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FlyerTalk Forums Thread Wiki: Your guide to spending Avios [Beta]
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Last edit by: Prospero


i Preface
If you are new to the British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) or a long term member but have not booked a redemption flight since the programme's relaunch in 2011, you may have realised by now that planning an Avios redemption calls for a shift in mindset, especially to those more used to redeeming miles for flights with North American frequent flyer programmes.

The purpose of this thread is to introduce you to how the BAEC works in terms of spending Avios and to share some tips will will assist you during the planning and booking stages. We'll also cover the options available to you, so you can make an informed decision on how best to maximise your Avios Points.

If you are seeking guidance on the changes to the Executive Club in relation to the programme's 2011 relaunch, the Q&A discussion serves as a very useful reference point.

ii Contents
Introduction
Standard reward flights
Multi-Partner reward flights
Reward Flight Saver
Avios & Money
Upgrading using Avios
Using your companion vouchers
Additional Gold benefits
Hotel and car rental redemptions
Avios Part Payment

iii Acknowledgments
This guide is a collaborative effort, and could not have been produced without the kind contributions from corporate-wage-slave, DWFI, LTN Phobia, Petrus, Prospero, and Stez.

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Old Aug 20, 12, 4:49 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 101
Arrow Your guide to spending Avios [Beta]


images: flickr: hilltopper, WorldofArun, Addu, NymphoBrainiac, kk+, chachahavana, d.r.i.p., Canadian Pacific, jonrawlinson, brendan ó


01 Introduction and overview

So you’ve collected a mountain of Avios Points, how do you spend them?

Well, being an airline, flights would be the logical thing, but you can also spend them on hotel stays or for car rentals or alternatively transfer them to another member if you wish.

Availability varies considerably and it can be a challenge pairing available seats with specific routes on specific dates. Even if you book 11 months in advance, you will often find that certain days of the week are permanently blocked for reward flights. In practice though reward seats often open up closer to the date of travel.

We strongly recommend redeeming for Club or First seats as this is by far the best way to get the best value for your miles. You should also ensure that you get a BA affiliated credit card as many card issuers will award you with a companion voucher after you crossed a certain sped threshold.

If you only have a modest number of Avios, the best value redemption is probably a 20,000 Avios Upgrade with Avios from World Traveller Plus to Club World between London and the East Coast USA (or another equivalent ‘zone’ at that redemption rate).

When spending Avios for flights, there are several options and we’ll cover each of those in turn.

It is worth beginning with a cautionary note. BAEC redemption tickets are calculated as a sum of the individual flights contained in your itinerary. So instead of the normal method of categorising destinations into geographical zones or bands, BAEC has adopted a tariff based on individual flight distance, where each zone is calculated relative to the real distance of each flight. Some may find it bewildering that a network carrier replaced what was an easily understood and widely accepted system of calculation with such a complicated one but BA makes the rules and the purpose of this thread is to help you understand them and maximise the value of your Avios points.


02 Redemption types

Executive Club members are presented with six redemption types:

  • Standard redemptions
  • Multi-partner redemptions
  • Reward Flight Saver
  • Upgrade using Avios
  • Hotel redemptions
  • Car rental redemptions

All flight redemptions are flexible, subject to availability, are valid for 12 months from the date of ticketing, and are pulled from specific inventory:

  • X class*: Economy
  • P class: Premium economy
  • U class: Business
  • Z class: First

* When X class seats have been depleted, Gold members are given access to V class inventory

With all redemptions tickets, you will be charged all applicable taxes. fees, and surcharges in addition to the Avios points used to fund the ticket. These extras do add up to a significant sum. When estimating the cash extras, the general rule of thumb is your Avios points are used in place of the equivalent net fare, and so the airport fees, government taxes, fuel surcharges are all assessed as extras and must be paid in cash when you book your redemption.

The ITA Matrix Airfare Search (http://matrix.itasoftware.com/) is an excellent online tool for estimating the amount of taxes, fees, and surcharges that apply to your chosen routing.


03 Travel planning

We'll begin with a few headline points covering the basics:

  • Redemption inventory usually opens up 355 days prior to departure. Bookings can be made up to 24 hours before departure. On routes where old fashioned paper tickets are still required, the latest you can book your redemption ticket is 10 days before departure.

    Note, Japanese domestic only redemptions on Japan Airlines cannot be booked more than two months in advance. When booking a domestic return, this applies to the date of the inbound flight.

  • Tickets can be issued to any name you request but you, the BAEC member retain control of the booking and must pay all the taxes, fees, and surcharges assessed against the ticket. So if you have booked a ticket for someone other than yourself to travel and that person wishes to make a change to the booking, you’ll need to contact your local BAEC service centre to request the change. In many cases, the change can be done online.

    Members belonging to a Household Account (HHA) may only use book redemptions for themselves and other members in their HHA.

  • Infants (aged less than 2 years) can travel with you, priced at 10% of the adult rate. In this case, the infant isn’t given a seat. If you need a seat for your infant, you can book one but at the full adult redemption rate. Children aged 2 and over are charged the full redemption rate (they do get a seat though!).

    Note, when travelling on LAN, infants are priced at the full redemption rate, and have their own seat.

  • Stop-overs are permitted and there is no charge for this

  • Tickets can be booked as either a one-way, an open jaw and/or a return. Presently, open jaw tickets (eg, where the inbound arrival city differs from the outbound departure city, or where the outbound departure city differs from the inbound arrival city) can only be booked via your local service centre. Since there is no online functionality, unless you are a Gold card holder, you should expect to be charged a booking fee for an open jaw redemption.

  • Redemption bookings are subject to availability and cannot be waitlisted.

  • Redemption tickets are subject to IATA fare construction rules. These rules only ever come into the equation with complex multi-sector bookings.

  • All redemption tickets are valid for 12 months so the final ticketed sector must be completed within 12 months of the ticket issue date.

Once you’ve figured out where you’re travelling to, who to take along with you, and when to go, the next task is to find available seats. Flexibility is the key. If you find seats on the flights you want on your first attempt, you are very fortunate. Pat yourself on your back. Usually, this part of the planning process involves a little lateral thinking and often quite a lot of time researching.

Having the right tools at your disposal is essential. BA.com is good at displaying flight availability but it is not great. Luckily, there are many other online tools that reach the parts BA.com cannot reach. BA.com struggles with multi sector requests. The easy way around this is to search flights individually and tick off your flights in turn. Searching for partner flights on ba.com can be patchy. Some third party tools will display partner flight availability per the respective booking codes, so you need to know what codes to look out for. The following table lists these booking codes by individual carrier. As you can see they are not all the same.



  • For American airline flights, go the AA.com to search for availability. Remember though, only MilesAAver seats can be booked with Avios.

  • For oneworld carriers, we recommend Awardnexus. It is very clever, it’s free and is an incredible time saver.

  • For oneworld carriers excluding BA, we recommend Expert Flyer. It is a subscription service and as an online tool it offers universal functionality. Expert Flyer is especially good for finding Aer Lingus and Alaska Airlines seats.

  • For oneworld carriers, KVS provides a further option. Like Expert Flyer it is service you have to pay for but unlike Expert Flyer, it is a desktop tool and is coded to work on Windows only.

  • Finally, and probably most important of all is BA.com’s award calculator. This will help you cut through the complexity determining individual sector distances. Without this information, you are not able to assess the exact number of Avios Points you need to book your flights. Karl L Swartz’s Great Circle Mapper tool is a great alternative and is particularly useful for calculated multiple sectors distances at one go.

Once you have constructed your itinerary, the next step is to contact your local service centre to place the booking. If your booking is relatively straight forward, book it online. This will save you the offline booking fee (£15/€15/US$25). Gold card holders are exempt from the booking fee and other service fees.

Note, currently only flights on BA and oneworld carriers may be booked online. You need to call BA to book redemptions on Aer Lingus or Alaska Airlines.


04 Ticket changes and cancellations

Date or time changes are permitted up to 24 hours prior to the departure of the first flight sector on your ticket. There is a change fee (£25/€25/US$40) plus an additional offline fee (£15/€15/US$25) which applies when the change is made via your local BAEC service centre

Cancellations are also permitted. So long as you cancel your ticket no later than 24 hours prior to the departure of the first flight sector on your ticket, you will receive a full refund of Avios Points as well as the taxes, fees, and surcharges paid minus a nominal redeposit fee (£25/€25/US$40). The additional offline fee also applies to redeposits.

For the complete fee table, see http://www.britishairways.com/travel...l/public/en_gb


Introduction | Standard reward flights | Multi-Partner reward flights | Reward Flight Saver | Avios & Money | Upgrading using Avios | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

Last edited by Prospero; Aug 4, 13 at 6:00 am. Reason: Update booking code matrix
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Old Aug 20, 12, 4:51 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 101
Standard reward flights

Standard redemption flights are the most popular option and are good for itineraries involving BA plus one partner carrier or a single partner carrier. The table below sets out the number of Avios Points needed for a single flight. If your itinerary involves multiple flights, you will need to add together the individual flights to reach the total price.



Certain routes such as LHR-LCA, LAX-HKG, and JFK-HKG have been adjusted at slightly lower rates than their true distance suggests. BA's Avios Calculator is the higher authority so we recommend you use it to check each flight.


01 Point to point flights

Point to point (origin and destination) routes are the easiest to calculate. Using LAX as a theoretical epicente, the figure below illustrates the flight distance zone bands between LAX and a sample of US cities. Using LAX-MIA as an example, Miami is our focus destination and the route is highlighted in cyan. The sector distance is 2,342 miles, so with reference to the standard redemption tariffs table above, we can determine the base cost of this flight using Avios:

Band 4 at 12,500 Avios.

Using the premium class multiplier, a seat in business class will cost 25,000 Avios or 37,500 Avios for first class.


Zonal map - Origin Los Angeles, Destination: Miami


02 Connecting flights

As redemptions are calculated by individual sector, so each flight must be considered when connections are concerned. Let's look again at the Los Angeles to Miami itinerary but this time we'll introduce a connection at Dallas Forth Worth.

Flight 1: LAX-DFW, highlighted in cyan. The sector distance is 1,235 miles which places this as a Zone 3 flight, at 10,000 Avios in economy class (or 30,000 Avios in first class)

Flight 2: DFW-MIA, highlighted in red. The sector distance is 1,121 miles, therefore a Zone 2 flight priced at 7,500 Avios in economy, or 22,500 Avios in first class.

So combining flights 1 and 2, overall the base redemption cost works out at 17,500 Avios for an economy class one way ticket (plus all applicable taxes, fees and surcharges). So by comparing the direct flight and connecting flight examples we can see value can be gained by booking direct flights.


Connecting flight - Los Angeles to Miami via Dallas Fort Worth


The figure below provides us with a further example. This time the routing is on American Airlines from Atlanta to Buenos Aires via Dallas Forth Worth. The first flight ATL-DFW is highlighted in red and with a distance of 731 miles puts it into Zone 2; the connecting flight DFW-EZE is highlighted in orange. It is longer at 5,286 miles and falls into Zone 6. The base fare is a simple calculation, adding both flights: 7,500 Avios for sector 1 plus 25,000 Avios for sector 2 which amounts to 32,500 Avios (plus taxes, fees and surcharges)


Connecting flight - Atlanta to Buenos Aires via Dallas Fort Worth


03 UK and Mainland Spain domestic feeder flights

When pricing short haul and long haul redemptions, domestic connections within the UK and Mainland Spain are included in the fare. Taxes, fees, and surcharges associated with these domestic sectors are added to the overall fare however.

Using GLA-LHR-JFK as an example, since the domestic feeder (marked as flight 1) is included in the cost of the international sector out of London (marked as flight 2), the base price is 20,000 Avios (per Zone 5, LHR-JFK) plus taxes, fees, and surcharges. While domestic feeder flights are free, they are still subject to normal redemption availablility conditions. So to include a feeder flight, there must be X class availablility (and/or V class for Gold members) for that flight as well availability on the corresponding international flight.

BA.com is known to be a bit prickly when it comes to displaying domestic feeder availability so if you find it is not offering domestic connections or if the connection timing is sub-optimal, calling your local BAEC service centre does often pay dividends. Some members have reported BA has bolted on domestic feeder flights on an existing London originating ticket.


Connecting flight - Glasgow to New York via London


Introduction | Standard reward flights | Multi-Partner reward flights | Reward Flight Saver | Avios & Money | Upgrading using Avios | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

Last edited by Prospero; Feb 24, 13 at 3:58 am.
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Old Aug 20, 12, 4:52 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 101
Multi-Partner reward flights

While standard redemptions present an excellent range of route options, they are limited to travel on BA and or one partner airline. Multi-partner redemptions offer an infinite range of options, tapping into the full global network of BA and its partner carriers combined but they usually require a greater number of Avios Points than standard redemptions. In many cases significantly more Avios points.

There are benefits to Multi-partner redemptions, such as a complex booking with a single ticket provides greater protection in the event of irregular operations. Note, the distance bands for multi-partner bookings are calculated as complete journeys. So you apply the accumulated distance to determine the number of Avios needed.




01 Using multiple one way redemptions as a cheaper alternative to multi-partner redemptions

You can save significant sums of Avios Points if you avoid stepping into Multi-partner territory but restricting each ticket to a single partner carrier. To emphasise the differences, let's compare two booking strategies for the itinerary illustrated in figure below.


Multi-Partner itinerary - NRT to PVG to HKG to NRT

  • Constructed as three separate single partner redemptions, this itinerary in economy class will price out at 27,500 Avios Points plus taxes/fees/surcharges

    Flight 1 (red)
    NRT-PVG on JL. Sector distance: 1,118 mi.
    Booked as a separate single partner redemption, this sector is priced as a zone 2 flight, costing 7,500 Avios plus taxes/fees/surcharges

    Flight 2 (custard)
    PVG-HKG on CX. Sector distance 779 mi.
    Booked as a separate single partner redemption, this sector is priced as a zone 2 flight, costing 7,500 Avios plus taxes/fees/surcharges

    Flight 3 (green)
    HKG-NRT on CX. Sector distance 1,842 mi
    Booked as a separate single partner redemption, this sector is priced as a zone 3 flight, costing 12,500 Avios plus taxes/fees/surcharges

  • Constructed as a single multi-partner redemption, the distance based tariff is applied to the accumulative distance of all flights in the itinerary. With this example, the total distance works out at 3,739 miles and as a economy class multi-partner redemption is priced at 35,000 Avios Points plus taxes/fees/surcharges.


Introduction | Standard reward flights | Multi-Partner reward flights | Reward Flight Saver | Avios & Money | Upgrading using Avios | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

Last edited by Prospero; Feb 24, 13 at 3:59 am.
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Old Aug 20, 12, 4:53 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 101
Reward Flight Saver

The Reward Flight Saver (RFS) was introduced in November 2011 and has since transformed the short haul redemption game. Previously, short haul redemptions were subject to the usual high taxes, fees and surcharges and the RFS replaces the variable (and invariably expensive) cash supplement with a much more affordable fixed price supplement.

Available across BA's short haul network, these redemptions are subject to availability of the usual redemption classes. The scope also extends beyond the confines of Europe to include South Africa, by virtue of BA franchise carrier, Comair's network.

At present BAEC members cannot redeem Avios for Iberia Express (I2) or Vueling (YV) flights. However, flights on IB may be booked as standard redemptions.

For your redemption to qualify as a RFS, all flights in your itinerary must be either BA and also less than 2,000 miles in distance. If your itinerary includes a short haul Air Berlin flight as well as BA flight, this does not qualify as a RFS and so the higher, variable set of taxes/fees/surcharges will be assessed against this redemption ticket. Similarly, if your ticket includes one or more long haul flights (zone 3+), the entire ticket reverts to a standard redemption and is priced accordingly.

Several fifth freedom flights operated by BA also qualify as RFS. The qualifying factor being the sector distance is less than 2,000 miles. The fifth freedom allows an airline to sell tickets for travel between foreign countries, as a part of a route connecting to the airline's own country. Bahrain to Doha is a classic example, as are a number of BA services that operate between Caribbean countries beyond London.

It is also worth bearing in mind one additional point of qualification. You need to have earned at least 1 Avios point in the 12 months prior to booking to be eligible for the RFS option.




The maps below provide a small sample of cities within reach of LHR and JNB and their relative distance bands from each origin.


Zonal map - Origin London


Zonal map - Origin Johannesburg


Introduction | Standard reward flights | Multi-Partner reward flights | Reward Flight Saver | Avios & Money | Upgrading using Avios | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

Last edited by Prospero; Aug 30, 13 at 2:08 pm. Reason: Removed reference to IB
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Old Aug 20, 12, 4:53 pm   #5
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 101
Avios & Money

The Avios & Money facility allow members to book redemption flights at a lower than published rate topped up by a cash component. These redemptions are currently available on one-way and return itineraries on BA, BA franchise operated flights, and six partner airlines. They can only be booked through BA, either via ba.com or your local BAEC call centre. Codeshare flights are excluded.

The current list of partner airlines eligible for A&M bookings are:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Berlin
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines (international flights only)
  • Iberia
  • Finnair
  • LAN Airlines
  • Royal Jordanian

Booking A&M on line is simple, just select "Book with Avios" as your payment type as you would normally do when booking a standard redemption. You are normally presented with a number of options whereby the ratio of cash supplement increases as Avios component decreases. Once you have selected your chosen price option, you cannot change this once a booking is made.

While A&M is essentially the same as a standard redemption, we've highlighted A&M in its own section due to a few unique restrictions that exist with these tickets. A&M booking are more restricted than standard redemptions. No changes to either route or carrier airline are possible after the A&M booking is made.

You may however cancel an A&M booking and receive a refund of both the Avios and cash components so long as you cancel more than 24 hours before the departure of your outbound flight. If you cancel within 24 hours of departure you will forfeit both components paid.

Like standard redemptions, A&M bookings are subject to availability of the usual redemption classes. Also, Avios and Tier Points cannot be earned on A&M flights.


Introduction | Standard reward flights | Multi-Partner reward flights | Reward Flight Saver | Avios & Money | Upgrading using Avios | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

Last edited by Prospero; Jun 29, 13 at 4:43 am. Reason: Remove reference to Kingfisher Airlines
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Old Aug 20, 12, 4:54 pm   #6
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 101
Upgrading using Avios

Upgrading using Avios (UuA) allows BAEC members to use their Avios points to upgrade either a new or existing cash booking to the next cabin above. This is often seen as a good use of Avios, particularly in terms of upgrading WT+ tickets into Club World. Until the advent of Avios, this process was known as MFU (Miles for Upgrade) and you may still see this term used in FlyerTalk.

You can only upgrade one cabin, however if your particular flight does not offer a WT+ cabin it is possible to UuA directly from World Traveller to Club World. UuA can be used on BA, IB and American Airlines, subject to availability. Note that in EuroTraveller and World Traveller bookings, only Y, B and H buckets can be upgraded. Generally speaking all paid for WT+ and CW tickets can upgraded, subject to availability. UuA draws availability from the same pool as straight redemptions, so you may find making dummy bookings for redemptions the fastest way to find out whether you can deploy UuA. You can also pay for, and then immediately upgrade it, in the same booking; or UuA an existing booking at a later date, see below. You can also UuA one or several legs of a return or multi-city booking, which may be a necessary strategy if availability comes online at different times.

The genius of UuA is despite the upgrade being pulled from redemption inventory, the booking retains an underlying commercial fare. This means you earn Avios and Tier Points for your flights in accordance with the original selling fare. If you are a Silver or Gold members it gets better as you'll also earn a 100% Tier Bonus on top of the base Avios.

Using London to Chicago booking one way in WT+ and upgraded with Avios to Club World. The upgrade is an up front cost of 10,000 Avios. The flight earns 3,950 base Avios, plus a cabin bonus of 988 Avios, and for Gold/Silver members an additional 3,950 Avios. This reduces the net cost of the upgrade to a pleasingly slender 1,112 Avios.


01 UuA on BA only flights, booked through a BA sales channel

You can only upgrade from economy to premium economy if your ticket was sold as either a Y, B, or H fare. You CANNOT upgrade from a cheapy World Traveller fare to World Traveller Plus, although you can upgrade from a cheap World Traveller Plus fare to Club World. One-way UuAs are possible at any time for half the miles, and cherry picking individual sectors for upgrade is also permitted.

The good thing about UuA is that you’ll earn Avios and Tier Points for the fare you purchased, i.e. the paid fare you are upgrading from. This is about the only visible ‘difference’ in treatment between an UuA (or, in terms of entitlements rather than ‘earning’ anything, a full award ticket too) versus a fully paid ticket for that class. You are entitled to all the benefits of a normal fare-paying passenger in the upgraded cabin (e.g. lounge access, relevant check-in desks, Spa treatments, etc. as applicable).

You can only upgrade one class at a time. The cost in Avios for an UuA is the base (i.e. pure economy reward) mileage multiplied by a certain amount:

x1.0 Euro Traveller to Club Europe
x0.5 World Traveller to World Traveller Plus
x0.5 World Traveller Plus to Club World
x1.0 Club World to First

So for example, let’s say you want to book a return from London to San Francisco, moving from World Traveller Plus to Club World. The basic fare is (say) £900 including taxes. Upgrading from World Traveller Plus to Club World will cost you 0.5 x the economy award seat mileage (so 0.5 x 50,000 = 25,000 Avios). So for £900 + upward adjustment in fuel surcharges + 25,000 Avios, you get a seat in Club instead of World Traveller Plus.

When it comes to changing UuA it can get complicated. If you UuA from a restricted ticket, then those restrictions still apply. If you UuA from a full fare, unrestricted ticket, the base flexibility remains BUT to retain the UuA you must find award availability on the flight you change to. After departure, you will lose the Avios (like for a standard redemption) if you make changes.

The Shareholders discount cannot be combined with an UuA and the UuA may be revoked/denied if you try it. However, this is something which may change as BA Executive Club is investigating this.

UuA can be extremely problematic when it comes to actually getting credit for the fare you paid – many here regard BA’s back-end systems as a disgrace in this respect! UuA are an oddity, as the system needs to track two fare classes, the one you paid for, and the one you booked into. The problem is, the fare class you book into, is the same as for award tickets. So the system can incorrectly log it as an award ticket, and it comes up on the statement as earning no points or miles.

For example, a normal UuA from WT+ to Club, should appear on your statement as J/T (i.e. you sat in J but paid for T). Most of the time, it comes up as J/U instead. To correct this, you need to speak to someone at the service centre. This can take anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks to credit.


02 UuA on BA only flight, booked through a travel agency

The ability to upgrade Travel Agent (TA) issued tickets is possible since 17 July 2012, with corporate net tickets from 24 July 2012. Unfortunately, marine fares are not eligible. There are a number of criteria, and broadly follow the same terms and conditions as Upgrade Using Avios (UUA) on a normal booking:

  • The country in which the TA is in must be the same as the address in your BAEC profile for you to be able to UUA. So if your TA is in the USA and booked the tickets from there, and your BAEC profile is in UK, unfortunately you're out of luck.
  • Tickets can be upgraded into the next as long the fare was in the following classes: Y, B, and H (Economy); W, E, and T (Premium Economy); J, C, D, R, and I (Business)
  • The flights must be BA-coded and on BA metal. For example, a QF-codeshare on BA metal will not be eligible.
  • A booking that has already been part flown will not be upgradeable.
  • You can upgrade using the Manage My Booking (MMB) facility and select the Upgrade this flight using Avios.
  • Upgrades are only possible if there is redemption availability in the cabin you want to upgrade into. Bulk Ticket and Included Tour tickets cannot be upgraded.
  • You will pay for the fees associated with the upgrade using Avios, eg, additional taxes.
  • Once the upgrade takes place, BA re-issues the ticket and is then responsible for servicing the ticket for any changes for the re-issued ticket, not the travel agent.
  • This means BA will be the contact for communications regarding any changes to the upgraded tickets. However, BA will not take ownership of the PNR and any other non-flight arrangements.
  • If the upgraded ticket(s) need to be cancelled, then the passenger must contact their local BA centre.
  • The travel agent cannot make changes on behalf of the passenger unless the TA is a nominee on the passenger's BAEC account.
  • Generally, if any changes are to be made to an upgraded ticket, it is advisable to contact both BA and the travel agent, in case there are elements of the PNR that require action by both parties.
  • If you change your flights, your upgrade will be preserved if there is award availability in that class for the new flight, even within 24hrs.
  • Otherwise, miles will be refunded, subject to "redemption charge" if outside 24hrs, or tough luck; nada within 24hrs.


03 UuA on BA, AA, and IB flights

UuA can also be applied to American Airlines and Iberia flights and/or tickets combining travel on either of these airlines plus BA. The rules that apply to upgrading BA flights generally apply to AA and IB flights, albeit with a few differences.

  • Flights must be booked directly through BA. Flights booked through a travel agent are not eligible.
  • Flights booked as part of a package holiday (even if booked through BA) are not eligible. This includes bulk tickets and Inclusive Tour (IT) tickets.
  • UuA is permitted on eligible published fares only. Those fare classes are: J, C, and D (Business); W (Premium Economy); Y and B (Economy).
  • If you cancel an UuA booking, the whole journey must be cancelled.


04 Calculating the amount of Avios needed to UuA


Sample routing: Stockholm to Washington DC via London

Using ARN-LHR-IAD as an example, we can review a couple of different scenarios to give you an idea of how UuA are calculated. Like standard redemptions, each flight is considered separately and in turn.

  • Underlying fare combination: ARN-LHR (Y fare class) plus LHR-IAD (T fare class)

    Flight 1: ARN-LHR
    To upgrade flight 1 from Euro Traveller to Club Europe. ARN-LHR at 911 miles falls into Zone 2, at 7,500 Avios, so for an upgrade from Euro Traveller to Club Europe the x1.0 multiplier is applied and it will cost 7,500 Avios to upgrade this sector. Note, as progressive fuel surcharges apply to BA flights, you will also need to pay the difference between the fuel surcharge paid and that assessed for the upgraded cabin of travel.

    Flight 2: LHR-IAD
    Upgrading the long haul sector, flight 2, from World Traveller Plus to Club World is calculated on similar lines as ARN-LHR. The flight distance in this case is 3,677 miles (Zone 5 at 20,000 Avios). However since an upgrade from World Traveller Plus and Club World is categorised as only a half cabin jump, the number of Avios needed to upgrade this sector 10,000 Avios Point (plus additional fuel surcharge)

    Therefore 17,500 Avios Points will be needed to upgrade both sectors. It is possible to upgrade just one of the flights. This decision can be involuntarily taken (i.e no award availability on one of the sectors) or voluntarily (i.e. at your choosing)

  • Looking at the same itinerary again, but this time with ARN-LHR booked in Club Europe (J fare class) and LHR-IAD booked in Club World (I fare class)

    Flight 1: ARN-LHR
    Well since ARN-LHR is already booked in the highest class, there is no point upgrading this flight. Moving swiftly on to the transatlantic sector...

    Flight 2: LHR-IAD
    The upgrade on the LHR-IAD from Club World to First is calculated using the x1.0 multiplier, therefore it costs 20,000 Avios Points to upgrade this sector.


Introduction | Standard reward flights | Multi-Partner reward flights | Reward Flight Saver | Avios & Money | Upgrading using Avios | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

Last edited by Prospero; Sep 9, 12 at 3:42 am.
Grand Union is offline  
Old Aug 20, 12, 4:55 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 101
Using your companion vouchers

There are a number of BA affiliate credit cards that give BAEC members an opportunity to earn a companion voucher. For more information on what card issuers offer this benefit and how to go about earning a voucher, see Credit card partners. The concept behind the voucher is simple. You the cardholder may book a redemption ticket, paid for in Avios and you take a travelling companion along with you. The usual taxes, fees, and surcharges apply to both passengers unfortunately, which are paid for by the card holder.


01 Standard conditions:

  • The voucher is valid for travel on BA operated flights with BA prefix only
  • Valid towards return flights only, with the journey originating from and returning to your country of membership (with the exception of vouchers issued in the UK which may also be used for one way travel)
  • Taxes, fees and surcharges do apply to the companion as well as the travelling card holder. The card holder will pay the cash supplement assessed for him/herself and all others in the booking, using the credit card associated with the voucher.
  • Combining two vouchers with a single booking is permitted. This allows the travelling card holder to take three travel companions. A maximum of two vouchers can be used towards any single booking.
  • The cardholder can travel without the companion. However, the companion cannot travel without the cardholder.
  • The cardholder cannot cancel the companion's ticket to get your companion voucher back and still fly. In order to get the voucher back, the whole booking must be cancelled and re-book for yourself, provided there is redemption availability.
  • Cancelling a redemption booking does not guarantee the seat(s) will be released back into the award inventory.
  • If the booking is cancelled before 24 hours of the first flight, the Avios, taxes, and fees will be refunded, plus the companion voucher. Generally the voucher and Avois will be refunded quite quickly, with the monetary components taking a few more days to process. A cancellation fee will apply unless you are a BAEC Gold card holder.


02 Additional benefits (UK BA Amex Premium Plus)

  • The voucher can be used for one way itineraries
  • Vouchers are valid for two years instead of the usual one


03 Additional benefits (US Chase British Airways Visa Signature)

  • Vouchers are valid for two years instead of the usual one


Introduction | Standard reward flights | Multi-Partner reward flights | Reward Flight Saver | Avios & Money | Upgrading using Avios | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

Last edited by Prospero; Sep 2, 12 at 3:47 pm.
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Old Aug 20, 12, 4:57 pm   #8
 
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Additional Gold benefits

01 Additional Gold benefits

  • Additional reward availability in economy (V class)

  • Priority Reward is an opportunity for Gold card holders to book any available seat in any cabin, provided there are commercial seats available for sale on any flight for double the standard redemption rate. Priority Reward bookings can only be made offline, more than 30 days in advance and are open to BA mainline flights only. A £15 service fee applies. Changes to Priority Rewards booking are possible within 30 days but only if normal redemption classes are available.

  • GUF2 bookings
    Gold Upgrade for 2 are vouchers issued when a BAEC member go through the 2500 and 3500 TP barrier in any one BAEC membership year. The Gold Upgrade for Two entitles the BAEC member and a guest to a one cabin class upgrade to a higher cabin, either on a purchased ticket, or on a redemption ticket. It cannot be used in conjunction with a MFU/Upgrade using Avios booking. The guest doesn't need to be in a Household Account. Indeed you don't need a guest at all, the member can use it on their own. The Gold Upgrade for Two must be booked within 12 months from the date of issue. Travel can be after that 12 month period, effectively up to 2 years after the award, but making changes after 12 months can be difficult. Reliable sources have said that they have had the initial 12 month booking period extended by 6 months by ringing up BAEC. GUF2 awards come in the form of an eVoucher which can be used online and through a telephone booking. You can do a dummy booking to see if their is availability in the final cabin. Alternatively you can use a travel agent, if they are willing and able to do it, to use a GUF2 into certain paid-for fare buckets if there is no redemption availability.

    Also, companion vouchers can be used in conjunction with a GUF2. If one is so inclined it does have the potential to save shedloads of Avios.


02 Exclusive Gold GL benefits

A twice per membership year redemption for up to 5 people (i.e. member and up to 4 others) booked into revenue classes (A, D, T, B) rather than award classes. Such GGL redemptions are known in some quarters as Jokers. A third Joker is awarded at 6,000 Tier Points. Note this redemption award will have its own deadline for use, which may be different from your BAEC membership year.

Also GUF2 and Jokers can be redeemed together. GUF2 and UuA cannot be combined (as already stated); However, a GUF2 can be used when there are (e.g.) WT+ reduced rate redemptions to leverage into the class higher (so indirectly allowing reduced rate CW when it is not used). Must be booked by phone however


Introduction | Standard reward flights | Multi-Partner reward flights | Reward Flight Saver | Avios & Money | Upgrading using Avios | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

Last edited by Prospero; Aug 27, 12 at 8:07 am.
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Old Aug 20, 12, 4:57 pm   #9
 
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Hotel and car rental redemptions

01 Hotel redemptions

You can use your Avios balance to pay for hotels, by logging into your BAEC account and going to the hotel booking section of Spending Avios. There is a very comprehensive list of hotels available, including for destinations not served by the BA network. Hotels can be booked completely seperately from any travel arrangements, and you are free to travel to the hotel without making a BA or oneworld flight. Hotels can be paid for entirely by Avios, or there is usually a sliding scale of combining cash with Avios. It is unlikely that this is the most cost effective use of Avios, with two exceptions. Firstly if you are unable or unwilling to use Avios for flying then this is one way to make use of your balance. Secondly, it is generally possible to use just 1,000 Avios and pay something close to a competitive cash price for the room, thereby using a small number of Avios points to leverage a corporate hotel price, when availability through other sources may be hard to find.

Hotel redemptions cannot be changed once it is booked. However, it can be cancelled and the Avios refunded.

Note that it appears that this service is not available to BAEC members in certain countries.


02 Car rental redemptions

Car hire bookings using Avios follow the same menu and similar logic to hotel bookings. Car and hotel bookings can be done together too. As with hotels you can choose a sliding scale of Avios versus cash, including full payment via Avios. Again it is unlikely to be the best use of Avios, but again you can use a small number of Avios to leverage a reasonable rate. As of August 2012, it is not possible to use Avios for car hire bookings in South Africa. In all circumstances the driver needs to be over 23 years old. Note that it appears that this service is not available to BAEC members in certain countries.


Introduction | Standard reward flights | Multi-Partner reward flights | Reward Flight Saver | Avios & Money | Upgrading using Avios | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

Last edited by Grand Union; Aug 20, 12 at 5:06 pm.
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Old Aug 20, 12, 4:58 pm   #10
 
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Avios Part Payment

From November 2013, when you purchase flights via BA’s direct sales channels it is possible to shave a few quid off the fare in exchange for a nominal sum of Avios. This feature has been coined Avios Part Payment (APP). APP may be useful if you wish to cash in some of the Avios you have stashed away, and since the you’re still purchasing a commercial fare, you’ll earn Avios and Tier Points once you fly. The conversion rates for APP spend are better £ for point than it is to purchase points. Note, APP is not available at BA airport ticket desks or via travel agents.

Scope and detail
  • All UK domestic and European short haul flights operated and marketed by British Airways. CityFlyer services are included;
  • Moscow is excluded;
  • Your itinerary must not include flights operated or marketed by other carrier;
  • APP is available on commercial fare classes for travel on UK Domestic, Euro Traveller, Club Europe or any combination of these travel classes.
  • APP can be applied to one way, return, connecting, and open jaw itineraries;
  • APP is combinable with Hand Baggage Only fares
  • APP is combinable with Shareholder Discount and Hotline fares (online only)
  • APP is not combinable with promotional codes or eVouchers
  • APP is not combinable with BA Holidays bookings. However that does stop you from purchasing your flight with an Avios part payment then adding hotel/car hire products separately after the flight booking has been completed;
  • APP is not combinable with Unaccompanied Minor fares;
  • Members of a household account can use APP to book flights for people outside of their household account;
  • Members travelling together as a family can use APP but the part payment element will not offered to infants included in the booking;

Q&A
Can I upgrade a APP booking?
Yes. UuA or GUFT vouchers can be applied to a APP booking on the proviso the booking has already been confirmed and ticketed.

Can I use APP on a redemption fare to offset taxes, fees, and surcharges?
No. APP is not offered with flight redemptions

Will I earn Avios and Tier Points on a APP ticket?
Yes. You will accrue points, including Tier and Cabin Bonuses just as you would had you not used the part payment option.

Will the APP affect the fare rules and conditions of my ticket?
No. If you purchase a full fare flexible ticket, the underlying rules are retained. Similarly, if you purchase a restricted discounted fare, the rules governing the underlying fare are retained.

How much can I save?
In most cases three part payment options are offered
  • £30 off in exchange for 4,500 Avios
  • £20 off in exchange for 3,000 Avios
  • £10 off in exchange for 1,500 Avios

Note, you’ll not be offered options where the discount exceeds the sum of the net fare and carrier charges.

Last edited by Prospero; Nov 10, 13 at 8:26 am.
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Old Aug 20, 12, 5:02 pm   #11
 
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"02 Additional benefits (UK BA Amex Premium Plus)

•The voucher can be used for one way itineraries
•Vouchers are valid for two years instead of the usual one"



The U.S. voucher is also good for two years. This feature is not exclusive to the UK voucher.
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Old Aug 20, 12, 10:21 pm   #12
 
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Great thread

Thank you
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Old Aug 21, 12, 3:22 am   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grand Union View Post
02 Connecting flights

As redemptions are calculated by individual sector, so each flight must be considered when connections are concerned. Let's look again at the Los Angeles to Miami itinerary but this time we'll introduce a connection at Dallas Forth Worth.

Flight 1: LAX-DFW, highlighted in cyan. The sector distance is 1,235 miles which places this as a Zone 3 flight, at 10,000 Avios in economy class (or 30,000 Avios in first class)

Flight 2: DFW-LAX, highlighted in red. The sector distance is 1,121 miles, therefore a Zone 2 flight priced at 7,500 Avios in economy, or 22,500 Avios in first class.
Outstanding work

A few minor inconsequential typos, but I did spot the error highlighted above which should, of course, read MIA.

Sustained applause for producing something even I can understand.
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Old Aug 21, 12, 3:40 am   #14
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Thanks to you all for putting this together - pretty impressive stuff!

A couple of small comments from me, please, on a first reading:
  1. The zonal map centred on JNB has omitted the most important city in South Africa: DUR.
  2. More seriously, it might be worth making a note in each of the sections on "Avios and Money" and "Upgrading using Avios" that they are different from each other. We do see a number of posts on the board from people who say that they've paid using Avios and money in order to get an upgrade, but don't actually know whether they've booked Avios and Money or a UuA and often weren't even aware that these were two different routes (with different consequences).
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Old Aug 21, 12, 4:34 am   #15
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Thanks for this.

I'll be back for a more complete read later on, but I believe Avios earned at avios.com are not covered in the summary.

They are effectively interchangeable with BA and IB Avios but can offer different availability. I recently redeemed a Reward Flight Saver in G class at avios.com when there was no corresponding X availabilty at ba.com. (No Avios or TPs earned, though.)
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