This is an often overlooked perk of the British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) loyalty programme that can be utilised to great effect. Namely, the ability to use Avios for any flight, regardless of whether or not there are reward seats available to book!
You can book an Avios ticket on any BA flight by paying double the miles that the flight would ordinarily require.
This double Avios benefit is known as a Gold Priority Reward and is unfortunately/fortunately restricted to those with BA Gold status or above. However, Gold members can book Gold Priority Rewards flights for ‘anyone’ through their account. If you have a family member/colleague/friend who has BA Gold status, you can access this benefit too!
Saving huge amounts by using Gold Priority Rewards
If used cleverly, the value that can be achieved is phenomenal. I ran a couple of examples to show when you would be best using such a benefit, and the financial savings you could make as a result.
Before I go any further, there are 2 key points to note:
- Gold Priority Rewards must be booked a minimum of 30 days before the flight.
- You cannot use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher alongside a Gold Priority Reward.
1.) February half-term
If you haven’t hit the slopes over Christmas and New Year, many people choose to get their fix over the February half-term period. Cue ridiculous pricing….
Here is the price for flights from London to Salzburg:
And here is Geneva which is even more eye-watering:
Alternatively, both Salzburg and Geneva are priced at 9,000 Avios return during peak times. If you were to make a Gold Priority Reward (GPR) booking it would cost 18,000 Avios per person.
Even factoring in the double Avios cost, you would still be getting between 3.5 and 4p of value per Avios – that’s tremendous!
2.) Christmas/New Year
South Africa has long been an expensive destination to get to direct from the UK. This is especially true for Cape Town where BA can pretty much set the prices as they wish on those flights.
This means that travel over the Christmas period for example, is pricey to say the least.
Here are the fares for an Economy return:
If you thought that was bad, here’s a quote for Club World:
This is where the value of the Gold Priority Reward can really come through.
Needless to say, these are considered peak dates, which means an Avios ticket in Economy costs 50,000 Avios and Club World requires 150,000 Avios.
By booking a Gold Priority Reward you would be paying 100,000 Avios instead of £1,929 in Economy, which works out as 1.9p of value per Avios. Alternatively, you could pay 300,000 Avios rather than £6,354 for Club World, giving you a return of 2.1p per Avios. Both of those are fantastic value!
Now, I appreciate that if wanting to travel as a couple, a Club World redemption would cost 600,000 Avios, a huge amount of Avios for the casual collector, but if you are Avios rich and prefer to save your cash – it is a great option.
How to book a Gold Priority Reward?
Gold Priority Rewards cannot be booked online and must be made via the service centre. As mentioned, you must book at least 30 days in advance and cannot use a 2-4-1 voucher alongside a double Avios booking. The ability to use a 2-4-1 would change the equation entirely of course.
There are a couple of key bits of other info to be aware of:
- Flight(s) must still have seats available for sale in the desired cabin of travel.
- Double Avios points may not be used in conjunction with Avios & Money, Gold Upgrade for Two; or Avios for Upgrade or American Express Vouchers.
- You can only book a Gold Priority Reward on BA flights (excluding, in most cases, London Cityflyer services).
- When you book your flight, the standard Avios points price for a reward flight will be debited immediately. The additional Avios points will be debited from your account within 21 days. (There used to be a quirk whereby the second lot of Avios ‘remained’ in your account. This now seems to have been fixed).
There are also no cancellation/change fees with Gold Priority Rewards which is a great perk. That means you can lock in a double Avios booking, and then monitor to see if standard availability opens up. If it does, you simply rebook and cancel your existing booking – at no cost.
The Gold Priority Reward is an excellent and underestimated benefit. The best value will be had by utilising it on otherwise expensive, short-haul routes. I have just highlighted a couple of examples, in truth the list is extensive. Summer flights to Greece, the Monaco Grand Prix are other examples where the cash prices can be sky-high. Being able to redeem Avios, even at a premium, is a definite plus.
Long-haul is a slightly different story. The number of Avios required to use Gold Priority Rewards on longer flights will be a deterrent to most. Nevertheless, depending on how many Avios you have and how you earn them, you will need to look at each scenario individually.
Remember, a BA Gold cardholder can use their account to make bookings for others – don’t overlook this option just because you don’t have BA Gold status.
You can find more info on this benefit by visiting this page of the BA website and selecting Gold Priority Reward.