34 Best Ways To Redeem British Airways Avios for Max Value [2021]

Qatar Airways A380 First Class Seat

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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 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

Table of Contents

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.

You can also use a flexible travel rewards card and transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, or Marriott Bonvoy.

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 Ultimate Rewards points by using a Chase credit card is one of the best ways to earn BA points because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are:

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card, which is currently offering a 60,000 point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

The card earns 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining and 2x points on all other travel purchases, plus more. Enjoy a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, and other travel benefits such as excellent travel insurance coverage, including car rental insurance and no foreign transaction fees, this card is a very rewarding card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® - 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 50,000 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 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A solid, no-annual-fee card that earns you a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Earn 5% cash-back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, and 5% on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus, earn 3% cash-back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases.

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.

Bottom Line: You’ll earn lots of British Airways Avios by collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Plus, you’ll have so many other options for using these points. We recommend this strategy vs signing up for the British Airways Visa card that is far more restrictive and risky.

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 American Express Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a new welcome bonus offer of 60,000 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $6,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.

This is our #1 card for accessing 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide, including Priority Pass (enrollment required). We leverage ~$4,900+ in benefits and perks from the card every year. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - This card has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

We love using this card as it earns 4x Membership Rewards Points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earns 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x).

With an annual fee of $250, 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. Terms apply and for rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.

Recommended American Express Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a new welcome bonus of 85,000 120,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

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. Terms Apply. For rates and 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.

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. Terms Apply. 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 purchases, up to $50,000 in purchases per year. After that, earn 1x. Right now, you can earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. 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 60,000 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 since this card earns unlimited 2x miles on every purchase.
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 3 Free Nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases + 10x total points on eligible purchases in select categories. 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 total Bovoy points per $1 when using your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card at at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, and 2x Bonvoy points per $1 on all other purchases. Annual Fee is $95.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card - Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn up to 14x total Bonvoy points per $1 when using your Marriott Bonvoy Bold card at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, 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 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 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.

Earn 6x per $1 at hotels participants in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x on all other eligible purchases. Annual Fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in 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.

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)

American Airlines A319 Taxiing
Use your British Airways miles to fly short flights within the U.S. for just a few miles! Image Credit: Kunertus via Shutterstock

U.S. domestic nonstop flights under 1,150 miles on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines cost only 9,000 Avios. Even better, only a $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 halfway across the country. For example:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Miami (MIA) to Dallas (DFW)
  • New York (JFK) to Chicago (ORD)

Hot Tip: To maximize U.S. domestic Avios awards, look for nonstops from American Airlines and Alaska Airlines hubs in New York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), Charlotte (CLT), Miami (MIA), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Phoenix (PHX), Los Angeles (LAX), and Seattle (SEA).

2. Lie-Flat First: New York to San Francisco or Los Angeles for 51,500 Avios (American)

American Airlines service
Cross the U.S. in style on American Airlines transcontinental service. Image Credit: American Airlines

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)

Hawaii Beaches
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! Image Credit: SergiyN via Shutterstock

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)

Japan Airlines Boeing 777 300ER First Class JAL Suite 2A
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! Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

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.

Hot Tip: Read our in-depth reviews of JAL’s 777 on LAX to NRT in business class and NRT to LAX in 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 (Distance)EconomyBusiness
Zone 1 (1 to 650 miles)4,7505,2508,5009,750
Zone 2 (651 to 1,151 miles)7,2508,25013,50015,750
Zone 3 (1,152 to 2,000 miles)9,25010,75017,75020,750
Zone 4 (2,001 to 3,000 miles)10,00012,50031,25037,500
Zone 5 (3,001 to 4,000 miles)13,00020,00050,00060,000
Zone 6 (4,001 to 5,500 miles)16,25025,00062,50075,000

For example, fly from these East Coast cities to Ireland for just 13,000 Avios:

  • Boston (BOS)
  • New York (JFK)
  • 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 united.com, 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), Orlando (MCO), and San Francisco (SFO). 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, Chicago, or New York 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!

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 4,750 Avios (British Airways)

Fly to the Caribbean
Use your British Airways Avios to jump between the Caribbean islands for just 4,750 miles. Image Credit: lassedesignen vis Shutterstock

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 8,500 Avios (British Airways)

33 British Airways T5 Galleries Lounge B South Lounges
Relax in the British Airways Galleries Lounge at London Heathrow. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Short-haul Europe flights in business start at 8,500 Avios. Compared to economy class at 4,750 Avios, for only 3,750 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 (DME) for 34,000 Avios 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)

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 its co-branded credit card. Image Credit: Alex Miller

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 to $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.

Need help booking? Read our in-depth guide on booking British Airways first class or business class using points.

17. Hop Around Europe for 6,000 Avios and up (Finnair)

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 6,000 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 (DME) 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 Russian domestic flight is only charged Avios + $6.99. Russia is a huge country, so some flights cost a lot of Avios, but Moscow (DME) 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.

Qatar Airways A380 First Class Seat
Qatar Airways A380 first class seat. Image Credit: Greg Stone

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)

Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls. Image Credit: Leon Basson via Pixabay

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 in 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)

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

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.

British Airways Avios Cathay Pacific Hong Kong to Taipei
Look for short Cathay Pacific flights to sample its luxurious first class lounges. Image Credit: Cathay Pacific

Otherwise, business is only 9,000 Avios and gets you a seat at the Noodle Bar in The Wing, Business lounge.

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

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)

St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort Marriott
St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort. Image Credit: Marriott

Colombo (CMB) to Maldives (MLE) is 6,000 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 6,000 Avios + $2.67. Tokyo to Okinawa (OKA) is 9,000 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 Business Lounge Sydney
Qantas Business Lounge Sydney. Image Credit: Greg Stone

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 for 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

spending avios
Spending Avios is a little more complicated than using some other airline miles. Find out more in this detailed guide. Image Credit: British Airways

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:

  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

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.

Oneworld Partners
Alaska AirlinesMalaysia Airlines
American Airlines
British AirwaysQatar Airways
Cathay PacificRoyal Air Maroc
FinnairRoyal Jordanian
IberiaS7 Airlines
Japan AirlinesSriLankan Airlines
Oneworld Connect Partner
Fiji Airways

British Airways Avios Partner Award Chart

British Airways Partner Award Chart
(Note: Iberia flights are slightly different)
EconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
Zone 1
(1 to 650 miles)*
Zone 2
(651 to 1,151 miles)
Zone 3
(1,152 to 2,000 miles)
Zone 4
(2,001 to 3,000 miles)
Zone 5
(3,001 to 4,000 miles)
Zone 6
(4,001 to 5,500 miles)
Zone 7
(5,501 to 6,500 miles)
Zone 8
(6,501 to 7,000 miles)
Zone 9
(7,001 to 100,000 miles)

*Not available in North America

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 JourneyAvios for Economy
0 to 1,50030,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
1,501 to 4,00035,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
4,001 to 9,00060,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
9,001 to 10,00070,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
10,001 to 14,00090,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
14,001 to 20,000100,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
20,001 to 25,000120,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
25,001 to 35,000140,000 + taxes, fees, and carrier charges
35,001 to 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. Image Credit: British Airways

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.

Reward 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:

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

Where To Search for British Airways Avios Award Flights

You can search for British Airways flights and many airline partners on British Airways’ website:

AirlineSearch on British Airways’ Website?
Aer LingusSearch united.com
American AirlinesYes
Alaska AirlinesSearch aa.com
Cathay PacificYes
Japan AirlinesYes
Malaysia AirlinesYes
Royal Air MarocYes
Royal JordanianYes
Sri LankanYes

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.

british airways rewards
Searching British Airways rewards flights, opt for no stopover unless you want to visit London. Image Credit: British Airways

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.

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. Image Credit: British Airways

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 2 U.K. or European cities near to London rather than long-haul flights.

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.

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

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. Image Credit: British Airways

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 addresses).

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.

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Iberia, and 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. Image Credit: British Airways

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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.

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For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
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Frequently asked questions

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 British Airways Visa card to earn more Avios (3x per dollar on BA, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Level flights) and some additional benefits to make your experience even better.

The British Airways Visa card 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 4 different reward points programs: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Marriott Bonvoy.

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 or the Amex Gold card.

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

How do I contact British Airways?

You may contact British Airways by dialing 800-452-1201 daily from within the U.S. between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. EST.

What is British Airways' frequent flyer program?

British Airways frequent flyer program is called Executive Club. Executive Club uses what it calls “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 Traveller class?

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

These seats are in contrast to World Traveller Plus, 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.

Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.

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  1. Questions:
    While this is an excellent post the complexities of Avios is baffeling! Could you please give more info on combining BA and Iberia accounts, such as can you still have a household account if moving Iberia Avios into a BA account? or can you transfer all the BA Avios in a household account into one person’s Iberia account? advantages or major disadvantages of doing this?


  2. Lots of good ideas here, but Air Berlin went out of business about seven months ago. You probably want to delete all references to that carrier.


  3. Roger March May 1, 2018

    Fantastic site and info. However I do not see any comments flying on BA points out ov Vancouver, Canada. I have in the past used my RBC Avion card to accumulate points and then move them to BA when they have a 50% bonus. Info on flights out of YVR or SEA to asia or South Pacific using BA points would be helpful.


  4. Has this article been updated? I see surcharges for LAX to Tokyo cost additional $265 via JAL and LAX to Dublin with Air Lungus is around $319. Just trying to figure best way to redeem Avios points these days.


    • Hi Isabel

      ITA Flight Matrix is showing the LAX-NRT route in JAL economy and business class one-way is $118 in taxes and fees. The LAX-DUB on Aer Lingus in economy and business one-way is $35.


  5. Really the best ways!!! Great post.


  6. I would like to fly Chicago-Dublin using BA avios transferred from my Chase Saphire Preferred card. When doing this, to get an off-peak price, do I look at the Aer Lingus peak/off-peak schedule or BA schedule?
    Also, as a sanity check, Chicago (ORD) to Dublin (DUB) is considered zone 5 and should be 26,000 avios (round trip) during off-peak times, correct?


    • Hey Nate,

      Keep in mind that Aer Lingus has their own off-peak/peak schedule you must refer to.

      You are correct in that it will cost 26,000 Avios round-trip during off-peak times in Zone 5.


  7. How do you redeem the avios points for flights on partner airlines? Do I use the British Airways portal? I’m trying to book a flight on AA that shows up on the AA portal, but not on the BA portal. Any ideas?


  8. “U.S. domestic nonstop flights under 1,150 miles on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines cost only 7,500 Avios”

    Used to be the case, but now BA website lists this for partner airlines:
    “0–1,500 30,000 + taxes, fees and carrier charges”

    If that’s the case, it enormous jump and how can it be justified for the customers? If I have spent my avios before this I’d get 4 times more value, that’s outrageous!


  9. Hi there, I tried to calculate the Avios needed for an Los Angeles-Tokyo flight, but it is showing up as 75000 Avios instead of the 50000 mentioned. Can you advise? Thank you.


    • Hey Peter,

      Unfortunately, British Airways Avios seems to devalue their miles frequently. We are in the process of updating this post to reflect the new mileage prices. Until then, please follow what the British Airways Reward Calculator says.

      Also, if you’re thinking of transferring points with Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways Avios, please consider transferring to Virgin Atlantic. You can fly on ANA from Los Angeles to Tokyo round-trip for 100,000 miles in business class or 110,000 miles in first class!

      If you’re thinking of transferring points with American Express, please consider transferring to ANA or Virgin Atlantic. They have much better mileage costs than British Airways for this redemption.


  10. Is Qatar still flying the DOH-DXB route for 18,000 Avios? Thought that route was cut due to political tensions since last year.


    • Hey Rachel! Thanks for reading.

      You bring up a great point. We’ve updated our post accordingly.

      You’ll be able to try out the Al Safwa First Class Lounge for the DOH-KWI flight to Kuwait City for only 18,000 Avios and 50 Euros. That’s another alternative if you’re interested in the first class lounge. Thanks again!


  11. Lots of great info and options for Avios holders to digest/consider for award redemptions. Great post, thanks!


  12. Hi, I see that HEL to NRT (Tokio) is now 106£ in taxes – 25000 Avios + £ 106.50


  13. Free London Stopovers (British Airways) – this option is not available anymore


  14. Please update this article to show that not all flights on Malaysian are 4,500 points. KUL-DPS for example is 10k Avios.


  15. What an AMAZING post!! Thank you very much pal!
    One bad news is that you might have to update the post since BAEC will change the charts of WO award tickets since 30th May 2019.

    Hope you can do it. But it will take a lot of time for sure.
    thanks again for this great valued post


    • Hey Sonny,

      Thanks for the great feedback! Sadly, British Airways will be undergoing another devaluation, and we’ll do our best to keep our posts updated when the devaluation hits.


  16. I thought taxes and surcharges increased to ~$200 one-way for flights from the U.S. to Japan?


    • Hey Miles, it looks like one-way economy JAL tickets from LAX to NRT/HND now have roughly $117 in taxes and fees when booked through British Airways. We’ve updated the post to reflect this—thanks!


      • Noticed that the taxes are cheaper if it is an AA flight Tokyo-LAX versus a JAL flight. Also, booking with AA miles allows the option to fly to commuter airports. For some reason, British Airways website does not recognize some smaller commuter airports.


  17. The new Chase British Airways Visa Signature card has the potentially game-changing possibility to use Avios to pay for those pesky BA taxes and fuel surcharges:
    “Use Avios to save
    Use your Avios to pay for your taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed charges for your reward tickets by calling the number on the back of your card. $5 USD minimum must be charged to your British Airways Visa Signature Card*.”
    The fine print reads: “British Airways Visa Signature cardmembers can pay for the taxes, fees and carrier charges for flights using Avios. Cardmembers must make their reward booking via the British Airways Executive Club Contact Centre using the dedicated phone number found in the credit card welcome materials and on the back of the credit card. Avios can be used to reduce the cash price of taxes, fees and carrier charges on the reward booking down to a minimum of $5 USD. This $5 USD payment (or any other amount paid) must be paid by using the British Airways Visa Signature card issued by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Offer not available on ba.comOpens Overlay or via any other booking channel. Reward flights and cabin upgrades are subject to availability. Cash price of taxes, fees and carrier charges are approximately $682-$1,250 per adult in economy (World Traveller) or $1,250 in business (Club World) based on travel between Seattle and London. Avios prices for taxes, fees and carrier charges will be quoted by the British Airways Executive Club Contact Centre representative at time of redemption booking.”




  18. Heading for the door March 15, 2020

    Good summary, at any other time. Question now is how to get avios points out of BA before they go bust? Flying not an option.


  19. Short hauls on AA or AS were changed from 7,500 to 9,000 avios a few years ago, correct? Your headline says 9,000 avios but the actual paragraph says 7,500 avios which is confusing.


  20. I have looked at Malaysian Airlines flights to spend my Avios. There you are able to find a great bargain but always only one seat available on business. Do you any idea why is that? Is there only one business seat reserved for BA customers on Malaysian Airlines flights?


  21. Sorry, I’m a bit of a newbie with this stuff. To use the Avios points on an American Airlines flight, do you transfer points to American Airlines first, and then use them? Or do you book within the BA system?


    • Hi D-Mac,

      You will book the flight with your Avios directly through British Airways. The key is, you must be able to find MileSAAver American space in order to be able to book the American flight with Avios. So I like to start off searching on the AA website to find SAAVer space for the flight that I’m looking for, and once I do, I search for that exact flight on the British Airways website to make the booking with Avios.

      Let me know if you need any other help with this!


  22. G Kinslow July 21, 2021

    I have more than 200K American Airlines Aadvantage Miles and can easily book a one-way Flagship Business 787 reward flight from SAT to ICN or return for as little as 65K Aadvantage Miles on the aa.com site, depending on the date.

    But I also have more than 500K Chase Ultimate Rewards Points that I can transfer to Avios, so I accessed my Avios account to review AA flight availabilities using the same routing, with the idea of transferring some UR points to Avios to book the AA reward flights. I selected an entire month of possibilities from 15 September to 15 October, a period during which reward flights are available every day on the aa.com site, and came up with ZERO Avios availabilities for ANY American Airlines Flagship Business seats.

    I finally found a AA Flagship Business availability with Avios on 19 February 2022 for 123,250 Avios plus $188.70 taxes and fees, but the identical flight on aa.com costs only 60,000 Aadvantage miles plus $5.60!

    So, exactly where is the Avios value for me when trying to book a AA business class reward flight to Korea? I see no value at all. I acknowledge I haven’t a clue what is the Avios:Aadvantage Miles exchange rate, but unless I’m missing something, I would be a fool to book this flight with Avios.


    • Hi G,

      Where the big value lies with regards to using Avios to fly within American is booking short-haul awards, not international business awards. For instance, nonstop flights under 1,150 miles on American Airlines cost only 9,000 Avios plus $5.60, whereas if you booked with American you would pay 12,500 miles.

      But yes, in your example you would be much better off using your AA miles for your trip. Safe travels!


      • G Kinslow July 22, 2021

        At our age, my wife and I are fortunate enough to fly Business or First rather than Economy, and frankly, given the trials associated with domestic Economy travel, we wouldn’t fly at all if that was the only option. Between us, we have more than 1M AA and Delta miles and 700K UR Points. That doesn’t mean we want to spend them unwisely, however, and we’ll always seek opportunities to maximize the value of our points.

        That said, It appears that, for us, Avios is simply a poor means of exploiting AA award mile travel, even within the continental US. For example: we frequently fly between San Antonio and Seattle or San Antonio and Baltimore.

        A one-way domestic AA reward miles 29 August First Class morning flight SAT-SEA on aa.com costs 25,000 Aadvantage miles plus $5.60, but the same flight with Avios will cost 33,000 Avios plus $5.60. However, booking this flight in Economy costs 18,500 Aadvantage miles plus $5.60 vs 18,000 Avios points plus $5.60.

        A one-way domestic AA reward miles 28 August First Class flight SAT-BWI on aa.com costs 25,000 Aadvantage miles plus $5.60, but the identical booking with Avios will set us back 37,000 Avios plus $5.60. Avios offered no Economy seats at all, but changing the itinerary to SAT-DCA on 31 August yielded a cost of 7500 Aadvantage miles plus $5.60 vs 16,500 Avios plus $5.60!

        It appears that, with rare exceptions, Avios isn’t the first choice for us regardless of the destination or class of service when booking on American Airlines.

        Short of American Airlines becoming a Chase Ultimate Rewards partner, we need to find a different way of booking Aadvantage reward flights with UR points, because Avios doesn’t do it for us.


  23. G Kinslow July 22, 2021

    I’m just going to state it. Avios is a ripoff for AA award flights, even using your criteria. Let’s use a real-world example rather than relying on mileage charts.

    SAT (my current home) – HSV (my home town) is 770 non-stop air miles. Even calculating the air miles for connecting flights between SAT-DFW and DFW-HSV, the total is only 851 miles.

    A single AA reward ticket, AA2342 SAT-DFW connecting to AA3076 DFW-HSV on 28 August using Aadvantage miles costs 6500 Aadvantage miles plus $5.60 for Economy or 16,500 Aadvantage miles plus $5.60 for First Class.

    The same flight on the same day using Avios is 15,000 Avios Points plus $5.60 for Economy and 30,000 Avios points plus $5.60 for First Class, in both cases an exorbitant increase over the Aadvantage miles cost for a flight of only 851 total air miles between SAT and HSV.

    So, let’s break the trip down into two separate non-stop flights, one for SAT-DFW and the second for DFW-HSV, necessitating that I pick up my baggage at DFW Arrivals and then taking them to DFW Departures for check in and loading onto the second leg, and by the way, requiring a second trip through TSA security screening. After all of that, here is what we get:

    SAT-DFW AA2342 0610-0722 requires 6000 Aadvantage miles plus $5.60 for Economy or 16,000 Advantage miles plus $5.60 for First Class. Avios requires 7500 miles plus $5.60 for Economy and First Class is unavailable.

    DFW-HSV AA3076 0857-1056 (very tight connection!) requires 14,000 Advantage miles plus $5.60 for Economy or 24,000 miles plus $5.60 for First Class. Avios Economy is unavailable and First Class requires 15,000 Avios points.

    Now, if I lived in Dallas, I would be golden with a Avios First Class ticket to Huntsville for 15,000 Avios points compared 24,000 Advantage miles. But I don’t live in Dallas. And if I wanted to fly Economy, I’m out of luck because there are no Avios Economy seats available on my chosen flight.

    It’s wholly unrealistic to compare trips by daisychaining individual non-stop flights from Point A to final destination Point B to justify using Avios Points, because very few people are going to want to endure that gauntlet, and even then, real world, Avios is still more costly (22,500 Avios points for a mixed class trip) than the single AA SAT-HSV award ticket at 6500 Aadvantage miles for Economy or 16,500 miles for First Class and no baggage retrieval and TSA hassle.

    I think you may want to revisit your criteria, because, as I see it, using real world examples, unless one wants to spend hours searching for those very few flights that Avios may make worth the effort and bending my schedule to accommodate Avios availability, they are far more costly than Aadvantage miles for AA reward flights, regardless of domestic or international, regardless of distance, regardless of class of service, and transferring my Chase UR points to Avios for AA flights is simply wasteful.


  24. Keenan Henry October 9, 2021


    Quick question, My girlfriend booked a flight to London on British Airways. Is it possible for me to transfer points from Amex to BA and I personally upgrade our seats from World Traveler Plus to business class?



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