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How ba.com 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.

ba.com does not handle Brazil bookings correctly

Brazil has similar rules banning charges. ba.com 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 avios.com.

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 avios.com 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 avios.com and this is what you get – the expected £7 of taxes and charges:

BA / Avios can price it correctly when they want.


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 (26)

  • Michael C says:

    Grr…had no idea about the fix!! Still, only current booking (for N Year…we’ll see…) is on the 50% Avios so shouldn’t complain, but will store this article neatly away – cheers, Rob!

  • BeinaKL says:

    How do you book it as two one way flights whilst using a 241 voucher? Thanks

  • BrianKL says:

    Sorry ignore that. Misread

  • Marcelo C says:

    Great article! Tks a lot for sharing!

  • John says:

    Hong Kong no longer caps fuel surcharges at $0 and BA doesn’t call it a fuel surcharge anyway. Is there another reason BA doesn’t add on any extra charges ex HKG?

    Anyway doubt the sycophants in charge of HK will allow UK origin tourists until 2022

    • Memesweeper says:

      In the case of HK I just think BA haven’t got round to fixing the pricing up yet.

  • Ryan Gill says:

    Very useful. Mrs is Brazilian. When incompetence keeps benefiting BA, I’ll assume they know what they are doing. How often do you get more change than expected when making a purchase? Usually it’s less… if a “mistake” is made.

  • AJA says:

    Can you just book on BA and then phone up to get a refund of the overpayment? If the correct fee is only £7.20 (per Avios.com) then surely BA is obliged to refund you? Also could you use the BA Best Price Guarantee to get a refund?

    • Rob says:

      BA can add whatever surcharges it wants – not sure how easily you could take them to court in the UK to argue they are breaching Brazilian law. AA flights have no surcharges but BA still adds a few hundred to TATL redemptions on Avios.

  • Mike says:

    Rob – have you raised this issue to BA – I would be interested to see their response

    • Doug says:

      Yes sure how about we ask amex if we can really pay with curve, or hsbc if they are happy with the same scenario!?

      • The real John says:

        It’s the opposite situation here as BA is the party doing something dodgy / wrong.

        • Doug says:

          I think they can charge this, there has been a change in the regulation, but it is likely they would close the loophole instead of making it cheaper

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