Avios is the frequent flyer currency of British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus, although they can be used on the wide range of flights, hotels etc found on avios.com.
As noted before, it has long had a Malta angle, given that you carn earn and spend Avios on Vueling flights.
However, you can also redeem Avios on Air Malta flights between the UK and Malta.
Redemptions apply to single or flights between the UK (Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester) and Malta. You can, therefore, redeem Avios for Air Malta flights leaving from Malta to the UK.
The flat rate on every test booking that I have made, so far, is 10,000 Avios each way (so 20,000 return), plus £57 taxes for the return.
Is this a good way to spend my Avios?
It’s not bad, but it depends on what you would otherwise pay for your Air Malta flight.
In short, my approximate “ballpark” figure for an Air Malta economy saver return to the UK is £200 (inc. taxes).
However, rates vary enormously depending on when you fly, and how far in advance you book. For example, the average cost of a return flight to Malta for the rest of the year (based on a per-month sample), is £176. That includes a high of £299 for a return in August, and a low of £129 for a flight in November.
Based on my ballpark £200, you are getting 0.715p value per Avios (factoring in the £57 tax). That is not too bad. The author of the Avios-specialising Headforpoints blog puts the “standard” worth of Avios at 0.75p, for example.
That said, if you travel in November, you should realistically compare your redemption to the £129 return cost, giving you just 0.36p value per Avios.
Conversely, fly in August and you could be getting around 1.21p value per Avios.
All the above said, if you’re sat in Malta with a pile of Avios and no obvious use for them on BA or Iberia etc, this is potentially a very good way to spend them!
What’s the availability like?
Availability appears to be pretty limited on these reward flights: it may well be that you are not able to fly on the dates you were looking for, but if you have surplus Avios to hand (and particularly if Air Malta flights are looking expensive), it is worth checking. For example, a weekend return flight from Malta to London at the end of this month is currently £205 with Air Malta, or 20,000 Avios + £57 with Avios: this gives you an Avios value rate of 0.74p each, which is reasonable.
It does appear that the nearer you get to the flying date, the better the availability is, so this may also be a good last-minute option.
How do I book?
You need to be an Avios member with sufficient points (10,000 one way, 20,000 return), and can book online through this link (you will need to log in to your Avios online account).
How do I sign up to Avios?
You can sign up to the Avios programme here.
This development was alerted to me by Raffles at the excellent Avios-specialising blog, www.headforpoints.com. While I will of course be notifying readers to any major Avios collection options (for Air Malta and Vueling purposes), if you are a keen Avios collector then I suggest you regularly consult Headforpoints.