Redeem your British Airways Avios for less with 50% off flights to and from London

Nov 7, 2019

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British Airways just launched a great promotion for those looking to redeem their British Airways Avios for a free flight. For flights booked through Nov. 21, you’ll receive up to 50% off the redemption rate, depending on which cabin you book.

  • Business and first class fares: 10% off
  • Economy and premium fares: 50% off

This promotion is only available on flights booked and operated through British Airways to or from London Heathrow or London Gatwick — it does not include partner awards. It’s valid on one-way or roundtrip flights as well as Avios and Money bookings, but only the Avios will receive the 50% discount (the cash amount will stay the same).

While you must book your flight within the next two weeks, you can fly through April 30, 2020.

Related: Best Way to Earn British Airways Avios

When to take advantage of this promotion

One huge flaw of using your British Airways Avios on British Airways-operated metal is that the taxes, fees and surcharges you pay on flights to and from London can be quite outrageous. Even with a 50% discount on the number of miles you use, you might find that paying for your flight outright is in fact cheaper.

For example, a round-trip standard economy flight between Boston (BOS) and London Heathrow (LHR) on an off-peak award will cost you 26,000 Avios + $355.20 in taxes and fees.

If you were to forgo using points and just buy your flight outright, that same exact flight only costs $456.12. If you wanted to save even more money, you could purchase an Economy Basic flight for $90 less, which would mean the total flight would be about the same as the taxes, fees and surcharges you’ll pay on the award redemption. And the benefit of paying for your flight is that you’d still earn British Airways Avios to put towards a future redemption.

But some award redemptions truly do make sense. For example, let’s say you just need a one-way flight to London. You can fly from Boston to Heathrow on an off-peak award for 13,000 Avios + $93.70. While the taxes and fees are still more expensive than flying to London on some other carriers, they’re much less expensive when you are flying into London versus departing London.

Of course, the value really depends on your specific travel dates and routing. Before you jump on this deal, I recommend comparing the total price (including taxes and fees) to the cost of paying for a flight directly, whether it’s on British Airways or another carrier.

Also, if you are short some Avios, you can stack discounts by purchasing Avios with the current 50% bonus offer and then redeem them with this 50% off redemption offer. Combining these two promotions could ultimately mean you’re purchasing points with a 300% bonus.

Related: Maximizing the British Airways Distance-Based Award Chart

Here are some other examples on the number of points required with the 50% off promotion:

Combine with the Travel Together Ticket

If you have a British Airways Travel Together Ticket sitting in your account, this might be the perfect opportunity to put it to good use. This voucher is earned by spending $30,000 on your British Airways Visa Signature Card within a calendar year. Unfortunately, if your voucher is not already set to hit your account within the next few weeks, you’re probably too late in trying to speed up earning the voucher, as it takes four to six weeks to be issued.

Keep in mind that the voucher does come with many restrictions, such as having to book a round-trip flight originating in the United States. And while you won’t have to pay any additional Avios for your companion, you’re on the hook to pay the taxes, fees and surcharges associated with both tickets, which can sometimes be quite high.

Bottom line

This is definitely an offer worth looking into, especially for people who have already been considering redeeming their British Airways Avios for a trip to or from London. Or if London wasn’t initially on your radar, you can fly into London and then take a low-cost carrier to another destination within Europe. Just make sure to compare the cost of redeeming your miles versus a paid ticket, as you might be surprised that using your Avios, even with this promotion, isn’t always the best option.

Featured image by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy.

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