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Last week, I booked my first flight since this pandemic started. It’s for early next year, and I used British Airways Avios. While I love getting flights for free, the process illuminated my love/hate relationship with using British Airways Avios.
Why I Love Avios
British Airways Avios are very useful for my family. We use them to fly on American Airlines (partner airlines). Since Dallas is an AA hub, we have a lot of flight possibilities with BA Avios.
Avios are fairly easy to accumulate. Chase has a British Airways credit card. Points can also be transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Ultimate Rewards to BA Avios.
British Airways Executive Club allows families to pool together points from multiple accounts into a household account. It’s very convenient to use that combined pool of points in our household account to book flights.
In addition, flights usually cost fewer miles using Avios vs. using AA miles since BA uses a distance-based chart. For example, flights to Florida cost us 9000 miles on BA vs. 12,500 miles on AA, and it’s the same metal.
And finally, if we need to cancel award flights, we can get all of our Avios redeposited with no penalties if we cancel more than 24 hours in advance. We just forfeit the taxes (usually $5.60 per flight).
Why I Hate Avios
I’ve had a lot of trouble booking flights on the BA website. I frequently get errors that require calling in to book flights. Then once I’m on the phone, the agent tries to charge extra for booking over the phone instead of online. I have to ask for a manager to waive the fee since the website gave me an error.
This last week, I tried to book flights for next year’s spring break online. I kept getting an error message. I determined that the issue was the young adult ticket category for ages 12-15. Even though I tried to move my son into the adult category or the kid category, I still got the error message.
So, once again I gave up on the website and tried to book the flights over the phone. Except that British Airways is operating on reduced capacity and is only accepting calls from folks waiting over 30 days for refunds. I also tried Twitter, but haven’t heard back in a week.
Because I didn’t want award flight availability to disappear, I made the decision to take my “young adult” son off the reservation and book the award flights for the rest of my family. I had no trouble doing that online.
My plan is to eventually call in and make a separate reservation for my son. Worst case scenario, we end up paying cash for his ticket. It looks like award availability on the return flight has already disappeared. Ugh.
The good of BA Avios outweighs the bad. I’ll put up with some website nonsense in order to get free flights with Avios. The end result is worth the hassle.
What has been your experience with using BA Avios?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.