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How overcharges you on Avios redemptions from Brazil

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This is the third part of our series on how British Airways is mispricing tickets.

We have already looked at how inactive Avios members are offered lower prices on redemptions and how the BA app changes flight pricing depending on what class you originally looked at.

Today I want to look to Avios redemption pricing from Brazil.

First, a quick reminder about Hong Kong

It is fairly well known that there are no surcharges on Avios tickets from Hong Kong, when the trip starts in Hong Kong. This is why, if you are booking an Avios flight to Hong Kong without a BA American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher, you should book it as 2 x one-way flights.

The taxes and charges on a Club World redemption to Hong Kong are, for a return flight, £591.

This compares to £393 for a one-way flight to Hong Kong and a nominal £33 for a one-way flight from Hong Kong. The total is £426 and you save £165 per person.

The British Airways website handles such bookings correctly. does not handle Brazil bookings correctly

Brazil has similar rules banning charges. does NOT handle these correctly.

When you try to book a one-way redemption from Sao Paulo, you see this:

This is the correct pricing for a one-way Club World flight to London.

Click through to payment, however, and it adjusts to this:

….. and this is the price you must pay to complete your booking.

Luckily, there is a fix available

It’s possible that you don’t like the idea of paying an extra £188 to British Airways unnecessarily – and indeed legally questionable given Brazilian legislation.

(As I said in my article last week, however, when dealing with BA it is always best to follow the maxim of “never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence”.)

There is an easy way to pay just £7 – complete your booking on

To do this, you will need to open an Aer Lingus AerClub or Vueling Club account, for free, to allow you to log in to the website. From there, you can use ‘Combine My Avios’ to pull your Avios across from British Airways Executive Club. This article explains how ‘Combine My Avios’ works.

Try to book the identical flight from Sao Paulo on and this is what you get – the expected £7 of taxes and charges:

BA / Avios can price it correctly when they want.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios 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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

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

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) 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 (26)

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

  • Marcin says:

    The fix also works if you book from Iberia! (or at least used to in early 2020). You pay zero in cash. So if you have both accounts, you then transfer right amount of Avios and voila!

    I booked such way redemption flight from GIG to LHR in January 2020.

    You IB Plus card is automatically added in to the booking, but you can easily swap it to BA on the phone to get all the Executive Club benefits (like book seat in advance)

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      Aren’t partner bookings on IB non refundable? If so does this include BA?

      • marcw says:

        IB Grupo and BA Avios bookings are changeable and refundable. Everything else, are non-refundable/changeable.

  • Yorkieflyer says:

    I think I remember an argument that the you need to buy the ticket in Brazil for the zero surcharge to be legally enforced

    • aDifferentSimon says:

      I wonder if a brazil vpn would work then?

      • mzb says:

        If you’re wondering whether the correct taxes are applied if you purchase from Brazil then my experience is no. I used to be based in Sao Paulo and I would redeem very often on the GRU-LHR route. I would call up to get the taxes appropriately calculated (straight redemptions as well as UUA)

  • Paul Pogba says:

    Do these errors suggest that they’re working on a major revamp of (Avios) pricing in the background that’s being inadvertently implemented?

    • lammy52 says:

      Maybe not we were charged over £300 for flight from Rio to Heathrow in 2019. Queried the amount with CS and was reduced to the correct amount.

  • marcw says:

    They also overcharge on all IB LH Avios redemptions. And on all AA flights to/from Europe.

  • Scanditraveller says:

    I have been booking one-way tickets from Brazil to the UK for at least 3-4 years now, and this has certainly been going on in this entire period. BA is definitely aware of the issue, as I (and probably many others) have told them multiple times over the phone. So it is clearly intentional.

    To book these tickets, I usually just call BA and get it done. I have never been charged the £15 phone booking surcharge since there is a mistake in the system.

    I would really not recommend booking via Iberia. If anything goes wrong, you will have to deal with Iberia customer service…

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

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