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This is post #4 of a series regarding the British Airways Avios program.
- Earn 50,000 Avois Points for British Airways Credit Card
- Earning and Redeeming a British Airways Companion Ticket
- Creating a Household Account with British Airways
- Top 10 Redemption Opportunities for British Airways Avios Points
- Get a $50 Statement Credit with British Airways Credit Card (this offer has expired)
I wanted to point out some of the best redemption opportunities for using your British Airways points. British Airways Avios points work different then most of the other loyalty programs and can also have extremely high fuel surcharges on some international routes. The value of this program really depends on a few things:
- Where you live and the airport you fly out of —If you are flying to or from a small airport and require a layover, the number of miles needed to redeem a free flight might be way to much. This is because Avios points are segment based, so multiple segments within one flight will cost you many more points.
- Your ideal destination for free travel — If you are looking to fly to or through London, for example, you will be paying a very hefty amount out of pocket for fuel/taxes. However, for US domestic travel, travel to Canada, and travel to South America, you’ll be paying very little on this extra charges.
- If you are looking to fly economy, business, or first — For business or first class to Europe, the fuel surcharges might be worth it, while in economy class to Europe, you will probably be better off just purchasing the ticket and not redeeming your Avios points.
So here are my top 10 redemption opportunities to get the best value of your British Airways Avios points. Of course there are many many more, but here are some highlights. Also, I’ve only included the value in Economy/Coach as that is what I typically fly! Of course your redemption value will be significantly more if you fly business/first, but of course that will require more points:
- New York (JFK or LGA) to Montreal or Toronto: These tickets average about $350 roundtrip, but can many times be as high as $450 – this was the case the entire Spring. A roundtrip redemption will cost you 9,000 Avios points. This will entail you to use your British Airways Avios points on partner airline American Airlines. Assuming a $350 flight, this will give you a redemption value of about 3.333 cents/point. You can also use the cash & points option to reduce the number of points you need to use (as little as 4,500 points). You can read more on this specific redemption in this previos post here.
- New York (JFK) to Vail, Colorado: This seasonal route will cost you over $600, but only 20,000 Avios points + $5 in taxes. What is surprising is that availability for the winter time still seems to be great! This will give you an awesome value of using your points domestically at 3 cents/point. If you do not currently have any Avios points, but are looking for a roundabout way on purchasing points for redemption, read this previos post for US domestic travel with British Airways Avios.
- Boston to Dublin, Ireland: You can redeem 25,000 Avios points roundtrip using partner Aer Lingus. Since you do not go through London the taxes and fees are extremely low at $146.28 total! While this flight is relatively inexpensive compared to other European destinations, you will still be looking at an average of $800 for this flight. This is an unbelievable use of your avios miles and will give you a redemption value of about 2.6 cents/point. You can also redeem on business class at 50,000 Avios points, which will give you a much better redemption value of about 8 cents/point since a paid ticket goes for about $4,000! This route is also available from Chicago and JFK for 40,000 points in economy and 80,000 points in business.
- New York JFK to St.Thomas (and other Caribbean destinations): For 20,000 points + $52.40 in taxes/fees, you can fly to the Caribbean island of St. Thomas. There are many other destinations you can fly to as well, including Barbados, Punta Cana, St. Kitts, St. Martin, etc. (although some require 25,000 points roundtrip). Flights to the Caribbean can typically be very expensive. This route typically will cost you around $400, although other destinations will be as much as $500-$600! This will give you an average redemption value of 1.75 cents/point – not as good as some of the other opportunities, but still great!
- Miami to Bermuda: This is an extremely expensive route and if you want to go direct on the American Airline flight you’ll be looking at a $600+ per ticket. However, you are able to take advantage of your points and redeem 15,000 Avios points + $101.15 for this flight. Award availability seems to be pretty good too! This will give you a great redemption value of at least 3.333 cents/point. You can also redeem the same 15,000 points roundtrip to fly from JFK direct to Bermuda, although prices are about half the cost since you also have JetBlue as an option as well.
- Chicago/New York/Boston/Miami to Madrid: You are able to fly direct from many US destinations to Spain on both American Airlines or Iberia Airlines. While using your British Avios points will still incur hefty fuel surcharges on this route, you can instead use your Iberia Avios points. Both British Airways and Iberia use “Avios” as their points currency and the points can be transferred from one program to another seamlessly at a 1:1 rate (however, you must have had your account open for at least 3 months to transfer, so open your Iberia account now!). Once transferring your BA Avios to Iberia Avios you can then book via Iberia and reduce the fuel charges. Done this way, you can redeem just 40,000 points + $124.79. You can also do this for a flight to Barcelona although your fees might be about $20 more (direct flights to Barcelona are only from NY and Miami). Fares can range, but with an average of $950/ticket, this will give you a redemption value of 2.06 cents/point.
- New York/Dallas/Miami to Rio de Janerio: This extremely expensive route (~$920) can be had with just 50,000 British Airways Avios points! This is great usage of points, although finding availability can be quite challenging. The redemption value is about 1.8 cents/point.
- Los Angeles to Kauai: Using your British Airways Avios miles will cost you only 25,000 points + $21.80. This flight involves taking partner airline American Airlines and would cost you 35,000 miles if you redeemed with your AAdvantage miles instead. This fare will typically run you about $600, thus using your points will give you a redemption value of about 2.4 cents/point.
- Dallas to Vancouver: You can fly direct to Vancouver on partner airline American Airlines for 20,000 points + $51.94. This flight otherwise will cost you about $650, which is absolutely ridiculous. Since this is an international destination you can also use the cash & points option similar to flying to Montreal or Toronto. You can also fly direct from JFK to Vancouver on Cathay Pacific, but will cost 25,000 points and about double in taxes. The redemption value of this flight is about 3 cents/point!
- Sydney to Alice Springs (the outback): Flights can be over $1,000 to go to Alice Springs (although flights to Ayers Rock can be less on Virgin Australia)! However, with your British Airways Avios points, you can redeem 20,000 points + $64.08 to fly on partner airline Qantas. Availability is great and this will allow you a quick stop to the center of the country that you might not have otherwise done. This will give you a redemption value of 4.75 cents/point! You can use your points to fly on other routes throughout Australia as well via Qantas.
- British Airways Chase Visa Application Link: 50,000 Avios points for new applicants after $2,000 in spend in the first 90 days; $95 annual fee waived the first year; earn 1 point per $1 spend on all purchases and 3 points per $1 on all British Airways purchases; free companion pass valid for 2 years after spending $30,000 in a calendar year on your card; no foreign transaction fees. Card application link.