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First Class Avios redemptions are now cheaper than mixed First / Club flights!

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One of the oddities about the Avios changes last week, which opened up Reward Flight Saver to Club World and World Traveller Plus, is that First Class redemptions were excluded.

There is no real logic behind this, and it has led to some strange outcomes.

It is now cheaper to book a First / First redemption than a First / Club or Club / First redemption!

First Class Avios redemptions are now cheaper than mixed First / Club flights!

Here is an example on the New York route.

First Class in both directions:

As there is no RFS, you pay 160,000 Avios + £853 return in taxes and charges. You have options to use fewer Avios and more cash but these are unattractive.

First Class outbound, Club World inbound:

Take a look at what happens if you return in Club World instead of First:

You now require 170,000 Avios + £853. You require an extra 10,000 Avios for swapping your First Class seat for Club Suite!

It is worth noting that it doesn’t matter which leg is in First Class. Whether you do First out and Club back, or Club out and First back, you still see 170,000 Avios + £853.

I won’t try to explain exactly why this happens, but it is based on the pricing option that BA uses for the Club Suite leg.

For comparison, a Club / Club flight would cost 180,000 Avios + £350 under the new Reward Flight Saver structure, or 120,000 Avios + £850 if you choose the nearest alternative option.

First is now better value than it was

Let’s forget about mixing and matching First and Club for now, which we’ve decided you shouldn’t do if First / First is an option because the latter is cheaper.

Looking at New York, if you do First / First then you pay 160,000 Avios + £852 on the dates I chose.

If you do Business / Business, you can pay 120,000 Avios + £850 or 180,000 Avios + £350.

Arguably, First Class redemptions are now better value than they were. Comparing First / First to Business / Business for my example dates to New York:

  • flying First Class both ways only requires 40,000 more Avios in total (20,000 each way) if you choose the £850 taxes and charges option, or
  • flying First Class both ways only requires £498 of additional cash – and 20,000 FEWER Avios – than choosing the new headline Reward Flight Saver price for Club Suite

It’s all very odd and could easily have been avoided if RFS had been extended to First Class. This has also led to issues with GUF (Gold Upgrade Voucher) redemptions as I will cover later in the week.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 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.

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

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.

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

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