Watch Out For A British Airways Avios Reward Pricing Glitch…

British Airways is running an extremely generous 50% discount on all long-haul redemptions (25% on Reward Flight Saver). This is a superb offer for Avios collectors, as it is supposed to apply to all destinations and all cabins:

Book a Reward Flight in our World Traveller, World Traveller Plus, Club World or First cabins for 50% off the Avios required.”

There is a potentially BIG problem though: BA’s online booking system is having problems pricing the flights correctly.

There might well be other issues too, but the problem I’m consistently seeing right now, is that zero discount is being applied to World Traveller (long-haul Economy) redemptions.

Sometimes the first BA search display page gives incorrect information, that is then corrected when you click through to the final pricing, but that’s not happening here. Even when you click through, the World Traveller rates are pricing as normal, with no discount.

For example, take a look at the following screenshots of return flights from London to Tokyo (off peak).

Club World (Business Class) is fine, pricing at 75,000 Avios return, as it should with the 50% discount: 

World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) is also fine, pricing at 39,000 Avios with the 50% discount:

World Traveller (Economy) is definitely not fine though – pricing up at 39,000 Avios (the same amount as World Traveller Plus!):

In case you’re thinking the glitch might be specific to Tokyo, unfortunately it’s not. Here is London to New York in Economy (off peak) return, for example:

With 50% off, that should be 13,000 Avios for a return, not 26,000.

The issue seems to persist regardless of whether you price World Traveller as a one-way or a return, and broadly regardless of your origin and destination.

UPDATE: I have found one exception, Bermuda, which is pricing correctly. What is interesting is that BA’s own (broadly wrong) examples are what caused me to take a look.

The examples are all supposed to be of return flights on off-peak dates. A return off-peak from London to Bermuda would normally require 26,000 Avios, so 50% would be 13,000 Avios in total, which the example below correctly shows:

BA’s other World Traveller examples, like New York above, are simply wrong. A normal return to New York requires 26,000 Avios off-peak, or 40,000 peak. I have absolutely no idea where the 50,000 Avios ‘Full Price’ comes from. Check out the (correct) 40,000 Avios peak date return pricing below, for dates in August – i.e. after the 50% promotion (which ends in June):

Bottom line

Using Avios for long-haul Economy flights is usually terrible value. The irony here is that the 50% discount makes it potentially worth considering, but BA’s system isn’t applying the discount on those redemptions correctly.

I suspect the specific problem will be sorted soon, but continue to pay close attention to all pricing over the next week. Make sure that the 50% discount deal you think you are getting, really is what you end up with!

Have you noticed any other problems?