Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

RFS comes to Club World! Good news for most 2-4-1 holders, ‘neutral to bad’ for others (Part 1)

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So, this is interesting.

Alongside the extension of American Express 2-4-1 companion vouchers to Aer Lingus and Iberia (clearly great news) comes another change.

British Airways has rolled out fixed price ‘Reward Flight Saver’ Avios redemptions to all long haul routes this morning, and in all classes except First.

Until today, Reward Flight Saver was only available on around half of the long haul routes and only in Economy.

British Airways reward flight saver avios

Surely it is great news to have Reward Flight Saver on long haul flights?

Not necessarily.

On short haul, Reward Flight Saver is usually worthwhile, although it became less valuable a few years ago when British Airways removed its dubious ‘surcharges’ from short haul flights.

Reward Flight Saver has been available on selected long haul routes – in Economy only – since 2018.

It often makes you worse off.

Reward Flight Saver in long haul Economy has always been a bit of a swizz

Don’t believe me? Take a look.

Here is the pricing for an Economy Avios redemption to New York, which has had Reward Flight Saver pricing down the back for four years.

Long haul economy Avios pricing with Reward Flight Saver:

Long haul economy Avios pricing without Reward Flight Saver:

You get a better deal WITHOUT Reward Flight Saver. You thought you were getting a good deal, but in fact those people who didn’t qualify for Reward Flight Saver (ie lived in certain countries, or in the UK had not earned an Avios in 12 months) were getting a better deal than you.

It couldn’t be clearer:

  • the ‘Reward Flight Saver’ flight has an option of 26,000 Avios + £290 and 13,000 Avios + £400
  • the NON-‘Reward Flight Saver’ flight has an option of 26,000 Avios + £246 and 13,000 Avios + £346!

If you booked a ‘Reward Flight Saver’ flight in long haul Economy in recent years, the ‘saver’ certainly wasn’t you. You were overpaying compared to someone who couldn’t book RFS.

Should I be happy that Reward Flight Saver is now available in World Traveller Plus and Club World on long haul?

It is good news if you are using an American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher. Anything which means you pay more Avios but less cash is good news when you have a way of discounting the Avios element by 50%.

There is no real change if you not using an American Express 2-4-1 voucher. This is despite BA’s press release stating that:

  • “Offering more choice than ever, this is an exciting development for our Executive Club programme and great news for our Members.”

The changes also have a negative PR consequences for Avios and BA. I’ll come back to this later.

Click here for Part 2 of this article to see long haul Reward Flight Saver pricing in action. If you think it is good news for everyone, you’re wrong.

We want to consolidate comments under Part 2 so commenting on this article is blocked – sorry for any inconvenience.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 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.

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 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

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus 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 (4)

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

  • Simon says:

    How do you choose not to use Reward Flight Saver? I’ve used them frequently on short haul – I didn’t realise you could choose to do RFS or regular pricing.

    • Rob says:

      You can’t choose. If you’ve earned an Avios in the last 12 months then you’re stuck with it. Stop earning and in 12 months the old options reappear.

  • Ruth Findlay says:

    What difference would this make to a 241 booking I’m about to make EDI-LHR-TYO rtn? I need more avios but pay fewer taxes?

    • Rob says:

      If its a new style 241 then you have the choice of using more Avios and paying less tax, but it’s a choice.

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

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