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If you spend £10k in a year (or £20k on the free card – but see details of our “spend-lowering” loophole here) you get a voucher in your BA Executive Club account which allows you to book 2 tickets for the Avios of 1 (although you also have to pay the taxes and fees for both seats).
In the past, I have used one of these for a First Class open jaw Heathrow-Washington/New York-Heathrow. The cash price of these tickets was thousands of pounds, and even the Economy flight price was about £1000 each on the dates we wanted, yet for around £500 each in taxes and 120k Avios (pre-devaluation), we flew in First.
This is of course an example of a pretty much “maximum value” use of your BA Amex 241. Flying long haul in First Class at a price of 120k Avios (and there are of course more extreme examples of this), means you’re getting a further 120k Avios “for free”.
However, long haul in a premium cabin is not the only way to extract value from the 241 voucher, not least because “value” will often be very heavily defined by your personal circumstances.
Here’s an example…
More recently, I used the 241 on an intra-Europe Business Class short-haul. This is not always the best use of the voucher, as the more Avios you spend, the more you save with the voucher – and you’ll obviously spend more on long-haul flights. However, there was a compelling reason for it and, as you’ll see below – I still got great value from it.
The opportunity arose to spend an upcoming weekend in half term in Nice with a very good friend. The cash tickets on our selected days were £176 each in EuroTraveller (Economy) or a whopping £1045 in Club Europe (Business). On my own, or with my wife, I would go for Economy as I can get into the lounge with my Silver card, and I value being able to choose the leg room seats for free at the time of booking. But my friend wouldn’t have been able to come into the lounge and had never flown business – so I stumped up £150, the 241 voucher and 33,500 Avios for three Club Europe tickets. Is that good value? Let’s do the maths:
The cash price of the tickets was £1045. Each Avios booking required £50 in taxes, so the cost for comparison is £995. Each ticket was 16750 Avios so the value per Avios achieved on the straight payment was 5.94p/Avios. Using the 241 this was doubled as we got flights ‘worth’ £1990 for 16750 Avios, returning 11.88p/Avios. A more usual value is about 1p/Avios!
However…the astute amongst you will not have missed the quote marks around ‘worth’. I mentioned above that I wouldn’t pay cash for the Club Europe seats on a trip like this but would have paid cash for economy. Taking into account the taxes of £35 a seat, we saved £140 a head, valuing the 8500 Avios that would have been needed at 1.65p/Avios or 3.3p/Avios with the voucher.
So did I get good value from the BA Amex 241 voucher? Yes, absolutely! I actually saved £140 and will get an experience BA are selling for £1045. I did have to pay £150 for the card in the first instance which is important to factor in (although do note our workaround on this point, here) – I could have not had the card and just put the £150 to the cash flight. But in taking up the paid card, I also earned an additional 16,000 Avios on sign-up over the free card (26,000 versus 10,000).
And even without these complicated sums, it will frankly be worth it for the look on our friend’s face when she is sipping champagne in the lounge and on the plane! There will also be more leg room in Row 1 and a decent meal like this one:
So, the bottom line, as I always tell people, is that your BA Amex 241 voucher is good value for you when you are happy with the redemption, it suits your circumstances and you genuinely save some money.
You can of course become obsessed with the precise “pence per Avios” value that you’re getting but ultimately, whatever the figures say, you’re getting terrible value in reality if you end up on an ultra-cheap flight to somewhere you don’t really want to go, on dates that don’t really suit you. Stick to focusing on what works for you, and let the value flow from there! If it means spending your BA Amex 241 on short-haul European flights rather than long-haul First Class – so be it.