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Old 09-07-2013, 09:42 AM   #1
BlueGiraffe
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Avios and Air Miles - please help!

Anyone have experience of these?

We've been eagerly collecting our Tesco Clubcard Points since Christmas to pay towards our flights for next year.

We won't be booking flights until January or February, but I've been looking into options. I know we can either convert them to Avios to spend with BA, or into AirMiles to spend with Virgin.

Virgin are currently asking in excess of £5000(!!) for 2 adults and 2 children, and have the option to pay with miles and money combined on their site.

BA were asking for around £3800, and offering an earlier flight (which we would prefer), but no mention of paying with Avios. When I looked into 'reward flights' they said they didn't have any for the dates I wanted.

Help!! Should it really be this confusing or is it just me?

Ideally we'd rather go with BA, but it depends if we can use the vouchers for the flights we want. We have paid a deposit for our Disney resort and our villa, so our flights are not flexible.

Thanks for any suggestions or advice.

PS - we're looking to fly direct from Gatwick to Orlando July 2014, if that makes a difference.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:39 PM   #2
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I couldn't find any reward flights available through Avios for the whole of July - sorry! In my experience, it can be pretty difficult getting reward flights with Avios. Even flights in less popular times are so expensive in terms of the number of points required, it's hardly worth it.
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Old 09-07-2013, 03:23 PM   #3
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I couldn't find any reward flights available through Avios for the whole of July - sorry! In my experience, it can be pretty difficult getting reward flights with Avios. Even flights in less popular times are so expensive in terms of the number of points required, it's hardly worth it.
I looked for June/July and could find nothing. Is there anything Avios points are useful for? (That's a serious question in case it reads as sarcastic). We have managed to fly with a different airline/airlines every trip over the last 5 years, each with their own reward system and as a result I have useless miles expiring left, right and center on an ongoing basis. Avios will be next If only they didn't charge to transfer them I could have spread some pixie dust to some folk by now but it's hardly worth the cost of doing so
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Old 09-07-2013, 03:52 PM   #4
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I know, they do seem useless! The whole British Airways/Avios option seems to have gone out of the window now. I thought it may have just been me not understanding it.

We had preferred to fly with BA, as at the moment their flights are earlier and cheaper, but the whole Avios thing confuses me.

I know that we can change our Clubcard points into Virgin air miles, which we can use towards the flights we want, it's just the current price putting me off!!
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Old 09-07-2013, 03:52 PM   #5
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I used them for car hire then found out that I did not have the required insurance, by the time I paid that it was hardly worth having used them.
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Old 09-07-2013, 03:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BlueGiraffe View Post
I know, they do seem useless! The whole British Airways/Avios option seems to have gone out of the window now. I thought it may have just been me not understanding it.

We had preferred to fly with BA, as at the moment their flights are earlier and cheaper, but the whole Avios thing confuses me.

I know that we can change our Clubcard points into Virgin air miles, which we can use towards the flights we want, it's just the current price putting me off!!
I have Virgin miles about to expire. I'm very unlikely to fly VA again in the forseeable future; their prices have been almost double what I've paid over the last few years at any given time. As for Avios, i agree about the confusion and it's comforting to know I'm not alone. I joint the BA Executive club. The emails come from BA Executive club and refer to my Avios miles. When I booked a codeshare through AA on BA flights they asked me to choose my reward scheme and gave Avios and BA Exec Club as two separate options. None of them would take my number so I left it blank at the time. They have since very kindly registered me with AA Advantage. So it looks like there is yet one more source for useless miles. I'm trying to see how to save my United ones from expiring because if I can keep them live for another year, there are actually enough to do something decent with them. It just wasnt' going to work for me this year though
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Old 09-07-2013, 04:23 PM   #7
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VA Miles - we changed ours 12500 for £50 of Virgin Vouchers and used them to pay for park tickets one year

BA Avios - we have 55k as a household account - I had wanted to buy Merlin passes but this can only be done with regular Avios which means transferring our points from one to the other but we cannot include the 20k collected by the kids - so again like 2Tiggies says - useless.

However... I have discovered that for 9000 BA avios +£35 you can fly to most places in the UK and Western Europe - so perhaps we will have a city break over the next year instead. Or use them as a starting flight for our next trip - we have found it more expensive to fly from London - perhaps we can fly elsewhere to catch a cheaper flight!
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Old 09-07-2013, 04:39 PM   #8
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However... I have discovered that for 9000 BA avios +£35 you can fly to most places in the UK and Western Europe - so perhaps we will have a city break over the next year instead. Or use them as a starting flight for our next trip - we have found it more expensive to fly from London - perhaps we can fly elsewhere to catch a cheaper flight!
Now that is very useful information to me!! When looking at flights last month, for some reason, for a period of time, flights to MCO from Belfast were coming out at just on £400 per person. My challenge was to find flights from here to there and back for little enough to make the round trip still a good deal. Had I known about that option ........ Now I know for the future. Thanks for that!!!

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Old 09-07-2013, 04:51 PM   #9
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I just had a quick look on the VA website and got return fares of 3.5K for 2 adults and 2 children for July dates. Obviously I don't know your exact dates or the age of your children but depending on how many VA points you have you could always look at getting one of your tickets with miles or miles + money
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:19 PM   #10
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I just had a quick look on the VA website and got return fares of 3.5K for 2 adults and 2 children for July dates. Obviously I don't know your exact dates or the age of your children but depending on how many VA points you have you could always look at getting one of your tickets with miles or miles + money
Thank you!

Everyone's so helpful here I guess we'll just have to wait and see what prices are like near Christmas.

I've emailed BA to ask if I can spend vouchers on any flight I want, so I'll see what they come back with (if anything). And if Virgin's prices are still ridiculous for our dates then maybe we can book with BA and use our Avios to upgrade on the way home or something.

Why can't things be so simple? I think Disney need to start up their own transatlantic airline!!
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:05 PM   #11
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maybe we can book with BA and use our Avios to upgrade on the way home or something.
Scrap that!

They want 13,500 Avios to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy (one way), compared to 25,000 to pay for an adult flight from London to Orlando. We were just going to use the Avios (we should have 25,000 by then) to pay towards the flights, but in order to upgrade all 4 of us instead we'll need 50,000!

Who invented this system? It's ridiculous!
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Scrap that!

They want 13,500 Avios to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy (one way), compared to 25,000 to pay for an adult flight from London to Orlando. We were just going to use the Avios (we should have 25,000 by then) to pay towards the flights, but in order to upgrade all 4 of us instead we'll need 50,000!

Who invented this system? It's ridiculous!
I think if you book the 'free' flight you still have to pay taxes on top of the miles so it's not exactly a half and half. But as you say, it seems a ridiculous system. I think part of the problem for many of us here is that we don't fly often enough. There is no doubt that airlines have been offering less and less with their reward schemes and made it harder to use them over the years. If you fly more frequently it seems to be a bit easier to collect a decently useful amount of miles. But I don't fly half as much as I used to - not even close - and my trips are now limited pretty much to our annual Orlando visits which, although in total, cost a lot of money, aren't really that much in air miles if you see what I'm getting at. Also by going with the best prices/routes etc, as stated in my previous post there is no loyalty with me now toward any airline in particular so the miles are expiring through being dormant as we use a different carrier every year. It's a game. I want to play and I want to win but I don't like the rules
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Old 09-08-2013, 02:34 AM   #13
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We're in the process of saving for a WDW trip in 2015 and having done the maths have come to the conclusion that for us using Tesco points for flights is just not going to work. Instead we're using our points to pay for things that we otherwise wouldn't be able to afford due to saving - for example we used them to take our DS to Chessington for his birthday, a trip that if we'd paid cash would have cost us best part of £100! Next year rather than going on holiday we're going to use them to get Merlin annual passes.
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:13 AM   #14
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It is extremely difficult finding reward flights with Avios but we have been lucky enough to do so the past couple of years.

I managed to get flights from London to Orlando 6-26 July 2013 for 2 on part avios/part cash but I was looking every day as soon as the flights were released.

I have also just booked 2 flights to LAX for next summer from Aberdeen via LHR Club world using my Amex 2-4-1 voucher, 100,000 miles and £1200. (Still trying to work out if that's a good deal, lol) That's part of a trip to Aulani and Hawaii but couldn't get flights all the way. I couldn't get the exact dates I wanted though and will have to take DS out of school 2 days early.

My DD is at uni in London and often books flights back to Aberdeen using Avios (not sure that's such a good use of points but we only use them if it's last minute and easy jet prices are no good)

And as others have said they can be good for Europe.


Quote:
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I have Virgin miles about to expire. I'm very unlikely to fly VA again in the forseeable future
I'm trying to see how to save my United ones from expiring because if I can keep them live for another year, there are actually enough to do something decent with them. It just wasnt' going to work for me this year though
Just a sugestion, but if you have any Tesco vouchers- why not convert just one of them to Virgin miles to keep the account active.
And I recently had an email from United about my airmiles expiring. I went on their website and donated 500 miles to their charity thereby extending the expiry to end of 2014. I don't have enough United miles even for a hotel stay but thought it worth keeping the account alive just in case I use them again sometime.
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:40 AM   #15
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I've given up now. I've spoken to a Virgin rep (live chat) and she basically said that if I want to go in the school holidays then it's very unlikely that we'll be able to use air miles on those flights.

I haven't heard back from BA but they are bound to say the same thing. We could use them to upgrade our seats, but again, by the time we have enough vouchers for all of us there may be no seats available to upgrade to - and I don't want to risk converting them and then not being able to use them.

We are not frequent fliers, so they'll expire before they were able to be used.

I think I'll just double them up later this year and spend them on Christmas presents. It was worth a try, but I think it was very misleading.

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