British Airways Avios Can Now Be Used As Part Payment On European Flights
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
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 Signature Card, 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.
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.
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.
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 Signature Card, 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.