50% Off Long-Haul Economy Avios Redemptions — But They’re Still Poor Value

Filed Under: Awards, British Airways

From now until June 19, 2018, British Airways is discounting the Avios required for almost 100 long-haul economy routes. This is for travel ex-Heathrow and ex-Gatwick between September 1, 2018, and May 31, 2019.

You can either redeem one-way, or return.

Sounds like a great deal, right?

Unfortunately only the Avios required are reduced, and not the substantial taxes, fees and carrier imposed surcharges. I actually don’t think the Avios required for British Airways economy redemptions are that high, but it is the co-payment that absolutely kills the deal for me.

Some examples

I’ve been considering travelling to Florida later this year on British Airways, using Avios. So naturally I’m interested in this offer, although I would far prefer to travel in a premium class.

So I’ve looked up the half-price Avios offer for my preferred dates:

16,250 points for a return long-haul flight seems like an excellent deal, yes? Remember, that’s half price — it would usually be twice the amount of Avios.

But here is the price for revenue economy seats for the exact same flights:

That means if you are using Avios, you will be paying 16,250 to save only around £25. That means you are only achieving about one tenth of a pence value from each Avios, whereas I value my Avios at about one pence each (so ten times the value!).

And remember, you won’t earn any Avios or Executive Club/oneworld tier points/status credits on award flights.

Let’s look at another example, which may give us better value, to a premium destination. Let’s go to Tokyo. Here is the 50% off Avios redemption price:

Versus the revenue fares for the same dates:

This is better value.

To save around £300 you could redeem 19,500 Avios. This gives you a value of around 1.5 pence per Avios. That’s good value.

However, I’m comparing the exact same flights. Given you would not be earning any Avios/miles/points or status credits on these flights, if you don’t have status, you may as well shop around and be flexible with dates which reduces the price down to this:

Sure they’re not direct, but y’all know how much I love a stopover anyway!

If you can get a revenue fare for as low as £500, that means that unless you are desperate to fly British Airways economy (and I’m not), suddenly those 19,500 Avios are only going to be worth about £75, which is only about one-third of a pence (so a third of what I would value them at).

Bottom line

In certain circumstances, this is a great deal. If you are looking for a one-way to an exotic destination, and are happy to fly in economy, then you could really score a great deal and obtain well over one pence in value for each Avios you are redeeming.

But in most situations in this deal, economy redemptions are terrible value. If you don’t have status, I would encourage you to shop around for a good deal.

Save your points and miles for a premium experience please! If premium economy was included in this offer I would definitely consider it.

While also not included in this offer, short-haul Avios redemptions remain excellent value.

Have you ever redeemed Avios for long-haul economy redemptions?

  1. What about flying from outside of UK (such as AMS) with a stop in London. Would the extra fees remain?

  2. Solution: Redeem Avios by Flying from outside of UK (Dublin, AMS) with a stop in London. This should eliminate some of the fees

  3. You have to remember though that you have to pay full price for your first segment, i.e. 4000 instead of 2000 Avios for off-peak under 650 miles. There are also alternatives such has departing from Brazil or Hong Kong who have fuel surcharge capped or made it illegal. Of course that’s only good for a one-way flight but in case somebody is working on an around the world ticket this might be useful or if you can find a cheap one-way flight and pay cash for it.

  4. What about airports like HKG or Gru where there usually aren’t any fees? Can you actually make a more helpful post where you detail actual ‘deals’ using this sale?

  5. James, you should consider visiting Tehran. BA flies once daily, and the return flight IKA-LHR is 31,250/37,500 Avios (off peak/peak) in club world with only ~$9 In taxes and fees. For some reason it is one of the few BA long haul routes that are exempt from the taxes.

  6. Booked HKG – LHR for 9750 Avios and 35 EUR. Insane Value for a 12:40 hrs flight on A380’s upper deck

  7. I agree with everyone else. Ex-EU and Ex-HKG/Brazil are great options to make the most of the sale.

    I’m personally eyeing up CPT to LAX via LHR for 16,250 Avios + about €240 cash (I know YQ sucks but it means I don’t have to transfer as many AMEX MR points as I would otherwise have to for such a long trip.

    BTW @James slight correction, the sale’s only going on until June 17th. Says so on BA’s site 🙂

  8. Do the taxes/fees only apply leaving England/UK?
    That is, were I to use Avios points one way from LAX to HEathrow, those nasty taxes and fees are minimal as opposed to the return, HTR-LAX?

  9. @Patrick Oh partially. You’ll avoid paying UK APD taxes but you’ll still have to pay the dreaded BA fuel surcharges. So they won’t be minimal, just reduced.

  10. It seems that on one way flights departing from Brazil the surcharges are still applied – the first screen shows you for GIG-LHR (9750 Avios + € 25.91) then when you click continue the price jumps to (9750 Avios + €171.89).
    The 171,89 are 25.91(International Embarkation Tax – Brazil) + Carrier imposed charge 146.41
    I thought Flights from Brazil do not have any additional charges or am I mistaken?

  11. Welcome aboard James, nice to see a fellow expat Antipodean, albeit from the holiday island to the west , join the OMAAT experts.

    I am sitting on around 53,000 Avios points earned mostly from occasional work long haul trips in Club World and had been wondering what my friend, neighbour and corporate travel agent could do with those for la famille of four to use up one spare week of the August school holidays.

    From what you say, not much. Wrong dates, for a start.

    Timely advice which will be passed on to said travel agent. Many thanks.

  12. The deal is absolute fantastic but only for particular destinations, as you mentioned. I also searched for Miami flights and found that it wasn’t worth using up my Avios for that, similarly with Singapore surprisingly. However I was able to secure an unbelievable deal for return flights to Lagos, Nigeria over the new year period. With just 13,000 avios points and £339, I booked a flight that currently costs £1,013 from 27 Dec til 10th Jan without any avios.

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