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British Airways Avios Can Now Be Used As Part Payment On European Flights

by on November 4, 2013 · 5 comments

in Avios, British Airways

In light of the relaunch of the 100,000-Avios sign-up bonus (when you spend $20,000 within the first year) of British Airways Visa, I suspect a lot of readers will be earning a lot more Avios in the near future, so I wanted to cover a distinctive new feature of BA’s mileage program that lets members redeem Avios for a portion of the cost of flights within Europe.

I know a lot of people avoid British Airways Avios because the program can get a little complicated, with a distance-based award redemption formula and some huge carrier-imposed surcharges on some award flights, but there are plenty of great ways to put Avios to use – especially on expensive short-haul flights and for upgrades – and British Airways has just increased their usefulness with another interesting redemption option. You can now use Avios to pay for part of your ticket for flights within Europe at a fixed rate. Here’s how it works.

British Airways Avios just got even more useful.

British Airways Avios just got even more useful.

 

Go to ba.com and search for a British Airways itinerary within Europe. When you are logged into your Executive Club account and go to pay, you should see the following options:

  • Spend 1,500 Avios to save £10 ($16) per person
  • Spend 3,000 Avios to save £20 ($32) per person
  • Spend 4,500 Avios to save £30 ($48) per person

That equates to about 1.07 cents per Avios. Certainly not a high-value redemption, but decent nonetheless.

Avios European Discounts

BA is making short-haul European flights cheaper.

If you are a member of British Airways’ Executive Club, you will still earn Avios for these flights, which means you can earn up to 3,000 Avios per member…which will be the equivalent of £20 off another intra-European flight with these redemption options. The offer is for British Airways flight only bookings to Europe in all cabins and can also be used for up to eight family or friends in the same booking.

To take advantage of the offer, log into your Executive Club account and search for a short-haul flight through the British Airways website. Once you get to the purchase page, you will automatically be asked if you want to redeem it for a £10, £20, or £30 discount, which was instantly applied. I found this roundtrip economy flight from London Heathrow to Paris Charles de Gaulle in November for £106.80 ($171), with the additional discount options listed below.

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 3.23.45 PM

What I find actually kind of funny is that the airfare itself is £20 and the carrier-imposed surcharges and taxes are £86.80, so if you think about it, if you actually used the discount option of £30, you would be using it to take off some of those surcharges and taxes, not just the airfare, which just further proves how ridiculous BA’s fee structure really is.

Back to the point, though, the feature has already taken effect and you can use your Avios toward discounts on European flights from today onwards.

Whether you think this is worthwhile all depends on how many Avios you have, how much you value them, and what you redeem them for. The good news is that you don’t have to be a frequent flyer like me in order to be able to get some value out of them on a more frequent basis if you’re just looking to skim a little off the cost of tickets.

Thanks to some great redemption values both on BA and on partners like American, Cathay Pacific and Qantas, I value British Airways Avios conservatively at about 1.5 cents each, so strictly in monetary terms, I’ll be saving mine for premium redemptions in the future, especially to be able to use my “Travel Together” companion ticket courtesy of spending on my British Airways Visa, but for those of you flying in and out of London, this should be good for some consistent savings on European flights.

For more information on the best ways to use your British Airways Avios, read my prior posts:

Maximizing British Airways Distance-Based Awards
Crossing The Pond: How To Make The Most Out Of Flying New York To London
Discount For No Checked Bags On Short Haul British Airways Flights
British Airways Enhances Online Award Search Engine Tool
British Airways Announces 787 Service From Austin To London
What Are British Airways Avios Worth?

Hat tip: One Mile At A Time.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • joeypore

    Short flights are the only reason I use Avios. I usually get to LHR on AA, and then from there, getting around Europe is almost too easy with Avios. Granted, I’ve waited sometimes until under 12 hours before the flight for availability, but I’ve gotten enormous value out of Avios.

    I booked a one-way Club Europe ticket for 9,000 avios on a flight where there were no economy seats available even for purchase. That ticket would have cost $957… an over $.10 / point value, and realistically, I would have HAD to get there anyway, so I would have spent a lot of money SOME way or another…

    Also, it’s a great alternative because if you be only be earning, say 1 AA mile / $, if you choose 1 Avios / $, then you can reach a domestic award on AA usually much faster with Avios than with AA miles. Though, you really can’t beat AA miles for premium long-hauls…

  • Allen

    I only use Adios points for short haul flights. I refuse to pay their criminal surcharge fees.

  • kevin

    my advice in a lot of cases in Europe is to look for a high speed rail option. from London to Paris, you can get there for about 60 pounds, which makes your redemption that much less valuable. of course, some train rides are longer, and time may be a big factor for you, so one solution doesn’t fit all here.

    my point is just that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. or to travel. :)

  • BobChi

    There are some mid- to long-range flights on partners that merit consideration. For example Aer Lingus between Dublin and the U.S. is a bargain in the summer compared to the other carriers. But I absolutely agree with you – those “surcharges” are simply a way of saying, “We really don’t give out award tickets, we just sort of discount our flights a bit as an award.”

  • M

    http://www.britishairways.com/travel/spend-avios-flights-rfz/public/en_us

    I have a few Avios that I was hoping to redeem, and was surprised to read that taxes on a Zone 5 flight could be up to $1.3 million (at least the amount is in US dollars and not Sterling).

    Zone 5 40,000Up to $ 1,335,594.99 taxes, fees and carrier charges

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