How to get the best value from your Avios air miles
The UK Avios Travel Rewards Programme will close by the end of July 2018, but the currency Avios will remain. Here are some tricks to make the most of your air miles.
As part of the Avios Travel Rewards Programme closure, some customers will be moved to the British Airways Executive Club where they’ll be able to continue collecting and spending Avios in much the same way as before, but with some new benefits.
If you spend your points cleverly there are some tricks to help you stretch your points further. First of all, time when you book your seat because each British Airways flight has an allocation of seats reserved for people using Avios.
For these lucky individuals two business and four economy seats are guaranteed on each British Airways flight. The seats are allocated exactly 355 days ahead of departure when a flight opens up for booking.
Over time, it’s also likely that even more seats will be released, including First Class and World Traveller Plus seats. But the only way to be absolutely sure to travel in an Avios booked seat on a particular day is to ensure you book 355 days in advance.
As this is not possible for many of us, the advice is, if you find that the first lot of guaranteed seats has been snapped up, keep checking just in case extra seats are released.
Generally, using Avios to get free flights is most popular on European trips. For this, you require a minimum 8,000 points for the nearest destinations such as London to Paris, London to Amsterdam or London to Prague. To get from London to New York or Dubai is more of a challenge: you need to have 40,000 points per person for that sort of journey.
One of the most popular ways to boost the number of points you have is by opening a credit card that pays Avios reward points. There are currently big bonuses of as much as 25,000 Avios when you sign up to one of these. You can compare the best cards to choose from with our special guide.
It’s not really worthwhile cashing in Avios for long haul economy flights as the taxes add around £300 or more to the cost of the journey. You will be able to find cheap tickets that cost around the same so keep your points for using later on something that is better value.
Sometimes, when travelling on business or visiting a number of different locations, when you have to book a single trip, it can be worth using Avios to purchase the seat. However, be careful to check the cost before you book because it won’t always be possible to achieve high value for your Avios on all one-way trips.
As often as possible, during the booking process, look out for the off-peak tickets, which appear in the corner of the calendar on the British Airways Executive Club Avios site with a green mark. They can also be checked during the planning process on a website calendar of off-peak dates. To find this on the British Airways website, scroll down to a tab that refers to “Working out the cost” and the calendar can be accessed by clicking “Learn more”.
Swapping Avios for upgrades gets you a slice of luxury. The equation for upgrading using Avios is: the number of Avios for the cabin to which you wish to upgrade, minus the Avios for the cabin in which you make your booking, equals the Avios needed for the upgrade. However, it’s only possible to upgrade a ticket with Avios by one class – that is, economy to premium economy, or premium economy to business class. And it’s only possible to upgrade a standard economy seat, not a basic economy seat.
When the change happens at the end of July 2018 people who are enrolled in the new scheme will be able to collect Avios with the British Airways Avios eStore as well as using the currency to make part payments and save money on flights. They will also be part of the oneworld® alliance, accessing all its benefits, as well as collecting Tier Points when flying with British Airways and its partner airlines.
If you are keen to take advantage of any of the deals that can be accessed with Avios then finder has done the work for you. You can read about Avios points here.