Good tax savings on long-haul Avios 241 redemptions if you start in Dublin
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As we covered recently, the taxes and charges added to many premium cabin Avios redemptions have shot up in recent weeks. Given that BA is still running a sub-standard service in Club World due to lack of crew (meals are still served in one go on one tray with small portions, for example) it’s not ideal.
Interestingly, the new higher taxes and charges (eg £842 return to New York in Club World) do not seem to apply if you start your trip in Dublin.
If you fancy a trip to Ireland on the way, there are good savings to be made. Remember that new-style British Airways American Express Premium Plus vouchers can start outside the UK, so Dublin to London to New York is acceptable.
Here are a couple of examples WITHOUT using a 241 voucher. This is London to New York on a peak date:
You pay 120,000 Avios and £842 of taxes. In reality the taxes number moves by a couple of pounds when you continue to payment, but its a nominal difference.
Let’s look at the same flight but with connections to / from Dublin:
There are two options here of interest:
- For those who are Avios rich and cash poor, you are offered the chance to use 152,500 Avios and pay £288 of taxes and charges. This is attractive – you are saving £554 but spending an extra 32,500 Avios. Of course, you need to get to Dublin to start your trip which won’t be free.
- The directly comparable option is 139,000 Avios plus £576. I say ‘directly comparable’ because this is what you would expect to pay, eg 120,000 Avios for the long-haul flight and 19,000 Avios for the connection. Here, you are saving £266 by using an extra 19,000 Avios – but you also need to get to Dublin.
What happens if you add a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher?
Let’s look at what happens when you use a new-style 2-4-1 companion voucher. The answer is – ‘something weird’.
For two people, you are offered the following pricing with no alternatives:
Something is wrong here – but it’s wrong in your favour.
The first screenshot makes sense. You are paying 120,000 Avios for two people (due to the 2-4-1 voucher) with double the usual level of taxes, so £1,684 for two.
However, the second screenshot makes no sense. You are paying 139,500 Avios for two people (due to the 2-4-1 voucher) but just £576 of taxes, ie 2 x £288. However, if you look at the screenshot above from Dublin, £288 is the level of taxes when you use 152,500 Avios.
How and why it prices like this doesn’t really matter though.
What DOES matter is that you can save £1,108 on this trip in return for spending an extra 19,000 Avios and flying to Dublin to start.
Can you avoid starting in Dublin?
No. Your entire ticket will be cancelled if you fail to show up in Dublin for the first leg.
However, if you are travelling with just hand baggage, you could hop out in London on the way back and miss your final flight.
The impact on other routes isn’t always as large as this especially if you are not flying to North America, but it is definitely worth pricing up your options out of Dublin – and indeed other starting points such as Amsterdam to see what is available.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £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.
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
30,000 points and unbeatable travel 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.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) 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.