The difference between British Airways’ Avios + Money and Avios Part-Payment
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There are plenty of different ways to use your British Airways Avios, and one of the best value uses is redeeming them for reward flights. You can use Avios to points to fully cover a reward flight, as well as use them to reduce the cost of normal cash fares. It’s important to know the difference between the two, and how you should choose between the two when redeeming Avios.
Avios + Money
You can redeem your Avios for flights by searching on the British Airways website. Note that availability of Avios seats can be limited, and you may find your desired flight is not available to book with Avios — especially if it’s a popular route, a popular time of year (like school holidays) or a premium cabin.
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British Airways and its partner airlines limit these Avios seats, as they would much rather sell the seats as a full-price revenue fare than a lower-value Avios redemption. But, BA does make some seats available to drive loyalty and make the Executive Club programme attractive for its members.
On top of the Avios required, you will need to pay an additional amount for the fees, taxes and surcharges, which can be substantial. So this is where the concept of Avios + Money comes from — you use some Avios and some money. On Reward Flight Savers, you now have the option of paying more Avios to reduce the cash amount.
This can generally be a poor use of Avios in terms of value you’re getting for the points you’d expend, so we would avoid using as many Avios as you can in this way.
You may also have the option to pay fewer Avios and more money if you would rather save some of those Avios up for another use. You will not earn Tier Points or Avios by taking these reward flights.
You can also use Avios to part pay some of the cost of a normal cash fare. Availability of these fares is not restricted, unlike how typical reward seats are. Plus, you can earn Tier Points and Avios for taking these flights.
You may see this option when you go to pay for your cash fare, where you’re offered a reduced cash amount if you use a set amount of Avios.
If this is sounding familiar to the Avios + Money process? Well, it is. With both methods, you can choose to part with more Avios in exchange for less cash. A key difference is that Avios + Money is only available for a limited number of reward seats, whereas the Avios Part-Payment can be used on all seats.
So which should you use?
If both options are available to you on the flights you want and you are keen to use and get the most value for your Avios, which option should you choose? Let’s look at an example to check the value of both.
Say you’re looking at a return from London (LHR) to Chicago (ORD) in World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy). There is Avios + Money availability on the dates you want to travel as follows:
Let’s say you want to use the maximum amount of Avios (66,000) and the least amount of cash. Using TPG U.K.’s current valuation of Avios, this would cost you £726 worth of Avios plus £535.43, so £1,261.43.
If you used the least amount of Avios (26,400) and more cash this would cost you £290.40 worth of Avios plus £835.43, so £1,1125.83. Saving you £135 by our current valuations, hence why we recommend using minimum Avios and maximum cash.
Now let’s look at the same flights using the Avios part payment for a cash fare. In World Traveller Plus, without using any Avios, the flights are retailing for £1,137 and you would earn 7, 906 Avios for the flights.
In this instance, I’d view the savings made using the earlier Avios redemptions as negligible and chose the cash fare rather than an Avios seat, opting to also earn the Avios and Tier Points for the trip and hopefully build myself put towards achieving status.
If you do choose the cash fare you’ll see you can reduce the price by using some Avios. The maximum example would reduce the price by £70 by using 9,900 Avios.
You may realise that this is not going to get you much value for your Avios — we value those 21,500 Avios at £108.90, way higher than the £70 you are saving off your cash fare. In terms of value, 3,400 Avios (valued at £37.40) for a £30 saving might be more appealing if you really wanted to knock money off the flights.
Avios + Money redemptions are for limited redemption reward seats where you use a larger amount of Avios and a smaller amount of cash. Meanwhile, Avios Part-Payment is for any cash fare and you can reduce the cash price slightly by using some Avios.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which to choose. In the Chicago example above, I would pick the cash fare and then not use any Avios as Part-Payment. On the other hand, if you are looking to fly one-way in First class tomorrow, the cash fare may be obscenely high whereas there may be last-minute Avios + Money availability, which can give you great value.
If both payment options are available for your next flight, keep in mind our suggested valuation of Avios and run a few quick calculations as I have above to work out what will get the best value for your Avios.
Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images.
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