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40 Best Ways To Redeem British Airways Avios for Max Value In 2017

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When shopping for international flights, you may have seen the exorbitant fees and fuel surcharges that accompany a British Airways ticket.

You could end up spending hundreds of dollars on these additional fees, not including any money you already spent on the ticket!

Even if you use your British Airways points (known as Avios), these charges could negate the whole point of redeeming Avios for British Airways reward flights.

Luckily, it is possible to redeem Avios for reward travel without spending your money on these ridiculously high fees. You’ll avoid high taxes and fuel surcharges when you focus on flights operated by a British Airways’ airline partners.

Table of contents

British Airways Credit Card and Airline Partners

It’s possible to earn Avios directly with the Chase British Airways Visa Signature® Card. You’ll earn 3x Avios for all flight purchases through BA and 1x Avios for everything else.

You can also use a flexible travel rewards card and transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, AMEX Membership Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest.

After you earn Avios in any of these ways, you can decide whether or not to transfer Avios to partner programs or keep them for redemptions on British Airways flights.

The best value is often achieved when transferring Avios or using them to redeem flights operated by partner airlines. British Airways partners with all of the OneWorld Alliance participating airlines as well as a few other transfer partners.

British Airways is a member of the Oneworld Alliance, so you’ll be able to earn Avios each time you fly with one of their partner airlines.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards

british airways avios
Transfer Chase point to British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio!

Collecting chase points by using a Chase credit card is the best way of earning BA points because Chase points are:

Recommended Chase Personal Cards

CREDIT CARDMORE INFO
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card50,000 bonus points
2x pts/$1 on travel and dining
Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
Detailed Review
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card50,000 bonus points
3x pts/$1 on travel and dining
Annual Fee: $450
Detailed Review
Chase Freedom®Earn 5% cash back in bonus categories
No annual fee
Detailed Review
Chase Freedom Unlimited℠Unlimited 1.5% cash back
No annual fee
Detailed Review

Recommended Chase Business Cards

CREDIT CARDMORE INFO
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit CardEarn 3 points per $1 in select categories
Annual Fee: $95
Detailed Review
Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardEarn 5% cash back in select business categories
No Annual Fee
Detailed Review

Bottom Line: You’ll earn the most amount of British Airways Avios by collecting Chase points. Plus, you’ll have so many other options for redeeming these points! We recommend this strategy vs signing up to a British airways card.

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

You can also earn frequent flyer miles with Membership Rewards! There is a 250:200 transfer ratio for points to British Airways Avios, and there are over 12 different credit cards you can use!

Grab any of the below to start earning points and transfer Membership Rewards points to British Airways.

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card
American Express Membership Rewards Loyalty ProgramThe Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
Gold Card from American Express
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
American Express® Green Card
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
Blue from American Express®
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express (review coming soon)

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards

Starwood Preferred Guest transfers to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points you transfer at once you get a 5,000 point bonus. There are two SPG cards:

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest Loyalty ProgramStarwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
 Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

List of Alliance and Non-Alliance Airline Partners

British Airways is partners with many different airline frequent flyer programs; following are the members of Oneworld Alliance as well as non-alliance partners.

Oneworld Alliance Airlines Other Partners
Air BerlinMalaysia AirlinesAer Lingus
American AirlinesQantasAlaska Airlines
Cathay PacificQatar AirwaysMeridiana
FinnairRoyal Jordanian
IberiaS7
JALSri Lankan
LANTAM

The 40 Best Ways To Redeem Your British Airways Avios

Multiple Ways to Redeem British Airways Avios
Grab your phone or your laptop – it’s time to do some research and find the best ways to use all the Avios you’ve been earning!

1. U.S. Short-Haul Nonstop Flights for 7,500 Avios (American/Alaska)

Use your British Airways miles to fly short flights within the U.S. for just a few miles!
Use your British Airways Avios to book short flights within the U.S. for just a few miles!

U.S. domestic nonstop flights under 1,150 miles on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines cost only 7,500 Avios. Even better, only $5.60 tax is added to the flight. A bargain!

Using American Airlines or Alaska Airlines miles instead, these nonstop flights cost 12,500 miles.

Flying 1,150 miles gets you half way across the country. For example:

  • New York to Chicago
  • Miami to Dallas
  • Los Angeles to Las Vegas
  • and many more!

Hot Tip: To maximize U.S. domestic Avios awards, look for nonstops from American Airlines and Alaska Airlines hubs in New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

2. Lie-Flat First: New York to San Francisco or Los Angeles for 50,0000 Avios (American)

American Airlines has fantastic 50,000-Avios transcontinental first class on specially configured 3-cabin planes. These awards are hard to find, and American Airlines has been experimenting with variable award pricing way above 50,000 miles for its own AAdvantage awards.

If you can find availability, 50,000 frequent flyer miles is a great option to splurge on this celebrity-heavy route. Business class is 37,500 Avios, which is more than the 32,500 miles American Airlines charges.

Note that when you are flying in business or first class, you get to use the American priority check-in lanes, which are much quicker than going through the kiosks!

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking American Airlines First Class.

american 2
Cross the U.S. in style on American Airlines transcontinental service.

3. New York to Toronto or Montreal for 7,500 Avios (American)

Spending Avios for short haul international flights is a steal! American Airlines runs multiple daily flights between New York, Toronto, and Montreal.

From the U.S., these are 7,500 Avios + $5.60 in taxes. Flying from Canada the taxes are much higher, so compare to the price of cash tickets.

4. Los Angeles to Vancouver for 7,500 Avios (American)

American Airlines flies between Los Angeles and Vancouver, too!

From the U.S., these are 7,500 Avios + $5.60 in taxes. Taxes are usually higher if you’re flying from Canada, so remember to compare to the price of cash tickets.

Hot Tip: Avios award tickets on American give you Priority Access, which is priority security and boarding privileges. You can also get these with credit cards like Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard. If you use the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard you can even get Admirals Club access.

5. Miami to the Caribbean for 7,500 Avios (American)

American’s hub in Miami feeds many Caribbean islands, all for 7,500 Avios + $5.60.

Like Canada, the return flights have higher taxes so always shop around.

6. Miami to Bogota or Quito for 10,000 Avios (American)

Getting a travel reward to Latin America for only 10,000 Avios is a bargain! For 12,500 Avios from Miami, you can go to Lima too!

7. Dallas to Mexico City for 7,500 Avios (American)

Dallas to Mexico City is only 7,500 Avios. Phoenix or Los Angeles to Mexico is just 10,000 Avios.

8. U.S. West Coast to Hawaii for 12,500 Avios (American/Alaska)

spending avios
Hawaii might as well be a different country considering how different it is from the mainland U.S. There should be no problem spending Avios to get there!

Spending Avios on a one-way direct from the West Coast to Hawaii on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines is one of the least expensive ways to get to Hawaii. Flights only cost 12,500 Avios each way in economy class.

Most of these routes are on traditional domestic U.S. planes, so don’t expect a lie-flat seat up front. Consider splurging for business class to other destinations instead.

9. Los Angeles to Tokyo for 25,000 Avios (JAL/American)

Japan Airlines offers a very nice First Class experience, and you won't even need to pay excessive taxes and surcharges when you book with your British Airways Avios!
Japan Airlines offers a very nice first class experience, and you won’t even need to pay excessive taxes and surcharges when you book with your British Airways Avios!

Generally, Avios are not the least expensive currency to use for long-haul flights, but Los Angeles to Tokyo is actually a pretty good value. This flight puts you in the 25,000 Avios distance bracket for economy flights.

Don’t forget to always check taxes on these tickets; this one should run you less than $35 each way.

You can fly this same route in business class for 50,000 Avios or first class for 75,000 Avios. These aren’t the best premium cabin redemptions out there, especially if you are looking to connect on to a further destination (since British Airways charges separately for all flights), but it’s not a bad option if you want to experience Japan Airlines or American Airlines business or first class.

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking American Airlines First Class.

Hot Tip: British Airways is also a partner of Starwood Preferred Guest, meaning you could utilize the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express to earn more points and transfer at a 1:1 ratio. You’ll also have access to Boingo WiFi and elite status perks at Starwood properties!

10. Off-Peak US East Coast to Ireland in for 13,000 Avios and No Fuel Surcharges (Aer Lingus)

With the December 2016 launch of Aer Lingus AerClub, British Airways moved Boston 14 miles west on its Avios award chart. The famous ultra-cheap Boston to Dublin award is no more.

British Airways has introduced new Peak and Off-Peak pricing for Aer Lingus awards. The Avios pricing is the same as for British Airways flights, however the peak and off-peak dates are different. You’ll still save big on fees compared to British Airways flights.

Aer Lingus Award Chart
Zone (Distance)EconomyBusiness
Off PeakPeakOff PeakPeak
Zone 1 (1-650 miles)4,0004,5007,7509,000
Zone 2 (651-1,151 miles)6,5007,50012,75015,000
Zone 3 (1,152-2,000 miles)8,50010,00017,00020,000
Zone 4 (2,001-3,000 miles)10,00012,50031,25037,500
Zone 5 (3,001-4,000 miles)13,00020,00050,00060,000
Zone 6 (4,001-5,500 miles)16,25025,00062,50075,000

Aer Lingus Peak Days in 2017 are:

  • January 1-4
  • April 7-23
  • June 17 – September 10
  • December 16-31

Aer Lingus award flights still do not appear in the British Airways flight search engine. This may be rectified over time as British Airways finishes integration of Aer Lingus into Avios.

Until then, you can find Aer Lingus awards at Avios.com or the United Airlines website, but know that award inventory on both those sites does not always match award inventory seen by British Airways.

Call British Airways book the flight when you want to redeem your Avios, and don’t forget to ask the British Airways representative to waive the phone booking fee.

Hot Tip: Aer Lingus AerClub members and existing Avios.com members can now book Aer Lingus award flights on Avios.com. The problem? Additional fees are imposed that are not charged when booking through British Airways, so if possible, call British Airways to book. Avios transfer functionality between the 3 accounts is expected in 2017.

Aer Lingus Business Class Layout
The unique layout of the business class on Aer Lingus is a great way to fly to Ireland. Image courtesy joe.ie.

11. Off-Peak Florida and US West Coast to Ireland for 16,250 Avios and No Fuel Surcharges (Aer Lingus)

Aer Lingus also flies to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando. Plus, Miami flights to Dublin start in September 2017 and can be booked now.

Off-peak these all cost 16,250 Avios in economy.  Business is steep at 62,500 Avios.

12. U.S. East Coast to Germany for 20,000 Avios With No Fuel Surcharges (Air Berlin)

Fly nonstop to Germany for 20,000 Avios in economy and 60,000 in business with no fuel surcharges on Air Berlin’s solid product.

If you have American Airlines miles, the same Air Berlin business class flights would be 57,500 miles, or 30,000 in economy from anywhere in the continental U.S. (even with connections), so that’s a better deal than Avios for connecting passengers.

13. Chicago, Miami, or Orlando to Germany for 25,000 Avios With No Fuel Surcharges (Air Berlin)

 Getting to Germany for 25,000 Avios in economy with no fuel surcharges is still a solid deal. Orlando flights begin May 2017.

Business class is priced very high at 75,000 Avios, so consider using American Airlines for 57,500 miles instead.

Hot Tip:  Make your travel to Germany a little sweeter with the addition of lounge access through the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card, Citi Prestige Card, or The Platinum Card® from American Express.

14. Off-Peak Boston, New York, or Chicago to Madrid for 17,000 Avios (Iberia)

Save 3,000 Avios off the regular price of 20,000 Avios by checking for off-peak dates. Economy class tickets add $128 in fees. Business is only 34,000 Avios, but adds a whopping $456 in fees!

15. Off-Peak Miami to Madrid for 21,250 Avios (Iberia)

Save 3,750 Avios off the regular price of 25,000 Avios in economy, plus $128 in fees. Business is only 42,500 Avios, but you’ll pay $456 in fees!

Check off-peak dates here.

16. Santiago to Easter Island & Easter Island to Tahiti for 12,500 Avios Each (LATAM)

LAN Business Class
LATAM’s lie-flat service to Easter Island. Image courtesy LATAM.

Getting to Easter Island is usually pretty expensive. Searching in January 2017, the least expensive round-trip flights were around $850. Considering this redemption would only cost 12,500 Avios each way for economy tickets, you can get some great value out of your miles on this route!

The difficulty is finding the award redemption space. You can also try the seasonal Lima-Easter Island flight.

Unfortunately, finding LATAM flights through the British Airways website can be difficult. Try searching different days of the week to find LATAM flights. If that doesn’t work, you can try searching on LATAM’s website under LATAM Pass.

Sign up for membership if you haven’t already, then search for your desired dates. You will get a calendar of options for your ticket to select the best redemption.

Remember that LATAM uses the metric system, so don’t be alarmed by the number of kilometers needed for their rewards flights. When you call British Aiwarys to book the flight using your Avios, make sure you mention this conversion!

LAN
Find award travel on LATAM’s website under “LATAM Pass.” Note that fares are listed in kilometers instead of miles.

17. Lima to Foz do Iguaçu  for 10,000 Avios (LATAM)

Not every travel reward has to be expensive; see breathtaking Iguazu Falls on the cheap with this 10,000 Avios redemption.

18. Santiago to Falkland Islands for 10,000 Avios (LATAM)

Visit the Falkland on this weekly flight. Award availability is hard to find, but imagine the excitement if you get it!

19. Experience British Airways Galleries Lounge at London Heathrow for 9,000 Avios (British Airways)

Short-haul Europe flights in business start at 9,000 Avios + $40. Compared to economy at 4,500 Avios, for only 4,500 Avios more you can experience the British Airways Galleries Lounge. Show up early!

british-airways-galleries-lounge
Relax in the British Airways Galleries Lounge at London Heathrow. Image courtesy British Airways.

British Airways first class is exclusive to long-haul flights, and high cash fees on these flights can make accessing the first class lounge prohibitively expensive. One of the cheapest routes is flying to Moscow for 40,000 Avios + $45 since it qualifies for Award Flight Saver. (Note that most travelers need a visa to visit Russia.)

Travel in first class or Club World (excluding Europe flights) grants access to the Elemis Spa and includes a complimentary 15-minute treatment.

20. Free London Stopovers (British Airways)

Arguably the best value Avios award on British Airways is a short flight that connects in London. Why? Because when flying British Airways on an award, you get a free stopover in London. What’s more, the whole trip is priced by distance as if it were 1 flight, rather than pricing each segment separately.

How about Edinburgh to Paris with a free stopover for only 8,000 Avios off-peak (9,000 peak) plus $55? The surcharges are not bad since flights within Europe qualify for Award Flight Saver.

Hot Tip: As long as you earn Avios in the past 12 months, award flights on British Airways within Europe qualify for Award Flight Saver, which is a flat fee in lieu of other taxes and surcharges. Award Flight Saver is automatically applied on qualifying itineraries.

21. Fly British Airways First Class and Use Travel Together to Save Even More! (British Airways)

Fly British Airways First Class with a companion without paying more miles with the Travel Together Ticket earned via spending on their co-branded credit card.
Fly British Airways first class with a companion without paying more miles using the Travel Together Ticket earned via spending on their co-branded credit card.

Fuel surcharges are going to be significant if you want to fly British Airways in first class, but using your miles is still a great way to access a ticket that would otherwise cost $5,000 or more one-way.

This is especially true if you can pair your redemption with a Travel Together Ticket, which is earned by spending on a British Airways co-branded credit card.

A one-way award ticket from London to Chicago will cost between 68,000-80,000 British Airways Avios (depending on peak or off-peak dates). You can expect the fuel surcharges and taxes to be somewhere just over $500 in each direction.

Now about that companion ticket. You’ll first need to get the Chase British Airways Visa Signature® Card and spend $30,000 in a year in order to earn the Travel Together Ticket.

It’s not an upgrade voucher but rather a buy one, get one free type ticket. Once earned, the Travel Together Ticket will let you take a companion on any British Airways mainline flight originating in and returning to the United States that you have booked with miles.

The companion will be booked in the same class as the original ticket (yes, even first!) and will only need to pay taxes, fees, and carrier charges.

22. Hop Around Europe for 4,500 Avios (Air Berlin/Iberia)

Many European cities are under 650 miles from Iberia’s base in Madrid and Air Berlin’s bases in Berlin and Düsseldorf. These cost only 4,500 Avios each.

Flights between 651-1,151 miles are 7,500 Avios, which will cover much of Europe.

Bonus: Air Berlin has a min-hub in Spain’s Palma de Mallorca!

23. Sauna in the Finnair Lounge for 15,000 Avios (Finnair)

Finnair’s new international lounge in Helsinki has an all-day sauna! Great design and food complements the experience. You need to be on a non-Schengen area flight, such as London for 15,000 Avios + $61.30.

British Airways has its own lounge in Helsinki, so if you are flying them you can only access the Finnair Lounge if you have OneWorld Sapphire or Emerald status. Other short-distance options are Moscow and Tel Aviv.

Finnair Lounge Helsinki
Cool Finnish design and a sauna in Helsinki

Hot Tip: Finnair is a fantastic airline, but fuel surcharges make many of their flights prohibitively expensive on Avios. Use Air Berlin or Iberia instead where they have nonstops. Finnair may make sense when there is no other nonstop, but always compare to a cash ticket.

24. Helsinki to Tokyo for 25,000 Avios (JAL)

Both Finnair and Japan Airlines fly Helsinki to Tokyo with great economy class cabins. Both are 25,000 Avios, and the only difference is fees: $19.34 for Japan Airlines, $152.17 for Finnair.

25. Berlin to Tel Aviv for 10,000 Avios (Air Berlin)

You read that right: only 10,000 Avios to fly from Europe to Israel.

Start in New York and travel all the way to Israel for only 30,000 Avios.

26. Off-Peak Madrid to Tel Aviv for 11,000 Avios (Iberia)

Madrid to Tel Aviv on Iberia is only 11,000 Avios off-peak, or 12,500 Avios the rest of the year.

27. Iceland to Berlin for 10,000 Avios (Air Berlin)

There are lots of cheap tickets from the U.S. to Iceland on carriers such as Wow Air. Continue to Europe on the cheap with Avios!

28. Madeira to Düsseldorf for 10,000 Avios (Air Berlin)

Sample the iconic drink in its home!

29. Off-Peak Madrid to Dakar, Senegal for 10,000 Avios (Iberia)

Madrid to Senegal on Iberia is only 10,000 Avios off-peak, and 11,000 Avios the rest of the year. Africa flights can be really expensive, so this can be fantastic value.

30. Russia Flights With No Fuel Surcharges (S7)

British Airways partner S7 has flights around Russia. There are no fuel surcharges, so every Russia domestic flight is only charged Avios + $6.99. Russia is a huge country, so some flights cost a lot of Avios, but Moscow to St Petersburg is only 4,500 Avios + $6.99.

Even better: some international flights are charged Avios + $0.00! S7 has flights from around Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia to Russia.

British Airways Avios Moscow-Munich
Moscow to Munich is only 10,000 Avios and $0.00!

31. Experience Qatar Airways Al Satwa First Lounge for 18,000 Avios (Qatar)

Qatar Airways’ lavish Al Satwa First Lounge is open to you for 18,000s Avios on short flights from Doha, such as to Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Taxes and fees are usually under $50.

Sampling the Al Mourjan Business Lounge only requires a business class ticket costing 9,000 Avios.

Note that Avios award redemption tickets are not eligible for the new 96-hour free Qatar transit program, since an eligible ticket must be issued directly by Qatar Airways. Regardless, many nationalities are eligible for a Qatar visa on arrival if you want to visit Doha.

Royal Jordanian is another British Airways partner, though its lounges in Amman are nowhere near as lavish as Qatar Airways in Doha.

Qatar Airways First Class
Relax in the Qatar Airways first class cabin, which includes a bar too! Image courtesy Qatar.

32. Hop Around the Middle East for 4,500 Avios (Royal Jordanian/Qatar)

Many Middle East destinations are under 650 miles from Jordan or Qatar, meaning these flights are just 4,500 Avios in economy nonstop. Taxes and fees are usually under $50.

Hot Tip: Mixing Royal Jordanian and Qatar on the same ticket can be expensive due to multi-carrier pricing. Instead, book separate Avios tickets for each.

33. Victoria Falls From Johannesburg for 4,500 Avios (Comair)

Comair is part of British Airways, and even lets you get off-peak Avios pricing!

From their Johannesburg base, you can fly to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe or Livingstone, Zambia for 4,500 Avios + $44. Off-peak is just 4,000 Avios in economy or 7,750 in business.

Fly in to one city and out of the other to experience mighty Victoria Falls from both countries.

34. Namibia From Johannesburg for 7,500 Avios (Comair)

Namibia is a hot destination for its towering sand dunes and spectacular self-drive safaris.

On Comair, you can get there for 7,500 Avios + $44 in economy class, and off-peak is only 6,500.

35. Off-Peak Mauritius From Johannesburg in Business for 17,000 Avios (Comair)

Rest up from your safari at a resort on Mauritius! This 4-hour flight in business is only 17,000 Avios + $50 off-peak. Peak season it only goes up to 20,000.

British Airways doesn’t determine peak by hemisphere, so December summer on the beach is off-peak!

36. Experience Cathay Pacific The Pier and The Wing First Class Lounges for 18,000 Avios (Cathay Pacific)

Cathay Pacific’s lounges The Pier and The Wing in Hong Kong are justifiably loved by travelers. First-class passengers are ushered into exclusive sections.

On short flights like Hong Kong to Taipei, most flights do not have first class (only business). However, if you hunt around on different dates, you can find flights using 3-cabin aircraft with first class for 18,000 Avios.

British Airways Avios Cathay Pacific Hong Kong to Taipei
Look for short Cathay Pacific flights to sample their luxurious first class lounges.

Otherwise, business is only 9,000 Avios, and gets you a seat at the Noodle Bar in The Wing’s business class section.

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Cathay Pacific first class.

Hot Tip: Cathay Pacific has an Arrival Lounge in Hong Kong open 05:30-00:30 daily, so fly in on business or first and enjoy!

37. Hop Around Southeast Asia for 4,500 Avios (Malaysian)

Nonstops on Malaysian Airlines are 4,500 Avios in economy, and taxes and fees are usually small.

Malaysian does not have the kind of fantastic lounges that are a destination in themselves, so business or first for short flights may not be worth the extra cost here.

Flights in Southeast Asia are often so cheap that you always want to shop around, especially if there is a nonstop flight you can use instead of connecting on Malaysian.

38. Sri Lanka to Maldives for 4,500 Avios (SriLankan)

Colombo to Maldives is 4,500 Avios + $94.63. There are lots of cheap tickets from around the world to Colombo, and from there it’s just a short hop to the Maldives on SriLankan.

The lounge at Colombo is not fancy, so take the 1.5 hours in economy and save your Avios.

SriLankan also flies to Seychelles, which is a 4-hour flight that costs 10,000 Avios + $163.45.

39. Japan Domestic Flights for 4,500 Avios, With a $9 Upgrade to Class J! (JAL)

Most Japan domestic flights on Japan Airlines go for 4,500 Avios + $2.67. Tokyo to Okinawa is 7,500 Avios.

Hot Tip: Japan Airlines domestic flight upgrades to premium economy Class J at the airport are 1,000 Yen, which is about $9! You can do this at airport check-in.

40. Experience Qantas Domestic Lounges and Business Class for 9,000 Avios! (Qantas)

Qantas Club
Enjoy the sophisticated Qantas lounges. Image courtesy Qantas.

Qantas domestic business class is among the best in the world. Qantas lounges are in many Australian cities, and they rival the best international business lounges. What’s more, even on relatively short flights you often get full meal service.

Sydney to Melbourne is only 9,000 Avios + $12.89.

Guide To Spending Avios on British Airways and Partners

spending avios
Spending Avios is a little more complicated that using some other airline miles. Find out more in this detailed guide.

Now that we’ve listed the best ways to use Avios, let’s talk about some other details. British Airways Executive Club is significantly different from traditional airline frequent flyer programs. By learning how spending Avios works, you can have fantastic travel experiences!

Traditional airline award charts are priced by geographic region, meaning the miles price is fixed regardless of distance or flight connections in that region. This gives you the traditional 25,000-mile U.S. domestic round-trip award ticket familiar to many travelers.

British Airways has a distance and segment-based award chart, and understanding it is crucial to get value from flight awards.

Each Avios award redemption is priced by distance for each segment of a trip; prices add up fast!

New York to Chicago nonstop, for example, is 7,500 Avios.

If no nonstop is available and you need to connect in Cleveland, the price doubles to 15,000 Avios since each segment is priced separately. New York to Cleveland is 7,500, and Cleveland to Chicago is another 7,500. Avios charges you for both!

How Much Do British Airways Avios Award Flights Cost?

British Airways no longer publishes an award chart. Instead, use the official Reward Flight Calculator.

There are 4 types of prices, and each varies based on flight distance:

  1. British Airways flights have peak and off-peak prices (check dates here).
  2. Iberia flights have peak and off-peak prices, and differ slightly from British Airways flights.
  3. Single-partner awards are always at peak price.
  4. Multi-partner awards are priced by total trip distance.

Hot Tip: Flights under 650 miles are 4,500 Avios, except in North America where they are 7,500 Avios.

British Airways Avios Award Chart

British Airways and Single Partner Award Chart

(note: Iberia flights are slightly different)

Zone

(Distance)

Economy

Premium Economy

Business

First

Off Peak

Peak

Off Peak

Peak

Off Peak

Peak

Off Peak

Peak

Zone 1

(1-650 miles)

4,000

4,500**

5,750

6,750

7,750

9,000

15,500

18,000

Zone 2

(651-1,151 miles)

6,500

7,500

9,500

11,250

12,750

15,000

25,500

30,000

Zone 3

(1,152-2,000 miles)

8,500

10,000

12,750

15,000

17,000

20,000

34,000

40,000

Zone 4

(2,001-3,000 miles)

10,000

12,500

20,000

25,000

31,250

37,500

42,500

50,000

Zone 5

(3,001-4,000 miles)

13,000

20,000

26,000

40,000

50,000

60,000

68,000

80,000

Zone 6

(4,001-5,500 miles)

16,250

25,000

32,500

50,000

62,500

75,000

85,000

100,000

Zone 7

(5,501-6,500 miles)

19,500

30,000

39,000

60,000

75,000

90,000

102,000

120,000

Zone 8

(6,501-7,000 miles)

22,750

35,000

45,500

70,000

87,500

105,000

119,000

140,000

Zone 9

(7,001-100,000 miles)

32,500

50,000

65,000

100,000

125,000

150,000

170,000

200,000

First vs. Business Class

Not all airlines or flights have all classes of service.

Beware of domestic “first class” flights that are not worth the price! Compared to 7,500 Avios in economy, for example, 30,000 Avios for a short American Airlines flight in first class is probably not worth it (this looks to be corrected to business class pricing in 2017).

In contrast, some of the coolest Avios awards are for short first or business class flights that grant you access to incredible airline lounges. This may be the cheapest way to experience Cathay Pacific’s The Wing in Hong Kong or the Qantas International First Lounge in Sydney.

Hot Tip: Starting with flights in January 2017, American Airlines is realigning fare codes so many domestic “first class” flights are treated as business class for Avios award tickets. They now cost much less! This does not apply to 3-cabin aircraft (first, business, economy) such as those flying New York to Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Multi-Carrier Award Flights

Multi-carrier means a combination of 2 airlines on a single ticket, and these awards have their own chart.

These awards are expensive, and you’ll most likely do better by booking separate airlines on separate tickets.

The multi-carrier Avios price is the same regardless of connections, one-way, or round-trip: only total distance matters. However, taxes, fees, and carrier charges vary widely, so beware!

Multi-Carrier Award Flights
Miles in your journeyAvios for economy
0–1,50030,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
1,501–4,00035,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
4,001–9,00060,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
9,001–10,00070,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
10,001–14,00090,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
14,001–20,000100,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
20,001–25,000120,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
25,001–35,000140,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
35,001–50,000160,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges

In general, premium economy is 1.5 times the economy price. Business is 2 times economy, and first class is 3 times economy.

What Is Reward Flight Saver?

British Airways Reward Flight Saver
The British Airways Reward Flight Saver can save you cash on British Airways Europe flights and Comair flights.

Your account must have earned Avios in the past 12 months to be eligible for Reward Flight Saver.

With Reward Flight Saver, award flights on British Airways within Europe and Comair in Africa are charged reduced, flat fees. This is in lieu of other taxes and surcharges.

Award flight saver is automatically applied on qualifying itineraries.

What Is Avios & Cash?

British Airways and some partner flights may have several payment options that allow you to use a combination of Avios and cash.

If you want to use fewer Avios or don’t have enough, you can choose an option that includes more cash.

Here are the Avios and cash options for London to Edinburgh as an example:

British Airways Avios and Cash London-Edinburgh
British Airways Avios and cash gives you options to save Avios or save cash.

Beware of Surcharges on British Airways Flights

Extremely high fees are added to the Avios award price of many British Airways flights. Exceptions are flights within Europe that qualify for Reward Flight Saver.

It is not unheard for the cash component of a British Airways award redemption to be as much as directly buying a cash ticket!

The fees on trans-Atlantic flights are especially shocking. To cross the Atlantic and beat the fees, fly Aer Lingus and Air Berlin.

If we look at New York to Berlin, the nonstop Air Berlin flight is 20,000 Avios + $5.60.

British Airways Avios airberlin New York to Berlin
Flying Air Berlin from New York to Berlin saves cash: you only pay $5.60 in taxes.

If we take a British Airways option connecting in London, it would cost 24,500 Avios and a whopping $338.76!

British Airways Avios New York to Berlin
Flying British Airways from New York to Berlin adds $338.76 in taxes and fees!

Bottom Line: As a general rule of thumb, short-distance, nonstop flights on partner airlines offer the best Avios value.

Where To Search for British Airways Avios Award Flights

You can search for British Airways flights and many airline partners on britishairways.com:

AirlineSearch on britishairways.com?
American AirlinesYes
Alaska AirlinesSearch aa.com
LATAMYes, but often with errors; check LATAM’s site
Aer LingusSearch united.com
IberiaYes
Air BerlinYes
FinnairYes
MeridianaCall BA
S7Yes
Royal JordanianYes
QatarYes
ComairYes
Sri LankanYes
Cathay PacificYes
Malaysia AirlinesYes
Japan AirlinesYes
QantasYes

Hot Tip: Be cautious searching for awards directly on other airline partner websites. Some awards may only be available to their own members, not to partners. For American Airlines, you can only use Avios to book what American shows as saver awards, not anytime awards.

Start 355 Days in Advance

Awards are available up to 355 days before departure, and there are no award holds or waitlists.

Hot Tip: British Airways can book partner awards up to 355 days before departure, but American Airlines is only 330. With British Airways, you can access awards weeks before American Airlines members can!

How To Search for British Airways Rewards

Start at britishairways.com My Executive Club and search using Book with Avios.

When the search screen says, “You can break your journey with stopovers,” select, “No, I want to continue without stopovers.”

This will search partner flights in addition to British Airways flights.

british airways rewards
Searching British Airways rewards flights, select no stopover unless you want to visit London.

Flights may not display on britishairways.com for various reasons:

  • Certain partner airlines are not searched
  • “Route unavailable” means the website is not programmed for that route
  • Multi-connection flight options are not searched

Online Booking Problems? Call and Waive the Fee

Even if you can’t find an award on the website, the good news is that if an award is available, you can call in to have British Airways agents book it!

Ask the agent to waive the $25 phone booking fee since the flight is unavailable online. They will usually do so if you ask.

Bottom Line: Many award flights are available online. If not, call to book and ask to waive the $25 booking fee since it is not available online!

How To Get A Free London Stopover

When flying British Airways, you have the option of a free stopover in London.

When the award search screen says, “You can break your journey with stopovers,” select, “I want to break my journey and choose my stopovers.”

British Airways Avios Free Stopover
Your London stopover can be a few days or even several months.

Free stopover pricing is different from other Avios awards. The whole stopover trip is priced by the distance as if it were 1 flight, rather than pricing each segment separately.

Bottom Line: To minimize fees, the best London stopover value is between two UK or European cities near to London rather than long-haul flights.

Use British Airways Executive Club Household Accounts To Pool Avios

You can form a British Airways Executive Club Household Account. This means you and up to 7 people at the same address can become a Household to pool Avios.

Awards are deducted proportionally from the Household common pool of Avios, and each household member earns Avios and British Airways status on their own.

British Airways Executive Club Household Account
A British Airways Executive Club Household Account is useful for families to pool their Avios.

The key limitation is that once you are in a Household, you can only redeem Avios for members of the Household (same address) or up to 5 Family and Friends (different address).

Family and Friends have their own Avios which are not pooled with the Household. Any individual must stay on the Family and Friends list for at least 6 months.

Without a Household account, British Airways charges huge fees to transfer Avios to another member (Gold members can transfer for free).

The maximum you can transfer in a year is 162,000 Avios, and those are capped at 27,000 Avios per recipient. At $290 per 27,000 Avios transfer, that is absurd!

Low Cancel Fees = Flexibility!

Avios award tickets have some of the lowest booking fees among major airlines.

There are no last minute ticketing fees! In contrast, American Airlines charges $75 for bookings within 21 days. You may be able to book the same American Airlines flight with Avios and avoid the fee.

Change or cancellation is relatively low: $55. If the cash portion of your Avios award ticket is less than $55,  then you only forfeit the cash amount you paid. You don’t pay the full $55 unless you ticket’s fees were $55 or more.

Note that the phone fee is an extra $25 if you don’t change or cancel online.

Hot Tip: A U.S. domestic nonstop on American Airlines is only charged $5.60 taxes. If you later cancel, you only lose $5.60…a small price to pay for flexibility!

Quick Guide to Iberia Avios

In 2010, Spanish airline Iberia Airlines merged with British Airways to give you another excellent way to avoid British Airway’s fuel surcharges.

Until December 15, 2016 you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Iberia with a 50% bonus. With the bonus, 250 Membership Rewards points transfer to 300 Iberia Plus Avios.

You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways and then to Iberia.

If you want to transfer your miles from BA to Iberia, sign up for an Iberia Plus account. To transfer, your Iberia account must be at least 90 days old and must have had points activity.

Try to transfer too soon, and you’ll get this error:

British Airways Combine My Points Unsuccessful
Your Iberia Plus account must be 3 months old and have earned Avios to make a successful transfer from British Airways

There are various ways to earn Iberia Avios, such as Amex transfer.

After 90 days from Iberia account opening, log in to your British Airways Executive Club account, click on “Manage My Account,” and select “Combine My Avios” from the drop down and then again on the next page.

Select Iberia Plus from the list of programs and enter your Iberia Plus number and pin.

British Airways Combine My Points
From British Airways to Iberia, select Iberia Plus.

Please note that redemption restrictions are subject to change. This article will be updated periodically to reflect any changes to British Airways redemptions.

Summary

British Airways Redemption Options
British Airways Avios are valuable for many different kinds of trips, both through the airline itself and using all its partner airlines.

Now you know some of the best ways to use British Airways Avios that we would recommend. To get the best value out of British Airways Avios, look into redeeming them with British Airways’ partner airlines.

Short-haul flights in the U.S. on American and Alaska tend to be some of the best redemptions available.

Luxury travelers can experience the world’s premier airline lounges such as Cathay Pacific and Qantas for low prices.

Avoid British Airways’ ridiculously high taxes and fuel surcharges by booking flights to Europe on airlines like Air Berlin and Aer Lingus.

Check Out Ways to Earn More British Airways Avios >>

Table of Contents

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FAQ

Where does British Airways fly?
British Airways and partner airlines fly all over the world. To explore specific locations, use the interactive map.

Does British Airways have a branded credit card?
You can get the Chase British Airways Visa Signature® Card to earn more Avios (3x per dollar on BA flights) and some additional benefits to make your experience even better.

The British Airways Visa has a great big spend benefit: a companion ticket to be used for your significant other or friend to take a trip with you for free!

What other credit cards can I use to earn Avios?
British Airways partners with 3 different reward points programs: Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, and SPG.

Any of the travel rewards cards that earn points in these programs will be able to transfer points to BA, although at different rates.

The recommended cards to use would be the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Note that you need to have one of the Chase travel rewards cards (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred) in order to transfer point to BA.

How do I contact British Airways?
You may contact British Airways by dialing 1-800-452-1201 daily from within the U.S. between 7am – 11pm EST.

What is British Airways’ frequent flier program?
British Airways frequent flyer program is called the Executive Club. The Executive Club uses what they call “Avios” instead of points or miles.

What are British Airways Tier points?
BA Executive Club Tier points allow people to reach Executive Club membership tiers that offer greater benefits. They are earned on British Airways flights, subsidiaries, and Oneworld airline partners.

What is British Airways World Traveler class?
World Traveler class is the name for British Airways’ full-service economy class seats on flights going outside Europe.

These seats are in contrast to World Traveler Plus, which is the airline’s premium economy service offering a few extra bonuses like wider seats and more legroom.

Which alliance is British Airways a part of?
British Airways is a part of the Oneworld Alliance.

Are British Airways and Qantas partners?
Yes. Both British Airways and Qantas are a part of the Oneworld Alliance. Qantas is sometimes a great site to use to find award availability on Qantas or other partner airlines, since the British Airways site does not always show partner award availability.

Are British Airways and American Airlines partners?
Yes. Like Qantas, American Airlines and British Airways are a part of the Oneworld Alliance. American Airlines is another option if you’re searching for award ticket availability to redeem with Avios.

Are British Airways and United Airlines partners?
No. United Airlines is a part of the Star Alliance and British Airways is a part of the Oneworld Alliance.

Are British Airways flights refundable?
Yes. Reserved seats on British Airways flights are refundable for any of the following reasons:

  • The aircraft is changed or the flight is disrupted and British Airways cannot find you a seat on this new aircraft that you’re happy with.
  • You cannot sit in an exit row because of CAA safety regulations. (You must contact British Airways and notify them about this at least 48 hours before your flight.)
  • You pay to upgrade your seat, but do not wish to also pay for seat reselection in the cabin to which you upgrade.

Refunds are not made if you cancel your flight, upgrades are made by British Airways, you selected the exit row seat and are not eligible to sit there, you cannot find an equivalent seat on a flight to which you change, or you booked on another carrier and change your flight.