Collecting frequent flyer points is a nice little hobby for some. The end game for most people is to get reward flights using points, to use for a weekend getaway or even a much more complex trip.
When you have a relatively small number of points, goals can seem to be quite far away. I’m going to show you examples of what you can do with small points balances in the British Airways Executive Club and Aer Lingus AerClub.
A Weekend Getaway
Taking a weekend getaway to the beach or even a city break is quite easy to do with points. The lowest amount of points for a one way flight on both Aer Lingus and British Airways is 4,500, which would come to 9,000 Avios return.
What happens if you don’t yet have that many points? Well, the airlines have you covered. As you can see above, the total price is 9,000 Avios plus €49.57 in taxes and charges. You usually have to pay these so no surprises there. But look at the bottom right.
You can reduce your points outlay to as little as 3,000 return, if you’re prepared to pony up some extra cash. Remember that all reward flights feature one checked bag included as standard. You could also just book a one way flight and book the other way separately with cash, which halves the amounts if you have even fewer points in your account.
How Far Can I Go?
It is 4,500 Avios each way for flights up to 600 miles or 965km in length. From Dublin on Aer Lingus, that means Ireland, all of the UK, Paris, Brest and Nantes in France, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Brussels in Belgium and Dusseldorf in Germany.
Out of London with British Airways, that means the UK, all of Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, most of France, and virtually all Germany are within reach. Not too shabby at all!
Avios Reducing Ticket Prices
Frequent flyers generally value Avios at 1c or 1p per point, which makes it easy to work out how much they are worth. One other way to use them is to reduce the cash price of a ticket, which you will see towards the end of the booking process. That could reduce the cost of your weekend getaway, but should you do this?
British Airways is offering €10 off in the example for 1,000 Avios, which matches 1c per point. However the €22 off is 2,900 Avios, meaning that you’re getting less bang for your buck. Aer Lingus are offering €2 off for 250 Avios which is not as good value as the BA example. That being said, if you have a small amount of points laying around and will be hard pressed to use them, this provides a way to do that.
That should illustrate just how few Avios points are needed to take a weekend getaway. Of course, the real value in the points is using them for flight upgrades, especially from British Airways World Traveller Plus to Club World (Premium Economy to Business Class). However, I sometimes use them for upgrades to Club Europe on Dublin to London, as it’s nice to have a little treat on the short flight.
Some people save their points for a big business class trip, some spend them as they get them – whatever you do will be right for you. Using Avios can result in big savings, especially if you can snag frequent flyer seats at popular times. Your saving over paying straight cash can be substantial (think ski resorts in Europe at half term, for example).
What say you? Are you someone who uses points regularly for a weekend getaway or are you a saver, an upgrader or something else? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Alf van Beem via Wikimedia Commons.