British Airways Avios payments for onboard food and drink

29 Sep 2016 by Tom Otley
British Airways new range of short haul economy food with Marks & Spencer

British Airways is introducing Buy on Board for food and drink for its short haul economy flights from January 2017. For more on this see

British Airways launches Buy on Board with Marks And Spencer

As disclosed, BA will allow the use of Avios to pay for food and drink.

As you can read in our interview with Alex Cruz,

Alex Cruz on the new Buy on Board with Marks & Spencer

the reasoning for the redemption rates was as follows…

How did you decide on the Avios redemption rate?

“We looked at which passengers with bronze status above were consistently flying economy on short haul flights to try and determine the threshold of points to buy the different items in a way that it wouldn’t become prohibitive and would just be an extension of the overall experience. There are some that fly in business, some in economy, some fly with other airlines on other occasions, so that data we used to try and determine the points levels. For someone flying with us a couple of times a month, this should be a nice extension if they want to use it for private use. If they want to expense the food, then we will give them a receipt and they can expense it. Just being able to use the points we think is innovative and we think that people will welcome it.”

Not all the rates have been finalised. These are the ones that have.

Customer Price (GBP) Number of Avios needed
Mature Cheddar Cheese Ploughmans £3.00 375
Lightly salted hand cooked crisps £1.00 125
Water £1.80 225
English breakfast tea/Java republic coffee £2.30 300
Spirit & mixer (G&T) £6.00 750
Wine £4.50 575

The chart shows how many Avios a selection of food and drink items will cost.

The chart also allows flyers who are members of the British Airways Executive Club to easily value their Avios.

Of course it was possible in the past – to an extent, though it’s debatable how many members of the Executive Club could have told you what one Avios is worth. Nevertheless, whenever you earn Avios – whether by booking a flight, responding to a promotion or using the BA American Express Card, it is possible to work out what it cost you to earn an Avios, and when it came to redemptions, various websites helped you work out whether your redemption value was “good” or “bad”.

The new ability to redeem your Avios for food and drink on board at least deals with the familiar complaint of frequent flyers that they could never spend their miles – now they can spend them on food and drink. But is it good value?

As before, it depends on your situation, and how successful you have been in redeeming your avios until now.

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