What should you do if you have a huge AVIOS balance but are concerned about the chances of failure of British Airways and Oneworld alliance members? What other options do you have to spend your AVIOS and avoid seeing all your hard work turn to dust? Your strategic spending on credit cards does not want to go to waste.
The usual redemption options of hotels, flights and car hire may seem futile currently. We don’t know when lockdown might ease enough to take advantage of those facilities. Who knows whether other countries will relax their entry requirements to allow us to visit? Plus, airlines are cancelling flights repeatedly. Finnair even cancelled our flights for the 1st October to Helsinki just a few days ago. Things are not looking promising for you to spend your AVIOS on travel in the near future.
But let’s take a look at all the options then you can decide.
Options for using AVIOS
You can still book flights for future travel however personally I see little point in doing so as there are too many unknowns. We do not know which countries will accept British tourists or when. The international press does not report Britain’s handling of the crisis positively and it is possible that we will not be welcome in some countries.
Furthermore, we do not know when bars and restaurants will fully open. Why go overseas if there is little you can do?
Getting refunds for cancelled travel is also currently extremely painful. British Airways strongly encourage you to take a voucher but if you hold out for the refund it takes weeks to process! Furthermore, you may find it difficult to speak to someone on the phone to even start the process.
Then there’s the possibility that countries will insist on quarantine for visitors whether infected or not. Whilst I’d rather be quarantined than unknowingly spread the virus, I do not want to incur the expense of travelling to a country only to end up in a quarantine facility.
This may be a valid way to use your AVIOS as you can use them to book travel in the UK. Note however that options are limited. The selection is mainly limited to hotels in large cities. If you fancy a break in the countryside or on the coast there is little to no choice. You could, of course, splurge points on luxury hotels if you are desperate to use your AVIOS.
You cannot make changes to your hotel booking. Instead, you have to cancel and make a new booking.
The website is slightly confusing however as it states:
- Cancellations made within 3 days of travel – no refunds permitted.
- Cancellations made up to 3 days before travel (isn’t that the same thing?) and then ‘cancellations made on or after 13/7/20 (booking request is for 14/07/20) will be subject to a fee of x (depends on the hotel) or equivalent cost in AVIOS and a £35 administration fee’.
I checked this with British Airways and was just as confused. It seems however that charges apply regardless of when you cancel. You may not, therefore, wish to risk a booking currently as you do not know whether it will be worth travelling until nearer the time.
Spend your AVIOS on these hotel options
I am not suggesting that these options are necessarily the best use of your AVIOS but at least you will get some benefit if you spend your AVIOS in this way.
You can use AVIOS to hire cars although I can’t imagine why you people would need to if you are unable to leave the UK. Obviously, if you do not have a car, this could be one option and a search in July shows availability from 5,613 Avios a day. I suspect most people will not find this beneficial however.
Last but not least…you can redeem your AVIOS for wine. Hoorah!! Given that many people appear to have resorted to alcohol as a coping mechanism during the lockdown, this could be hugely appealing as a way to blow some AVIOS.
Options include wine, champagne, prosecco and a small selection of spirits. From as little as 9,700 you can order a case of six rose wines.
Also on offer is a case of six prosecco for 14,100, a dozen whites for 18,500, a premium dozen for 44,300 and twelve Veuve Cliquot for 100,400. Why not give your wine selection a boost?
What is the British Airways wine service like?
I decided to try out the service and order two dozen whites and proseccos. Oops!! Now I am sadly on a mission to drink them all which is not proving good for my liver!!
The order went through smoothly and the wines turned up three days later. The jury is still out on the selection but ask me again in a few weeks and I should have a better idea. I was impressed with the service and lack of a delivery charge.
What do you think?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.