Whenever loyalty programs make changes, a hive mindset takes shape. Every person approaches points from a different aspect, with some earning with ease, others struggling to ever have enough, and people take sides.

One thing I found intriguing from the start, was British Airways decision to offer £1 options on flights, where you use more miles to cover virtually the entire cash component, bar £1. I’ve used it a few times now, and really, it just makes travel incredibly exciting…

Why I Love The £1 Avios Flights

I understand that many people are constantly grinding for Avios, but I take each of my 23 ways to earn Avios very seriously, and when you combine many of those with actual flying, and BA’s frequent double miles promos… I never have a problem earning. Unlike many people, I also enjoy constantly burning my Avios points too…

I rarely use my Avios for long haul flights, unless I’m upgrading a flight, instead choosing to use them to cover short haul flights when prices are shocking. I’m always thrilled to burn 15,000 Avios instead of £400.

But for decades, that still left the £25-£35 or so per person in surcharges on European trips. It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still at least £50 between two, and there’s a lot you can do with £50 while travelling.

For £1 each, I get genuinely exciting thinking that I’m effectively flying somewhere and seeing a new country for less than half of what my morning flat white costs…

One Without The Other

What I like most about the current £1 + Avios options is that if you prefer to use fewer miles and pay more cash, you’re welcome to. You can lock in those same good ole’ rates and pay fewer miles and go back to the old £25 or so for short haul. I’d absolutely hate a day if that were to change.

I’d love to see these options further rolled out for long haul flights, where someone could fly to New York in First Class for say… 100,000 points one way off peak instead of 68,000 Avios, but pay just £1 instead of the typical £430 or so. Again though, it would all be ruined if you offered the latter without the former, or vice versa.

People need values they can aim for and set goals toward, but offering additional flexibility for overachievers, or at least Avios earners seems like a great way to add value to a program many people pass up on, specifically because of the surcharges.

There’s Always Other Avenues

One argument from shrewd points collectors would be that there are plenty of airlines which don’t add surcharges onto award flights using miles on long haul or short haul. That’s true, and if you’re a newcomer to the hobby starting from scratch, it’s a great consideration when choosing which loyalty program you plan to bank your mileage and spending to.

I think British Airways really is onto a winner with the £1 + Avios option, and I say that because it’s made me more eager to both earn and burn my points with the program to satisfy my short haul trip cravings when cash prices are high and Avios availability is fair. If BA can bring this flexibility on price using points and cash to long haul, I think I’ll double down…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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3 Comments

  1. Just a quick one shame about the actual service BA deliver as opposed to the marketing… I subRyanAir seat pitch, lower staff /customer ratio onboard and their incredibly patchy catering, and wifi, manners and cleaning.
    There are decent alternatives who won’t rip you off on the majority of their routes… You can pretty much guarantee a better service and price.

  2. Regarding message left above..
    Think you are missing the point..Gilbert is on about AVIOS and how to use then effectively, in a way he enjoys the most.
    Service out of LHR is always consistent, if you have lots of avios to burn or are BA Gold or BA GGL then you onviously like the airline and the alliance.

    1. Clearly you’ve never taken BA to South Asia, SE Asia or Africa. The service is far from consistent out of LHR. Personally I’ve had; broken seats, non-functional IFE, inadequate catering loaded, filthy cabins…
      Never experienced these (well dirty cabins but not filthy) on North American routes. As for the advertorial, depending on how you value Avios, you’re still paying over what the competition charge and they’ll almost. certainly deliver on their marketing…
      NOT a unique experience / view:
      https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/worst-airlines-ryanair-british-airways-which-survey-a9251656.html

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