British Airways launched its “Happiness Fund” promotion today. It isn’t terribly attractive for leisure travelers since you must book a flexible ticket. But business and first class passengers can earn 25,000 bonus points for a round-trip trans-Atlantic journey between now and January 31. And you don’t have to fly on British Airways, either — just credit your flight on American, Iberia, or Finnair to the BA Executive Club. (Be sure to check the full terms and conditions.)
Recall Avios is a distance-based award program. Fly non-stop and you can often redeem fewer points than if you were using another program like United MileagePlus. Although there are fuel surcharges on many international awards, you can avoid those by using points for domestic trips. British Airways will let you redeem on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. The easiest way to search for availability on both is to look for Saver space on AA.com since British Airways won’t display Alaska’s availability. You’ll have to call to book awards on Alaska, but the booking fee will be waived.
There are some particularly good deals to Hawaii if you depart the West Coast. Those 25,000 bonus Avios, plus a few bucks in government fees, will get you a round-trip award. Or if you want a quick weekend getaway, you can fly round-trip for only 9,000 points if your destination is less than 650 miles away. I can get to my dad’s house in Santa Rosa for that. San Francisco is just a bit further and costs 15,000 points round-trip. That’s a far better deal than most airlines, which charge 25,000 miles for any domestic flight in the continental U.S.