If you have British Airways Executive Club Gold status, the ‘Gold Priority Reward’ was one of the most valuable but least known perks.
Most of the value in it disappeared when the ‘£1 taxes and charges’ Avios redemptions were launched. On top of this, after a period of contradictory behaviour by phone agents, it is now confirmed that BA Euroflyer services have joined BA Cityflyer as being blocked from Gold Priority Rewards.
Let”s go back to first principles however ….
What is an Avios ‘Gold Priority Reward’?
Very simply, a British Airways Executive Club 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 (albeit the T&C do not exclude this) or a Gold Upgrade for One or Gold Upgrade for Two voucher.
Your flight must be booked more than 30 days before departure.
Your flight must be booked via a BA call centre.
There was one other rule with BA Cityflyer
There was one other rule, which is only vaguely covered in the T&C by the line ‘Only available on British Airways marketed and operated flights.’
You can’t use a Gold Priority Reward on a BA Cityflyer service. This means all of the short-haul services from London City Airport. This is because, technically, BA Cityflyer is a separate business inside British Airways and not treated as part of the ‘mainline’ operation.
But what about BA Euroflyer?
BA Euroflyer is the new British Airways short haul operation from London Gatwick. Whilst, to the naked eye, it looks identical to the London Heathrow short haul operation, it is run as a stand-alone business.
The key difference is in pay and conditions of cabin crew, which are poorer than those enjoyed at Heathrow and have reportedly led to high rates of staff attrition.
When BA Euroflyer launched, you could book Gold Priority Rewards on its flights. Not all agents would do it, but enough would. When we last wrote about Gold Priority Rewards in May we said – based on reader feedback – that they could be booked on BA Euroflyer and that you should call back if you got an unhelpful agent.
Something has now changed, potentially in the guidance given to agents rather than the policy itself.
It is now not possible to book BA Euroflyer services as a Gold Priority Reward. BA HQ has confirmed this to me.
That said, you’re not missing much now
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 ba.com now gives you.
This is usually a bad 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 as an example, you can – for Economy – choose to pay for a peak return flight:
- 19,500 Avios + £1 or
- 10,500 Avios + £35 (this is old taxes and charges figure)
…. or various other options.
Gold Priority Rewards price off the £1 rate. 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 need a pretty big microscope to see the value in that.
Want to fly Club Europe? A Gold Priority Reward to Hamburg will now cost you 65,000 Avios plus £1, return. Bargain.
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.
Clearly there is some value left – but it was often on BA Euroflyer
It is unfair to say that there is never a way of getting value from a Gold Priority Reward. After all, our readers are still booking them occasionally – it was a reader enquiry which triggered this article after all.
The best use of Gold Priority Reward flights is arguably 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:
It’s still a great deal to pay 39,000 Avios plus £1 in taxes and charges to avoid paying £990. It arguably justifies a push for a British Airways Executive Club Gold card on its own if you are getting close.
But, but, but …..
Take another look at the screenshot above. You’ll see that the flight is from Gatwick on BA Euroflyer, which means that it can’t be booked as a Gold Priority Reward.
Not all of BA’s peak season ski flights are from Gatwick. However, many are and they are now unavailable for booking via this route. The same goes for the ‘summer sun’ routes which could also have value as a Gold Priority Reward on peak dates.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) 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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.