British Airways revamps Avios scheme bringing down flight prices to £1

With the new Avios part-payments scheme you can now bag a British Airways flight for as little as £1

British Airways flight for Avios
(Image credit: British Airways)

If you’re an eager holidaymaker looking to fund your holidays in the most rewarding way, the popular Avios scheme might be looking even more inviting to you now. 

British Airways (BA) loyalty members know too well the perks of collecting Avios points through American Express credit cards or Barclaycard and making their holiday funds go a long way.

For many years, BA has let customers pay using Avios to reduce the cost of cash flights. But things are set to change soon. Now, BA Executive Club members can pay for all BA cash flights using Avios for just £1. 

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Despite the recent hike on Amex BA cards and changes to the companion voucher scheme, many still find that it pays to have premium, and this might just seal the deal for avid travellers. 

We look at what has changed in the BA Executive Club membership, how much you can save and whether it’s worth joining the loyalty scheme. 

British Airways lifts Avios part-payment restrictions – what’s changing?

In a big move, British Airways customers can now spend all of their Avios to pay for cash flights for a nominal fee of just £1. 

BA said the change will give customers more flexibility when spending their Avios and enable them to choose from any of its flights available for just a quid, regardless of the seat type.

Avios is a loyalty points scheme where you can use the points you earn to cut the cost of your travel – be it flights, hotels or even car hires. To collect Avios, you need to be a member of BA’s Executive Club which is free to sign up for. 

Previously, the Avios part-payment scheme was restricted to certain routes and timings, and just last year BA announced Avios part-payment on holiday package bookings starting from just £1. Now, the restrictions have been lifted down to the last penny to allow members to get large cash discounts. 

Colm Lacy, BA’s chief commercial officer said: “We know that most of our customers choose the lowest cash amount when it comes to making Reward Flight bookings, so we anticipate this to be a popular option for those using Avios part payment too”, adding that their goal is to keep “adding more choice and flexibility” for members. 

How much can you save with Avios?

How much you save depends on how much Avios balance you have. The more Avios you have, the more cash you’ll save, and ultimately be able to bring down the amount to £1. 

For example, if a flight to New York was £500, you could potentially shave off up to £499 simply by increasing the amount of Avios you’d like to contribute to the booking. 

But this will be different for everyone, depending on what cabin, carrier, route and date you book for. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Amount of Avios How much discount you can get on flights Cash cost
2,000£201p per Avios
7,000£430.61p per Avios
11,320£630.56p per Avios
20,740£102 0.49p per Avios
37,670£1640.44p per Avios
53,560£2170.41p per Avios
67,370£2890.43p per Avios
89,740£3850.43p per Avios
140,300£601.890.43p per Avios

Source: Head for Points

It’s worth noting that Executive Club members are still able to collect Avios and tier points on any flights they book using cash and Avios. The part-payment system also works for flights operated by American Airlines between the UK and North America and BA codeshares with select partners.

Is this a good deal?

For those who are frequent air travellers and Avios points rich, this is a great deal that brings more flexibility and choice around how you squeeze out maximum value from Avios while making your holiday budget work hard. 

It also gives travellers a way to spend more points in exchange for lower taxes and airline fares, meaning that Avios collectors can use more points on bookings than ever before. 

But this new scheme has also been met with mixed reviews. Jordan Waller, managing editor at American travel site The Points Guy, says, “On the one hand, this is a good move that will appeal to some Executive Club members; however, compared to standard reward fares, it will likely not provide great value as a redemption.”

Rob Burgess, founder of FCA-regulated British travel site Head for Points says, “[T]here are plenty of people out there who don’t fully understand how to get full value for their Avios, and BA has now made ‘Part Pay’ more attractive and easier to understand for this group.”

How to make the most of your Avios 

There are many ways you can still make the most of your Avios, such as through the BA Amex card which comes with an initial bonus that is more than enough for a Europe flight. 

Or, that same spend would result in you racking up a lot more points if you go for the BA Amex Premium Plus card, and would cover a far longer journey, for example to the Caribbean or South Asia. 

If you want to boost your Avios using other ways, there are other options too such as BA’s e-store, which includes retailers like John Lewis, M&S and Selfridges, where any money you spend is tracked and you earn Avios accordingly. 

Oojal Dhanjal
Staff writer

Oojal has a background in consumer journalism and is interested in helping people make the most of their money. Before joining MoneyWeek, she worked for Look After My Bills, a personal finance website where she covered guides on household bills and money-saving deals. Her bylines can be found on Newsquest, Voice Wales, DIVA and Sony Music and she has explored subjects ranging from luxury real estate to the cost of living, politics and LGBTQIA+ issues. Outside of work, Oojal enjoys travelling, going to the movies and learning Spanish with a little green owl.