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!
To learn more about using Avios points for BA First Class tickets, read our full guide here.
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.
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.