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The Best Ways To Use 10,000 (or Fewer) British Airways Avios

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Andrew Kunesh

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British Airways Executive Club is one of the best loyalty programs in the world of points and miles thanks to how easy it is to redeem their currency, British Airways Avios.

British Airways and its vast network of Oneworld partners operate thousands of short- and long-haul routes worldwide. Combine great routes with the airline’s excellent distance-based award chart and you can redeem some flights for super low mileage — including some routes under 10,000 miles one-way.

This can be incredibly useful, as cash fares on certain short-haul flights can be quite expensive.

Note that some redemptions offer better value than others, but everything you need to know about redeeming 10,000 or fewer Avios is detailed below to make the most of your Avios.

Hot Tip:

Redeem for Short-Haul Awards

British Airways Economy
Using British Airways Avios can provide a ton of value. Image Credit: London Air Travel

As mentioned, British Airways employs a distance-based award chart, meaning shorter flights cost fewer points than longer flights.

While this can be detrimental for booking long-haul awards, it opens amazing value for booking short-haul awards. British Airways prices every segment individually, so you want to stick to nonstop routings whenever possible. British Airways Avios can be extremely valuable on short, nonstop routes between markets where cash fares may be expensive.

This is especially true when booking last-minute, short-haul award flights, especially on business routes like Chicago (ORD) to New York (LGA).

However, since not all British Airways short-haul tickets are priced the same, here are some specifics you should keep in mind:

  • British Airways has 2 different award charts: one for flights on British Airways, Aer Lingus Iberia, and one for flights operated by a single partner airline (other than Aer Lingus and Iberia).
  • There are different prices for peak and off-peak dates.

Short-haul Redemptions Start at 4,750 Avios

Here is the award chart for one-way flights on British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Zone (Distance in Miles)Economy (Off-Peak/Peak)Premium Economy (Off-Peak/Peak)Business Class (Off-Peak/Peak)First Class (Off-Peak/Peak)
Zone 1 (1 to 650)4,750/5,2508,500/9,750
Zone 2 (651 to 1,151)7,250/8,25013,000/15,750
Zone 3 (1,152 to 2,000)10,000/12,50017,750/20,750
Zone 4 (2,001 to 3,000)10,000/12,50020,000/25,00031,250/37,50042,500/50,000
Zone 5 (3,001 to 4,000)13,000/20,00026,000/40,00050,000/60,00068,000/80,000
Zone 6 (4,001 to 5,500)16,250/25,00032,500/50,00062,500/75,00085,000/100,000
Zone 7 (5,501 to 6,500)19,500/30,00039,000/60,00075,000/90,000102,000/120,000
Zone 8 (6,501 to 7,000)22,750/35,00045,500/70,00087,500/105,000119,000/140,000
Zone 9 (7,001 and up)32,500/50,00065,000/100,00125,000/150,000170,000/200,000

Here is the award chart for one-way flights operated by a single partner airline (other than Aer Lingus and Iberia, who use the chart above):

SCROLL FOR MORE
Zone (distance in miles)EconomyPremium economyBusinessFirst
Zone 1 (1 to 650)6,000/7,500*9,00012,50024,000
Zone 2 (651 to 1,151)9,00012,50016,50033,000
Zone 3 (1,152 to 2,000)11,00016,50022,00044,000
Zone 4 (2,001 to 3,000)13,00025,25038,75051,500
Zone 5 (3,001 to 4,000)20,75041,25062,00082,500
Zone 6 (4,001 to 5,500)25,75051,50077,250103,000
Zone 7 (5,501 to 6,500)31,00062,000.92,750123,750
Zone 8 (6,501 to 7,000)36,25072,250108,250144,250
Zone 9 (7,001 and up)51,500103,000154,500206,000
*Zone 1 award flights within North America start at 7,500 Avios.

It’s important to remember that British Airways prices every segment individually. This means that nonstop routings provide the best value.

For example, BA charges just 4,750 and 5,250 Avios for off-peak and peak redemptions under 650 miles, respectively.

Furthermore, flights under 1,151 miles can be redeemed for 7,250 Avios off-peak and 8,250 miles peak. This opens up huge value if you need to fly across Europe, for example, from Warsaw (WAW) to London (LHR).

Hot Tip:

Using British Airways’ flight finder tool is a great way to find the price of a British Airways award ticket.

If you prefer to fly in style, you can book short-haul redemptions under 650 miles in business class for 12,500 Avios. This can be worthwhile on short-haul flights on a partner flight operated by Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, or other airlines that operate select short-haul routes with wide-body aircraft.

North American Redemptions Are a Bit Pricier at 7,500 Points

Zone 1 pricing differs slightly for flights to, from, or within North America. British Airways prices nonstop, economy, Zone 1 flights within North America at 7,500 Avios, more than any other part of the world. This is still a steal compared to other mileage programs.

For example, ORD to LGA clocks in at 733 miles. This flight can be booked for as few as 9,000 Avios. This is less than what you would expect to pay when booking through American’s AAdvantage program.

Hot Tip:

Looking to use your Avios? Check out our guide to the best ways to redeem British Airways Avios for max value.

Redeem for Upgrades on British Airways Flights

British Airways Premium Economy
You can use British Airways Avios to upgrade your seat. Image Credit: British Airways

You can also use Avios on paid tickets. With this option, you can upgrade a cash booking to the next cabin wherever there is availability. This is available for British Airways, Iberia, and American Airlines flights.

Avios upgrades can be done at the time of booking, or you can upgrade an existing flight. To determine how many Avios you need one-way, subtract the Avios needed for the cabin you booked from the cabin you wish to upgrade to.

Depending on how much you value short-haul business class, these can make for some serious value and are worth considering if you’re flying British Airways within Europe.

Discount off a Paid British Airways Flight

Take a discount off your British Airways flight with Avios
You can redeem small amounts of British Airways Avios for a discount on paid British Airways flights. Image Credit: British Airways

Booking a paid British Airways ticket? You can use your Avios to get a nice discount on your ticket. When booking a ticket, you’re given the option to use some of your Avios at the checkout screen.

You can use really small amounts of miles to take advantage of this discount. The discount varies from booking to booking, but the New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to London Heathrow (LHR) round-trip example above starts at 2,000 Avios for a $26 discount, giving you a cent-per-point value of 1.3.

However, using the highest discount offered — 14,400 Avios for a $116 discount — thvalue drops to 0.8 cents per point. With this in mind, do the math before you use Avios for a discount.

Redeem for Hotel Stays or Car Rentals

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. Image Credit: Hilton

You can also use your Avios to book a hotel stay or car rental through the British Airways portal. The redemption price depends on how much your hotel stay or rental car costs in cash.

For example, a 1-night stay at the Hilton Chicago on Michigan Avenue in late April costs 19,900 Avios or $126 cash, giving you a value of just 0.63 cents per Avios point — far lower than a short-haul award ticket.

The cent-per-point value tends to be lower on these redemptions, so stay away from hotel and rental car redemptions. You can get far better value for other options on this list.

Earning Avios

British Airways is a transfer partner of Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. Transfers from all except Marriott Bonvoy are at a 1:1 rate. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Avios at a 3:1 ratio. You’ll also get a 5,000-Avios bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred.

Hot Tip:

Look for frequent transfer bonuses from Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. We have seen these bonuses as high as 40% in the past.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, it’s easy to redeem relatively small amounts of British Airways Avios for maximum value — you can even book short-haul business class.

In the end, stick to redeeming short-haul award tickets. This will generally give you the best value for your miles. This is especially true if you’re booking a last-minute award ticket where the cash cost is double or triple the normal price.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I earn British Airways Avios?

You can earn British Airways Avios by flying on British Airways or its Oneworld partners, spending on a British Airways credit card, transferring points in from a partner, or using any one of these 19 methods.

What airlines can I book with my British Airways Avios?

British Airways is a member of the OneWorld Alliance. You can use British Airways Avios to book flights on any one of these airlines:

  • American Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Fiji Airways (via Oneworld Connect)
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

How long do British Airways miles last?

Your Avios stay with you as long as you collect, spend, purchase, or share at least 1 Avios every 36 months.

Can you combine Avios points from partner programs?

Yes, if you have active Avios accounts with British Airways, Iberia, Qatar Airways, or Aer Lingus, you can transfer your Avios between the airlines.

Can I transfer British Airways Avios to American Airlines?

No, you cannot transfer Avios to American Airlines. However, you can use your Avios to book American Airlines-operated flights, thanks to both British Airways and AA being part of the Oneworld Alliance.

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About Andrew Kunesh

Andrew was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now splits his time between Chicago and New York City.

He’s a lifelong traveler and took his first solo trip to San Francisco at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years, and Andrew now travels just over 100,000 miles a year, with over 25 countries, 10 business class products, and 2 airline statuses (United and Alaska) under his belt. Andrew formerly worked for The Points Guy and is now Senior Money Editor at CNN Underscored.

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