Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How ba.com overcharges you by 24% if you book Avios ‘Experiences’

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Yesterday we ran an article looking at whether it was worth using your Avios for ‘Experiences’ redemptions.

My view was that it wasn’t, because you get around 0.5p per Avios compared to 0.8p if you turn them into Nectar points. However, Nectar isn’t an option if you are outside the UK so some people may still be looking at this.

A reader called Neo left a note in the comments yesterday to say, in as many words, ‘Did you know that British Airways rips you off if you book ‘Experiences’ at ba.com?‘.

I didn’t know this. But the reader was right.

Using Avios for experiences

How ba.com rips you off if you are booking ‘Experiences’

You can book IDENTICAL experiences via the avios.com platform. They come from the same supplier and the events are even listed in the same order.

Let’s take a look at the top two events which come up for London on 13th July.

Via ba.com:

Via avios.com:

You are asked for 24% more Avios if you book via ba.com vs avios.com.

I also checked the cost if you book via iberia.com. It was 96,900 Avios, the same as ba.com and also 24% more expensive than using avios.com.

Here’s the second event that comes up. Via ba.com:

Via avios.com:

Yet again, you pay 24% more to book via ba.com.

Here is the O2 Arena roof walk which we discussed yesterday. Via ba.com, if you remember, it was 6,300 Avios. Via avios.com:

….. you only need 5,100 Avios. Again, you pay 24% more via ba.com.

What is the pence per Avios via avios.com?

The O2 Arena roof walk was £32 for cash. This means:

  • via ba.com, you are getting 0.51p per Avios.
  • via avios.com, you are getting 0.63p per Avios

0.63p still isn’t fantastic, but it is a lot better than 0.51p.

How do you get your Avios into avios.com?

It is simple enough to move your Avios into avios.com in order to get your saving.

You need to go open a free Vueling Club or Aer Lingus AerClub account. This will have a 3081xxxxxxxxxxxx account number.

Using these details, you can log in at avios.com. Use the ‘Combine My Avios’ functionality to move Avios back and forth between British Airways Executive Club and avios.com.

You can move your points back and forth as often as you like. Transfers are free and instantaneous.

The next quesion is whether wine, car hire and hotels are also better value via avios.com. This is an article for another day.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also 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

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 (20)

  • 1ATL says:

    The consistency of being so significantly cheaper at Avios.com suggests to me it’s a bug with their pricing that will get fixed pretty quickly now that light has been shed on the matter.

    • Jim Lovejoy says:

      By raising the Avios.com prices?

      • ADS says:

        I’d put money on the Avios.com prices going up on Monday !

        I wonder if it’s an exchange rate anomaly

        “The Crown” private tour is currently showing as 78,250 compared to Rob’s screenshot of 78,150

      • 1ATL says:

        yes

  • Cwyfan says:

    I understood that if you transfer avios between these sites it extended their expiry date. Is that still the case now it is not to avios.com?

    • JAXBA says:

      No, Combine my Avios between BA/IB/Avios.com (now Avios.com for EI/VY) does not extend expiry, or at least it is not intended to/shouldn’t be relied on.
      .
      IB have even been known to cancel all Avios due to expire, plus any recently combined in, AND any combined in after that if there is no actual other activity.
      .
      Don’t risk simply shuffling Avios between accounts!

    • Peter K says:

      I don’t think that has ever counted as activity to stop expiry.
      Moving Amex/hotel points to BA/Iberia does however. To stop both expiring, you’d need to transfer into both.

    • John says:

      Avios don’t expire. The accounts expire after 3 years of no activity. Combining avios does not count as activity. When an account expires all avios are zeroed… although the account remains open (so that any further avios combined in can be zeroed too)

    • Rob says:

      No, doesn’t impact expiry dates.

  • Martin says:

    Will it also mean my minus balance at iberia will expire as well..

    • Alex Sm says:

      I very much hope so! This should have happened this summer from that infamous 2018 Iberia sale but I stupidly got 300 Avios in some sort of promotion and this restarted the clock, so it will now expire only next year…

  • cinereus says:

    Is there really no way for non-UK people to get a friend to set up a Nectar card for them so they can spend on ebay?

    • Rob says:

      Depends how eBay restricts you, given that only eBay.co.uk accepts them. Are you allowed to give a non-UK mailing address if using vouchers, for example?

      • David says:

        That’s absolutely fine. Using an ebay UK account (for example) you can even sell goods for dispatch from other countries. I’ve sometimes had listings running simultaneously for that.
        Also plenty of people buy things for delivery to different addresses in different countries.

        And you can have an ebay UK account with a non-UK registered address as the main address, if you want. Although I’ve not tried that with nectar linkage.

        The problem is that Nectar does require a UK residential address.

        • John says:

          Unless you want a card posted to you the nectar address is not used for anything. In the past you may have received sainsburys vouchers in the post but if you don’t live in the UK who cares

  • DWB1873 says:

    If you’ve got 2 sites with one price and 1 lower, isn’t the headline more avios.com being 25% cheaper, rather than any rip offs going on?

  • Journeying John says:

    This is a surprise?
    Whether it’s seat reservation charges in business, short haul catering or the basic service, BA systemically overcharge customers / fail to deliver on their marketing in virtually every aspect of a customer journey. It may be cockup rather than conspiracy but odd that the errors ALWAYS favour the corporation financially!

  • Tony says:

    You can book the Crown London and Windsor tour for cash on Viator for £525 for a group of up to 6. How does that compare with the BAEC and Avios prices?

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.