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Avios/ Air miles

(9 Posts)
Celticlass2 Tue 09-Dec-14 20:23:31

If you collect these what do you use them for? Just curious. We have booked a fair few European reward flights with them successfully, and the taxes are only £15 per person (in Europe)

However, although we have enough miles to get us to the Staes, South Africa, caribean etc, I have found that BA taxes and fuel surcharges are very expensive on long haul flights.

We were going to book a trip to the U.S. using BA miles, but have decided to pay cash for flights using another airline, as the taxes for three of us came in at over £1000shock with BA, making the saving meaningless. We found the same for Cape Town and Antigua, our other destination choices.

Just wondering what everybody uses their airmiles for. we've accumulated a fair few, so just looking for inspiration.
Also, has anyone found availability for school holidays very limited?

FoxtrotOscarBackToEconomy Sat 13-Dec-14 20:10:00

The most efficient uses of Avios are the European Saver flights like you have already used them for and also Upgrade Using Avios where you buy a Premium Economy ticket and upgrade to Business Class with some Avios. You earn the Avios for the Premium Economy ticket you purchased so net Avios spend to get a Business Class flight isn't that much. Although Premium Economy isn't that cheap in the first place and it can be difficult to find the Business Class reward seat availability, but it is an efficient use of Avios.

The benefit of using Avios for an Economy ticket is if you need one that is flexible or can be cancelled up to 24 hours prior to departure of the first flight on the booking. Then you do make a saving over the cash price of a ticket. If you want the cheapest, inflexible economy ticket it is not a good use of Avios.

Availability is often difficult in the school holidays because there is high demand. We have virtually emptied our household Avios account and are going to the Caribbean in Business Class next year. We booked almost one year in advance. The taxes and fees come in at almost the same price as flying economy but we like the additional space and comfort of business class so for us it is a good use.

The British Airways board on the FlyerTalk forum and the blog Head for Points are very good resources to use to find out how to optimise your earning and spending of Avios.

Celticlass2 Sun 14-Dec-14 16:48:49

Fox Thank you that's really helpful. Some useful information. I have checked out Flyertalk and head for points, and have just discovered that I may be able to get to the States

with Aer Lingus via Dublin for a lot less in taxes than BA charge. Need toinvestigate this that a bit more. smile

We have been pretty successful in getting short haul economy flights in the school holidays and have some booked up for next year.

DH and I also have a business class return booked to Europe for next year.
Also, good to know that the taxes for Business or Premium Economy are not hugely higher than for Economy long haul.

I think we would prefer to fly Business on long haul, but will need to save up a few more Avios.
Thanks again, and enjoy your Cariibbean trip. smile

MillyMollyMama Tue 16-Dec-14 00:07:44

We also find Business class the best use. In addition we have BA American Express cards so about once a year we get a companion flight which matches the booking for a second person to the booking for the first person. Therefore, we have booked business flights to South Africa (twice), USA (3 times), Japan, India and Brazil next month, all business, and the second seat is just the tax, no Avios needed. Mostly the tax is around £1000 for the two of us but this has given us return business class to Rio, Tokyo, first class to India etc. These flights would be thousands of pounds. We don't need to go in school holidays, however. We also spend a little bit more (I think they charge a £20 booking fee) and ring up BA direct to see what they can do for us. We have found them very helpful. Getting the Rio-London business seats was difficult due to lack of availability but they helped and we have 2 1/2 weeks there. If you have the Avios sitting there, book early as the flights do go pretty quickly, especially if there is just one flight a day or less than that. Long haul economy may not be such good value but the Amex Companion voucher is an amazing deal.

janinlondon Tue 16-Dec-14 13:47:53

We use ours to get discounts on package holidays in the summer. No taxes to pay.

Celticlass2 Wed 17-Dec-14 20:51:24

Milly some great flight destinations there. Unfortunately, we are tied to school holidays for now, so we are more limited for dates.
Hoping to apply for the fee based BA card in the new year, and work towards a companion voucher.

I agree that business makes more sense if you have the Avios to spare as there's not a huge differerence taxes than for economy.

Just been browsing the Avios flight availability, and Malta has economy seats available for next March/April Easter holidays.
They were'nt there a couple of months ago when we were looking so we booked up somewhere else. Hard to know sometime if availability will come up or not and how long to hold out for.

Celticlass2 Wed 17-Dec-14 21:03:21

Janinlondon. Never thought of using towards package holidays, as we tend to book flights and accomidation seperately. Great if it works fo you though.
Looked in to using Avios for Brittanny ferries a couple of years ago, but the exchange rate seemed bad value

bonhomme Wed 17-Dec-14 21:59:21

Use them for hotels - much more availability

MillyMollyMama Thu 18-Dec-14 21:40:35

The web site is not always entirely accurate. That is why we ring BA to get the latest availability. It has worked well for us.

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