You can now choose Avios as a refund option for your cancelled British Airways flight

May 21, 2020

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British Airways has introduced another option for passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted because of the coronavirus. Passengers can now opt to build their Avios balance, rather than receiving a cash refund.

As with airlines around the world, BA has been forced to cancel thousands of flights. When an airline cancels a passenger’s flight, the passenger is entitled to a full refund. British Airways will continue to offer this as an option for flights booked directly with British Airways or BA Holidays. As first reported by Head for Points, it’s also now giving passengers the choice of receiving Avios, rather than cash (or a Future Travel Voucher), where the flight was a cash booking.

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So is this a good deal? If you want to top up your Avios balance, it’s an excellent deal. British Airways has advised TPG U.K. that it will now “sell you” the Avios (as you are forfeiting your cash refund by receiving the Avios instead) at approximately half the normal price.

Another way to think of this is that it’s a 100% bonus on the regular cost of buying Avios, which is even better than the best-ever bonus of 75% that British Airways recently offered its Executive Club members. British Airways uses a sliding scale for the cost of purchasing Avios, where the more you purchase, the cheaper the price per Avios. Without any bonuses, the best price per Avios is around 1.6p apiece. So a half-price offer — or 100% bonus — would bring the cost down to 0.8p per Avios, well below our current valuation of Avios of 1.1p each.

As always, keep in mind the risks and other pitfalls of purchasing points and miles. While this is a great deal if you can use the Avios right now, it’s unlikely the Avios will ever be worth more than they are right now, though they could definitely be worth less in the future.

If you wish to take advantage of this unique offer, you will need to ensure you have a cash booking cancelled by British Airways, and you will need to call British Airways to process the offer.

Related: British Airways’ loyalty programme donating 210 million Avios to NHS workers — and you can help as well

There are no changes to refunds to flights booked with Avios. If you wish to cancel your booking before the airline does, you can receive all of your Avios and fees, taxes and surcharges back minus a small cancellation fee. Where the BA cancels your Avios redemption flight, you can choose to either call to receive a full refund of Avios and all fees, taxes and surcharges with no cancellation fee (as the airline cancelled your flight, not you). If you choose to accept a Future Travel Voucher online instead, both the Avios and fees, taxes and surcharges are held in the Voucher. This is a frustrating process because there’s no way to check the value of the Avios, or the taxes in the voucher.

This is a nice development from British Airways by allowing passengers a new way to receive funds they’re owed. If you’re looking to top up your Avios balance, consider taking advantage of this new offer.

Featured image by Gettys Images

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