Plenty of people manage to build up a respectable pile of Avios, often achieved by spending on either the British Airways Credit Card or the British Airways Premium Plus Card. This often means that they find themselves sitting on about 100,000-150,000 Avios and a British Airways 2-4-1 companion voucher.
And then comes the ‘what’s the best way of spending them’ conundrum?
Earning 125,000 Avios may seem like a lot, but let’s give that number some context. If a couple each applied (and then one referred the other) for a BA Premium Plus Card and an Amex Gold card – they’d net 134,500 Avios – it’s genuinely achievable.
Your options for spending them:
Good value short-haul redemptions
This may be a good way to slowly burn through your stack of Avios. I’ve written before about BA’s Reward Flight Saver scheme which allows you to redeem Avios on short-haul European flights for just £35 /£50 return in economy and business class respectively. While this may give you excellent value for the miles, it isn’t particularly aspirational.
Additionally, burning a BA 2-4-1 voucher on short-haul flights is a bit of a waste given its potential value.
Use them to experience Club World/First class
BA operates long-haul aircraft featuring proper Club World to destinations such as Moscow and Tel Aviv. Select flights even feature a four-class aircraft including First Class.
A couple can fly First Class return to either of those cities and still have plenty of Avios to spare. Again, the wisdom of utilising a 2-4-1 voucher on those, still short-ish routes, could be called into question. Although to be fair, using a 2-4-1 voucher could save you as much as 100,000 Avios on a return First Class trip to Tel Aviv.
Long-haul business class flights
This surely is one of the best sweet spots for roughly 125,000 Avios plus a 2-4-1 companion voucher.
You can book return business class flights for two people using a 2-4-1 voucher plus 125,000 Avios or less* to numerous destinations, including:
- Cape Town
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New York
- San Fransisco
- St Lucia
- Turks and Caicos
*Some destinations will require off-peak travel dates to stay within the 125,000 Avios limit
Let’s talk taxes
We can’t ignore them – the BA bashers out there definitely don’t ignore them. The fact remains that when flying from the UK, a long-haul business/first class Avios redemption will cost you £500+ per person.
And if you’re trying to use a 2-4-1 companion voucher, you have no choice but to start your journey from the UK.
In truth, this is a topic for a separate post, but while shelling out £500+ in taxes stings, using a 2-4-1 voucher means that two people can fly business class on 11-hour+ return flights for £1,000ish plus 125,000 Avios. That still looks a pretty decent deal from where I’m sitting.
Tip: Accumulating enough Avios for First Class may seem a tough ask but bear in mind that the taxes are often the same (or very slightly higher) as those payable for business class. If you can cobble together the extra Avios, you can enjoy a far superior experience for the same ‘price’.
To illustrate, here’s a comparison of the taxes required for business v first class from Heathrow to Chicago:
Nothing in it…literally
Alternatively, if you feel as some do, that a flatbed is a flatbed and can’t justify spending the extra Avios on say, a ‘short’ overnight back from New York, why not book First outbound and Club World for the way back.
In my Chicago example above, First costs an extra 20,000 Avios each way over Club World. That would give you access to the First Wing at Heathrow as well as the Concorde Room, plus an altogether better product – at least as far as the seat is concerned.
Keep in mind
A few key points that are worth remembering:
- Most of the time, you can make a booking using a BA 2-4-1 voucher online at ba.com as with any other Avios booking.
- Some popular destinations may require you to book as soon as seats are released -i.e. midnight GMT 355 days before the flight.
- As with an ordinary booking, you can cancel up until 24 hours before your first flight and receive a full Avios refund as well as your 2-4-1 voucher back.
The ability to save up to 200,000 Avios on a single booking reaffirms my belief that the British Airways 2-4-1 voucher remains the single most valuable benefit for ongoing spending in the UK credit card market today.
Don’t assume you need to accumulate hundreds of thousands of Avios just to use them for something worthwhile. The 2-4-1 voucher allows you to reduce the amount of Avios required for a business/first class trip to a far more achievable target.