On of the biggest perks in the miles and points games must surely be the AmEx 241 voucher from the British Airways Premium Plus card. If you spend £10k in a year you get a voucher in your BAEC account which allows you to book 2 tickets for the Avios of 1(although you also have to pay the taxes for both seats).
In the past, I have used one of these for a First class open jaw LHR-IAD//JFK-LHR. The cash price of these tickets was £thousands, and the economy was about £1000 each on the dates we wanted, yet for about £500 each in taxes and 120k Avios (pre-devaluation), we flew in First.
I managed to hold off triggering the voucher until 8 days before the year end to maximise the validity of the 2 year voucher – I needed to book the outbound on or before 26th December 2016. But we decided that we didn’t want to do long haul at Christmas, especially as we have a trip to SFO in the summer. With holidays already planned out (as I like to do when school’s calendar is issued!) there was nothing on the horizon to use it for.
The opportunity arose over the weekend to spend a few days in May half term in Nice with a very good friend. The cash tickets on our days were £176 each in EuroTraveller or a whopping £1045 in Club Europe. On my own, or with my wife, I would go for economy as I can get into the lounge with my Silver card, and I value being able to choose the leg room seats for free at the time of booking. But our friend wouldn’t have been able to come into the lounge and had never flown business – so I stumped up £150, the 241 voucher and 33500 Avios for three Club Europe tickets. Is that good value? Let’s do the maths:
The cash price of the tickets was £1045. Each Avios booking required £50 in taxes, so the cost for comparison is £995. Each ticket was 16750 Avios so the value per Avios achieved on the straight payment was 5.94p/Avios. Using the 241 this was doubled as we got flights ‘worth’ £1990 for 16750 Avios, returning 11.88p/Avios. A more usual value is about 1p/Avios!
However…the astute amongst you will not have missed the quote marks around ‘worth’. I mentioned above that I wouldn’t pay cash for the Club Europe seats on a trip like this but would have paid cash for economy. Taking into account the taxes of £35 a seat, we saved £140 a head, valuing the 8500 Avios that would have been needed at 1.65p/Avios or 3.3p/Avios with the voucher.
So did I get good value from the voucher? Yes! Absolutely! I have actually saved £140 and will get an experience BA are selling for £1045. I did have to pay £150 for the card in the first instance which is important to factor in – I could have not had the card and just put the £150 to the cash flight. But in doing so I earned an additional 5000 Avios over the free card and that works out at at paying 0.2p/Avios which I then redeem for 1.65p each.
But even without these complicated sums, it’s worth it for the look on our friends face when she is sipping champagne in the lounge and on the plane! So, the bottom line, as I always tell people, is that your 241 voucher is good value for you when you are happy with the redemption, regardless of the p/Avios value!