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Your guide to spending Avios | 2021 edition

Your guide to spending Avios | 2021 edition

Old May 20, 2023, 2:35 pm
  #856  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 344
Hello friends, been out of the game for a while so forgive the no doubt very frequently asked question.

I have a companion voucher which expires June 20th, it's the type that only works with economy redemptions

If I wanted to redeem a single traveller on very specific dates, say 17th-20th or 18th 20th where am a likely to get redemption availability (I'm gold so I get extra I think?) and get somewhat value from the redemption.

I looked at going to New York on the 17th and flying back on the 20th - is that a crazy thing to do especially as I am not super young?

Is somewhere closer with sun a better choice?

Opinions please

I let some many vouchers expire over covid I'd like to make use of one.

When you make a Reward flight booking with British Airways and selected other airlines*, the British Airways American Express Credit Card Companion Voucher entitles you to either:
  • A second economy class seat for a companion travelling on the same flight as you or,
  • If travelling solo, a 50% discount on the Avios price you pay when booking an economy class seat
flyer200 is offline  
Old May 21, 2023, 4:58 pm
  #857  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Berkshire / London
Programs: BAEC Gold, Nandos
Posts: 992
Originally Posted by Prospero
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. Until the April 2015 changes came into effect it was seen as a good use of Avios, particularly in terms of upgrading WT+ tickets into Club World.

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 for EuroTraveller and World Traveller bookings, O, Q and G buckets cannot 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.
Important:
UuAs can only be applied to tickets issued on 125 stock. In other words tickets issued by BA or BA registered travel agents with ticket numbers beginning 125. Tickets sold by Iberia and American Airlines are issued on different numbered stock and cannot be upgraded using Avios.

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 Gold member 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 20,000 Avios (peak date). The flight earns 3,950 base Avios, a cabin bonus of 1,975 Avios if booked in W class, and for Gold members an additional 3,950 Avios. This reduces the net cost of the upgrade to a pleasingly slender 10,125 Avios. This is a best case scenario - if your flight was booked in T or E class then it does not qualify for a cabin bonus; if an off-peak date applied then the cost to upgrade would in this example increase by 5,000 Avios and if you are a Silver or Bronze member, the tier bonus would also be lower.


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

You can upgrade from economy to premium economy on all published fares except Q, O, and G. You can upgrade any World Traveller Plus or Club World fare to the next available cabin. One-way UuAs are possible at any time as is cherry picking individual sectors for upgrade.

The good thing about UuA is that youll 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).
Important:
You can only upgrade one class at a time.

The cost of using this mechanism to upgrade to Club World and First on long haul increased substantially on 28 April 2015 and as the calculation is now based on variable rates, you need to check a) what is the flight distance? and b) does the flight date fall into peak or off peak? Once youve established these two factors, you can work out the cost to upgrade your flight. A 12 month forward view of peak and off peak dates is published on BA.com. See here and navigate to Working out the cost.



In addition to Avios, you need to pay the differential in Government taxes and carrier charges.

So for example, lets 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. As this route distance falls into band 6, the upgrade cost will be 30,000 Avios for an off-peak date or 25,000 Avios for a peak date plus any upward adjustment in carrier charges.

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.

UuA can be a tad problematic when it comes to actually getting credit for the fare you paid. UuAs 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 cabin immediately above the cabin booked. Note that for EuroTraveller and World Traveller bookings, O, Q and G fares cannot be upgraded.
  • The flights must be BA-coded and on BA metal. For example, a QF-codeshare on BA metal will not be eligible. If your booking includes non-BA flights, it will not be eligible for UuA
  • 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 on AA and IB must be booked under their own flight numbers and not as a codeshare
  • 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 (IB Economy); and Y (AA Economy)
  • If you cancel an UuA booking, the whole journey must be cancelled.
Important:
For the time being, it is not possible to use Avios to upgrade into Premium Economy class on AA flights. Upgrading from Economy to Business is possible on flights operating with Premium Economy

Current rates for upgrading AA and IB flights. Note, the rates for economy to first upgrades on AA domestic routes (on flights operating a two class service) were reduced at the end of 2016






04 Calculating the amount of Avios needed to UuA


Sample routing: Washington DC to Stockholm via London

Using JFK-LHR-ARN 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: JFK-LHR (T fare class) plus LHR-ARN (K fare class).

Flight 1: JFK-LHR
Upgrading the long haul sector, flight 1, 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 (Band 5 at 24,000 Avios on off-peak dates).

Flight 2: LHR-ARN
To upgrade flight 2 from Euro Traveller to Club Europe. LHR-ARN at 911 miles falls into Band 2, at 8,250 Avios (off peak date). 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.

Therefore 32,250 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)


05 Known booking anomalies

This seems to be emerging slowly at the moment, but the introduction of Dual Inventory Fares seems to be complicating UuA involving World Traveller Plus to Club World. Online we know it's not working, or rather working expensively, and from what we can make out people are best to do it via the telephone and asking the agent to submit the booking to ticketing for an accurate assessment.


Introduction | Standard reward flights | Multi-Partner reward flights | Reward Flight Saver | Avios & Money | Upgrading using Avios | Avios part payment | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions
Ive a little question on UUA Ive noticed a number of times when Ive had to call up to do this (usually I get an error online, which Im told is due to the booking being done by my work travel agency?) that the Im quoted over the phone is always lower than the one Ive seen on screen & expecting to pay. Why is that?
TPRun is offline  
Old May 22, 2023, 2:39 pm
  #858  
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Programs: BAEC (Gold) , Accor (Gold) , IHG
Posts: 676
Have a BAH booking to IAD in Aug in PE and whilst currently no Avios availability in J on the earlier of the 2 return flights, was trying to work out what the UuA would be if I was able to swap to the later flight and then upgrade

Currently PE Avios would be..

Whilst the CW rate is

Is the UuA Avios the difference between the 2 rates?
And if so is it the new RFS rate?
Delboy65 is offline  
Old May 24, 2023, 3:50 am
  #859  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 271
spending avios on reward flight with iberia/iberia express

Hi

I wanted to book a reward flight on Iberia MAN-MAD-TLV, on BA it was not showing as available. However on avios.com it was showing available.
I called BA and they quoted me 158 taxes per person , and on avios.com the taxes showed as 127 per person.

So i booked on avios.com

Now i see that i have no checked baggage. Is this normal?? I thought all avios flights include a checked bag?

Thanks
momoflyingguy is offline  
Old May 29, 2023, 7:27 am
  #860  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 271
Originally Posted by momoflyingguy
Hi

I wanted to book a reward flight on Iberia MAN-MAD-TLV, on BA it was not showing as available. However on avios.com it was showing available.
I called BA and they quoted me 158 taxes per person , and on avios.com the taxes showed as 127 per person.

So i booked on avios.com

Now i see that i have no checked baggage. Is this normal?? I thought all avios flights include a checked bag?

Thanks
Has anyone booked with avios on avios.com that would know the answer to this? on the booking confirmation it says 0 checked baggage, but on the phone they tell me it includes bags, and on iberia MMB it says no bags, and i called up iberia they told me no checked baggage, also BA (although it wasnt booked through BA) told me it has no bags. It is operated by Iberia express if that makes a difference
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Old May 30, 2023, 6:01 am
  #861  
duo
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 252
Are people finding Reward flights? If so how far in advance are you having to book? I alway used to find last min availability but it seems a thing of the past. I've companion tickets coming out my ears but no way of using them.
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Old May 31, 2023, 11:19 am
  #862  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Aberdeen
Programs: BA Gold, Flying Blue Plat, UA Silver, Bonvoy Titanium Lifetime, Hilton Diamond, IHG Gold Ambassador
Posts: 509
I may have missed this on the dashboard, if so apologies, but is it normal that a redemption (in this case ABZ-SYD) needs more avios if a 2 day stopover in SIN is included? I am seeing 330k rather than 290k (in J obviously).
redpalmetto is offline  
Old Jun 2, 2023, 7:15 am
  #863  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: TXL
Programs: US, LH, HH
Posts: 719
Originally Posted by redpalmetto
I may have missed this on the dashboard, if so apologies, but is it normal that a redemption (in this case ABZ-SYD) needs more avios if a 2 day stopover in SIN is included? I am seeing 330k rather than 290k (in J obviously).
As the flight from LHR to SYD can be done on a single flight number (BA15) it is calculated as if the stop in SIN isn't happening. If you do a stopover in SIN, it is split into 2 single flights and you'll have to pay for the individual sum.
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freakazoid is offline  
Old Jun 2, 2023, 2:53 pm
  #864  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 66
Hello. Am looking at reward flights to the US from London around April/May next year.

Ideally wed like to get into first on the outbound and club world/suite for the return. There seems to be limited availability from March 2024 onwards from the searches I have done. Is this really a case of the seats being snapped up already or are they just not released? Im checking daily to all available cities and there is never anything new. Were looking for 2 adults plus one infant so perhaps that impacting the availability?

Thanks in advance for any insights
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Old Jun 2, 2023, 6:26 pm
  #865  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Southern California
Posts: 390
Yes the availability is snapped up as it is released. BA releases 4 business class seats on almost every flight. I just booked USA-LHR-USA for April 2024. My preferred dates had no availability, had to adjust my dates. The availability is not likely to change for the same days/flights once the released 4 seats are booked up.
lovetotravel is offline  
Old Jun 3, 2023, 12:20 pm
  #866  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: MSN
Programs: AA, BAEC Gold
Posts: 3,885
Originally Posted by lovetotravel
Yes the availability is snapped up as it is released. BA releases 4 business class seats on almost every flight. I just booked USA-LHR-USA for April 2024. My preferred dates had no availability, had to adjust my dates. The availability is not likely to change for the same days/flights once the released 4 seats are booked up.
If you don't mind uncertainty then there is a chance of seats becoming available in the last few weeks before the flight date. It depends on how well they have matched supply and demand. This year I had no problem getting two seats ORD<->LHR at a couple of weeks out.
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MADPhil is offline  
Old Jun 3, 2023, 6:58 pm
  #867  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Programs: BA Silver, EY Gold, HH Diamond, IHG Plat
Posts: 12,180
The taxes for the Avios flights I want are cheaper via QR. Really don't want the hassle of opening a new QR Avios account etc. Is there a way to get BA to match the taxes? Its QR metal flights and the tax is 170 via QR and double that via BA.
onlysuites is offline  
Old Jun 3, 2023, 7:18 pm
  #868  
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Programs: BAEC (Gold) , Accor (Gold) , IHG
Posts: 676
Originally Posted by onlysuites
The taxes for the Avios flights I want are cheaper via QR. Really don't want the hassle of opening a new QR Avios account etc. Is there a way to get BA to match the taxes? Its QR metal flights and the tax is 170 via QR and double that via BA.
it is no hassle creating a QR account and transferring avios, just a few min
Much easier than trying to get BA to match QR fees
Delboy65 is offline  
Old Jun 4, 2023, 8:04 am
  #869  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: UK
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 1,017
Looking for reward flight LHR-TLV. From June onwards, flexible on dates. Plenty of outward but not a single return flight showing until January. Is this a glitch on the website?
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Old Jun 4, 2023, 11:20 am
  #870  
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Not here; there!
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 29,080
Originally Posted by bluemoon68
Looking for reward flight LHR-TLV. From June onwards, flexible on dates. Plenty of outward but not a single return flight showing until January. Is this a glitch on the website?
AA is showing plenty of award availability on that route later this month and in July, but usually on connections with AT or AY or RJ. I do see the BA nonstop available on several dates, though, including June 24. If none of these options is showing up on ba.com, then I would call.
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