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BA‘s loyalty scheme, the BA Executive Club, is running a potentially interesting offer: book a reward flight from London (LHR and LGW) in its World Traveller (long-haul Economy) cabin before 17 June for travel between 1 September 2018 and 31 May 2019, and you’ll only need to pay 50% of the Avios.
So, for example, a long-haul Economy return flight from London to LA is just 16,250 Avios, plus taxes and fees (which is the rub – see below).
Here are BA‘s own highlights (return cost):
Should you go for it?
Possibly. The issue here is it is long haul (non-Europe) Economy. As such, you cannot benefit from the capped taxes and fees via the excellent Reward Flight Saver, and while you’ll pay half Avios, you’ll pay full taxes and fees for an Economy flight.
Taking advantage of this offer of course goes against our age old advice of avoiding long haul economy reward flights (where the taxes and fees can massively reduce the value you’re getting for your hard-earned air miles), but this one is worth a look.
If you have a long-haul BA flight that you’re happy to take in Economy, or are considering one, I would do a simple price comparison between the pure cash cost and the half price Avios (plus taxes and fees). If there’s a saving via the Avios route (and I’d use a 1 pence valuation of an Avios to help guide you here), then go for it. I’m not, however, convinced that will always be the case.
An Autumn return flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong will now cost you 19500 Avios rather than 39,000 Avios, but it will also cost you £342.78 in “taxes, fees, and carrier charges”:
Before we remark on the fantastic Avios saving here though, let’s consider the pure cash price. The exact same flight will cost you £666.81 in cash, outright:
Given that we value one Avios at approximately 1 pence each, even the half price Avios option is, when you factor in the additional cash costs, setting you back £537.78.
However (and welcome to the mind of a loyalty points addict), there is an additional factor: you will earn Avios (and Tier Points) on the cash flight, but not on the reward flight. Indeed, the (give or take, depending on your BA status) 5980 Avios you will earn on the cash flight are worth about £60. So the final analysis is probably a £537.78 flight versus a £606.81 flight. So a saving, but a modest one.
That said, the Avios booking is also cancellable: you can cancel this booking at any time up to 24 hours before outbound departure and receive a full refund (including Avios redeposit), minus a service fee of £35. The value of this will vary depending on your circumstances, but it’s something else to factor in to your decision.
Ultimately, do the “cash versus discounted reward option” maths for any flight you’re considering – this is an opportunity to potentially save on a long-haul Economy flight, but don’t be blinded by the “50% off” headline.