British Airways (BA) has launched a sale on Avios redemptions to long-haul destinations. When this first landed on my desk I thought that it was a promotion targeting last-minute Christmas bookings. Except it isn’t. It’s actually a fair bit better than that as I’ll explain in a moment.

You can book World Traveller (long-haul economy) flights from Heathrow or Gatwick to more than 90 long-haul destinations for 50% fewer Avios.

 

ba 50% less avios sale.png

This means people can book a return flight to New York for just 13,000 Avios! That’s 6,500 Avios each way, which is slightly bonkers in terms of how easy it is to generate that amount of Avios.

The sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus Card (reviewed here) alone will effectively get you free return flights to New York for yourself and a partner – plus taxes of course!


Where can you go?

BA have listed some examples of various sale destinations along with the new, cheaper pricing:

Example destination Avios price for return flight now Avios price for return flight was
Toronto 13,000 26,000
New York 13,000 26,000
Boston 13,000 26,000
Dubai 13,000 26,000
Tampa 16,250 32,500
Johannesburg 16,250 32,500
Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) 16,250 32,500
Fort Lauderdale 16,250 32,500
Los Angeles 16,250 32,500
Hong Kong 19,500 39,000
Shanghai 19,500 39,000

 


Is it a good deal?

The key point here is taxes/fees/fuel surcharges or whatever BA calls them these days. Unfortunately, BA hasn’t reduced these by 50% too. That means that this sale can range from poor to excellent, depending on when you use it.

Let me illustrate using a couple of the sample destinations from the table above:

Dubai

Here is the cash price for a return journey in May 2018 (prices were actually much the same for the first half of next year generally):

ba 50% less avios sale ny example 3

And here is the price using Avios:

ba 50% less avios sale ny example 4

So you would be using 13,000 Avios to save just £115 – giving you a value of roughly £0.88p per Avios – not very good at all. 

New York

Cash price for a return journey in Economy to New York in March:

BA 50% less Avios sale NY example 2

And here is the price if using Avios:

BA 50% less Avios sale NY example 1

Clearly, this would be a terrific use of miles. You are using just 13,000 Avios to save more than £1,200! 


How to book

You can access the sale via this link.

  • Book between November 30 and December 17, 2017 for travel between January 4 and June 30, 2018.
  • The required amount of Avios for reward flights in the World Traveller Cabin, travelling to or from London Heathrow or London Gatwick will be reduced by 50 percent
  •  The full airline taxes, fees and carrier charges will apply per person.
  • This offer cannot be combined with any other offer.
  • For full terms and conditions visit this page.

Verdict

I like this sale. While there is often an aspirational travel focus on Tricks of the Trade, there are plenty readers who will redeem their Avios for long-haul economy travel. As the example above illustrates, redeeming miles for long-haul Economy isn’t always a poor use of miles. Especially, if you prefer the added flexibility that Avios redemptions provide to cancel/modify your tickets or if cash tickets are particularly expensive.

I would also give BA the thumbs up for not making this sale valid solely on return journeys. You can also use it for one-way flights to the UK which is useful.

The sale homepage is here

Will you be taking advantage of the reduced Avios rates?

6 thoughts

    1. It would seem not. In fact, checking a couple of examples, booking it as 2 separate legs actually makes it (slightly) more expensive. Worth a check though.

      1. Hey Harry, love the blog!!
        @SuiteJ should keep in mind that for cancellation purposes there are both pros and cons to booking RT vs OW.

        1. You raise a good point. I often will book 2 one-ways to allow me to change the return leg after I’ve already flown the outbound part of my journey. As you say, need to price up each situation to work out pros and cons.

    1. The way the BA reward chart works means that each leg is priced separately – effectively removing the advantage of ‘stopovers’ on reward flights. So you can basically book any flight at 50% off, provided that it either departs/arrives at either Heathrow or Gatwick.

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