New £1 ‘taxes’ from British Airways. Is this a good way to spend Avios? In specific cases, actually Yes!

A few months ago customers on selected intra-European routes were given the option to pay a sole £1 in taxes, fees and surcharges in exchange for extra Avios when redeeming for Reward Flight Saver.

Avios logo

The trial seemed to justify extending this further to the rest of Europe (including UK domestic flights). The official press release does not make clear whether this is a wider trial or if this is becoming a permanent option.

Old Pricing

Previously you would pay the following amounts for return flights to Zone 1/2/3, as mentioned in this pricing table and referenced against Peak/Off peak calendar and BA's online calculator:

  • Off-Peak Euro Traveller: 8000/13000/17000 Avios + £35
  • Peak Euro Traveller: 9000/15000/20000 Avios + £35
  • Off-Peak Club Europe: 15500/25500/34000 + £50
  • Peak Club Europe: 18000/30000/40000 + £50

New Pricing

The following section breaks down ALL pricing options available for RFS zones. This assumes that you travel in the same cabin both ways and you don't mix off-peak and peak periods although in reality you will be able to do so.

Note that after each price I mention “(0.XXp per Avios)” which indicates how much you would effectively be ‘buying in' Avios if you decided to use fewer Avios and pay more cash. Like with the previous prices, these appear to vary in value. Therefore where I have marked prices in RED indicate best values per pricing structure. Where these go under about 0.45p per Avios then there is potentially genuine value in paying these prices compared to the others, depending on how much you value your existing Avios balance.

Zone 1

Europe Traveller Off Peak

  • 15000 Avios + £ 1.00 (reference price for each group)
  • 11500 Avios + £ 21.00 (0.57p per Avios)
  • 8000 Avios + £ 31.00 (0.43p per Avios)
  • 5900 Avios + £ 61.00 (0.66p per Avios)
  • 5000 Avios + £ 71.00 (0.7p per Avios)
  • 4400 Avios + £ 81.00 (0.75p per Avios)

Europe Traveller Peak

  • 16000 Avios + £ 1.00
  • 12500 Avios + £ 21.00 (0.57p per Avios)
  • 9000 Avios + £ 31.00 (0.43p per Avios)
  • 6600 Avios + £ 71.00 (0.74p per Avios)
  • 5600 Avios + £ 81.00 (0.77p per Avios)
  • 5000 Avios + £ 91.00 (0.82p per Avios)

Club Europe Off Peak

  • 25500 Avios + £ 1.00
  • 19000 Avios + £ 31.00 (0.46p per Avios)
  • 15500 Avios + £ 51.00 (0.5p per Avios)
  • 11200 Avios + £ 81.00 (0.56p per Avios)
  • 9600 Avios + £ 101.00 (0.63p per Avios)
  • 8600 Avios + £ 121.00 (0.71p per Avios)

Club Europe Peak

  • 28000 Avios + £ 1.00
  • 22000 Avios + £ 31.00 (0.5p per Avios)
  • 18000 Avios + £ 51.00 (0.5p per Avios)
  • 13000 Avios + £ 91.00 (0.6p per Avios)
  • 11200 Avios + £ 111.00 (0.65p per Avios)
  • 10000 Avios + £ 131.00 (0.72p per Avios)

Zone 2

Europe Traveller Off Peak

  • 20000 Avios + £ 1.00
  • 16500 Avios + £ 17.50 (0.47p per Avios)
  • 13000 Avios + £ 34.00 (0.47p per Avios)
  • 7800 Avios + £ 81.00 (0.66p per. Avios)
  • 6600 Avios + £ 91.00 (0.67p per Avios)
  • 4300 Avios + £ 111.00 (0.7p per Avios)

Europe Traveller Peak

  • 22000 Avios + £ 1.00
  • 18500 Avios + £ 17.50 (0.47p per Avios)
  • 15000 Avios + £ 35.00 (0.49p per Avios)
  • 9000 Avios + £ 91.00 (0.69p per Avios.)
  • 7600 Avios + £ 101.00 (0.69p per Avios)
  • 5000 Avios + £ 121.00 (0.71p per Avios)

Club Europe Off Peak

  • 35500 Avios + £ 1.00
  • 29500 Avios + £ 25.00 (0.4p per Avios)
  • 25500 Avios + £ 51.00 (0.5p per Avios)
  • 18700 Avios + £ 111.00 (0.65p per Avios)
  • 17000 Avios + £ 121.00 (0.65p per Avios)
  • 13600 Avios + £ 141.00 (0.64p per Avios)

Club Europe Peak

  • 40000 Avios + £ 1.00
  • 35600 Avios + £ 25.00 (0.55p per Avios)
  • 30000 Avios + £ 50.00 (0.49p per Avios)
  • 22000 Avios + £ 121.00 (0.67p per Avios)
  • 20000 Avios + £ 141.00 (0.7p per Avios)
  • 16000 Avios + £ 161.00 (0.67p per Avios)

Zone 3

Europe Traveller Off Peak

  • 24000 Avios + £ 1.00
  • 20500 Avios + £ 17.50 (0.47p per Avios)
  • 17000 Avios + £ 35.00 (0.49p per Avios)
  • 11100 Avios + £ 91.00 (0.7p per Avios)
  • 8500 Avios + £ 111.00 (0.71p per Avios)
  • 6800 Avios + £ 121.00 (0.7p per Avios))

Europe Traveller Peak

  • 27000 Avios + £ 1.00
  • 23500 Avios + £ 17.50 (0.47p per Avios)
  • 20000 Avios + £ 35.00 (0.49p per Avios)
  • 13000 Avios + £ 101.00 (0.71p per Avios)
  • 10000 Avios + £ 121.00 (0.71p per Avios)
  • 8000 Avios + £ 131.00 (0.68p per Avios)

Club Europe Off Peak

  • 44000 Avios + £ 1.00
  • 37900 Avios + £ 25.00 (0.39p per Avios)
  • 34000 Avios + £ 50.00 (0.49p per Avios)
  • 24800 Avios + £ 91.00 (0.47p per Avios)
  • 21800 Avios + £ 111.00 (0.50p per Avios)
  • 18700 Avios + £ 131.00 (0.51p per Avios)

Club Europe Peak

  • 50000 Avios + £ 1.00
  • 40800 Avios + £ 25.00 (0.26p per Avios)
  • 35200 Avios + £ 50.00 (0.33p per Avios)(Notice too that the original price was 40000 Avios + £50)
  • 29200 Avios + £ 141.00 (0.67p per Avios)
  • 25600 Avios + £ 161.00 (0.66p per Avios)
  • 22000 Avios + £ 191.00 (0.68p per Avios)

Like all Reward Flight Saver tickets you will need to have earned at least 1 Avios in the previous 12 months. Most followers of this blog will not have this issue, but if this is the case then just buy something off the BA e-store or at worst just buy a small bundle of Avios.

Analysis

Calculating the numbers for Zone 1, I didn't have my hopes so high. But as I started to work out the ‘buy in' values for the others, my surprise conclusion is that I actually think this could provide genuine value especially in Zone 3 Club Europe. This of course depends on how much it cost you to get the rest of your Avios. (For your interest, the Zone 3 routes typically coincide with the 80TP routes)

The key thing is the original pricing is mostly unchanged, if anything it's actually gone down in price. And you have the choice to accept the new price or the old ones so this is a genuine enhancement to your benefit.

But if you need flexibility for a flight, this is a potential game changer as the cancellation charge is significantly reduced to just £1 if you buy the maximum Avios option. This is due to the cancellation charge being the lower of £35 or your taxes which in this case is minimal. Note you would still need to cancel far enough in advance to get your Avios back!

Another area where Reward Flight Saver redemptions offer good value is the ability to check in baggage even on Euro Traveller tickets. If you are BAEC Silver or Gold then you get additional baggage. When you compare this to Hand Baggage Only fares or BA's competitors (low-cost carrier or not) this starts to look more attractive. As frequent traveller as I am, I will still stuff my bags full given the chance.

One thing which I'm unable to test if someone redeemed a 2-4-1 Companion Voucher and decided to pick the 50000 Avios Zone 3 Club Europe route, would the taxes genuinely be £1 each, or would there be a different price for it. Maybe a reader could comment if they are able to do so.

Conclusion

I do welcome this broadening of the trial as BAEC members are given extra options on how they can redeem their Avios balance, rather than being forced to do one or the other. If you have a significant amount of Avios either the flying, buying or, erm…'churning', then the added price points could be a great way to spend your Avios.

About Tim

Tim Lai is a Chartered Engineer and a typical nerd who analyses every travel deal, travel hack and is one of the world's leading travel experts. He has travelled to around 90 countries and also speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. He has been featured on the likes of CNN, BBC and also broader websites websites like Nomad Capitalist for his deep knowledge of EU travel laws. An accredited journalist, he is happy to speak to other journalists who need expertise on travel topics.

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