Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Am I using our 241 vouchers and Avios points efficiently in this booking?

  • Dollar 18 posts

    My wife and I have each accumulated a 241 voucher and around 95000 Avios in each of our accounts using the BAPP credit card. We are a family of 4 and thinking of using both the vouchers and all our Avios points for our trip to Toronto, Canada in Summer 2024.

    If we are booking just one-way Business class tickets by BA, it works out to 80000 Avios + £350 for 1 Adult and 1 child using a 241 voucher. So times two across our two accounts.

    If I make it a roundtrip flight (by adding inbound Aer Lingus Economy as BA Economy reward flight is unavailable), it works out to 104500 Avios + £1080 for 1 Adult and 1 child using a 241 voucher. So times two across our two accounts. I will be short of some 10k Avios which I can buy using 3x Boost for maybe an additional 100£.

    So the roundtrip journey is going to cost me 209000 Avios + around 2260 for a family of 4 with 1 leg of the journey in Business and the other leg in economy with a stopover!
    If I book the same flight and class without Avios or 241, the cost is around 7753£.

    Is this the way to book or am I missing something?

    Note that the reason I am trying to fit in a Business class leg is because none of us have travelled Business class before and would like to experience it.

    Thanks in advance for your input.

    travelmonkey 31 posts

    My immediate reaction is why you are flying out (daytime) in business and back (night) in economy… I’d do that the other way round if possible. I guess you’ll have more awake time to experience club world, but I’d personally trade that for the much better night on the way home. Your call though.

    You’re driving about 2.6p per avios so on paper that’s a reasonable efficiency (given a 1.1p approximate valuation). The economy leg is going to be hurting that efficiency though.

    The surcharges on the inbound leg look high too, probably because you’re looking at two singles, one of which starts in North America. You may find the cash element reduces significantly if you can book a return on BA instead of a separate redemption. (Perhaps the saving can offset the cost of buying avios to fly premium economy instead… Although finding 4 PE seats is probably unlikely, given by default only 2 are released)

    YC 225 posts

    What are your dates? Are you willing to do a two city trip? E.g. fly out of Montreal? The eco leg doesn’t look particularly attractive from a cost stand point.

    Alternatively you could pay cash and fly direct with air transat from £235 (date dependent).

    travelmonkey 31 posts

    Given you can use 241 on Aer Lingus and Iberia too, you you fly out or return to Dublin or Madrid on the voucher and do a self transfer to a positioning fight from there? (Obviously leaving generous contingency time, especially if positioning for the outbound)

    NorthernLass 7,985 posts

    On BA, it doesn’t make a difference for the cash element whether you book 2 singles, or 1 return – the total for 4 for CW out and WT back should be £900 (CW at £175pp and WT at £50pp), when using the max number of avios. I think the issue is that adding Aer Lingus is skewing the surcharges as they don’t offer RFS.

    I don’t think it’s worth paying over the odds; as mentioned, could you return from another airport with BA availability? Otherwise can you wait and do the trip at a later date? You’ve left it very late to book 4 avios seats for the summer holidays, if you leave it till next year, for example, and book further out, you’ll have more choice of seats and be able to earn more avios.

    Mouse 181 posts

    I agree with the other comments about booking a return in business from somewhere else. New York or Boston often have good availability. Choosing a higher cash, fewer avios option could make business both ways work with your avios balance (e.g., 50k avios + £850 for 2 people one way instead of 80k + £350).

    NorthernLass 7,985 posts

    These are very short flights on the return sector and I’m not sure CW is worth it. Note that there is an 8 am flight from New York (or 7 am from Boston) which would be perfectly doable in PE or Y and you arrive home in the evening feeling much better than if you’d taken a red eye!

    Dollar 18 posts

    Given you can use 241 on Aer Lingus and Iberia too, you you fly out or return to Dublin or Madrid on the voucher and do a self transfer to a positioning fight from there? (Obviously leaving generous contingency time, especially if positioning for the outbound)

    Thanks for your reply. Why are you suggesting Aer Lingus/ Iberia?
    Is it cheaper or they take fewer Avios compared to BA.

    Dollar 18 posts

    What are your dates? Are you willing to do a two city trip? E.g. fly out of Montreal? The eco leg doesn’t look particularly attractive from a cost stand point.

    Alternatively you could pay cash and fly direct with air transat from £235 (date dependent).

    Thanks for your reply.

    I am very flexible with dates. Between July 26th and August 31st for around two weeks + or – two days.

    I am also willing to do two city trip. Is flying out of Montreal cheaper than my current return leg or I get more options?

    I checked the one-way BA and return on a low-cost airline. To align with the availability of my onward BA Business class availability, the return leg on a low cost airlines is working out between 350-400£ per person + extra for check-in bags. I saw West jet, Play, and Air Transat.

    Dollar 18 posts

    My immediate reaction is why you are flying out (daytime) in business and back (night) in economy… I’d do that the other way round if possible. I guess you’ll have more awake time to experience club world, but I’d personally trade that for the much better night on the way home. Your call though.

    You’re driving about 2.6p per avios so on paper that’s a reasonable efficiency (given a 1.1p approximate valuation). The economy leg is going to be hurting that efficiency though.

    The surcharges on the inbound leg look high too, probably because you’re looking at two singles, one of which starts in North America. You may find the cash element reduces significantly if you can book a return on BA instead of a separate redemption. (Perhaps the saving can offset the cost of buying avios to fly premium economy instead… Although finding 4 PE seats is probably unlikely, given by default only 2 are released)

    Thanks for your reply.

    Yes, looking for more awake time to experience club world and no late evening BA flights departing.
    Also, availablity in Business is not that great on the return leg direct BA.

    Dollar 18 posts

    On BA, it doesn’t make a difference for the cash element whether you book 2 singles, or 1 return – the total for 4 for CW out and WT back should be £900 (CW at £175pp and WT at £50pp), when using the max number of avios. I think the issue is that adding Aer Lingus is skewing the surcharges as they don’t offer RFS.

    I don’t think it’s worth paying over the odds; as mentioned, could you return from another airport with BA availability? Otherwise can you wait and do the trip at a later date? You’ve left it very late to book 4 avios seats for the summer holidays, if you leave it till next year, for example, and book further out, you’ll have more choice of seats and be able to earn more avios.

    Thanks for your reply.

    We just earned the second 241 voucher. So we are thinking of booking now for the next foreseeable trip.

    I am open to returning from a different airport with BA availability. So I should be looking at a multi city?
    Can this be done online or through the call center?

    Dollar 18 posts

    I agree with the other comments about booking a return in business from somewhere else. New York or Boston often have good availability. Choosing a higher cash, fewer avios option could make business both ways work with your avios balance (e.g., 50k avios + £850 for 2 people one way instead of 80k + £350).

    Thanks for your reply.

    Are you suggesting I book both ways business or just the return leg from NY ?

    Also, 50k avios + £850 is for just one leg right ?
    Making it 3400£ + avios for just the flights. Correct?

    Dollar 18 posts

    These are very short flights on the return sector and I’m not sure CW is worth it. Note that there is an 8 am flight from New York (or 7 am from Boston) which would be perfectly doable in PE or Y and you arrive home in the evening feeling much better than if you’d taken a red eye!

    Thanks for your reply.

    Return from NY might also work. I will check the availability.

    Mouse 181 posts

    I agree with the other comments about booking a return in business from somewhere else. New York or Boston often have good availability. Choosing a higher cash, fewer avios option could make business both ways work with your avios balance (e.g., 50k avios + £850 for 2 people one way instead of 80k + £350).

    Thanks for your reply.

    Are you suggesting I book both ways business or just the return leg from NY ?

    Also, 50k avios + £850 is for just one leg right ?
    Making it 3400£ + avios for just the flights. Correct?

    Yes, I was suggesting both legs, and yes I think that would be the price. A bit more than the other plan but much more comfortable.

    travelmonkey 31 posts

    I am open to returning from a different airport with BA availability. So I should be looking at a multi city?
    Can this be done online or through the call center?

    Open jaw companion voucher bookings can only be done on the phone. Because of this they should wave the telephone booking fee.

    If you are happy to do an open jaw including the USA then I would second NorthernLass’s suggestion of daytime return flights n economy. I’ve flown one and would highly recommend them over a red-eye.

    NorthernLass 7,985 posts

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2024/03/11/how-to-use-ba-amex-241-voucher/
    https://www.headforpoints.com/2022/12/07/big-news-use-your-ba-amex-2-4-1-companion-vouchers-on-iberia-and-aer-lingus/

    Have you read these and the other articles Rob has done? You need to read up on booking the return leg, open jaw, and using the voucher on airlines other than BA.

    Dollar 18 posts

    Based on all your input, I have checked this off peak combination.
    Onward BA Business from London to Toronto and return economy from Montreal to London direct.

    When I check separately, it is showing
    80000 Avios + £350 for 1 Adult and 1 child using a 241 voucher x 2 for onward
    25000 Avios + £100 for 1 Adult and 1 child using a 241 voucher x 2 for return

    So 210000 Avios + 900£ +100£ to buy the additional 10k avios. Looks much better than my initial option!

    However, the economy for return is not showing how many seats left. Does that mean there more than 4 seats there ?

    travelmonkey 31 posts

    Based on all your input, I have checked this off peak combination.
    Onward BA Business from London to Toronto and return economy from Montreal to London direct.

    When I check separately, it is showing
    80000 Avios + £350 for 1 Adult and 1 child using a 241 voucher x 2 for onward
    25000 Avios + £100 for 1 Adult and 1 child using a 241 voucher x 2 for return

    So 210000 Avios + 900£ +100£ to buy the additional 10k avios. Looks much better than my initial option!

    However, the economy for return is not showing how many seats left. Does that mean there more than 4 seats there ?

    Well that sounds better already – saved a grand! And your adventure can now take in two cities and enjoy a journey (however fast or slow you do it) between the two.

    The Toronto flights are on an A350, so you’ll get the club suites (given this is a special experience for you all, I’m glad you’re not booking onto the old seats). The A350 is (IMHO) the nicest widebody flying at the moment, so you’ve picked well, but BA have apparently made it a bit of a nightmare for cabin crew so do be extra nice to them as they are likely to be having a trickier than normal flight.

    NorthernLass 7,985 posts

    Yes – if the number of available seats isn’t showing, it means there are more than enough for your booking.

    Just be aware that you’re not guaranteed to be seated together, unless you preselect seats, which BA charges an arm and a leg for, though I would hope they would at least sit each adult with the accompanying child on the booking. Unfortunately, on very busy flights, not even this is certain!

    Dollar 18 posts

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2024/03/11/how-to-use-ba-amex-241-voucher/
    https://www.headforpoints.com/2022/12/07/big-news-use-your-ba-amex-2-4-1-companion-vouchers-on-iberia-and-aer-lingus/

    Have you read these and the other articles Rob has done? You need to read up on booking the return leg, open jaw, and using the voucher on airlines other than BA.

    I had read the first article but not the second one. Thanks for pointing me to that.

    So if I am booking via Iberia or Aer Lingus, do I still use the BA site for booking?

    Dollar 18 posts

    Based on all your input, I have checked this off peak combination.
    Onward BA Business from London to Toronto and return economy from Montreal to London direct.

    When I check separately, it is showing
    80000 Avios + £350 for 1 Adult and 1 child using a 241 voucher x 2 for onward
    25000 Avios + £100 for 1 Adult and 1 child using a 241 voucher x 2 for return

    So 210000 Avios + 900£ +100£ to buy the additional 10k avios. Looks much better than my initial option!

    However, the economy for return is not showing how many seats left. Does that mean there more than 4 seats there ?

    Well that sounds better already – saved a grand! And your adventure can now take in two cities and enjoy a journey (however fast or slow you do it) between the two.

    The Toronto flights are on an A350, so you’ll get the club suites (given this is a special experience for you all, I’m glad you’re not booking onto the old seats). The A350 is (IMHO) the nicest widebody flying at the moment, so you’ve picked well, but BA have apparently made it a bit of a nightmare for cabin crew so do be extra nice to them as they are likely to be having a trickier than normal flight.

    Thanks. Will book tonight.

    Is there a chance our class gets downgraded to economy once booked?

    NorthernLass 7,985 posts

    You would only get downgraded from business to PE, unless you were extremely unlucky. It’s fairly rare but unfortunately you can’t completely rule it out.

    Also – if you’re using a 241, you have to book via BA, regardless of which airline you’re flying with. Sorry if it’s already come up, but don’t forget you will have 2 separate bookings which is going to complicate things slightly.

    Dollar 18 posts

    Hopefully my last question.

    If I am buying an open jaw ticket over phone with a BA agent and I am short of Avios, can I buy it over the call by means of 3x boost or I need to do this in advance before I get on the call?

    annabh 45 posts

    Hopefully my last question.

    If I am buying an open jaw ticket over phone with a BA agent and I am short of Avios, can I buy it over the call by means of 3x boost or I need to do this in advance before I get on the call?

    No you can’t do this but there is an option for less avios more cash with these tickets.

    Dollar 18 posts

    A big thank you to everyone for your tips.

    I just completed my booking paying 210000 Avios + 900£ + 110£ to buy the additional 12k avios using 3x boost.

    Saved a grand compared to my original plan with minor modification!

    Looking forward to our first Club World experience.

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