Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How British Airways killed the value of the ‘double Avios’ Gold Priority Reward

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

If you had British Airways Executive Club Gold status, the ‘Gold Priority Reward’ was one of the most valuable but least known perks.

For a couple of years it wasn’t clear whether British Airways had de facto killed it or not. Some call centre agents would still book them in a way that made sense, whilst others would not.

With staff training now presumably complete, since I haven’t heard of anyone getting around the new rules for at least six months, the value in this reward has now officially gone – with one exception.

Let me explain …..

British Airways Gold Priority Rewards Avios

What is an Avios ‘Gold Priority Reward’?

British Airways always did a bad job of communicating Gold Priority Rewards to its Gold members.

Very simply, a British Airways Gold member can book a seat on ANY British Airways flight using Avios.  The catch is that you have to use DOUBLE the normal amount.

You cannot use an American Express 2-4-1 voucher, a Barclays Avios upgrade voucher or a Gold Upgrade for One or Gold Upgrade for Two voucher.

Your flight must be booked more than 30 days before departure.

There is some further information on the BA Gold benefits page here.

There is one other rule.  You can’t use a Gold Priority Reward on a BA CityFlyer service which means all of the short-haul services from London City Airport.  This is because, technically, CityFlyer is a separate business inside British Airways and not treated as part of the ‘mainline’ operation.  The new BA Euroflyer operation from Gatwick IS included so push back if an agent refuses to book one.

Gold Priority Rewards could be a good deal for short haul

For short haul European bookings, these rewards did have some use.  Let’s take my standard run to Hamburg to visit my parents in law.

  • A standard Avios reward ticket on a peak day used to cost 10,500 Avios + £35 taxes and charges, which means ….
  • ….. a ‘Priority Reward’ would cost me 21,000 Avios + £35 taxes

Importantly, you can cancel the BA ‘Gold Priority Reward’ and switch to a normal reward at any point as long as standard Avios seats open up.

Let’s look at the costs here.  If a flight has no Avios availability, it is likely to be a busy flight.  This means that the cash price is also likely to be higher than average.  Let’s assume we are heading to Heathrow from school on a Friday afternoon and need to be on a particular service.

You’d be looking at £250 return to Hamburg for cash in Economy.  Knock off the £35 Reward Flight Saver Reward Flight Saver charge and you would be saving £215 by using 21,000 Avios to book a Gold Priority Reward.

You are getting 1p per Avios in this scenario, which is our target. More importantly, you are locking in a hard cash saving and you get to travel on the exact flights you want.

British Airways Executive Club status cards

What has gone wrong with Gold Priority Rewards?

A few years ago, British Airways added the option to use lots more Avios but pay only £1 of taxes for short haul flights. This is the default pricing option that now gives you.

This is a truly terrible deal. My personal view is that British Airways made a mistake here, because most people are more Avios constrained than they are cash constrained. There is no point saying how wonderful it is to pay just £1 in taxes and charges when the Avios component is ludicrous.

Using the Hamburg example above, you can – for Economy – choose to pay for a return flight:

  • 19,500 Avios + £1 or
  • 10,500 Avios + £35

…. or various other options inbetween.

Gold Priority Rewards now price off the £1 rate

When British Airways introduced flights with £1 of taxes, some agents in the call centre would use the higher pricing when you tried to book a Gold Priority Reward. Others would use the ‘standard’ rate with £35 of taxes.

Those days are now gone. All call centre agents will now price a Gold Priority Reward off the £1 price.

This means, if we stick with the Hamburg example, a Gold Priority Reward in Economy would cost you 39,000 Avios + £1 per person.

You can’t use a British Airways American Express companion voucher, so you’d need 78,000 Avios for two people. To Hamburg, in Economy.

You’d need a pretty big microscope to see the value in that deal.

Want to push the boat out and fly Club Europe? A Gold Priority Reward to Hamburg will now cost you 65,000 Avios plus £1, return. Bargain.

British Airways Gold Priority Reward

Don’t even think about using a Gold Priority Reward for long haul

There never was any value in using a Gold Priority Reward for a long haul flight but now it has just got silly.

In late 2022, British Airways extended ‘Reward Flight Saver’ to long haul too. The ‘taxes and charges’ element was reduced to fixed rates, starting at £350 return in Club World.

Let’s take one of my regular family runs to my sister-in-law in Dubai. The base rate for a Business Class seat on Avios is now 180,000 Avios plus £350.

Want to use a Gold Priority Reward? You are looking at 360,000 Avios plus £350, return. For one person.

A family of four would be looking at 1,440,000 Avios + £1,400 to fly to Dubai in Club World, return.

Is there any value, at all, left in Gold Priority Rewards?

The Gold Priority Reward is dead, but the corpse is still twitching slightly.

The best use of Gold Priority Reward flights is for ski resorts at February half term.  We have done this a number of times over the years.

This is what is costs to fly to Salzburg for February half-term in 2024, assuming you want well-timed flights travelling Saturday to Saturday which is what ski hotels usually insist on:

British Airways Gold Priority Reward

It’s still a great deal to pay 39,000 Avios plus £1 in taxes and charges to avoid paying £730. It arguably justifies a push for a British Airways Executive Club Gold card on its own if you are getting close.

With this rare exception, however, for most people most of the time, the value in the Gold Priority Reward has gone.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (April 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

Huge 30,000 points bonus until 12th May 2024 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 (53)

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

  • Paul says:

    I was looking at this and the insanity of Club World and F redemptions over the weekend. I want to go the Greece for a week in September and while out bound fares are affordable inbound are mad. Using the double Avios made no sense though.
    I bagged 2 F Avios to SCL on a 241 but the difference between CW and F was just 9000 Avios and £250 extra per pax to go in F. As it’s BAs longest flight the F option seemed best.

    One thing to note about fares. A few weeks ago I needed a one way BUD LHR and fares were stupidly high. Consequently I changed plans. However I checked again 48 hours before departure of the flight I had originally wanted only to find it was less than 3rd of the previous cost and Avios seats were widely available. I think the interns have moved to revunue management!

    • Rob says:

      I am currently playing chicken with revman – I need a one way to Mallorca for 10 days time and no Avios seats yet ….

  • SG says:

    Hi all
    Could anyone advise on this please
    We will be flying back to the UK from our Caribbean holiday in a couple of days
    Tickets in business class with BA,no status and no seat selected yet
    Looking at the seat selection today I can only see 1 seat available to choose(we are a couple)
    Do BA usually block some of the seats before check in or is it likely that they have oversold?
    If they will downgrade us could anyone remind me the compensation entitled to on avios reward flights with a companion voucher?
    Many thanks

    • Jonathan says:

      BA are known for targeting the second travellers on the 241 tickets if they need to force a downgrade, since they just hope people will accept the outcome, and be not know their full legal rights, they’ve also done it to the wrong people in the past and it’s proved a costly mistake for them as well though !

      • Rob says:

        Will be even more costly now, because the cost of buying Avios has gone up from 1st May and that it is the value used to establish your downgrade compensation (75% of Avios used x price BA sells Avios at).

        I should say that BA has told us in writing that 241 customers are not targetted first for downgrades.

        However it also told us in writing two years ago that the BA call centre agents were at fault when they started pricing Gold Priority Rewards off the £1 rate and that it would be fixed ….

        • Jonathan says:

          Ah right, I’m assuming this something they’ve recently told yourselves (HfP team) since there’s been articles about it happening, and it was mentioned that before Covid hit the world, it was happening.

          Although BA have assured yourselves (HfP team) that the second traveller on a 241 voucher booking isn’t the first to be targeted, we can assume that they’re not too far down the list…
          Certainly the tickets with the lowest booking code isn’t at all good when there’s not enough seats for all the passengers that’ve booked, and higher your status almost certainly counts in your favour
          Either way, we can definitely know that someone with BAEC Gold with a fully flexible ticket doesn’t need too worry, but someone who’s brought the cheapest ticket for the cabin on that particular flight and has no status is far more vulnerable

    • Gordon says:

      BA usually block the bassinet seats from day one, So you will be ok as these will become available if there are no pax with babies booked on the return leg. I would suggest going to concierge and calling BA from your hotel to put your mind at rest. I’ve seen these bassinet seats blocked and not even used once boarding is complete.

    • NorthernLass says:

      I’ve had this previously and then found when online check-in opened our family of 3 had already been allocated seats. It’s not peak period now so it’s unlikely you’ll be downgraded.

  • Kathy M says:

    Rob, from all the above comments, is it only the gold card perks where Euroflyer is different, or are they not going to have AVIOS booking at all on Euroflyer? I have a Gatwick Kos booking for June, booked using 2-4-1 voucher (last month it is valid) thanks to your highlighting when these flights were loaded. We booked on that day and later I booked our seats. About 2 weeks ago I got told the seat bookings would not hold, but I could check where they had been moved to on manage my booking. On this, the ability to choose or look at seats seems to have disappeared! I assume all this relates to Euroflyer.
    Getting concerned. Any news, formal or otherwise, as to the AVIOS (and Tier points when relevant) on Euroflyer?

    • Rob says:

      Euroflyer is fine for Avios. There is a lot of shuffling around of aircraft at the moment (plus the leasing of the Avion aircraft to run flights for Euroflyer) which is why you have issues with seating.

    • C2K77 says:

      As Rob said. It’s been confirmed in writing far and wide that, for all intents and purposes, EuroFlyer will be exactly the same as prior to the change as you would be entitled to if you’d booked to fly from any other airports ( save LCY).

      Tier Point earning, avios rates for flights, tier and cabin bonuses, luggage allowance, lounge access, avios and other redemption partners ( ie Amex etc) and all other BAEC & OW privilege’s will remain in place with any future changes being limited to those made across the BA network as a whole.

      Save them selling off the unit your safe.

  • Samuel says:

    I had this exact concern (about not being able to use a Gold Priority Reward on Euroflyer)
    I can confirm you can book it, it’s just CityFlyer that you can’t

  • optomdad says:

    I have to disagree that there is no value left. Everything has to be compared to cash prices. We have been given the chance to meet family from Canada in Rome for 3 nights in July. Cash price from LHR return for 2 in CE £2700, Double Avios 178k, although not a bargain in any sense of the word, when compared to the cash price it is. And it can be considered as a fully refundable ticket (although nit fully flex when within 30 days, I understand)

    • david says:

      Your Avios rich. I would rather LCC it somehow than give up 178k. Thats a biz IB to MEX/LAX/SFO on A350 with change.

    • Rob says:

      Pretty sure if you looked at (for their greater availability) you could get something via Madrid in Business for a fraction of that Avios price. Whilst I normally do agree that paying a premium for direct is worthwhile I think I’d make an exception here! Or go easyJet and buy up the front row.

    • dahokolomoki says:

      That’s £1400 in Nectar/Argos/eBay vouchers! Could get a shiny new top of the line iPhone or Galaxy phone for that.

      • Jonathan says:

        You’re limited to Avios withdrawals on a monthly basis, I think it’s 50K

        Either way, you can’t trade millions of Avios at once into Nectar unfortunately

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.