How key NHS workers can maximise 60,000 Avios

May 19, 2020

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British Airways’ loyalty programme Avios has announced that at least 3,500 key NHS workers fighting the coronavirus on the front lines will receive 60,000 Avios as a thank you for their hard work. If you would also like to donate some of your Avios to these workers, you can do so here.

For those NHS workers selected, 60,000 Avios is a sizable amount — worth just over £600 based on TPG U.K.’s valuations. NHS workers receiving this gift can really maximise their travel by using the Avios for the best value in the following ways.

Good-value uses vs. poor-value uses

In general, we think you can achieve the best value for your Avios when redeeming them for flights, especially in premium cabins. Long-haul economy redemptions can make sense where corresponding cash fares are high, but be aware that the fees, taxes and surcharges imposed by British Airways on Avios redemptions can be sizable. Always check the price of cash fares, as sale fares may be so cheap that it doesn’t make sense to use all those Avios for such little value.

You can generally obtain at least 1p per Avios value for premium cabin flight redemptions. You can also choose to redeem Avios for other uses like hotels, gift vouchers, theatre tickets, car hire or beer, wine or spirits. However, you can expect to receive far less value — well under 1p per Avios — for these non-flight redemptions. We’re predicting NHS workers might be very ready for a holiday once the coronavirus pandemic has passed.

If you want to get the best value from your Avios, here are our suggestions on how to use 60,000 of them.

Fly 4 people return to many places in Europe

Reward Flight Savers are a great way to see Europe without breaking the bank. You can book a flight for as few as 4,000 Avios one-way, per person with low, fixed fees and taxes of £17.50. This low amount applies to BA’s shortest flights of up to 600 miles in length on off-peak dates.

The 60,000 Avios would be enough for you to take a family of four return on either a peak or off-peak date to many places in Europe that BA flies, including popular destinations like:

  • Alicante (ALC);
  • Barcelona (BCN);
  • Budapest (BUD);
  • Dubrovnik (DBV);
  • Florence (FLR);
  • Lisbon (LIS);
  • Madrid (MAD);
  • Rome (FCO); and
  • Vienna (VIE).

You could choose to reduce your fees and taxes by paying more Avios, though we think the sweet spot is to choose the £17.50 per person, per flight amount. By paying less cash in taxes and fees, you’ll pay more Avios, reducing the value of each one redeemed.

To reach European destinations further afield with Avios like Greece, Turkey and the Canary Islands, you would need 68,000 Avios for four people, off-peak.

Related: How to get the best value out of BA’s Reward Flight Saver redemptions

Famous iconic Trevi Fountain at Piazza Di Trevi.
Famous iconic Trevi Fountain at Piazza Di Trevi, Rome. (Photo by Getty Images)

One person, return anywhere British Airways flies*

British Airways has a huge global route network, and those 60,000 Avios would be more than enough to fly off-peak in World Traveller (economy) for one person, return to such far-flung destinations as:

  • Bangkok (BKK);
  • Buenos Aires (EZE):
  • Kuala Lumpur (KUL);
  • Hong Kong (HKG);
  • Los Angeles (LAX);
  • Mauritius (MRU);
  • Santiago (SCL);
  • Seychelles (SEZ); and
  • Tokyo (HND).

The asterisk represents the only single destination 60,000 Avios would not be far enough to reach: Sydney (SYD). It’s the farthest city BA flies to, requiring 65,000 Avios return in World Traveller.

As mentioned above, fees, taxes and surcharges are payable on all Avios redemptions so check against the price of cash fares. Los Angeles (LAX), for example, is regularly on sale so you may be able to find a cheap cash fare and save those Avios for something more valuable.

Beautiful woman in an infinity pool overlooking the skyline of Bangkok, Thailand (Photo by Matteo Colombo/Getty Images)
Bangkok, Thailand (Photo by Matteo Colombo/Getty Images)

Premium economy return to New York

You’ll need 52,000 Avios for an off-peak return Avios redemption in World Traveller Plus (premium economy) to NYC. New York (JFK) is a popular option for Avios redemptions as the multiple daily frequencies on the route mean there is usually good availability to use Avios. If New York (JFK) does not take your fancy, then Boston (BOS) or Washington, D.C. (IAD) will set you back the same number of Avios.

Related: The hardest and easiest long-haul routes on which you can typically find Avios availability

One person, one-way in business class to the Middle East or East Coast USA

If you’ve never flown in business class before, this could be a great chance to try it out. Those 60,000 Avios are enough for one person to fly Club World business class one-way on a peak or off-peak date to various destinations in the Middle East like Dubai (DXB), Abu Dhabi (AUH) or Doha (DOH). Alternatively, you could choose a range of destinations on the East Coast of North America like New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Montreal (YUL), Philadelphia (PHL), Toronto (YYZ) or Washington, D.C. (IAD).

Try and fly British Airways new Club Suite if possible for the best experience.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

To those NHS workers in line to receive an Avios gift, thank you for your hard work and we hope you can maximise the value of the Avios you are receiving.

If you would like to donate some of your Avios to ensure as many worthy NHS key workers as possible can receive their 60,000 Avios gift, you can donate here.

Featured image by Ben Smithson / The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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