British Airways Avios Cash and Points Dilemma

BA Avios

British Airways Avios Cash and Points Dilemma

Good morning from a rainy Hamburg AIrBnB apartment room.  I just wanted to let everyone know that I haven’t forgotten about the blog, I’ve just been busy travelling/sleeping over the last few days.

Anyway, you may have noticed some new headers above this post.  I have been working diligently on my Shopkick posts and several American Express Serve posts.  I will get those all finished and send out a post when they are completed.

Now back to our normal un-scheduled travel-related post…

I was recently helping a friend book a flight with British Airways Avios, one of my favorite frequent flyer programs.  For those new to British Airways Avios, there are several advantages to using Avios over other frequent flyer programs like American Airlines.  British Airways does not charge close-in award booking fees, whereas American Airlines charges $75 for awards if booked within the last 21 days of travel.  Also, British Airways’s award chart is distanced based, whereas short flights cost less Avios and long flights cost more Avios.  There are no off-peak/peak awards, there are no region-to-region awards, there are no round trip pricing.  Every segment you fly costs a certain number of Avios based on the distance flown.


Back to the story.  My friend asked me which option he should pick on the Cash and Points page.  The route doesn’t matter, all that matter are the 6 different pricing options below.

BA Avios Points Options

I face this question frequently and always crunch the numbers to see which option is the best.  I even created an Excel spreadsheet (download link) in case you ever have similar problems.

Based on the 6 different pricing options available (column 1) and the 4 different “prices” of the tickets (columns 4-7), I was able to crunch the numbers and determine the value for each Avios.

Copy BA Price Chart Avios Dollars  $150  $200  $250  $300
15000 Avios + $ 5.00 15000 5 0.97 1.30 1.63 1.97
12000 Avios + $ 55.00 12000 55 0.79 1.21 1.63 2.04
10600 Avios + $ 65.00 10600 65 0.80 1.27 1.75 2.22
9000 Avios + $ 85.00 9000 85 0.72 1.28 1.83 2.39
7600 Avios + $ 105.00 7600 105 0.59 1.25 1.91 2.57
5000 Avios + $ 135.00 5000 135 0.30 1.30 2.30 3.30

As you can see from the chart, the value I get from each Avios varies depending on the number of Avios used and the price of the ticket.  You don’t necessarily even have to know or use the original price of the ticket.  In general terms, when booking cheaper tickets, the first option will normally have the highest cents per point value.  Alternatively, for more expensive tickets, you will probably be better off if you chose the the bottom option (less Avios and more cash).

If you find yourself stuck at the $200 row where the top and bottom options have the same Avios cents per point value, then you have yourself a major dilemma.  You have to ask yourself, is saving 10,000 Avios worth paying $130 more for the ticket?  If not, then go with the top option.  If you said yes, then go with the bottom option.  I personally always chose the bottom option in a tie, because I can generally get more than 1.3 cents per point value for each Avios.  I would rather have more Avios left over in my British Airways account for use on future trips.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

9 thoughts on “British Airways Avios Cash and Points Dilemma

  1. chb

    I would think the price of the current ticket is irrelevant if you’ve already made up your mind to use points and cash. The value of the points is what they will buy you in the future so you need to estimate their value on that basis. The ability to offset a future ticket price is what you are foregoing by using avios now. If the price of the current ticket is a good approximation for a future ticket price, then it doesn’t matter if you use the current or future estimated price.

    1. Grant

      Chb you are too smart for me. For me, if the price is right (ticket is cheap), I will more than likely pay for the ticket and earn miles. If it is more expensive than I would like, I will more likely use miles, either completely or in part, to offset the high ticket price.

  2. Raymond

    Could you go over how does household account works? I am very confuse how that works because I was wondering is it possible to book for your friend even if they are not on your household?

    1. Grant

      Sure, great question Raymond. If you are part of a household account, you can only redeem Avios for people that are a part of the household. There is a way to add friends/family to that, but I think it is easier just to separate someone from the household account, have them book an award for someone else, and then add them back to the household account.

  3. Raymond


    The problem I have right now is I am not sure if it is their system glitch. My mom is the head of household and added me and my dad. However, it keeps saying pending member details. When I click my household account, it says I do not have a household account, then I clicked on “create household account”, then it is saying I already linked to a household account…so confusing their system

  4. Nguyen

    I start to give up on Avios program since I cannot seem to find anything available from where I am and where I want to go. I am exploring the option to book hotels in order to empty out my BA account. Thanks.

  5. Pingback: 6,000 British Airways Avios + $163 for Phily to Paris | Travel with Grant

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