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Prospero Dec 23, 20 8:54 am

Your guide to spending Avios | 2021 edition
Image: Heathrow Airport

i Preface

If you are new to the British Airways Executive Club (BAEC) you may have realised 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 there any nuances you are unsure about, please use this thread to post any questions you might have.

What has changed in the last 12 months?
While the BAEC has been relatively stable over the past 12 months, there have been a small number of changes relating to how we spend our Avios. Some of these changes are listed below:

  • BA carrier charges crept further upward for BA flight redemptions originating from North America
  • Cost of Upgrades using Avios on BA short haul routes increased by 2,000 Avios
  • Additional price points were added to Reward Flight Savers
  • Reward Flight Savers expanded to include World Traveller on selected BA operated long haul routes
  • New experiences and excursions such as tours, cruises, etc were added to the list of activities which can be booked on and paid for with Avios
  • Royal Air Maroc joined the oneworld alliance on 31 March 2020
  • LATAM exited the oneworld alliance on 1 May 2020 but remains as a BAEC partner
  • Alaska Airlines announced it will join the oneworld alliance on 31 March 2021

ii Contents

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

iii Acknowledgments

This guide is a collaborative effort, and could not have been produced without the kind contributions from other members of our community who have shared new information as well as clarifying existing information

Prospero Dec 23, 20 8:55 am

Image: Stuart Bailey, British Airways

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 can still find that certain days of the week are 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.

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 distances, where each zone is calculated relative to the real distance of each flight.

02 Redemption types

Executive Club members can now spend their Avios on a variety of puchases:

  • Standard flight redemptions
  • Multi-partner flight redemptions
  • Reward Flight Saver
  • Upgrade using Avios
  • Hotel redemptions
  • Car rental redemptions
  • Part payment on BA flights via
  • Advanced seat allocations on BA flights
  • Excess baggage charges on BA flights

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.

For example, it now costs over 660 in taxes/fees/charges to redeem Avios for a Club World round trip from London to New York, or over US$1,750 for a Club World round trip from New York to London.

The ITA Matrix Airfare Search (Matrix - ITA Software by Google) 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. Officially, bookings can be made up to 24 hours before departure but in practice redemptions can be made very late in the game now - up to an hour before departure at LHR and often sub 30 minutes at smaller outstations. On routes where old fashioned paper tickets are still required (are there any left?), 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 LATAM, 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. What we know is BA will offer at least four economy class redemption seats on each flight plus two in Club. These stay "alive" and available until at least 40 days before travel unless snaffled up. Other seats can be added at any point (including First) and the best time to check for fresh availability is 00:30 UK time.

Having the right tools at your disposal is essential. is good at displaying flight availability but it is not quite perfect. Luckily, there are many other online tools that reach the parts cannot reach. 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 can be patchy.

Seatspy and BA's own Executive Club Rewards app are invaluable resources which many members here use as their "go-to" tools for finding BA flight availability

  • For American airline flights, go the to search for availability. Remember though, only MilesAAver seats can be booked with Avios. You can still check availability on but the BAEC tool isn't very good with connections, particularly in the USA, so it may be required to search leg by leg and then call up to combine the desired flight itinerary into a single booking.

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

  • For oneworld carriers including BA and its non-oneworld airline partners, we recommend Expert Flyer. It is a subscription service and as an online tool it offers universal functionality. It works, and what's more shows 6 days of up availability in one easy query. Expert Flyer is especially good for finding Aer Lingus and Alaska Airlines seats.

  • Finally, and probably most important of all is’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.

04 Ticket changes and cancellations

Redemption tickets are flexible and can be changed, subject to permitted rules. Generally speaking, standard redemption bookings including those booked with companion and/or Gold Upgrade for Two (GUF2) vouchers and oneworld partner bookings can be changed as follows:

Time and date: Yes
Class of travel: Yes
Routing: Yes, provided the change to the destination costs the same amount of Avios.

Note, any adjustments to taxes, fees, and charges originally paid at the time of booking will be collected (or refunded) when a change to the booking is made.

Changes are permitted up to 24 hours prior to the departure of the first flight sector on your ticket. There is a change fee (35.00/€42.50/US$55.00) plus an additional offline fee (15.00/€15.00/US$25.00) 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 (35.00/€42.50/US$55.00). The additional offline fee also applies to redeposits.

Do you have to pay the 35 (or whatever) and then get a refund of the cash you originally paid?

The answer is that if the cash that you originally paid is less than the applicable cancellation fee, you simply forfeit the amount paid. You do not have to pay anything extra.

For the complete fee table, see BA Executive Club Service Fees. Note, there are no change fees for Gold Guest List and Premier card holders, who can do the changes online too for free in some cases, in other cases they need to call the relevant service centre/desk

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

Prospero Dec 23, 20 8:57 am

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 tables 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.

Current rates for redemption flights Updated March 2021

You will note that variable pricing applies to redemptions on British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia, dividing the calendar into peak and off-peak dates. Each of the three airlines has its own calendar so the distribution of off-peak dates are not aligned. Note, Iberia operated flights between LHR and MAD are charged per the BA flight table and calendar (taxes/fees/charges do differ however).

Redemptions on oneworld and partner airlines are priced at a single year round rates which are slightly higher than the BA peak rates.

For the time being, it is not possible to redeem Avios for AA flights in Premium Economy class

Certain routes such as LHR-LCA, LHR-JHB, LHR-CPT, LHR-MEX, LAX-HKG, and JFK-HKG have been adjusted at slightly lower rates than their true distance suggests. However, DUB-BOS is priced as a band 5 redemption which is marginally greater than the true flight distance. 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 (three class transcontinental service) as an example. 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 American Airlines flight using Avios:

Band 4 at 13,000 Avios (refer to the standard redemption table for Other Airlines above)

Using the premium class multiplier, a seat in business class will cost 38,750 Avios or 51,500 Avios for first class.
Zonal map - Origin Los Angeles, Destination: Miami (AA)

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. The sector distance is 1,235 miles which places this as a band 3 flight, at 11,000 Avios in economy class or 22,000 Avios in first class

Flight 2: DFW-MIA. The sector distance is 1,121 miles, therefore a band 2 flight priced at 9,000 Avios in economy, or 18,000 Avios in first class.

So combining flights 1 and 2, overall the base redemption cost works out at 18,500 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 (AA)

The figure below provides us with an example which shows us how the selection of a different connecting airport can alter the price. This time the LAX-MIA is constructed with a connection at Phoenix. The first flight LAX-PHX with a distance of 370 miles puts it into band 1; the connecting flight PHX-MIA is longer at 1,970 miles and falls into band 4. The base fare is a simple calculation, adding both flights: 7,500 Avios for sector 1 plus 13,000 Avios for sector 2 which amounts to 20,500 Avios (plus taxes, fees and surcharges)
Connecting flight - Los Angeles to Miami via Phoenix (AA)

03 UK and Mainland Spain domestic feeder flights

When pricing 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. In the case of redemptions to/from UK regional airports, the domestic sectors will be booked into Euro Traveller when World Traveller and World Traveller Plus is selected or booked into Club Europe when Club World and First is selected.

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

04 Interesting anomalies in redemption pricing you can exploit
If you are interested in how you might optimise your redemptions, using the distance bands to manufacture lower cost rewards, please visit the following thread:

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

Prospero Dec 24, 20 5:05 am

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 oneworld 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 - Hong Kong to Taipei to Tokyo to Hong Kong

  • Constructed as three separate single partner redemptions, this itinerary in economy class will price out at 28,000 Avios Points plus taxes/fees/surcharges

    Flight 1
    HKG-TPE on CX. Sector distance 501 mi
    Booked as a separate single partner redemption, this sector is priced as a band 1 flight, costing 6,000 Avios plus taxes/fees/surcharges

    Flight 2
    TPE-NRT on CX. Sector distance 1,356 mi.
    Booked as a separate single partner redemption, this sector is priced as a band 3 flight, costing 11,000 Avios plus taxes/fees/surcharges

    Flight 3
    NRT-HKG on JL. Sector distance: 1,842 mi.
    Booked as a separate single partner redemption, this sector is priced as a zone 3 flight, costing 11,000 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 3,699 miles and as a economy class multi-partner redemption is priced at 35,000 Avios Points plus taxes/fees/surcharges.

Looking at the same routing in a different way, since Cathay Pacific operates on all three routes it is possible to book all three sectors as a single booking at the lower standard rate where one carrier is used throughout.
Standard redemption - Hong Kong to Taipei to Tokyo to Hong Kong

02 Using multi-partner redemptions to their maximum value on round-the-world trips

Looking at the multi-partner redemptions again, they offer great potential for round-the-world trips. Take this sample itinerary: LHR-DEL-HKG-NRT-LAX-JFK-LHR. The accumulated distance of this trip is just shy of 20,000 miles, so using a Multi-Partner redemption it is possible to travel around the globe in business class using a combination of BA, CX, JL, and AA for 200k Avios. Pretty amazing considering LHR-SIN and back on BA is 210k Avios on peak dates using a standard redemption.
Multi-partner redemption - 6 sector round the world trip

When the same itinerary is reconstructing using one way standard redemptions, you can see the overall cost increases significantly, to 289,250 Avios.
Standard redemption - round the world trip formed of 6 one-way tickets

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

Prospero Dec 24, 20 5:12 am

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 and as of 2020 selected long haul routes, these redemptions are subject to availability of the usual redemption classes. For short haul, the scope also extends beyond the confines of Europe to include South Africa, by virtue of BA franchise carrier, Comair's network.

It is also worth mentioning that if BA substitutes a wet lease aircraft then Reward Flight Savers may not be offered on it, particularly early on.

For your redemption to qualify as a short haul RFS, all flights in your itinerary must be on BA and also typically less than 2,000 miles in distance. If your itinerary includes a short haul Finnair 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 a non-qualifying long haul flight, 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 such as 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.

Additional price points
The RFS product has evolved in recent years and now includes variety of additional price points, allowing you to progressively reduce or increase the amount of cash paid by offsetting the amount of Avios redeemed. These are included in the following tariff - the base rate is emboldened. Cash amounts are shown in Sterling but fixed amounts can also be priced in USD, EURO, and South African Rand. Note, RFS fares on Comair flights do have higher cash components where the base rate for economy class is 40 (500R) and 70 (900R) for business class.

The maps below provide a small sample of cities within reach of LHR and JNB and their relative distance bands from each origin. Note, while London to Amman and Cairo were converted to short haul in late 2020, as these routes still fall into Band 4, they cannot be booked as Reward Flight Savers.
Zonal map - Origin London
Zonal map - Origin Johannesburg

Reward Flight Savers on long haul
Reward Flight Savers are also available to UK Executive Club Members as redemptions in economy class only on select BA operated long haul band 5, 6 ,7 and 8 routes. Here, as with short haul RFS fares, additional price points are offered. These are included in the following tariff - the base rate is emboldened

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

Prospero Dec 24, 20 8:35 am

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 most partner airlines. They can only be booked through BA, either via or your local BAEC call centre. Codeshare flights are excluded.

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 | Avios part payment | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

Prospero Dec 24, 20 8:40 am

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. 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.

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 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 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 you’ve 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 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, 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. 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.

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

Prospero Dec 25, 20 6:51 am

Avios Part Payment
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.

01 Scope and detail

  • All UK domestic and European short haul flights operated and marketed by British Airways. CityFlyer services are included;
  • Tactical long haul routes added from October 2015 including flights on AA between the UK and North America;
  • Your itinerary must not include flights operated or marketed by carriers other than BA and AA;
  • APP is available on commercial fare classes for travel on UK Domestic, Euro Traveller, Club Europe or any combination of these travel classes. World Traveller, World Traveller Plus, Club World and First added from October 2015
  • 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;

02 Q&A

Can I upgrade a APP booking?
Yes. UuA or GUF1/GUF2 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 several part payment options are offered and the discount may vary depending on the route. For example for a LHR-JFK return in Club World, you may find the discounts range from 430 to 50

  • 430 discount in exchange for 86,000 Avios
  • 280 discount in exchange for 54,000 Avios
  • 190 discount in exchange for 34,000 Avios
  • 130 discount in exchange for 19,600 Avios
  • 80 discount in exchange for 10,200 Avios
  • 50 discount in exchange for 5,600 Avios

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

03 Short on Avios?

If you find yourself short on Avios, remember that you can purchase Avios from the BAEC and if you are also an IberiaPlus member you can purchase Avios from Iberia then convert these to your BAEC account. Both programmes offer bonus deals on Avios purchases from time to time but not necessarily at the same time, so having an account with both programmes can pay dividends.

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

Prospero Dec 25, 20 6:54 am

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 Guest List 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 | Avios part payment | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

Prospero Dec 25, 20 6:55 am

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.

  • GUF1 and GUF2 bookings
    Gold Upgrade vouchers are issued when a BAEC member passes the 2,500 and 3,500 TP barriers in any one BAEC membership year. At 2,500 TPs you earn one Gold Upgrade Voucher for Two (GUF2) and at 3,500 TPs you earn two Gold Upgrade Vouchers for One (GUF1).

    In the case of GUF2 vouchers, the voucher 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. GUF1 vouchers work along similar lines as GUF2 vouchers but offer the added benefit of flexibility as each voucher can be used against separate bookings. Vouchers 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 voucher must be used 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. These upgrade awards come in the form of an eVoucher which can be used online and through a telephone booking.

    Also, companion vouchers can be used in conjunction with a GUF1 or GUF2. If one is so inclined it does have the potential to save shedloads of Avios.

    You can follow the discussion on using Gold Upgrade vouchers in the

02 Exclusive Gold Guest List 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 GUF1 and Jokers can be redeemed together. GUF1 and UuA cannot be combined (as already stated); However, a GUF1 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.

For more information, please visit the thread

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

Prospero Dec 25, 20 6:58 am

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. 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 | Avios part payment | Using your companion vouchers | Additional Gold benefits | Hotel and car rental redemptions

The Geek Jan 1, 21 10:12 am

In the summer there was an unannounced stealth increase in the UUA prices for ET to CE, and they are now I believe all 2k Avios higher than the values you have in the table.

I did flag it on last years thread, but effectively they were using the difference between the 50p RFS Avios rates instead of the difference between the 17.50 RFS Avios rates.

coolc7116 Jan 1, 21 11:22 am

limited availability - AA flights
Why does it appear that the same inventory of MilesAAver seats are not always available for redemption using Avios? For example, AA has plenty of Milesaaver award seats available between DFW and SEA. But if you check availability on BA's site, there are never any available. When I called BAEC and asked about this, the representative even laughed at me and said award seat availability isnt always the same. Any suggestions on how to identify which routes are the best to redeem Avios on American flights?

jerry a. laska Jan 1, 21 12:16 pm

Originally Posted by coolc7116 (Post 32929286)
Why does it appear that the same inventory of MilesAAver seats are not always available for redemption using Avios? For example, AA has plenty of Milesaaver award seats available between DFW and SEA. But if you check availability on BA's site, there are never any available. When I called BAEC and asked about this, the representative even laughed at me and said award seat availability isnt always the same. Any suggestions on how to identify which routes are the best to redeem Avios on American flights?

Is the availability on AA truly a websaaver or something other than a milesaaver? Only basic milesaaver availability is available to BAEC to be booked with avios and AA has in the last year or two been making a lot of the award space only available as websaavers. Websaaver availability is not available for booking with BAEC avios or other partners.
See these threads

What are the dates you are looking at?

coolc7116 Jan 1, 21 2:02 pm

I was looking at 1/14. AA has 5 MileSAAver nonstops available, and a multitude of others with connections. If you check the BA website to use Avios, you see absolutely zero.

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