MSE News: Airmiles becomes Avios: hurry to beat the cost hike

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Flights, Currency & Car Hire
51 replies 13.9K views
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  • shaeshae Forumite
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    Hi.

    I had over 7000 Airmiles to spend but I just can't get onto any websites to book anything.
    Does anyone have any answers please.
  • richardwrichardw Forumite
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    You need to call them.
    Posts are not advice and must not be relied upon.
  • --Tony----Tony-- Forumite
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    What regional airports can you fly from? I thought under airmiles I could fly from Southampton but you don't appear to be able to with Avios?
    .
  • thelawnetthelawnet Forumite
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    Looks like the article has been updated:

    There are still some errors though:

    "However, there will be a cap of £27 on charges for European bookings for anyone who has collected at least one Avios point in the preceding year." [Probably should point out how easy it is to earn an Avios point, e.g., through online shopping] Also it's not just 'European bookings', its Europe and North Africa (excluding Egypt).

    'Therefore, on some European routes from non-London airports you could be better off under the new scheme. As charges are usually capped at £27 and the 'non-London' points premium's been scrapped, the loss in cash may be offset where you need fewer points.'

    This is not correct. ALL European routes from non-London airports are now either much better off or the same. The worst case is a flight to Amsterdam, Brussels or Paris, which used to cost 1250 miles and now costs 900 miles plus £27. £27 is approximately the value of 350 miles. The best case is to Moscow, which would have cost you 5500 miles but now costs just 2000 + £27.

    Further, a large number of Eurotraveller/Club Europe routes are now a better deal - Germany, North Tunisia, the south of France, Switzerland, among others.

    The BA section should probably point out that the scheme was previously a dead-loss for Euro redemptions but is now a good deal.

    For instance:

    "Some medium-haul destinations such as Larnaca and Tel Aviv will require 25,000 miles instead of 20,000."

    While this statement is factually incorrect, as Larnaca requires 20,000 miles, the bigger point is even if it had increased by 5,000 (which it hasn't), it's now 20,000 + £27 rather than 20,000 + £83. For BA Eurotraveller/Club Europe redemptions, this is a huge improvement.

    Lastly regarding this:

    "Compare to the Airmiles cost in miles. Unless you know the mileage required from memory, this can only be done by phone on 0844 4933399 as the Airmiles website no longer exists (we are awaiting a PDF from Avios which will list the old zone map, which we'll link to when it arrives)."

    This is not really necessary. Here is the complete rundown for ECONOMY & Club Europe redemptions. Club World redemptions are all better under the new scheme, First Class all better under the old scheme (if anyone ever did?).

    Domestic: Airmiles is 150 miles + £27 cheaper = about £40 WORSE

    From a UK airport other than London to anywhere in Europe/North Africa: Avios is same or better

    From London to:
    Paris/Brussels/Amsterdam - Airmiles is cheaper by 150 miles + £27 = around £40 WORSE

    France (except Paris), Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Prague, Gothenburg, Genoa, Turin, Milan - Avios is 600 miles cheaper but you pay £27. Saving approx £25

    Italy (except Genoa, Turin, Milan), Spain/Balearics, Gibraltar, Portugal, Budapest, Vienna, Stockholm, Oslo - same miles, £27 worse fee

    Helsinki, Dubrovnik, Algiers, Tunis, 1000 fewer miles but £27 fee. About £50-£60 saving

    Greece, Turkey, Romania, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, Poland = 500 miles cheaper under the new scheme, but £27 fee. About a £10-15 saving.

    Russia: 2000 miles cheaper under the new scheme but £27 fee. About a £130 saving

    World Destinations:

    Nigeria, Egypt, Israel, Jeddah, Kuwait: 2500 miles cheaper, but now attracting fees in excess of £200. Probably worse, check the actual taxes & charges for your destination. An airmile is worth around 8p. Saving is 3000 miles from regional airports.

    Northeast USA, rest of Middle East: 1000 miles cheaper, but fees of at least £200. Much worse

    Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Bermuda: 2500 miles cheaper, but fees of at least £200. Probably worse but comparable from regional airports

    the Caribbean, India, US (except Texas, the West, and northeast cities): 1500 miles cheaper, but fees of at least £200. Much worse

    Western US, Texas, Mexico, western Canada, southern Africa, Male: 3000 miles cheaper, but fees of at least £200. Likely to be worse

    Bangkok, China, Mauritius, Rio: 2000 miles cheaper, but fees of at least £200. Much worse.

    Sao Paulo: 4000 miles cheaper, but fees of over £300. Similar

    Buenos Aires: 3000 miles cheaper, but fees of over £300. Worse

    Singapore: 1000 miles cheaper, but fees of over £300. Much worse

    Sydney: same miles, plus fees of nearly £500.

    As you can see, under the new scheme there are some economy 'world' destinations that work out a little better.

    Not many, but they are there. However mostly it was because they were previously poor value. Still, the zone 4 looks a decent bet - 25,000 miles + taxes for an economy redemption. BA's best fare to Kuwait is £300 + £270 in taxes, so the 25,000 miles work out as worth £300, which is worth it. Other destinations probably have more competion and lower prices. Generally it's not a good use of miles for economy redemptions, but it's still worth pricing up. If you can get 1p per Avios then it's worth it.

    E.g.,

    London - Male - best fare available for your date = £800. Avios cost = 50,000 avios + £300.10. Avios value = 1p/each. Good luck finding availability though.....

    I think the new Avios scheme works best for short-haul last-minute and long-haul premium.
  • edited 21 November 2011 at 1:26PM
    ernie-moneyernie-money Forumite
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    edited 21 November 2011 at 1:26PM
    I would've loved to beat the cost hike and use my airmiles instead! I had enough miles for the flights I wanted, bar a balance of £240, the flights are showing available on the website, so I've just called them to book.
    Lo and behold, they were unable to complete the booking due to an error on the system! Instead they took my details, and promised to ring me back when the system error has been fixed, but due to the backlog, it should hopefully be within a week, and no guarantee of getting the seats, even though I was prepared to pay for them in full, and have the cost refunded when the system is working again. I'm absolutely fuming - I've spent ages collecting airmiles, I've cashed in all my Tesco points to get enough miles, and now it might all be for nothing, because if the seats aren't available when they sort the system (only 4 seats showing available now) then we wont get the flights.
    Strangely, I could have booked the flights using Avios instead, but the cost for doing this would've been £973.68, rather than £240...
    I really can't believe that this is happening, just want to cry if we wont get to go after everything...
    I don't think I can hang on til Friday...
  • I had saved enough Airmiles for 4 flights to New York. I tried to book on the 16th of November and after going through the entire booking process with an agent I was told the system had gone down and someone would call back to verify my booking. Two days later after no one rang back i called and was told my seats had been set aside but the booking could not be completed. I was given a reference number and told someone would ring me back. After 3 more days without a call back and no sign of the miles being removed from my account I rang once again only to be told that the system is still broken and they are working night and day to fix it. However my flights are not guaranteed and there is no timescale that has been set to fix the problem. My entitlement to use Airmiles under the old system is vanishing fast and no one seems to be trying to solve the problem. The agent on this occasion told me that I cannot book with the new system either. it looks like Airmiles may be something I never will return to after this fiasco.
  • ernie-moneyernie-money Forumite
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    I had saved enough Airmiles for 4 flights to New York. I tried to book on the 16th of November and after going through the entire booking process with an agent I was told the system had gone down and someone would call back to verify my booking. Two days later after no one rang back i called and was told my seats had been set aside but the booking could not be completed. I was given a reference number and told someone would ring me back. After 3 more days without a call back and no sign of the miles being removed from my account I rang once again only to be told that the system is still broken and they are working night and day to fix it. However my flights are not guaranteed and there is no timescale that has been set to fix the problem. My entitlement to use Airmiles under the old system is vanishing fast and no one seems to be trying to solve the problem. The agent on this occasion told me that I cannot book with the new system either. it looks like Airmiles may be something I never will return to after this fiasco.
    At least you've been promised the seats - I've just been told there's no guarantee in any shape or form that I will get the flights I want to book...
    I don't think I can hang on til Friday...
  • I am in the same situation and I was told the system might work in mid week.
  • Roger1Roger1 Forumite
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    ... now it might all be for nothing, because if the seats aren't available when they sort the system (only 4 seats showing available now) then we wont get the flights ...
    Far from ideal. The only consolation (if there is one) is that others may also be in the queue with the system down, and they got theirs before your turn.
    I had saved enough Airmiles for 4 flights to New York. I tried to book on the 16th of November ...
    Are you trying to buy under the old Airmiles rates or the new Avios rates? It may be that you waited until the 'price' dropped from 5000 Airmiles = 50,000 Avios all in to 40,000 Avios + taxes and fees.

    Given the high cost of the extras, most of us would probably say that the old system was cheaper, assuming that we had enough Airmiles of course. Paying the extras is rarely worthwhile for longhaul flights such as New York.

    I'd try to have some kind of record in writing. Why not e-mail Avios/Airmiles through the website outlining the problem and their promises to get back to you. If and when time is getting tight and you still have no satisfactory response, there would at least be a record. Good luck.
  • Omega_1Omega_1 Forumite
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    Am I right in assuming that if I were to book Long-Haul BA flights, with cash/card through an agency other than BA direct, I could then use my Avios points to upgrade cabins ?

    Where do we stand now with BA's 'partner' airlines - can we still use their own 'airmiles' to book BA flights with upgraded cabin ?
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