people sitting in an airplane

Whether you’re a points millionaire or are just sitting on a few, the question of how best to spend them is rarely an easy one. Airlines love that, and to some extent that’s where “part pay with Avios” from British Airways comes in.

At almost every stage of a travel booking process airlines throw out a barrage of generally terrible ways to redeem your points and miles for sub-optimal value. But even then, sometimes it’s better to get something than nothing, and there can be niche times where British Airways “Part Pay With Avios” can make some sense. Here’s how to sort it out for yourself…

British Airways First Class DiningBritish Airways Part Pay With Avios…

Part Pay With Avios is a feature which allows you to use your Avios Points as if they’re cash. Unlike other ways to use your Avios, where you need there to be space in your desired cabin on the date you want to fly, “Part Pay” allows you to put the points towards the cash cost of any ticket. The more the ticket costs, the more points you can spend to cover some of the total.

In general, “Part Pay With Avios” only makes sense when you…

  • won’t ever earn or collect enough for something big.
  • have too many to spend and don’t have date flexibility.
  • need a discount but also need to earn tier points and Avios.

The reason behind this is that “Part Pay With Avios” generally gives you poor value for each of your points, compared to redeeming them in other ways. You typically receive just over half a pence or cent of value, so 100,000 points would only cover around $600 of ticket costs, whereas 100,000 Avios could get you a long haul round trip in business class, which could cost many thousands.

That’s called arbitrage.

But travel is personal, and there are people who actually find a lot of joy using this Avios feature, since it allows them to knock amounts of money off purchases, with one key benefit, even if it’s not technically very savvy.

The key benefit is that when you use “Part Pay With Avios” you still earn Avios and Tier Points towards elite status with the airline, whereas when you redeem Avios outright for an award ticket, you don’t earn any Avios or tier points.

When you need to reach a new tier like Bronze, Silver or Gold with BA, being able to save some money on a ticket can be attractive, since you can earn up to the full amount back when you actually fly, in addition to the tier points to get you to the next level.

british airways business class seatGood For Inconsequential Or Inflexible Avios Holders

Corporate travelers flying in premium cabins tend to earn more Avios than they know what to do with, let alone know how to use. When they do go to use them, they’re often frustrated that seats aren’t available on the one date they want to travel.

If that’s always going to be the case, “Part Pay With Avios” provides an easy out, where Avios holders can at least spend their points in some semi meaningful way, rather than never being able to use them at all. Again, it’s not technically a best practice in spending Avios, but if it works for you, or is the only thing that works for you – go for it.

The other major way this feature makes sense is when you simply won’t be earning lots of Avios. Say, you flew British Airways long haul once, don’t earn their Avios Points via a credit card and don’t really plan to fly any of their partner airlines.

It’s obviously better to spend your Avios Points than waste them, and a stash of just 5,000 points can sometimes cover up to £40 or $50 worth of value, so that’s a significant amount of money to be saved just from something you flew once, whenever it was. Keep in mind, Avios do expire if you don’t keep earning them, so you’ll want to spend them within 3 years of the last Avios Point you earned.

Ultimately, the points are yours to spend, so just make sure they make you happy.

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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  1. I also think this is a really useful feature due to my personal circumstances as:
    1) we are a family of 5 and so will never have enough points to book us all redemptions using Avios, even if there were even 5 available seats on the same plane
    2) we live in the North of England and so options are limited and having to fly via London further adds to the Avios points needed for redemption bookings whilst limiting availability
    3) I find ex-UK Full Avios bookings poor value for money due to the heavy tax burden; and
    4) the part payment option helps us fly, for example, Premium Economy for the price of Economy.

  2. They also occasionally run promotions on this where the discount was 2p per point – at this level it’s even more likely to be worthwhile

  3. Is it still the case that when you part pay with avios you still get the tier points? In my recent transactions is shows as no tier points for flights I part paid with Avios

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