How to Use British Airways Avios and Money
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When you book a flight with British Airways or its partners on BritishAirways.com, you may see the option to pay with money, Avios or a combination of both. You will often get great value by making a straight redemption, where you pay for the ticket entirely using Avios and just pay for the fees and taxes and any surcharges in cash.
However, you may not have sufficient Avios in your account to cover the cost of the entire flight, or you may not wish to use so many Avios for one redemption. So, British Airways gives you the option to pay with a combination of Avios and money for redemptions on British Airways or its partners — with the exception of Oneworld members Japan Airlines and S7 Airlines.
Note that this is also classed as a redemption, so it’s dependent on the limited award availability, even though you may still be paying a large amount of the fare in cash.
This is different to ‘part pay with Avios’, where you reduce the cost of a standard cash fare by receiving a small discount in exchange for using some Avios to pay.
As an example, here is a redemption search for a World Traveller Plus (premium economy) flight from London to Boston. The search shows a flight available for the redemption cost of 26,000 Avios plus £345.35.
By clicking the ‘More pricing options’ button, you will be given the option of reducing the Avios cost by increasing the cash component of your fare.
British Airways is also currently trialling the option to pay for taxes with Avios on certain routes, reducing the cash component down to almost 0 by using even more Avios.
So, Is This a Good Deal, and How Much Cash Should You Pay?
Perhaps the best way to think about this is not that you are saving Avios, but instead you are buying more, as you are handing over slightly more money in order not to use as many Avios. You would have used the full 26,000 Avios for a standard redemption, but you are buying some of them back by paying more money.
So if you think of it as buying Avios, what is a good price to buy them for?
Looking at the two ends of the scale of the pricing options, the smallest amount of additional cash you can pay is £45 in order to save 5,200 Avios. This would mean the cost to buy these Avios is 0.86p each.
The other end of the scale is to pay an additional £120 in order to save the largest 15,600 Avios. This would mean the cost to buy these Avios is 0.76p each.
So is this a good deal? In short, yes, it’s a great deal. You can regularly buy Avios through various sale offers via places like Groupon for around 1.1-1.3p each, so this is a much cheaper price. TPG UK values Avios at around 1.2p each in our monthly valuations, so being able to pick them up for as low as 0.76p each is an excellent value, assuming you can obtain (at least) 1.1p in value from each.
Note that as this is a redemption, you are unable to change the route or airline after making an Avios and Money booking, although you can cancel the booking up to 24 hours in advance to receive a refund of both the Avios and cash that you have paid, which is a great flexibility option.
Also note you do not earn full Avios and Tier Points for the booking, as per a standard redemption.
Featured photo by Paul Evans / flickr.