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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!

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

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.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2024)

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £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 £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

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

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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

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 an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 (111)

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

  • luca says:

    The whole redemption system has become one massive f***** mess. Different UX when it feels like it, inconsistent pricing across regions. Years of under-investment in this area.

    • babyg says:

      the problem with the mess is nothing has improved.. so you just looking at ways of replicating November pricing really…

  • Doolaree Erkadoo says:

    Please help me to use my eVoucher to book for Cyprus, Larnaca Airport

    • Rob says:

      Evouchers can now be used online, no need to call. Just search for flights on ba.com and, during the payment process, add the e-voucher number to the box marked ‘Voucher’.

    • Jonathan says:

      You can’t use an eVoucher in conjunction with an Avios booking of any kind, so you can’t use them on a award booking, and you can’t apply an eVoucher then use Part Pay with Avios, if you already select Part Pay with Avios then select the amount one of the options to lower the cash fare, this will disable the ability to use an eVoucher

  • SharonC says:

    No idea what routes people are seeing all this First class availability on. Been looking for some seats for ages to use up my last “old style” voucher and can’t find anything!

    • Anna says:

      Where/when are you looking?

      • SharonC says:

        I use SeatSpy and RFF. I’m not interested in the US as I go there on business so am looking at other destinations such as south of the UK or East. Looks like BA are just letting those go to other airlines, but even the, there’s also never any F available on Qatar either, even though they’re flying the A380 again

    • Robert says:

      Agree, I’m struggling to find any F availability anywhere too

      • Rich says:

        Check out SEA and YVR for March and April – there are loads of F reward seats available.

    • Jonathan says:

      When you do a regular search for award availability via BA.com after inputting your desired route and date(s) it’ll never show F availability, like those options don’t exist, okay F (/A) availability is limited to certain routes only…

      • NorthernLass says:

        Have you checked on SeatSpy or RFF?
        F to NYC, for example, is showing available in every month until next October. It’s quite hard to be helpful though, without some idea of where/when people want to travel!
        Be aware as well that ba.com will only show 3 classes of cabin per search, so if you want to see F availability you need to select WTP as your minimum requirement.

        • Robert says:

          I used to use seatspy and RFF before they became a subscription only service, as I don’t feel I need it enough to pay for it. My travel is for March/April 2023 to use up an old 2-4-1 voucher that’ll expire in April 2023. Would take NYC if it’s F out of JFK, but from comments here I’ll expand my search to Washington, Boston and LAX, as they all make for good 5 day mini hols.

  • Alan T says:

    I have a number of CW long haul 2-4-1 redemptions both with old and new vouchers next year, that I was thinking of upgrading the outbound on if F became available?

    But equally, I can make a cash saving by if I rebook the CW to the new pricing, both with old and new vouchers as I have the Avios.

    But do I need to have current reward seat availability showing, or can they just change the booking and I retain my seats?

    • Rob says:

      Would need availability – big risk if you cancel and hope the seats go back into an Avios bucket.

      • Alan T says:

        Cheers Rob.

        Yeah, too risky. I was content enough when I booked them and the dates are fixed so I’ll just sit and see what happens re. F or additional CW availability as we get nearer.

  • smblcklck says:

    @Rob seems like it gets even weirder for old style 241 holders. I was looking at:

    CW both ways: 160000 Avios + £ 700.00
    F / CW split: 148000 Avios + £ 1,693.80
    F / F: 136000 Avios + £ 1,693.80

    I can’t quite get my head around the £1000 tax hike this example but not in yours above.

    • NorthernLass says:

      I got this when I did a random search for F out, CW back to BOS.
      Now the RFS pricing is in place, I assume that you could book outbound and inbound separately and not be charged more, as was previously the case from the US.

      • smblcklck says:

        Interesting idea, by my maths as two one-ways it comes to:

        First out: 136000 Avios + £ 1,093.82
        CW return: 160000 Avios + £ 350

        Assuming you could get a 241 to apply to this (I’m not sure how to go about that) it comes to 148k + £1443.82 so a £250 quid saving on the return ticket?

        And F attempt to have a return with single tickets makes it considerably less affordable (which, I think, is as expected with RFS)

  • NorthernLass says:

    Also worth noting that the quirk that appeared when long haul economy RFS was introduced, still applies to domestic connections, Namely, if you use the “stopover” facility, you can pick a CE connection absolutely free, even if your long haul sector is in WT or WTP. Not a huge deal, but it does mean you’d get lounge access before both domestic legs if you don’t have it via status.

  • Hilda M says:

    As someone belonging to the Stuffed#1 class (based in Spain), a data point for use of Gold Upgrade voucher …. Had to phone in to GGL line as kept defaulting to GUF2 rather than GUF1 that I wanted to use. Expertflyer showing A3 but no F on website. As I was booking the daytime JFK LHR flight was happy with CW rather than use a GGL Space Release, 80k Avios & at least 175 euros, with GUF1 for F. So paid 42,500 & 175 euros plus voucher to sit in a Club Suite. Took an age to sort out as 80k automatically deducted and agent had to refund that and then deduct 42,500. Didn’t realize you have to pay the taxes of the class you upgrade to. The GUF1 was issued in February 2019, so good result overall 🙂

  • Felix Lo says:

    Another anomaly is HKG pricing since HKG historically did not allow fuel surcharges. Reward saver pricing really screws around with this.

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