If you’ve been keeping up with British Airways Avios points, you are probably already well aware of the amazing value those points can provide. However, what happens when you book a flight using your Avios points, and need to cancel? With most US domestic airlines, the points get redeposited into your account and you have to pay a pretty significant fee of about $150. When you book through British Airways though, the fees are extremely reasonable for cancelling your flight. This is a huge perk of booking an American Airlines flight with BA Avios points over AAdvantage miles.
A few weeks ago I was looking into a semi-last minute flight and for 4,500 points I was able to fly from NYC – BOS. This same flight using AAdvantage miles would have been 12,500 miles (which I would never have wasted my miles on). 4,500 points for a one way flight is an amazing value, especially considering the flight price. I also wasn’t 100% sure of my plans, so I did not want to pay for a ticket knowing that there was a chance I was going to cancel. When using British Airways Avios points, reservations can be cancelled for cheap, so I went ahead and booked the flight. Ultimately, I ended up cancelling the flight reservation, got my 4,500 points redeposited back into my account and lost a measly $2.50.
When cancelling a flight booked with British Airways Avios points, they typically charge you $40 per passenger. Still less expensive than other airlines, but why spend the money when you don’t need to. If you cancel online, many of times you will get back the full amount of points used and the only lost will be the taxes spent. For domestic American Airlines operated flights, this is typically $2.50 per segment. So for a non-stop roundtrip flight you’ll lose $5 total per passenger – MUCH cheaper than $40! And the best perk, you do not have to sit on hold waiting for a representative to answer your call!
Also, if you need to change the dates of a flight booked with British Airways Avios points, you are better of cancelling and re-booking. When you change your flight online you will still be charged the $40. So instead of paying that fee, cancel the flight (say goodbye to the minimal taxes paid) and rebook the flight. The points typically go back into your account right away so those points should be readily available to book another flight.
If you have gold or premier status with BA, you will pay no cancellation fees, so you might as well call and have them cancel your flight so you get the full amount back for taxes paid. For non-US domestic flights, the taxes you are paying are typically more than $2.50 per segment. This is for all operated flights.
If you are new to the British Airways program, then take a look at this prior series. This will give you the in’s and out’s of using your points and help you realize the best redemption opportunities:
- Earn up to 100,000 Avios Points for British Airways Credit Card
- Earning and Redeeming a British Airways Companion Ticket
- Creating a Household Account with British Airways
- Top 10 Redemption Opportunities for British Airways Avios Points
- Get a $50 Statement Credit with British Airways Credit Card
NOTE: This is not a written BA rule and people have had different experiences, so your might vary as well. My only experience is for AA operated flights, so other operated flights booked with British Airways might be different (i.e., Cathay Pacific). Read the comments section to learn about others people’s experience. However, the BA written rule is $40, so even if you have to pay only $40 per passenger, that is still significantly cheaper than what most other airlines charge!