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 or thousands 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 British Airways’ airline partners.
Table of contents
- British Airways Credit Card and Airline Partners
- The 34 Best Ways to Redeem Your British Airways Avios
- U.S. Short-Haul Nonstop Flights for 9,000 Avios (American/Alaska)
- Lie-Flat First: New York to San Francisco or Los Angeles for 51,500 Avios (American)
- New York to Toronto or Montréal for 9,000 Avios (American)
- Los Angeles to Vancouver for 9,000 Avios (American)
- Miami to the Caribbean for 9,000 Avios (American)
- Miami to Bogota or Quito From 11,000 Avios (American)
- Dallas to Mexico City for 9,000 Avios (American)
- U.S. West Coast to Hawaii for 13,000 Avios (American/Alaska)
- Los Angeles to Tokyo for 25,750 Avios (JAL/American)
- Off-Peak U.S. East Coast to Ireland for 13,000 Avios and No Fuel Surcharges (Aer Lingus)
- Off-Peak Florida and U.S. West Coast to Ireland for 16,250 Avios and No Fuel Surcharges (Aer Lingus)
- Off-Peak Boston, New York, or Chicago to Madrid for 17,000 Avios (Iberia)
- Off-Peak Miami to Madrid for 21,250 Avios (Iberia)
- Intra-Caribbean Flights for as low as 7,500 Avios (British Airways)
- Experience British Airways Galleries Lounge at London Heathrow for 12,500 Avios (British Airways)
- Fly British Airways First Class and Use Travel Together to Save Even More! (British Airways)
- Hop Around Europe for 5,000 Avios and up (Finnair and Iberia)
- Sauna in the Finnair Lounge for 16,500 Avios (Finnair)
- Helsinki to Tokyo for 25,750 Avios (JAL)
- Off-Peak Madrid to Tel Aviv for 12,500 Avios (Iberia)
- Off-Peak Madrid to Dakar, Senegal for 10,000 Avios (Iberia)
- Russia Flights With No Fuel Surcharges (S7)
- Experience Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Lounge for 24,000 Avios (Qatar)
- Hop Around the Middle East for 6,000 Avios (Royal Jordanian/Qatar)
- Qatar in South America: São Paulo To Buenos Aires for 16,500 Avios in Business Class (Qatar)
- Victoria Falls From Johannesburg for 6,000 Avios (Comair)
- Namibia From Johannesburg for 7,500 Avios (Comair)
- Off-Peak Mauritius From Johannesburg in Business for 17,000 Avios (Comair)
- Experience Cathay Pacific’s The Pier and The Wing First Class Lounges for 24,000 Avios (Cathay Pacific)
- Hop Around Southeast Asia From 6,000 Avios (Malaysian)
- Sri Lanka to the Maldives for 6,000 Avios (SriLankan)
- Japan Domestic Flights for 6,000 Avios, With a $9 Upgrade to Class J! (JAL)
- Experience Qantas Domestic Lounges and Business Class for 12,500 Avios! (Qantas)
- Qantas Domestic Lie-Flat for 22,000 Avios (Qantas)
- Guide to Spending Avios on British Airways and Partners
- Final Thoughts
Table of Contents
- British Airways Credit Card and Airline Partners
- The 34 Best Ways to Redeem Your British Airways Avios
- 1. U.S. Short-Haul Nonstop Flights for 9,000 Avios (American/Alaska)
- 2. Lie-Flat First: New York to San Francisco or Los Angeles for 51,500 Avios (American)
- 3. New York to Toronto or Montréal for 9,000 Avios (American)
- 4. Los Angeles to Vancouver for 9,000 Avios (American)
- 5. Miami to the Caribbean for 9,000 Avios (American)
- 6. Miami to Bogota or Quito From 11,000 Avios (American)
- 7. Dallas to Mexico City for 9,000 Avios (American)
- 8. U.S. West Coast to Hawaii for 13,000 Avios (American/Alaska)
- 9. Los Angeles to Tokyo for 25,750 Avios (JAL/American)
- 10. Off-Peak U.S. East Coast to Ireland for 13,000 Avios and No Fuel Surcharges (Aer Lingus)
- 11. Off-Peak Florida and U.S. West Coast to Ireland for 16,250 Avios and No Fuel Surcharges (Aer Lingus)
- 12. Off-Peak Boston, New York, or Chicago to Madrid for 17,000 Avios (Iberia)
- 13. Off-Peak Miami to Madrid for 21,250 Avios (Iberia)
- 14. Intra-Caribbean Flights for as low as 7,500 Avios (British Airways)
- 15. Experience British Airways Galleries Lounge at London Heathrow for 12,500 Avios (British Airways)
- 16. Fly British Airways First Class and Use Travel Together to Save Even More! (British Airways)
- 17. Hop Around Europe for 5,000 Avios and up (Finnair and Iberia)
- 18. Sauna in the Finnair Lounge for 16,500 Avios (Finnair)
- 19. Helsinki to Tokyo for 25,750 Avios (JAL)
- 20. Off-Peak Madrid to Tel Aviv for 12,500 Avios (Iberia)
- 21. Off-Peak Madrid to Dakar, Senegal for 10,000 Avios (Iberia)
- 22. Russia Flights With No Fuel Surcharges (S7)
- 23. Experience Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Lounge for 24,000 Avios (Qatar)
- 24. Hop Around the Middle East for 6,000 Avios (Royal Jordanian/Qatar)
- 25. Qatar in South America: São Paulo To Buenos Aires for 16,500 Avios in Business Class (Qatar)
- 26. Victoria Falls From Johannesburg for 6,000 Avios (Comair)
- 27. Namibia From Johannesburg for 7,500 Avios (Comair)
- 28. Off-Peak Mauritius From Johannesburg in Business for 17,000 Avios (Comair)
- 29. Experience Cathay Pacific’s The Pier and The Wing First Class Lounges for 24,000 Avios (Cathay Pacific)
- 30. Hop Around Southeast Asia From 6,000 Avios (Malaysian)
- 31. Sri Lanka to the Maldives for 6,000 Avios (SriLankan)
- 32. Japan Domestic Flights for 6,000 Avios, With a $9 Upgrade to Class J! (JAL)
- 33. Experience Qantas Domestic Lounges and Business Class for 12,500 Avios! (Qantas)
- 34. Qantas Domestic Lie-Flat for 22,000 Avios (Qantas)
- Guide to Spending Avios on British Airways and Partners
- Final Thoughts
British Airways Credit Card and Airline Partners
It’s possible to earn Avios directly with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. You’ll earn 3x Avios for all flight purchases through BA, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Level, 2x Avios on hotel accommodations, and 1x Avios for everything else.
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 its partner airlines.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards
Collecting chase points by using a Chase credit card is one of the best ways to earn BA points because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are:
- Very easy to earn
- Transferable to British Airways (1:1 ratio)
- Transferable also to many other airlines and hotels
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card, which is currently offering a 80,000 point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.|
The card earns 2x points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. With offering other travel benefits such as excellent travel insurance coverage and no foreign transaction fees, this card is a very rewarding Chase credit card.
|Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card - This premium card will get you access to 1,300+ airport lounges. as well as a number of other card benefits. The current sign up bonus is 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $550 annual fee. As an extra bonus, until 12/31/21, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit.|
Earn big with this card, earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, earn 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out, then 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
|Chase Freedom Unlimited® card - A fantastic, no annual fee card that earns you a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Earn 5% cash-back on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash-back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases, but you won't get any travel benefits with this card.|
Recommended Chase Cards (Business)
|Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card - this is our #1 recommended business card and right now comes with a 100,000 sign up bonus after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This bonus is worth $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Pay your cell phone bill with this card to receive up to $600 in cell phone insurance coverage per year; as well as a number of other benefits.|
Earn 3x on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year, plus 1x on all other purchases — with no limit to the amount you can earn. All for an annual fee of $95.
|Ink Business Cash® Credit Card - Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening|
This no annual fee business card earns up to 5% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year, plus 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary.
|Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card - Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase made for your business.|
Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. There's no annual fee.
American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards
You can also earn BA Avios with Membership Rewards. There is a 1:1 transfer ratio for points to British Airways Avios. Consider any of the below to start earning points and transfer Membership Rewards points to British Airways.
Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)
|The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a new welcome bonus offer of |
This is our #1 card for accessing 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide, including Priority Pass (enrollment required). We leverage ~$3,000+ in benefits and perks from the card every year. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
|American Express® Gold Card - This card has a new welcome bonus of |
We love using this card as it earns 4x points at Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, plus, earn 4X points for Uber Eats purchases too, and 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x. Terms Apply).
There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly; and you'll have access to many benefits and perks. For rates and fees of the Amex Gold, click here.
Recommended Amex Cards (Business)
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a new welcome bonus of |
See how we get $4,000+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks, including access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide. For rates & fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
|American Express® Business Gold Card - one of our favorite Amex business cards because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month, such as Facebook or Google ads. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. After that, you earn 1x. Terms Apply. |
The current welcome bonus is 70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. For rates and fees of the Business Gold, click here.
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - A super simple, no annual fee card that earns you 2x points on everyday business purchase, up to $50,000 annually. After that, then 1x. That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.|
Capital One Miles Credit Cards
Miles earned with Capital One transfer to Avios at a 2:1.5 ratio.
Recommended Capital One Miles Cards
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card - This card is packed with lots of benefits and perks. Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 mile sign up bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. We recommend this as a no-brainer card if you even semi-regularly stay at hotels.|
|Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card - This is an excellent card for those looking to earn 1.25x miles per $1 on every purchase. With a 20,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $200 toward travel) after spending $500 within the first 3 months and no annual fee, it's a strong choice.|
Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points with its co-branded credit cards and transfer those to British Airways at a transfer rate of 3:1. For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000 BA Avios bonus.
Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards
|Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary. Plus, earn up to 17X points per $1 at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2X points per $1 on all other purchases. Annual Fee is $95.|
|Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card - Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn up to 14X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, earn 2X on other travel purchases, then 1x on all other purchases. A solid card for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee card offering Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - Earn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Expires 5/12/2021.|
Earn 6x per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels plus 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Annual Fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
|Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - For a limited time, earn 100,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 of eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 5/12/21. |
This is a solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, click here.
For more details, you can read our article on transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to partners.
The 34 Best Ways to Redeem Your British Airways Avios
Let’s dive in, starting with using your Avios for very short flights which is one of the most valuable ways to use your points!
1. U.S. Short-Haul Nonstop Flights for 9,000 Avios (American/Alaska)
U.S. domestic nonstop flights under 1,150 miles on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines cost only 9,500 Avios. Even better, only a $5.60 tax is added to the flight — a bargain!
Flying 1,150 miles gets you halfway across the country. For example:
- Miami (MIA) to Dallas (DFW)
- New York (JFK) to Chicago (ORD)
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Las Vegas (LAS)
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 51,500 Avios (American)
American Airlines has fantastic 51,500-Avios transcontinental first class awards on specially configured 3-cabin planes. These awards are hard to find, and American Airlines has been experimenting with variable award pricing way above 51,500 miles for its own AAdvantage awards.
If you can find availability, 51,500 frequent flyer miles is a great option to splurge on this celebrity-heavy route. Business class is 38,750 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.
3. New York to Toronto or Montréal for 9,000 Avios (American)
Spending Avios for short-haul international flights is a steal! American Airlines runs multiple daily flights between New York (JFK), Toronto (YYZ), and Montréal (YUL).
From the U.S., these are 9,000 Avios + $5.60 in taxes. The taxes are much higher flying from Canada, so compare to the price of cash tickets.
4. Los Angeles to Vancouver for 9,000 Avios (American)
American Airlines flies between Los Angeles (LAX) and Vancouver (YVR), too!
From the U.S., these are 9,000 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 offers priority security and boarding privileges. You can also get these with credit cards like CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. If you use the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® you can even get Admirals Club access.
5. Miami to the Caribbean for 9,000 Avios (American)
American’s hub in Miami feeds many Caribbean islands, all for 9,000 Avios + $5.60.
Like Canada, the return flights have higher taxes so always shop around.
6. Miami to Bogota or Quito From 11,000 Avios (American)
Getting a travel reward to Latin America for only 11,000 Avios is a bargain! For 13,000 Avios from Miami, you can go to Lima (LIM), too!
7. Dallas to Mexico City for 9,000 Avios (American)
Dallas (DFW) to Mexico City (MEX) is only 9,000 Avios. Phoenix (PHX) or Los Angeles (LAX) to Mexico is just 10,000 Avios.
Hot Tip: Noticing some sweet spots coming in under 10k Avios? Check out what else you can do with 10,000 (or fewer) BA Avios!
8. U.S. West Coast to Hawaii for 13,000 Avios (American/Alaska)
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 13,000 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 25,750 Avios (JAL/American)
Generally, Avios are not the least expensive currency to use for long-haul flights, but Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (NRT) is actually a pretty good value. This flight puts you in the 25,750 Avios distance bracket for economy flights., plus, Tokyo’s a fantastic destination to cross off that bucket list.
Don’t forget to always check taxes on these tickets; this one should run you around $117 from LAX to NRT.
You can fly this same route in business class for 77,250 Avios or first class for 103,000 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 business or first class or American Airlines business or first class.
10. Off-Peak U.S. East Coast to Ireland for 13,000 Avios and No Fuel Surcharges (Aer Lingus)
British Airways has 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 1 (1 to 650 miles)||4,000||4,500||7,750||9,000|
|Zone 2 (651 to 1,151 miles)||6,500||7,500||12,750||15,000|
|Zone 3 (1,152 to 2,000 miles)||8,500||10,000||17,000||20,000|
|Zone 4 (2,001 to 3,000 miles)||10,000||12,500||31,250||37,500|
|Zone 5 (3,001 to 4,000 miles)||13,000||20,000||50,000||60,000|
|Zone 6 (4,001 to 5,500 miles)||16,250||25,000||62,500||75,000|
Aer Lingus Peak Days in 2020 are:
- January 1-8, 2020
- April 3-19, 2020
- June 13 to September 6, 2020
- December 17-31, 2020
For example, fly from these East Coast cities to Ireland for just 13,000 Avios:
- New York City (JFK)
- Boston (BOS)
- Philadelphia (PHL)
- Washington, D.C. (IAD)
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 the 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 to 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 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.
11. Off-Peak Florida and U.S. West Coast to Ireland for 16,250 Avios and No Fuel Surcharges (Aer Lingus)
Aer Lingus also flies to Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and Orlando (MCO). Off-peak flights on all of these routes cost 16,250 Avios in economy. Business is steep at 62,500 Avios.
12. 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!
There is a specific award chart for Iberia flights, with both peak and off-peak pricing:
|Bands||Blue Class||Full Fare Economy||Premium Economy||Business|
|1 (0 to 650)||5,000||7,500||–||10,000|
|2 (651 to 1,151)||8,250||12,500||–||16,500|
|3 (1,151 to 2,000)||11,000||16,500||–||22,000|
|4 (2,001 to 3,000)||12,500||18,750||–||31,250|
|5 (3,001 to 4,000)||20,000||28,000||35,000||50,000|
|6 (4,001 to 5,500)||25,000||35,000||43,750||62,500|
|7 (5,501 to 6,500)||30,000||42,000||52,500||75,000|
|8 (6,501 to 7,000)||35,000||49,000||61,250||87,500|
|9 (over 7,000)||50,000||70,000||87,500||125,000|
|Bands||Blue Class||Full Fare Economy||Premium Economy||Business|
|1 (0 to 650)||4,500||6,750||–||9,000|
|2 (651 to 1,151)||7,500||11,250||–||15,000|
|3 (1,151 to 2,000)||10,000||15,000||–||20,000|
|4 (2,001 to 3.000)||11,000||16,000||–||21,250|
|5 (3,001 to 4,000)||17,000||22,000||25,500||34,000|
|6 (4,001 to 5,500)||21,250||27,750||31,750||42,500|
|7 (5,501 to 6,500)||25,500||33,250||38,250||51,000|
|8 (6,501 to 7,000)||29,750||38,750||44,250||59,500|
|9 (over 7,000)||42,500||55,250||63,750||85,000|
13. 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 around $100 in fees. Even cooler, business class is only 42,500 Avios (with low taxes and fees too!).
Check off-peak dates here.
14. Intra-Caribbean Flights for as low as 7,500 Avios (British Airways)
Looking for an affordable way to explore multiple Caribbean islands? British Airways’ short-haul award pricing is an excellent option.
Fly from Nassau (NAS) to Grand Cayman (GCM), Saint Lucia (UVF) to Port of Spain (POS), or Antigua (ANU) to Saint Kitts (SKB) for just 7,500 Avios on off-peak dates.
Better yet, each of these routes is a fifth-freedom route with British Airways, meaning they are flown on a wide-body aircraft and include lie-flat seats for those who want to spring for a business class ticket.
15. Experience British Airways Galleries Lounge at London Heathrow for 12,500 Avios (British Airways)
Short-haul Europe flights in business start at 12,500 Avios + $40. Compared to economy class at 6,000 Avios, for only 6,500 Avios more you can experience the British Airways Galleries Lounge. Show up early!
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 44,000 Avios + $45 since it qualifies for Award Flight Saver (note that most travelers need a visa to visit Russia).
16. Fly British Airways First Class and Use Travel Together to Save Even More! (British Airways)
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 (LHR) to Chicago (ORD) will cost between 68,000 and 80,000 British Airways Avios (depending on peak or off-peak dates). You can expect the fuel surcharges and taxes to be around $700-$1,000 in each direction.
Now about that companion ticket. You’ll first need to get the British Airways Visa card and spend $30,000 in a year to earn the Travel Together Ticket that is good for 2 years.
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 U.S. 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.
17. Hop Around Europe for 5,000 Avios and up (Finnair and Iberia)
Short-haul nonstop flights 650 miles and less on Finnair out of Helsinki (HEL) cost only 6,000 Avios each. Unfortunately, cash surcharges are high.
Flights between 651 and 1,151 miles are 9,000 Avios, which will cover much of Europe.
While Finnair sticks to standard partner award pricing, Iberia operates under its own award chart and peak and off-peak pricing that starts at 5,000 Avios.
18. Sauna in the Finnair Lounge for 16,500 Avios (Finnair)
Finnair’s international lounge in Helsinki (HEL) has an all-day sauna! Great design and food complement the experience. You need to be on a non-Schengen area flight, such as London, for 16,500 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 (MOW) and Tel Aviv (TLV).
19. Helsinki to Tokyo for 25,750 Avios (JAL)
Both Finnair and Japan Airlines fly Helsinki (HEL) to Tokyo with great economy class cabins. Both are 25,750 Avios, and the taxes and fees amount to $160.36 or £126.70.
20. Off-Peak Madrid to Tel Aviv for 12,500 Avios (Iberia)
Madrid (MAD) to Tel Aviv (TLV) on Iberia is only 11,000 Avios off-peak, or 12,500 Avios the rest of the year.
21. Off-Peak Madrid to Dakar, Senegal for 10,000 Avios (Iberia)
Madrid (MAD) to Dakar (DKR) 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 a fantastic value.
22. 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 (MOW) to St. Petersburg (LED) is only 6,000 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.
23. Experience Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Lounge for 24,000 Avios (Qatar)
Qatar Airways’ lavish Al Safwa First Lounge is open to you for 24,000 Avios on short flights from Doha (DOH), such as to Kuwait City (KWI). Taxes and fees are usually under $50.
Sampling the Al Mourjan Lounge only requires a business class ticket costing 12,500 Avios.
Note that Avios award redemption tickets are not eligible for the 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 (AMM) are nowhere near as lavish as Qatar Airways in Doha.
24. Hop Around the Middle East for 6,000 Avios (Royal Jordanian/Qatar)
Many Middle East destinations are under 650 miles from Jordan or Qatar, meaning these flights are just 6,000 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.
25. Qatar in South America: São Paulo To Buenos Aires for 16,500 Avios in Business Class (Qatar)
Qatar flies a fifth-freedom route between São Paulo (GRU) and Buenos Aires (EZE) — a flight of 3 hours — for 16,500 Avios in business class. Both cities have multiple airports so make sure to search GRU and EZE.
Brazil does not allow fuel surcharges, so the cash portion of the award ticket will be much lower if flying São Paulo to Buenos Aires than flying Buenos Aires to São Paulo.
26. Victoria Falls From Johannesburg for 6,000 Avios (Comair)
Comair is part of British Airways, and even lets you get off-peak Avios pricing!
From its Johannesburg (JNB) base, you can fly to Victoria Falls (VFA) in Zimbabwe or Livingstone (LVI) in Zambia for 6,000 Avios + $44. Off-peak is just 4,000 Avios in economy or 7,750 in business.
Fly in to 1 city and out of the other to experience mighty Victoria Falls from both countries.
27. 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.
28. 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 22,000.
British Airways doesn’t determine peak by hemisphere, so December summer on the beach is off-peak!
29. Experience Cathay Pacific’s The Pier and The Wing First Class Lounges for 24,000 Avios (Cathay Pacific)
On short flights like Hong Kong to Taipei (TPE), 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 24,000 Avios.
Otherwise, business is only 9,000 Avios and gets you a seat at the Noodle Bar in The Wing, Business lounge.
Hot Tip: Cathay Pacific has an Arrival Lounge in Hong Kong open from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. daily, so fly in on business or first and enjoy!
30. Hop Around Southeast Asia From 6,000 Avios (Malaysian)
Nonstops on Malaysian Airlines are usually 6,000 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.
Once the flight crosses a distance threshold, the cost will increase to 10,000 Avios. For example, a non-stop flight from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Bali-Denpasar (DPS) is 10,000 Avios.
31. Sri Lanka to the Maldives for 6,000 Avios (SriLankan)
Colombo (CMB) to Maldives (MLE) 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 (SEZ), which is a 4-hour flight that costs 10,000 Avios + $163.45.
32. Japan Domestic Flights for 6,000 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 (OKA) is 7,500 Avios.
Hot Tip: Japan Airlines domestic flight upgrades to premium economy Class J at the airport are ¥1,000 (~$9)! You can upgrade at airport check-in.
33. Experience Qantas Domestic Lounges and Business Class for 12,500 Avios! (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 a full meal service.
Sydney (SYD) to Melbourne (MEL) is only 12,500 Avios + $12.89.
34. Qantas Domestic Lie-Flat for 22,000 Avios (Qantas)
The Melbourne (MEL) to Perth (PER) route, a flight of about 4 hours, often has the Airbus A330 or Boeing 787-9 on the route with lie-flat first class. This is 22,000 Avios (economy is 11,000 Avios).
Be sure to select a flight with one of these plane types. Other flights can have the regular Boeing 737. Be aware that equipment swaps can happen due to operational needs and it is not required of Qantas to put you on the plane type you booked, though it may help out if you contact them.
Guide to Spending Avios on British Airways and Partners
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 that 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, and prices add up fast!
New York (JFK) to Chicago (ORD) nonstop, for example, is 7,500 Avios.
If no nonstop is available and you need to connect in Cleveland (CLE), the price doubles to 15,000 Avios since each segment is priced separately. New York (JFK) to Cleveland (CLE) is 7,500, and Cleveland (CLE) to Chicago (ORD) 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. There are 4 types of prices, and each varies based on flight distance:
- British Airways flights have peak and off-peak prices (check dates here)
- Iberia flights have peak and off-peak prices and differ slightly from British Airways flights
- Single-partner awards are always at peak price
- Multi-partner awards are priced by total trip distance
List of Alliance and Non-Alliance Airline Partners
British Airways is partners with many different airline frequent flyer programs; the following are the members of Oneworld alliance as well as non-alliance partner Aer Lingus.
|Alaska Airlines||Malaysia Airlines|
|British Airways||Qatar Airways|
|Cathay Pacific||Royal Air Maroc|
|Japan Airlines||SriLankan Airlines|
British Airways Avios Partner Award Chart
|British Airways and Single Partner Award Chart|
(Note: Iberia flights are slightly different)
(1 to 650 miles)*
(651 to 1,151 miles)
(1,152 to 2,000 miles)
(2,001 to 3,000 miles)
(3,001 to 4,000 miles)
(4,001 to 5,500 miles)
(5,501 to 6,500 miles)
(6,501 to 7,000 miles)
(7,001 to 100,000 miles)
*Not available in North America.
Peak or Off-Peak Dates:
British Airways has peak and off-peak dates published every year.
2020 peak dates are:
- January 1-6, 2020
- February 14-18, 2020
- February 21-24, 2020
- March 27-31, 2020
- April 1-14, 2020
- April 16-19, 2020
- May 22-31, 2020
- July 5-6, 2020
- July 8 to August 9, 2020
- August 12-16, 2020
- August 19 to September 6, 2020
- October 10-11, 2020
- October 16-19, 2020
- October 23-26, 2020
- December 12-14, 2020
- December 16-31, 2020
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, 33,000 Avios for a short American Airlines flight in first class is certainly not worth it for what is mostly just a marginally better product.
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.
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 Journey||Avios for Economy|
|0 to 1,500||30,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|1,501 to 4,000||35,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|4,001 to 9,000||60,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|9,001 to 10,000||70,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|10,001 to 14,000||90,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|14,001 to 20,000||100,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|20,001 to 25,000||120,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|25,001 to 35,000||140,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|35,001 to 50,000||160,000 + 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?
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 in lieu of other taxes and surcharges.
Award flight saver is automatically applied to 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 (LHR) to Edinburgh (EDI) as an example:
Where to Search for British Airways Avios Award Flights
You can search for British Airways flights and many airline partners on British Airways’ website:
|Airline||Search on British Airways’ Website?|
|Aer Lingus||Search united.com|
|Alaska Airlines||Search aa.com|
|Royal Air Maroc||Yes|
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 MileSAAver awards, not AAnytime awards.
Start 355 Days in Advance
Awards are available up to 355 days before departure, and there are no award holds or waitlists. With British Airways, you can access awards 25 days before American Airlines members can!
How to Book A British Airways Reward
Log in to 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.
Flights may not display on British Airways’ website 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.
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.”
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.
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 of for the cash component of a British Airways award redemption to be as much as directly buying a cash ticket!
The fees on transatlantic flights are especially shocking. With the demise of airberlin, it is hard to cross the Atlantic and still beat the fees. Consider Aer Lingus, or transfer your Avios to Iberia Plus and book Iberia 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.
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 that 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 your 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
See our best ways to redeem Iberia Plus Avios for a detailed look at Iberia.
Here’s a quick introduction:
In 2010, Spanish airline Iberia Airlines merged with British Airways to give you another excellent way to avoid British Airway’s fuel surcharges.
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:
There are various ways to earn Iberia Avios, such as Amex transfer.
After 90 days from opening your Iberia account, 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.
Please note that redemption restrictions are subject to change. This article will be updated periodically to reflect any changes to British Airways redemptions.
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 on partner airlines.