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British Airways Avios are a somewhat unique type of points because of the distance-based award chart they use. Because of the way the chart is put together, there are certain routes and parts of the world that are better to redeem Avios for than others. This can be because of the popularity of those two cities or because the cost to travel between the cities is normally high if paying in cash or with other miles/points. In this post I’ll list some of the best ways to redeem Avios.
Be sure to use this post in tandem with my post on some useful 4,500 Avios redemptions around the world.
The Avios Award Chart
First let’s see the Avios award chart again:
Our goal is to maximize this award chart by getting as close to the upper limit on each zone as possible. Why? Let’s say I want to fly exactly 8,000 miles to get from A to B. That would cost me 50,000 Avios in Economy on this award chart. But what happens if we break up the trip into smaller segments? If I can find an airport that’s exactly between A and B, let’s call it airport C, then that means it’s 4,000 from A to C and another 4,000 from C to B.
Looking at the award chart, we’ll notice the price for each segment is 20,000 Avios, and the total is 40,000 Avios. That’s 10,000 Avios cheaper than if I flew a nonstop flight from A to B. If I wanted, I could also stop over at C for as long as I wanted since Avios awards price by segment and not by region.
Using this type of strategy can help you not only save some Avios, but also see more destinations on your trip. Just be wary of those pesky fuel surcharges. You’ll want to avoid them or pay low taxes/fees by flying specifically on Aer Lingus, Air Belin, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Iberia, and LAN as much as possible.
The Best Avios Routes
When I say “best” I mean the ones that are cheapest and allow you to get more for your money.
The Popular Routes
The ones listed below are the more well-known routes and popular routes. These are great to maximize the distance allowed by the particular zone according to the award chart so they provide excellent value.
- Boston (BOS) to Dublin (DUB) – 12,500 in Economy or 25,000 in Business. Good, cheap way to get from the US to Europe for cheap.
- West Coast cities (LAX, SAN, SFO, SEA to name a few) to Hawaii (HNL/OGG/LIH/KOA) for 12,500 in Economy or 25,000 in Business. Again, cheaper than other programs to get to these cities.
- London to Paris/Frankfurt/Many other European Cities for 4,500 in Economy. Hard to go wrong with that!
Routes You Might Not Know About
Routes in other parts of the world might not be as well-known, but can still be extremely useful. And because the Avios award chart generally gets more expensive as the distance increases, there are actually some routes that get cheaper if you break them up correctly.
- New York (JFK) to Vancouver (YVR) for 12,500 in Economy, 25,000 in Business, and 37,500 in First on Cathay Pacific. The fact that it’s on Cathay makes all the difference. I flew it in First Class recently.
- Miami (MIA) to Lima (LIM) for 12,500 in Economy or 25,000 in Business. A great way to get to South America.
- LAX/ORD to Mexico City (MEX) for 10,000 in Economy or 20,00 in Business. Maybe not the biggest tourist route.
- Honolulu (HNL) to Sydney (SYD) for 25,000 in Economy or 50,000 in Business. If you’re burning Avios, then why not fly from the West Coast -HNL-SYD with a free stop in Hawaii? Don’t forget…Avios prices per segment, so stopovers are essentially free!
- West Coast to Tokyo (NRT/HND) for 25,000 in Economy or 50,000 in Business. There might be some annoying taxes/fees on this route.
- Tokyo (NRT) to Delhi (DEL) for 20,000 in Economy or 50,000 in Business. Only one flight available on this route, but if you’re flying for the West coast to India, it could be worth it.
- Hong Kong (HKG) to India (anywhere) for 12,500 (or less) in Economy or 25,000 (or less) in Business. Anywhere you want to go in India is either 12,500 or 10,000 from Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific is a great airline to fly on also.
- Helsinki (HEL) to South Eastern Europe or the Middle East for 12,500 in Economy or 25,000 in Business. Finnair isn’t the most sexy airline, but hey…it certainly has it’s uses!
- New York (JFK) to Berlin (TXL) for 20,000 in Economy and 40,000 in Business. Lie-flat seats to Europe for a decent price!
- Brazil to London for 30,000 in Economy and 60,000 in Business. This is a good deal because you can actually fly on British Airways and still pay under $50 in taxes/fees. Why? It’s literally illegal in Brazil to charge a fuel surcharge! Fly to London and beyond to take full advantage.
- Intra-Australia. There are tons of possible routes here, but these are generally going to save you money over cash because Qantas and Virgin Australia charge A LOT for intra-Australia travel. Ask an Australian…they like traveling internationally better because it costs them about the same price as flying within the country!
This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but these were the most useful ones I could think of. There are two important things to remember: 1) Stopovers are essentially free with Avios because each segment is priced individually. That means you can stay in Honolulu as long as you want before going on to Sydney and still save Avios. 2) Look for city pairs where you can maximize two flights in a row to get the most out of this. An example is Honolulu to Los Angeles to Boston to Dublin. You can fly to the other side of the world for 37,500 Avios in Economy, and get to see Los Angeles, Boston, and Dublin while doing it if you lived in Honolulu.
What other routes do you know of that I should add to this list?