Top 10 Redemption Opportunities for British Airways Avios Points

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This is post #4 of a series regarding the British Airways Avios program.

Related Posts

  1. Earn 50,000 Avois Points for British Airways Credit Card
  2. Earning and Redeeming a British Airways Companion Ticket
  3. Creating a Household Account with British Airways
  4. Top 10 Redemption Opportunities for British Airways Avios Points
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 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.

Key Links:

  • British Airways Chase Visa Application Link50,000 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.

 

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Comments

  1. I took a trip to London/Paris this spring and just was not able to make my 160,000 BA miles work for flights when I needed them (and my compaion pass has gone to waste so far). However, I was able to book 8 nights of hotel stays using Avios and for me that was the best bargain!

  2. Last week I booked MIA-EZE in AA business for 100k avios and 47$ in taxes. You can do the same from JFK. That’s not a bad deal IMO.

    Then inside Argentina I also booked AEP-MDZ in LAN economy for 9k points but this time it was 100$ in taxes (most of it being Argentina’s VAT). Not as great but a revenu ticket would have been 450$ for those dates.

  3. I’ve never heard of the Republic/People’s Republic/Kingdom of Spin until today. 🙂 j/k

    Nice find on the DFW-YVR redemption. Been planning a trip there for some time.

    • @voice of reason – to alice springs is very expensive, but you are correct, flying into ayers rock is less.

  4. Are there any other good options for intra-country flights besides within the US? Someone had mentioned Australia, and I think I heard within Asia there are no fuel surcharges and lots of availability as well? Any other regions with good short haul fee free flights?

    • @miles – absolutely! You can use the flights intra Asia, Australia, Europe, South America. Another reader commented on a flight for 4,500 avois plus $5 for a flight within Tokyo.

  5. @ MKM I believe the kingdom of Spin is in Washington DC, right? Doesn’t seem like such a good redemption in that case!

    • @jon – check the availability on aa.com as well. If available then you’ll need to all BA to book over the phone (I not found on ba.com). Availability is really based on aa not ba.

  6. Great round-up of the top redemptions! I used up 300k for a first class honeymoon on CX to Thailand under the old Executive Club pricing. Just used 40k of the new BA Avios to book a roundtrip JFK-EGE that would have cost $750 per person. There’s definitely some great value to be had with the new pricing scheme, but I still preferred the old one for premium long-haul.

    • @well hung jury – I agree that the old program had some better options for extravagant travel, but there are definitely some hidden gems with the new program. Enjoy eze!

  7. I wanted to save some money during our upcoming trip in Japan, so I was able to book a 1 way trip between Kyoto and Tokyo (ITM-HND) for just 4500 avios and $5 per person. The flight would have cost $300. I should mention that I transfered AMEX points and got a 50% bonus so that made it even sweeter.

  8. Hello,
    I was not able to use Avios on BA website. Do I need to call them? How much do they charge for phone transaction?
    thank you!

    • @Marina – is the flight you are trying to book with American? You can look at aa.com to see if award travel is available and if so it should be available on ba.com. If not you will need to call BA and they will book it for you or a $25 fee, although never hurts to ask if they will waive the fee.

  9. I think you got the redemption requirements to Brazil wrong, it’s not 25K for round trip, its 25K each way. Please confirm. Thanks!

  10. Are you sure? I just logged in my BA account for the second time and checked “how many miles you need” and its 25K one way. Just to confirm, LGA to YYZ was 4.5K each way. My wife’s family are in Brazil, if it’s 25K and we have 200K miles, I would be booking like crazy. Can you please reconfirm? Or better yet, give me a to/from date that will show that redemption amount. Thanks!

  11. Distance between DFW and GIG is 5228 Miles. which is between 4000 and 5499 which requires 25K each way as per distance redemption chart.

    • @David – I am so sorry, you are correct. It is 25,000 miles each way. Also, I tried many dates and could not find too many with availability.

  12. I was thinking about doing the Boston/Dublin route for New Years – I looked on ba.com and they said they had only BA availability. Should I get a Air Lingus FF account to see their availability?

    • @Stompey – A great way to look at availability is through Qantas as well since they are a OneWorld partner. You must sign up for a Qantas account to see availability.

  13. So I just ordered this credit card and my husband and I were all pumped up to go to Barcelona for our 10 year anniversary. But now I am reading these things and it sounds like going to Europe will cost a lot in fuel charges? Is there any way around that?

    • @Lindsey – as reader David mention, you can transfer your British Airways Avios points to Iberia Avios points at a 1:1 transfer ration. You can then book direct flights to Madrid and Barcelona from JFK and MIA and avoid the hefty fuel fees.

  14. Yes. Transfer to Iberia. You can avoid MOST high fuel charges. But they only fly out of certain US cities(ie. JFK) very few. You will have to research. Google, BA Avios transfer to Iberia. There will be multiple blogs about it with examples.

    Avios is worst for europe. Best for the Americas and short haul.

  15. Took advantage of the BA credit card offer last year and then booked PHL to TLV on BA in Economy Plus section. Very high fees (about $530) to go thru LHR but certainly worth the money for this seat on a long haul flight. I booked with BA miles prior to the change to AVIOS and took advantage of a reduced mileage sale. The tickets were less than 50,000 BA Miles for each round trip flight

  16. My husband and I took out the BA Amex card as I have family who live in USA and thought we would collect the point’s because the route from London to USA is quickest on BA.
    We now have two companion tickets but were unable to use them as there was no availability, so just ended up paying for our tickets!
    Really annoyed that we can not use our companion ticket when we want to nor can we upgrade using our points to business from economy as you can only upgrade from one class to another
    Personally go for cashback card and pay for tickets using the cashback! Because BA and avios are certainly looking after themselves and not their customers!

  17. The Best value of my Avios comes from what I think (maybe is a big statement) is the best Redemption opportunity in THE WORLD!
    SJU – CCS r/t is aprox $1000 off peak and much more any other time.
    It only requires 9000 Avios and $5. How about that???
    Best to all of you!!!!

  18. I like #3 of the Top 10 use of BA Avios. I have 210,000 unused Avios (I retired) that apparently will expire on Sep 2013. Must I use the Avios and travel before 1 Sep 13, or am I able to use the points for the tix before 1 Sep 2013 and travel at a later date?

  19. I tried to book BOS to DUB on ba.com using Avios – could not make the transaction work. How do you do it?

  20. @Jim, the BOS/DUB route is operated by Aer Lingus. Lots of availability still for summer months. You can check on United.com, enter the city pair, choose award travel, flexible dates and nonstop flight only, it would show you availability in calendar format. The yellow dates are the low redemptions. You will have to call BA direct and give the agent the flight info in order to book the ticket! Good luck!

  21. Thank you. I tried as you said, and the economy fare was 60,000 points and under $10.00. I think you or others may have found the total cost for a Boston to Dublin roundtrip ticket was 25,000 Avios points plus $146.28 in taxes and fees ($121.28 of which was taxes, and $25 of which was a ticketing fee). How do I get this deal? Thank you.

  22. @Jim, Mark down the exact dates and the flight info from the United website, then call British Airway to make the award reservation, provide them with your BA membership number, tell them you want to redeem for Aer Lingus flight ### on such date etc etc. If you get a bad agent, hang out and call back later. Good luck! 🙂

  23. Sharon, you said there was a BOS/JFK/ORD – DUB on Air Lingus for 25,000 RT Avios and abt $175 other. Best I can find is 60,000 RT. How do I find the 25,000 Avios RT ECUS to DUB? Thanks Jim

  24. Jim, the 60K RT that you see on United website is using United miles to fly Aer Lingus, and you don’t want that of course. The search on United is merely a tool to find out if award seats are available. And in this case, there are still plenty availability in the summer months (if you were to book with United miles). So if seats are bookable with UA miles, they should also be bookable with Avios. But BA’s website will not show availability of Aer Lingus, you have to call BA to get it. Hope this clears up the confusion. And btw, the 25000 Avios only valid on BOS-DUB. It would cost more avios from JFK or ORD.

  25. I tried (again) United.com for the EI non-stop flts in Aug, the best I can do is 30k award miles each way. When u use United.com BOS-DUB non-stop the EI flts show up at the top of the screen, I did this for June, July and Aug – all the same 30k miles each way for EI, 55k for UA with stops. Try it, and pls show me where I can find the 25k r/t Bos-Dub, I am trying to book now. Thank you.

    • @jim – have you called British airways to book the flight? United is ONLY showing availability, not the number of miles needed to redeem as it differs between united miles and British airways miles.

  26. Ok you need to read my last post again pls. You can’t book it with UA and use Avios. The United tool is only for you to find availability. You need to call British Airway and provide them the flight info and book it with your Avios! There is no way you can book this online. You have to call in!!!

  27. Fully understand that UA.com shows awards seats only, and that you have to call BA to book. I understand that. UA.com shows EI awards seats, ALL at 30,000 miles one way, or 60K return.

  28. You are saying that BA Avios and UA miles are not of the same value? I did not know that. UA says it is 60k miles on EI BOS-DUB r/t and you say it is 25,000 Avios r/t on EI in your top 10 BA deals, I will call BA now. Thank you very much for helping me with the details.

    • @jom – that’s correct. Both programs require a different number of miles when redeeming to Ireland and other international and domestic routes. Sometimes BA avoid miles are better and sometimes not. In this case they are better. Let me k ow if you’ve had success!

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