- British Airways is expanding its Avios-only flights, offering more routes and including travel during the peak summer travel period.
- Avios-only seats can be purchased using Avios rewards points through the airline’s Executive Club loyalty program.
- The expansion of the Avios-only program comes ahead of changes to how BA customers can collect Avios, which will now be based on the cost of the ticket rather than the distance of the flight.
More flights for your Avios
British Airways has announced that it is expanding its range of Avios-only flights for next summer. The announcement comes a month before the carrier’s first Avios-only flight departs from London Gatwick to Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt on November 3rd.
Photo: Markus Mainka | Shutterstock.
Avios-only flights were launched earlier this year, as reported at the time by Simple Flying. On such flights, 100% of the seats are exclusively available to British Airways Executive Club Members as Rewards Seats, redeeming Avios rewards points in return for a seat on the desired flight.
The new routes being opened up to Avios-only flights are BA services to Florence, Mallorca, Faro, Corfu, and Ibiza. All travel periods will include the peak summer travel period, including the August Bank Holiday in the UK.
Image: British Airways
This latest release of routes being announced by BA brings the total number of Avios-only flights to nearly 30 across the BA network. The latest release also includes departures from London City Airport for the first time. Through the expanded program, BA is offering members of its loyalty scheme an extra 1,250 summer holiday fares from as little as £1 + 25,500 Avios.
How the program works
The Avios-only seats are sold as regular reward seats by the airline. This means that customers who are members of the carrier’s Executive Club, or transferring from partners like Qatar Airways or other IAG airlines, can exchange points for seats on one of the flights. Seats are available in each cabin in exchange for the redemption of an appropriate number of Avios.
Simple Flying spoke to IAG Loylalty CCO Rob McDonald in July about the concept and its future. He noted that more destinations were on the horizon back then, a feat we are seeing now, and there could be even more types of routes in the near future.
Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying
British Airways guarantees a minimum of 12 and 14 reward seats normally being available on its standard short and long-haul flights. With the Avios-only flights, every seat is available to purchase using Avios.
Furthermore, holders of British Airways American Express credit cards also have the option to use their Companion Vouchers. These vouchers entitle members to a second seat for just the taxes and charges, or alternatively, one seat for half the amount of Avios.
Expansion of the program
The first British Airways-operated Avios-only flight will depart next month to Sharm El Sheikh. Two weeks later, these services will be joined by an Avios-only service to Las Palmas, departing on November 15th and returning to London Gatwick Airport a week later on November 22nd.
Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying
For those seeking a winter sun break, the next Avios-only route will be between Gatwick and Lanzarote. This rotation is set to depart London on December 4th, returning on December 11th. London Heathrow to Geneva joins the Avios-only route list in February 2024, in time for the peak ski season.
Easter 2024 sees a further ramping up of the program, with Avios-only flights being offered on the following routes departing March 29th, 2024, and returning on April 7th, 2024:
- London Heathrow Airport (LHR) – Barcelona (BCN)
- London Heathrow Airport (LHR) – Nice (NCE)
- London Gatwick Airport (LGW) – Tenerife South (TFS)
With the addition of Florence, Mallorca, Faro, Corfu, and Ibiza to the program, BA is appealing to those Executive Club passengers who might previously have had difficulties in securing seats in peak travel periods.
As with all the Avios-only services, flights on the new routes will likely be popular. The first Avios-only flight sold out in less than 24 hours when it was released, that’s over 180 seats.
Further changes ahead
The news that the Avios-only program is being expanded comes ahead of other forthcoming changes to how BA customers can collect Avios. From October 18th, 2023, Executive Club members will collect Avios based on the cost of their ticket rather than the distance of their flight – the traditional method by which airline frequent flyer programs have worked in the past. This extended to bookings with Iberia and American Airlines as well.
The airline calculates that by using this adjusted way of calculating rewards, 20% more Avios will be issued to Executive Club members, at least on expensive short-haul flights. However, this will impact passengers traveling on lower fares disproportionality, as we’ve discussed in detail previously.
What are your thoughts on the Avios-only flights? Will you be tempted to redeem some of your Avios to one of the destinations featured in this article? Let us know in the comments.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport
- Year Founded:
- Airline Group:
- Sean Doyle
- United Kingdom
- Loyalty Program:
- British Airways Executive Club