ticket would be 150k return so the 2-4-1 should be valued at the same? so value should be;

        150,000 (avios) x 0.75 (75% compensation) x 0.016 (1.6p per avios) = £1800

        And value a GUF2 voucher at the number of avios required to upgrade a single person from the purchased class to their upgraded class multiplied by two? ie. if the fare difference was 30k avios between business and first, then the value of a GUF2 voucher would be 108k avios and then the compensation would be;

        108,000 (avios) x 0.75 (75% compensation) x 0.016 (1.6p per avios) = £1296

        Any thoughts would be really appreciated!

        • Lady London says:

          Personally I would love you to get (75%*£17,500)*4 seats=£52,500 compensation total, as compensation for your downgrade. Show the workings and your proof that £17,500 was the cash selling price on the day of purchase.

          In your submission to MCOL which you will undoubtedly have to make, I strongly suggest you open with this. It will ratchet expectations upwards.

          You are entitled to full compensation for each seat regardless of how it was paid.

          I suggest you claim on the basis of full avios cost for each seat normally charged by BA as this would be your replacement cost, plus full cash cost for taxes, *75%. MCOL can only give you cash so convert the 100% avios portion at 1.6p based on BA’s own selling price. This would result in a cash sum I’d be prepared to accept.

          However it’s quite possible MCOL will only return you the avios amount at 50% avios rate (ie 75% of that) as that’s what you paid. Would I be happy accepting that? possibly not. In which case I’d consider using my EC261 option now, to ask BA to reroute me on an airline that can seat me in First, instead.

          What is certain is that you are entitled to compensation for each of the 4 seats based on the compensation formula for the first seat. BA apparently used to deliberately select people on 2-4-1’s to downgrade hoping to pay only one seat compensation as the second seat had been free. Reportedly,
          a few MCOL court judgments learned BA they had to pay compensation for each seat, at the rate of the first seat.

          Unfortunately I’m not sure if the 50% avios is what BA can get away with compensating you on the basis of – I think it should be the 100% rate as that’s what it would cost you to replace the experience in First but court might not agree. This one I would MCOL rather than CEDR as I think the letter of the law may be more in your favour than the occasionally perverse decision of an arbitrator such as CEDR.

          Don’t forget once you’ve flown the flight you will still have to go through the motions of asking BA for your compensation and they will have to go through their regular motions of refusing, before you MCOL.

          Please post what you decide and how it turns out. I had retired from commenting, but your EC261 example was just so juicy I’ve had to come out of retirement to comment :-).

          Good luck.

          • Lady London says:

            PS And dont forget to include statutory interest at 8% rate pro rata into your claim plus you also request the amount of MCOL filing fees back, your claim will be decent so the fee will be higher than some but still well worth it.

          • H says:

            Interesting. I have been considering whether to go to MCOL for my LHR-SIN flights in F. This happened a while back in July 2019 on the hottest day of the year then. We had four Avios seats in F on two separate flights (two seats on each flight) to SIN that were due to leave on the same evening (1.5 hours apart). My other half flew with one daughter and I flew with the other daughter. All four of us checked in together.

            Unfortunately, my flight was delayed and then cancelled at midnight due to “the food being too hot”, after my husband’s flight had departed. His flight was also delayed initially. There was no duty of care towards us – we had to look for our own accommodation at 2am when we exited the terminal. It was chaotic at the terminal with no clear information or guidance.

            As our flights were cancelled and not knowing when we could fly out, we decided to go home instead (without our luggage). We managed to get a flight out the following day. We arrived in SIN a day later than expected, which meant we couldn’t celebrate our anniversary in SIN as planned. To make matters worse, our luggage didn’t arrive with us, and the contents belonged to the four of us. When they did arrive three days after they were checked in, the bags were damaged. BA refused to compensate us for anything apart for the taxi cost home the night the flight was cancelled. I did receive a prepaid card of £150 at SIN for the missing luggage.

            I would be interested to hear if anyone thinks MCOL is a viable option. Thank you 🙂

          • Alway_in_the_air says:

            Thanks for your long and detailed reply, i will certainly give it a try! The only issue i foresee is that I do not have evidence of the cost of tickets in F on the day of booking and BA have subsequently removed F seats due to aircraft change! Could I claim the full amount and then ask BA to prove the cost from their records?

          • Lady London says:

            Alwaysintheair your compo is always going to be based on avios pricing of the route concerned.

            The role in your case of opening by a float of 75% of the cash cost is simply a technical negotiating tactic called “anchoring” to soften them up. Since you now clarify you don’t have the actual evidence such as a screenshot, there is no point and might undermine you.

            You will have to work out the base cost in avios for your claim, just as you had to anyway, without being able to soften them up with £52,500 upfront. Even though your claim would never have been awarded on the basis of cash seat price. A few claims might be baseable on cash cost but it would require very particular circumstances not applying to your claim. Your claim, that you expect to be paid, is based on avios.

            So you either do all 4 seats based on the first full avios seat or you do the 241 (2 seats full claim each) then 2 seats you used the GUF2’s which presumably might have a higher cash component?

            Run the numbers and the structure to see what seems fair to you. Bearing in mind that 75% compo has always been awarded against total cost of the first class seat abd not just on whatever uplift was necessary to move it to First Class.

            Over and out.

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