Purchase Avios Points to Save Money on Expensive Short Haul Flights

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One of the best sweet spots in the points and miles world is 4,500 Avios points for a short-haul flight on American Airlines or US Airways. Sometimes these quick flights can cost way more than they should, but fortunately the point value is extremely low with Avios! And since British Airways, American, and US Airways are all part of the OneWorld Alliance,  you can use your British Airways Avios points to redeem on American Airline or US Airways domestic flights. FYI – You can also redeem for other OneWorld alliance partners internationally.

With that being said, sometimes purchasing Avios points to redeem for a “free” flight can actually be cheaper then purchasing the flight outright. And through October 31, 2014, you can get a 20% bonus on these purchased miles. Keep in mind though, you are capped at purchasing 27,000 Avios points per account per year.

Purchasing Avios

So is purchasing a points a good deal?

While I would NOT purchase points speculatively, if you know of a flight you need to take that has point redemption availability, this might be a good option for you. As previously mentioned, short haul flights cost 4,500 Avios points one-way. Example flights include: New York to Toronto, New York to Montreal, Miami to Nassau, etc.

You’d have to purchase 4,000 points + 800 bonus to redeem for a one-way redemption flight. This will cost you $135. The more one-way flights needed the less expensive your cost might be if you do not have to buy that many points over the required amount as British Airways only sells in 1,000 point increments. So if you are looking for a flight that is more then $135, purchasing points to redeem could be more cost effective.

However, with flights from New York to Toronto or Miami you can actually use cash & points redemption option which comes out cheaper! A round-trip will require 7,200 points and $86.89 in cash. While there are other cash and points options, this one as best mathematically and it will not leave any points unused. The cost to purchase 7,200 points is $190.00 with this promotion. This means, you can fly roundtrip from NYC to Montreal at a flat $276.89. That is a pretty cheap round-trip cost for this typically expensive route!

Keep in mind that this post is for those that do not already have many British Airways Avios points. If you already have a ton of points, of course there is no reason to purchase them. You can also transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Reward to British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio.

Thanks to One Mile at a Time for sharing this promotion!

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  1. When booking Avios to fly US Airways metal, is there a way to check a bag for free (especially if you hold the Barclay’s US Airways MasterCard)? Can you add your Dividend Miles number to the BA award? Thanks for any direction. Gotta love Avios for East Coast jumping.

    • @Mike – As long as you add your US Airways number to your British Airways reservation, you can get a free checked bag if you typically are allowed one (status, credit card, etc.). Same goes for flying American and using Avios.

  2. @dealswelike is the points and cash option always as available as saver availability (ie not less inventory or capacity controlled)? Also, can you only book online for points and cash, or how do you see that availability /book over phone? Thanks!

    • @justin – the Cash and Points option is not available on all routes. Domestic routes are not eligible, but I believe most (if not all) international routes are. I will double check on that though. If the route is eligible for Cash and Points and their is an award ticket available, you can always opt for cash and points, it is not capacity controlled. And you can book online just like you would for a regular award ticket. I’ll write a post within the next week describing the process.

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