Does It Make Sense to Use Avios for British Airways’ Buy on Board Menu?

May 22, 2019

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British Airways offers a paid buy on board menu for most flights in Euro Traveller (the short-haul European economy flights). Flights operating to and from London City Airport (LCY) are an exception to this rule.

If you are purchasing food and drinks on board, you may have noticed you have the option of paying by cash (i.e. credit card) or with Avios.

So is it a good deal to pay with Avios? Let’s look at some examples to determine the value you’re getting from using Avios this way.

From the current menu, here are some popular items:

  • Cheddar Cheese Ploughman’s sandwich (206g) £3.60 / 515 Avios
  • Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Hand Cooked Crisps (40g) £1.15 / 165 Avios
  • Globetrotting Percy Pig (170g) £2.00 / 285 Avios
  • Cru Kafe Fresh Roasted Coffee (12 oz) £2.50 / 355 Avios
  • Diet Coke (330ml) £1.95 / 280 Avios
  • Pannier Brut NV Champagne (375 ml) £17.00 / 2,430 Avios
  • Heineken Lager Beer (330ml) £4.45 / 635 Avios

All of these payment options in the examples above will provide an Avios value of between 0.69p and 0.71p each. So, let’s take an average value of 0.7 per Avios if redeemed this way. This is well below the current TPG UK valuation of Avios of 1.2p. So, generally we would not recommend using your Avios to pay for on board products.

If you have a small Avios balance and want to get closer to getting 1.2p in value from each Avios rather than the 0.7p if paying for your next M&S food item on board, how can you get there? Consider redeeming for a Reward Flight Saver instead. These start as low as 4,000 Avios for a one-way off-peak fare plus £17.50 in fees and taxes.

Say you want to go to Paris for the Bank Holiday this weekend with British Airways. A one-way cash fare starts at £96.

However, you could book a Reward Flight Saver for just 4,500 Avios (as it is a peak date), plus £17.50.

So, you could use 4,500 Avios plus £17.50 to save £96. This would give you an Avios value of 1.74p each — that’s more than double the value you would receive by using your Avios to buy food on board a British Airways flight.

Featured image by Daniel Ross / The Points Guy

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