I have already written the ultimate guide to Cash & Avios redemptions.
The gist is that on some, but not all, British Airways Avios redemptions you are given a menu of prices like this:
You can spend the full price in Avios (plus government taxes and fuel surcharges on some partners) or you can pay fewer Avios and make up the difference by paying more cash directly to British Airways.
Not all awards offer Cash & Avios options–for instance American Airlines domestic flights don’t–and the “price” of Avios varies widely on Cash & Avios awards.
The pattern generally was that on economy awards, you could save your Avios by paying about 1.3 cents per Avios saved. On business awards, the price was almost 2.6 cents per Avios saved. First class awards were in the middle at about 1.9 cents per Avios saved.
Since I value one Avios at around 1.7 cents, I generally recommended maximizing Cash & Avios awards on economy awards by paying with the minimum number of Avios and maximum amount of cash. But since the “price” was too high on business and first class awards, I recommended not availing oneself of the Cash & Avios options on premium awards.
Now things have improved for the better!
- How cheap are Cash & Avios awards now?
- What is the best cabin for a Cash & Avios award?
- On which Avios partners can you get the best Cash & Avios awards?
As I noted in my posts on US Airways joining oneworld and TAM joining oneworld, some Avios awards now offer Cash & Avios options that “price” the Avios you save at only 1.1 cents each.
Another big improvement is that you used to have to put up 50% of the full Avios price on Cash & Avios awards. Now you sometimes need as little as 30% of the full price.
I found a few other Avios partners whose economy flights are following this new trend of requiring only 30% of the full Avios price and selling the rest for 1.1 cents.
This airberlin roundtrip from New York to Berlin costs 40k Avios + $107. Or you can pay only 12k Avios + $427 for the transatlantic roundtrip. That’s 1.14 cents per Avios saved.
Similarly, you can pay 25,000 Avios + $27 for a roundtrip from Sydney to Perth, Australia.
Or you can pay 8,000 Avios + $217. That’s only 1.12 cents per Avios saved.
Between Santiago and Easter Island, Chile, you can pay 25,000 Avios + $24.
Or you can pay 8,000 Avios and $214. That’s only 1.12 cents per Avios saved.
TAM and US Airways
The 12,500 Avios + $2.50 awards on US Airways and TAM are also offered for 4,000 Avios + $97.50, which is only 1.12 cents per Avios saved.
Avios are now more valuable because of beneficial changes to Cash & Avios awards. On some economy awards, you now need only 30% of the full Avios price, and you can make up the other 70% by spending only 1.12 cents per Avios saved.
These awards produce some absurdly cheap tickets like 8,000 Avios + $195 roundtrip from Phoenix to Hawaii or 8,000 Avios + $214 from Santiago to Easter Island.
The best use of Avios is short, direct, economy awards. Those are the very same awards that were just improved by these Cash & Avios changes. When your best awards get better, your miles go up in value. Now is a good time to have some Avios.
Have you found any other partners on which British Airways is allowing these 30%-and-1.1-cent Cash & Avios awards?