Best Ways To Redeem British Airways Avios Without Huge Fees (2021)

Filed Under: Awards, British Airways
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British Airways Avios can simultaneously be one of the most valuable and one of the most frustrating points currencies out there. British Airways has a distance based award chart, meaning the currency is valuable in instances where other points wouldn’t be as valuable. However, British Airways also imposes big surcharges on many award redemptions.

In this post I wanted to look at some of the great ways that you can redeem British Airways Avios without paying huge fees. This is an update to a post I wrote a while back, as British Airways has lost some partners that previously offered great value, while adding new partners that open up some cool opportunities.

First I wanted to look at some of the best ways to earn Avios.

How to earn British Airways Avios

The great news is that even if you’re not a British Airways frequent flyer, there are quite  a few ways to earn Avios (“Avios” is the name of British Airways’ points currency).

Get a US Avios credit card

British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus, all use Avios as their points currency. There are three excellent credit cards issued in the US that directly earn Avios, and all of them offer huge welcome bonuses of up to 100K Avios, plus lots of great long term benefits that could make them worth keeping:

You can find a detailed comparison of the three cards here.

Transfer points from a bank currency

There are lots of ways to earn Avios with US credit cards, way beyond the above three credit cards.

British Airways Executive Club is also transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, and historically we’ve even sometimes seen transfer bonuses. Ideally I’d wait until there’s such a bonus to transfer points, but who knows when that will be offered next.

Earn Avios

Buy Avios outright

In addition to being able to earn Avios through credit cards, this is a points currency that often also goes on sale. We sometimes seen bonuses of up to 50% for purchasing British Airways Executive Club Avios and purchasing Iberia Plus Avios. Note that the Iberia promotion is often the better deal.

The basics of redeeming British Airways Avios

British Airways has a distance based award chart, though it’s different depending on the airline you’re flying.

Here’s the award chart for travel on British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus:

Zone // Flight DistanceEconomy
Off Peak // Peak
Premium Economy
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
Off Peak // Peak
Zone 1
1-650 miles*
*Not available in North America
4,000 // 4,5005,750 // 6,7507,750 // 9,00015,500 // 18,000
Zone 2
651-1150 miles
6,500 // 7,5009,500 // 11,25012,750 // 15,00025,500 // 30,000
Zone 3
1151-2000 miles
8,500 // 10,00012,750 // 15,00017,000 // 20,00034,000 // 40,000
Zone 4
2001-3000 miles
10,000 // 12,50020,000 // 25,00031,250 // 37,50042,500 // 50,000
Zone 5
3001-4000 miles
13,000 // 20,00026,000 // 40,00050,000 // 60,00068,000 // 80,000
Zone 6
4001-5500 miles
16,250 // 25,00032,500 // 50,00062,500 // 75,00085,000 // 100,000
Zone 7
5501-6500 miles
19,500 // 30,00039,000 // 60,00075,000 // 90,000102,000 // 120,000
Zone 8
6501-7000 miles
22,750 // 35,00045,500 // 70,00087,500 // 105,000119,000 // 140,000
Zone 9
7001+ miles
32,50 // 50,00065,000 // 100,000125,000 // 150,000170,000 // 200,000

Then here’s British Airways’ award chart for travel on partner airlines, excluding Aer Lingus and Iberia:

Zone // Flight DistanceEconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
Zone 1
1-650 miles*
*Not available in North America
Zone 2
651-1150 miles
Zone 3
1151-2000 miles
Zone 4
2001-3000 miles
Zone 5
3001-4000 miles
Zone 6
4001-5500 miles
Zone 7
5501-6500 miles
Zone 8
6501-7000 miles
Zone 9
7001+ miles

The basic things to be aware of include the following:

  • For the British Airways award chart, peak and off-peak pricing varies based on the day you’re flying
  • Pricing is per segment, so no matter what type of award you book, you’ll pay individually for each segment
  • Travel on British Airways and many partner airlines is subjected to carrier imposed surcharges, which is the frustration that many people have with the program

I agree with those who are frustrated by the surcharges that apply to long haul British Airways flights. For example, having to pay ~$700 in addition to the 50,000 Avios for a one-way business class award ticket from New York to London is rough. However, note that the British Airways Visa Card now offers an award surcharge rebate that can help offset that somewhat.

British Airways’ A350 business class

The best uses of British Airways Avios

The good news is that there are many better ways to redeem Avios, as I’ll cover in this post. What I appreciate about Avios is that the currency is useful in different ways than other points currencies. Avios are complementary to many other currencies, which is to say that I redeem them differently than I redeem most other points currencies.

Below are some of my favorite redemptions that minimize carrier imposed surcharges and maximize the distance based aspect of the award chart. Note that the below examples aren’t reflecting current immigration restrictions and fluctuating airline schedules, which are a major concern right now.

Despite that I wanted to update this post, in particular to reflect some of the changes we’ve seen (Air Italy went out of business, LATAM left oneworld, Royal Air Maroc joined oneworld, etc.).

With that out of the way, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite uses of Avios for when the world returns to normal:

Travel within Asia on Cathay Pacific

Airfare within Asia can vary wildly. Thanks to ultra low cost carriers, airfare is cheap in some markets, though in others it’s expensive. Redeeming Avios for travel on Cathay Pacific within Asia is a great deal.

This is especially true for travel in business class, given how many long haul configured aircraft Cathay Pacific flies on short routes. You can fly fully flat business class between Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City, for example. The cost? 16,500 Avios plus $58.85.

Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class

Travel within Japan on Japan Airlines

While you’re best off taking the train for most transport within Japan, there are some markets where flying makes the most sense. For just 6,000 Avios and very minimal fees, you can fly just about anywhere within Japan. For example, the below flight from Tokyo to Sapporo costs 6,000 Avios plus $5.10.

Travel to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines

You can redeem just 13,000 Avios for a flight of under 3,000 miles in economy, which includes flights from the west coast to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines makes a fair amount of award space available, and given how much these tickets can cost in peak season, this represents a great deal. You do have to book these tickets by phone, though (hopefully when Alaska joins oneworld soon, these awards will become bookable online).

While I consider Hawaii to be the sweet spot, there’s also a lot of value to be had in redeeming Avios for Alaska flights up and down the west coast. For example, for 9,000 Avios you can book a one-way ticket covering a distance of up to 1,150 miles, which will get you up and down the west coast easily.

Alaska 737

Travel short haul within Europe on British Airways

While the ultra low cost carriers are doing a lot to lower the cost of airfare within Europe, there are still some markets that are super expensive, especially last minute. For just 4,000 Avios one-way, plus some carrier imposed surcharges, you can fly nonstop from London to any destination in Europe that’s within 650 miles.

Always be sure you check the cost of paid airfare, because sometimes paid tickets are cheap as well. However, there are lots of cases where this represents a great deal.

Some may disagree, but I think it can also be worthwhile to redeem Avios for Club Europe, which is British Airways’ regional business class. This will typically cost you roughly twice as many Avios, but you’ll get priority security, lounge access, priority boarding, a blocked middle seat onboard, and free food and drinks. Personally I think that’s worth it for an extra 4,000 Avios or so.

British Airways’ Club Europe

Travel on Qantas within Australia

Travel within Australia can be expensive, so redeeming Avios for Qantas’ extensive route network is a great opportunity. Fees are limited, and Qantas is generally great about making award space available on domestic flights.

For example, you can fly one-way from Sydney to Perth for 13,000 Avios in economy. If you want to fly business class, the same route will cost you 38,750 Avios, which would get you the flat bed “premium” transcontinental service.

Qantas A330

Travel on Royal Air Maroc across the Atlantic

Royal Air Maroc is the newest oneworld member airline, and opens up some great new redemption opportunities.

For example, you could fly from the US to Casablanca in business class for 60,000 Avios one-way, plus roughly $170 in surcharges. While there are surcharges, they’re at least much lower than if flying British Airways.

There are plenty of other situations where it makes sense to redeem on Royal Air Maroc, including for travel to many hard-to-get places in Africa, as well as for travel between Europe and Northern Africa.

Royal Air Maroc is a great addition to the oneworld alliance.

Royal Air Maroc’s 787 business class

Travel in Qatar Airways’ short haul first class

Qatar Airways’ Al Safwa First Class Lounge in Doha is one of the best first class lounges in the world. It also has an interesting access policy, as it’s only available to those in long haul first (which is very few routes, as Qatar only has three cabin first class on A380s), or those traveling within the Gulf region in the forward most cabin.

For example, you could fly from Doha to Muscat and use Qatar’s excellent first class lounge. You could arrive 20 hours early, get a bedroom in the lounge, have a nice meal, etc. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but that’s a heck of a deal for experiencing one of the world’s best lounges.

Note that the airline sells access to this lounge to business class passengers, though the price has been raised, so it’s not cheap anymore.

Qatar Airways’ Al Safwa Lounge Doha

Travel on Aer Lingus across the Atlantic

Redeeming British Airways Avios for travel on Aer Lingus can be an exceptional value. While the number of Avios required are similar to what you’d pay on British Airways, the benefit is that you’re not charged the huge carrier imposed surcharges. Instead of paying ~$500 in surcharges, you pay ~$20 in surcharges.

I also happen to think that Aer Lingus’ business class is better than British Airways’ (at least the old one). In terms of the number of Avios required:

  • Aer Lingus flights between Ireland and Boston, Chicago, Hartford, New York, Toronto, and Washington cost 13,000-20,000 Avios (off-peak/peak) in economy, or 50,000-60,000 Avios (off-peak/peak) in business class
  • Aer Lingus flights between Ireland and Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, and Seattle, cost 16,250-25,000 Avios (off-peak/peak) in economy, or 62,500-75,000 Avios (off-peak/peak) in business class

Aer Lingus’ A330 business class

Travel on Iberia across the Atlantic

Iberia has the same parent company as British Airways, so many aspects of the airlines are aligned. You want to redeem British Airways Avios on Iberia? You’ll pay the full carrier imposed surcharges. In this case, we’re talking $531.40 plus 34,000 Avios for a ticket from Chicago to Madrid.

However, Iberia runs a parallel Avios program, and there’s a really cool trick to it. You don’t pay the hefty carrier imposed surcharges on Iberia if you book directly through that program. That same exact flight through Iberia Plus will cost you 34,000 Avios plus $98.79, so you’re saving over $400. That’s a heck of a deal.

The only catch is that in order to be able to transfer points between British Airways and Iberia, both accounts need to be open for 90 days. However, Iberia Plus is also transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, so you can transfer over points directly from those programs.

Iberia’s A340 business class

Travel on American domestically or to the Caribbean

British Airways’ distance based award chart can really come in handy either for short haul travel within the US, or for travel to the Caribbean. There aren’t typically fuel surcharges for domestic awards or flights to the Caribbean, Latin America, etc., while there typically are for flights to Europe or Asia.

This is an especially good option for flights to the Caribbean, where cash tickets are typically really expensive, while mileage tickets are reasonably priced. For example, you could redeem just 11,000 Avios plus taxes and fees for a one-way ticket from Miami to St. Kitts, which is a great value.

American’s A321 economy

What about redeeming Avios for hotels, car rentals, and more?

As is the case with most frequent flyer programs, there are ways to redeem British Airways Avios that don’t include flights. You can redeem British Airways Avios for everything from car rentals, to hotels, to merchandise.

However, it’s almost never a good deal. Using these redemption options, you’ll pretty consistently get under one cent of value per Avios, which I wouldn’t consider to be very good (personally I value Avios at ~1.3 cents each).

Just to give one example, for a night next weekend you can book the Sheraton Times Square New York for 20,650 Avios, which shows as being reduced from 30,250 Avios.

The paid rate for that night, including all taxes and fees, is at most $174.

That’s just one example, but you’ll find a similar pattern with most redemptions.

While redeeming for non-travel experiences might be a good way to minimize fees, it’s not a good way to maximize your Avios otherwise.

Summary of best uses of Avios

If I could only ever collect a single points currency again it wouldn’t be British Airways Avios. However, they also serve a useful and specific purpose for me, and I always value having a sizable balance of Avios.

If you’re someone who is disenchanted at the thought of redeeming Avios for travel on long haul British Airways flights and paying huge surcharges, hopefully the above gives you some good ideas for how you can redeem these Avios.

Between the British Airways Visa Card and the ability to transfer Amex and Chase points to British Airways, there are lots of great ways to collect Avios.

What are your favorite uses of British Airways Avios?

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  1. Good luck finding 2+ seats on any LATAM flights. Only one that I have ever seen available, without booking 330+ days out, is LIM-IAD

  2. @ Bennett Cunningham — Hah, didn’t necessarily have an answer in mind. Ideally I’d collect a transferable points currency. Would have to put some more thought into which one currency I’d collect, but it would be the one that maximizes longhaul premium cabin redemptions.

  3. I found a sweet spot flying from South America to Australia. We flew a family of 5 from SCL to SYD for 90,000 avios (with the AKL/SYD leg in business class for my wife and I) . It was a great redemption and I believe the fees were $25 per ticket

  4. Hi Lucky. I booked thru BA using 30000 avios and $57 for 2 business tickets on CX for a flight from SGN to HKG. Thanks to anyone at OMAAT

  5. As Cairo expat, Avios has been extremely useful in traveling between CAI-Gulf countries (mainly by QR or at times RJ) or in jumping around between Gulf countries (AUH/DXB/DOH/BAH) by QR at least before Qatar blockade though. Hope Qatar crisis ends soonish.

  6. How about using Avios to fly F short-haul on Qatar throughout the Middle East? A relatively inexpensive work-around to try their First Class Lounge in Doha?

  7. I use it with American Airlines from Miami to South America (cash+points) and the cost from MIA to EZE R/T is 17.5k Avios points + $471.xx (tax included) which is usually cheaper than paying $950~$1,250 per ticket (or more in Christmas).

  8. What about using them for an upgrade from World traveller plus to Club World?
    I think that’s how I’m gonna spend the majority of them, and eventually for a last minute flight within Europe

  9. So Iberia also charges carrier surcharges (just less than BA)? Unless I’m mistaken ORD-MAD direct flight only has $5.60 in taxes right?

  10. Lucky,

    In light of your response to @Bennett Cunningham, it might be useful to remind readers that the companion certificate seems like a good deal but in reality comes with a lot of restrictions that make it ultimately not so great for redemption unless you’re really trying to liquidate Avios. Especially if we’re talking about how to avoid carrier-imposed fees since the companion certificates force routing through London.

  11. Just curious Lucky, but is there any particular reason you never mention the ORD-DUB route when you bring up aer lingus? It’s obviously not a big deal, but it seems like you always list all of their routes except that one.

  12. I still think the UK Amex companion voucher makes long haul redemptions decent value under certain circumstances, despite the surcharges, and especially to the US in First where you don’t have the likes of QR and CX. Obviously you should check cash fares, but the ex-EU business fares are now considerably more expensive with currency devaluation. Also, I think earning Avios (or miles generally) is harder in the UK than US as sign-up bonuses are not as generous, so getting 241 long haul is great. Yes, it has to be on BA metal, but for the US there are loads of destinations and open-jaws are possible. Some need a bit of planning but others have good availability or lots of frequencies.

    We have LHR-MIA return in F for Christmas. That was 200k Avios and £1050 all in for two people. The cheapest direct Economy at the time of booking (June) was over £1k pp. I would consider this great value. I understand the YQ is higher ex-US so that may not be as good.

  13. You can also redeem Avios for WDH to JNB.

    I visited many Caribbean islands using Avios from MIA on AA metal. St Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, Roatan, Eleuthera, St Kitts, Antigua, DR, etc. Availability was much better 2-3 years ago. Now, not so much.

    I also find that redeeming Avios for AA metal to deep south america (MVD, GIG, EZE) is cheaper than redeeming AAdvantage mile.

  14. @Lucky Maybe the best post I have seen using Avios, although anything today does not top my two trips on Concorde using Avios.

  15. Hey jon, about two months ago, I booked MIA-SCL roundtrip in LATAM biz for two with miles for February, which is peak season. While I’m down there, I’m looking at side trips, and, right now, I see award availability to PMC, CJC, and PUQ. Back in June, I flew all over Peru using miles: TRU-LIM-CUZ, then CUZ-JUL, then JUL-LIM-IQT, then TPP-LIM (I did the connecting flights with AA miles, since AA only charges 5000 miles for any award fully inside Peru).

    So, I would say that LATAM releases a lot of award availability.

  16. Iberia business class redemptions are even better value when it’s their off peak dates. 34000 avios each way to BOS/JFK/ORD if I remember correctly and 42000 to elsewhere in north or central America

  17. I can vouch for the use of avios for domestic flights within Australia on Qantas. An A330 Vantage XL business seat for the 5hr30m flight from Brisbane to Perth for 37,500 avios and ~USD$19 in taxes? Yes please! The cash price would be around USD$1,100.

  18. Transfer Avios to IB to book short haul trips on AA, especially if you have to connect. For example FLO-CLT-BWI return would cost 30K using BA avios however on IB it would be 12K

  19. “While you’re best off taking the train for most transport within Japan…”

    Hmmm, no. Flying in Japan is consistently cheaper. In areas other than Kanto and Kansai it’s almost as convenient (e.g. Fukuoka airport, fourth busiest in Japan, is two metro stops from the train station or a 15 min drive, security/checkin at most Japanese airports is overstaffed and a breeze). The last time I flew from Tokyo to Sapporo for skiing I paid $52 so I’m not sure that’s a good market example of Avios value. Furthermore tourists can take advantage of the cheap point to point flat rate foreigner-only pricing on JAL and ANA. The train is often 2-3x the price.

  20. Would 22.5k one way make sense for AUS-HNL? I think AUS-SAN would be 10k on Alaska plus the 12.5k you mention in the post. Seems like an ok value.

    I’m definitely going to register for Iberia in case that’s useful.

  21. I’ve redeemed Avios for JNB to MRU (4 hour flight) with very modest taxes – within Southern Africa BA imposes RFS Reward Flight Saver taxes which are capped (same as short haul taxes from the U.K.). I’ve also recently redeemed them from LHR to DME in Russia. Also with minimal taxes.

  22. At the moment, SPG would be the winner as the single currency to collect. But obviously with Marriott in the picture and potential changes in 2018/2019, would need to rethink that. Although Marriott’s 7 night + flight package isn’t too bad either.

  23. It appears to me that “airline miles”, regardless of Avios or US Big 3 Pesos, have little extra value over $$$ when making advanced purchase Round Trip tickets . . . and that is generously valuing a “mile” at 2 cents each. There is considerable value when purchasing a One Way long haul ticket with miles as these tickets usually price out to be two to three times the price of a One Way advance purchase J class fare when using dollars. ( I know, one could buy the RT ticket and throw away the return portion but I’ve heard that the airline will, not may, charge your credit card for the difference. Guessing one could pay cash but too many negatives IMHO to mess with them.) Since one apparently now needs to plan J or F trips around 330 days in advance the best use of miles/points appear to be hotel credit cards. No need to plan 330 days out for a hotel and there is usually a selection of several hotels to choose from. Again, even valuing a point at .02, there are some great values to be scored during peak seasons or events.
    I am curious though, has anyone had success with purchasing for $$$, either cash or CC, a RT J or F Class and using it one way and discarding the return leg?
    Thanks . . . rambling on and paying too much from ATX

  24. AAAARGH!!!!!!!

    @Simon – THANK YOU for the QANTAS suggestion!

    I just redeemed 25,000 American points x 2 for partner and I to fly MEL-SYD on an upcoming trip, and I have a TON of otherwise useless Avios I’ve been looking to burn.

    That said, assuming no drastic changes are made, this it great to know for our next trip to Oz.

  25. I’m flying from Denver, so if I want, for example, to fly that ORD>DUB route, it would just price the DEN>ORD flight separately, right? Does that mean I could mix classes, just fly economy for the domestic leg at 7.5k each way, then business for the overseas flight? Or is that only if I book them separately?

  26. I can’t manage to find any Alaska flights when searching for award flights on the BA website. Looking for SFO to HNL or KOA in early March, but all I get is an American flight with a stop in PHX. When searching for flights elsewhere, I find Alaska flights e.g. on March 5. Any ideas?

  27. @ Fabian — To redeem Avios on Alaska you have to book by phone. Look up the saver space on Alaska’s website, and then call BA to book.

  28. Lucky,

    This is a great post with detailed explanations.

    I am a Canadian living in Dubai and I mostly take DXB-YYZ few times in a year with BA. How can I use these Avios in the Middle East?

    Also, do I book on partner OneWorld website or on BA website? BA website gives me mostly BA flight options with hefty surcharges.

  29. here are the negatives, BA artificially blocked many CX flights closed in or a few weeks out on short and long haul. I m sure BA does this to many airlines but I have not dwelled in other regions yet as most of my travel is within Asia. so far CX and MH are the two airlines leave a bad taste to most Avios members. tell me if this not true?

  30. Is it just repost day here at OMAAT?

    Next up: “How I redeemed miles on Air Berlin”.

    I especially loved the urgent AMEX article about how important it is to sign up now, “days remaining” – from 2017.

  31. I’ve done SFO-HND-SFO in JAL Business Class for 150K Avios and very low fees.

    Not had a problem finding Avios award availability on AA domestically either, but then I can usually fly at off peak times

  32. AT

    Many foreign visitors to Japan will have the JR rail pass, so train rides are then basically free.

    And fast – Tokyo to Nagasaki is nearly 800 miles but by train maybe 9 hours.

    Domestic flights are cheap if you book well ahead but expensive as the date approaches.

  33. As others mentioned, the BA Comair flights from JNB to destinations in Southern Africa are a great use of the points as well. Used them for JNB-VFA-JNB.

  34. You should add warning to CX redemptions departing *from* Hong Kong that an unknown amount of YQ fares, at least HKD$150 (short haul) or HKD$650 (long haul) , for bookings made after Nov.
    Given the YQ fares turn unregulated, avios becomes as useless as BA Y redemtion between UK and US.

  35. Is anyone still having issues using BA to find Cathay Pacific award space ex-HKG?

    I’m finding that there seems to be a huge reduction of availability for ex-HKG awards for partner airlines? It’s not just with BA it seems, the Qantas and JAL search tools also don’t show as much availability as searching through the AsiaMiles website.

  36. This is one of the great old time miles and award posts that so many travelers who use points need and love. Keep them coming.

  37. Booked 3 one-way tickets from LAX to Kauai for a total of 37,500 at the height of Spring Break using Avios flying on American. It’s a sweet spot for us – used them last year again for one-way to Cabo for Spring Break 22,500. It takes some searching and you may not be able to use round-trip but something is better than nothing.

  38. It would be great if James could do a post on how to collect Avios in the UK for your British readers. Apart from the Amex credit card there doesn’t seem to be much out there?

  39. I’d like to know on what planet you can get Aer LIngus for ~$20. Just did a RT search on and it prices out as about $300 in fees.

  40. Lucky, whenever you write about transfer between Iberia and British Airways Avios I think you have to add that you CANNOT move any Avios from Iberia or AerLingus to British Airways household account(s) as I just find out the hard way. If your BA account is part of a household account, you CAN move Avios from your BA account to Iberia/AerLingus but NOT the other way around. I believe this info will be invaluable to many readers as this annoyance gets very little mention anywhere on the blogosphere.

  41. Great article Lucky! As already stressed in a few comments, Avios are great for flights to London on short notice. Availability is good and the avios + cash results in a rather cheap last minute ticket. The same holds for one-way travel on BA. On top, BA Gold get extra award space on flights… hardly ever I didn’t get the flight I wanted!

  42. BA used to charge 2X the coach miles for AA first class domestic awards, calling them “business class”. Now they’re charging 3X – so DCA – DFW F on AA is 30K Avios, but up until recently was only 20K. Has anyone else noticed this?

  43. For travel within Australia on Qantas, American Airlines awards, which are priced at 10K economy/20K business for a one way award, can be a better value than Avios for longer flights (e.g., SYD-PER) or where there are connections. BA is better for short nonstop flights that price at 4500 or 7500 miles in economy. I have used both AA and BA awards on Qantas.

  44. @Ron brings up a great point. No idea why BA/iberia restricts this, given it allows it the other way around, but absolutely true.

    @Lucky – suggest you also provide details in another article on the specifics for moving miles between BA Iberia Aer Lingus etc. The one on Iberia is not exactly easy to find!

  45. Lucky – Malaysia Airlines within Asia and to Australia are great too. They tend to have good award availability as well.

  46. Always glad to see refreshes of this topic. I have a fair amount of Avios earned from the British Airways and Iberia Visa cards, which are now consolidated in my BA account. Articles like this help inform/remind us of different/good options (other than domestic AA) available for Avios holders, so thanks.

  47. I agree Hawaii is the best use of Avois. I called last week and booked 3 of us from SFO to KOA for 75k avois and ~$30. We took this exact flight last year and spent $700 + Alaska Companion Pass + 30k miles so this Avios use was a much better deal.

  48. I’m not sure where you’re finding such low fees on Aer Lingus, but I just priced a R/T nonstop on AL metal from PHL to DUB and it was 33K Avios + $237 in fees in economy with an AerClub Avios account.

  49. Thanks for posting all of these great options, especially Australia! I just used this exact strategy of 15,000 Avios (transferring the remaining points I needed from UR) to get my husband and I from Montevideo to Santiago this coming April. As LATAM is the only nonstop option, I was happy to avoid over $400 out of pocket.

  50. “12,500 Avios for a flight of under 3,000 miles in economy, which includes flights from the west coast to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines.” How does one know if these are available before calling? Are the only the flights that show on Alaska’s site as 17,500 miles?

  51. When redeeming British Airways Avios for Aer Lingus economy class, which flavor of economy does one get? SAVER? SMART? (I’m sure certainly not FLEX)

  52. Tiffany and Nora,
    Found the same high fees ORD/DUB. How does one book IE with BA avios? IE website sends one to to book.

  53. KenW,

    Other blog posts I’ve seen have said to book Aer Lingus using BA Avios, you would call British Airways and ask them to waive the phone charge because it can’t be booked online. Much like when trying to book Alaska using BA Avios. That’s what I’ve seen anyway.

  54. CA805JV is correct. Always book air lingus on BA avios site , NOT on the site.
    Phoning is a bit of pain , but the reduced taxes and fees are worth it!

  55. Lucky,

    You have an amazing working knowledge of the ins-and-outs of booking with transfer partners – fantastic info & post,

    I learned so much & am bookmarking for future reference. thank you for helping make sense of these confusing yet valuable redemptions.

  56. Tom – Buying a JR rail pass does not make the train journeys effectively free…

    You could use Avios and not buy the train pass – something that is ridiculously overhyped and, in my opinion, blindly bought by many tourists just because their travel guide tells them to. Unless you’re obsessed with trains or want to be constantly traveling between cities, the pass really isn’t great value.

  57. I like redeeming on BA from countries with no/low fuel surcharges. My stand out redemptions have been HKG-LON (stopover)-SCL for miles plus £110 and GIG-LON(stopover)-SIN for miles plus £90.

    CA805JV – You can ask for the booking fee to be waived, it shouldn’t be but often is.

  58. At this moment, one cannot move Avios from a BA account to an Iberia account without flight activity credited to Iberia in the last 90 days.

  59. @ Joyce: Does it have to be flight activity ? or any acct activity such as transfer MR points to Iberia?

  60. I thought all Aer Lingus priced out at peak level pricing (20k Avios each way)? Did this change since they eliminated the BOS-DUB sweet spot?

  61. Just redeemed 14,500 Avios for ORD > SJD
    on AA..was provided exit row seating without charge…AA required 15,000 ‘Advantage’ miles. In low status seating, despite my MM status and ‘ life gold’ status…Delta Ex Medallion Status Match sounds better and better…

  62. I have a layover in DOH in October connecting to SEZ and was wondering what I should do with the time. Flying in Biz class on Qatar and arriving at 4:40pm before heading to SEZ at 2:00 am. Anything to see offsite of the airport in between those times? Should I get a hotel to try to get some rest? Coming from DFW and not sure how I will feel when I get there and this is my first time with a long layover there. Thanks much!

  63. @Buddy M. Hi, QR provides Doha visits for >6 hours, being October and your land time it should be a cool evening option without facing extremely hot weather.
    Currently Doha airport is a bit lonely and boring for 8/+ hours.
    I used this when travelling in F, and got a private ride…(dont know why, as it’s not the norm…)

  64. @Buddy M, QR offers a free city tour to anyone flying QR. Details on its site or you can google it. You should still be able to get in the evening tour with the cut off of registering it at 6pm or slots filled up whichever the earlier.

    We did that tour 2 years ago when we flew DXB-DOH-BKK, with the DOH-BKK departed at 2am. We enjoyed the tour tremendously.

  65. @John Bucher and @CA805JV has anyone booked a flight from DUB to LAX and can tell me how much the taxes are when calling into BA to book?

  66. Aer lingus fees are around 120 bucks one way. Doesn’t matter whether you book online or call the BA agents to redeem the points. When I was booking my awards a couple of months back similar totally wrong blog posts had me waste hours trying to figure out what I was doing wrong until I realized it was the imbecile writing the post who was wrong.

  67. It’s super easy to get three cents, and up to ten cents a point here when redeeming on CX. I think miles + money redemption on CX are real arbitrage

  68. @Pho – it’s not BA doing the blocking of CX rewards close to flight departure date it’s CX.

    It’s the operating airline that decides on how many rewards to offer not the airline programme you are buying through

  69. But if you were booking a trip around the world, or some major multileg trip in any case, I wonder If using a Avios for Aer Lingus over the Atlantic would require you to book the entire trip through I have a zillion Avios because I travel a lot of long-haul flights but Avios on BA seem impossible to redeem if you can’t book a flight a year and advance, which I never can. So I have never redeemed a single Avio.

  70. @Elan You’re right to mention the RFS rewards, as these come at a fixed cost. In some exotic markets like intra-Africa or intra-Caribbean BA flights these represent excellent value, and in my experience availability is good (though not for the JNB-MRU flight you mention). It may be worth noting that RFS is available only if you had a transaction on your Avios account over the last year.

  71. I tried to book a Latam business-class flight yesterday, using Avios, and I failed, even though the flight showed available for award at the Latam website and I called the Avios phone line to book it. The Avios agent had the coach ticket to offer on the flight, but not the business-class ticket. Was this a glitch, or is there some issue regarding booking Latam business-class tickets with Avios?

  72. Recently found very reasonable surcharges when I called BA to book and fly YYZ-DUB-CDG one way for only 17K Avios + CAD136 (about USD100).

  73. You cannot get aer lingus awards except 1. Calling ba awards ( cheapest) or 2. on (more content but considerably more money) take your choice. I cannot figure out Sam Fisher’s post. Check Head for Points university series on booking Aer Lingus with Avios.

  74. This is probably the best information available out there on how to use Avios.

    However, it is more geared towards the frequent Travers / experts.

    It would help a lot if someone can advise how to book a flight using Avios on any if the other airlines suggested here. Do you do it from or from other ailine site or you transfer your avios to the other airlines frequent flier program then use them.

    For example, I love in Dubai and there are not too many options to use Avios here. If I want to use them on Air Lingus, how do I do it?

    Thank you so much in advance for helping me and other newbies out.

  75. I was intrigued by the Iberia Avios story because of a possible 2020 one way trip Iberia can be a good fit for. To find rates I had to join Iberia Plus and did so. I have no points in my account since I just joined and the system would not let me continue to test availability and points+$ costs without buying or transferring points.

    Since that was not an option I called the telephone sales number. I was told, sorry but Avios can only be redeemed for round trips on Iberia. Not sure where the article screen shot came from, but is there a way for one way Award flights on Iberia using Iberia Avios? I know the one way on Iberia works from the BA site but at the higher fee costs the article gave me hope was avoidable.


  76. to Steve B.:

    I have booked multiple BA award tickets at the Iberia website. In fact, availability seems better there. As to other OneWorld carriers, I’m sure that they all can be booked (as long as there is OneWorld availability for any carrier), but some can be booked at the website, and others only by calling.

  77. One use of Avios points you don’t discuss is that BA allows you to use points to upgrade to the next class of service.

    What is your opinion of the value of using Avios points to upgrade. I don’t seem to have all that much luck upgrading on long-haul flights such as from LAX to LHR, but I have used points to upgrade on flights from London to Tel Aviv.

  78. to Ferdinand Magellan,

    Thanks for the response, but the question is can you book an Iberia one way Award flight on the Iberia site using Iberia Avios? I want to fly Iberia metal one way and so far I know it can be accomplished from the BA site. Can it be done on the Iberia site? If so, how?

  79. to: Steve B.

    I have searched for one-way IB award flights and seen them displayed, but I don’t remember whether I actually booked one. There is a one-way button on the booking page.

  80. To Ferdinand Magellan,

    Just wanted to get a response back to you now that everything is finalized.

    1. You were right!

    Guess it depends on who you talk with at Iberia and how you phrase the question. One ways are bookable on an Iberia plane/flight. Round trips required when flying on their partners.

    2. Proof of solution my flight SFO – MAD booked on line for a great rate. Easy transfer from Chase Rewards to my IB account.

    3. Recommendation from my experience: open an IB Plus account a week or so before you want to fly so that everything has time to settle down in their system before you want to transfer from Chase. Chase miles posted in a minute after hitting send.

    Thanks for your input and OMAT for the blog that started all this.

  81. Just tried Aer Lingus from Orlando to Dublin and back, off peak, using the avios portal. Two tickets are 36,000 Avios and $317 just for the return trip.

    Avios are trash. Wouldn’t take them even with the 40% bonus that expires tonight (the whole reason I was considering the trip, taking advantage of 28,000 bonus Avios)

  82. William (commenting on September 2017) —

    It is very difficult to upgrade BA flights using Avios:

    You have to have done three things:

    (1) Purchased the ticket through British Airways
    (2) Using a BA Flight number (no codeshares)
    (3) And make sure that the aircraft is being operated by BA

    Then and only then can you use Avios to upgrade BA flights.

    For example, last month (September 2019), I flew on a United Airlines ticket from EWR to LHR — connected on a BA flight to VIE (not my idea — would have preferred to stay on Star Alliance — but that is what was available) — and I couldn’t upgrade the BA flight because it was purchased on UA metal (016). Caveat Emptor.

  83. My flights were cancelled due to Coronavirus although I was going to fly Miami to Antigua, Antigua to Tobago and Port of Spain to Miami on my trip. It cost 24,000, 33,000 and 33,000 Avios. I would like to find out how much Avios I would pay on Iberia to fly to Central America and South American destinations in Peru and Ecuador.

  84. I traveled to Porto and Madeira on Easy Jet and then came home from Funchal to London using Avios points. The flight from Los Angeles to London was too expensive so we flew to Stockholm and came back to England using Avios points.

    We couldn’t do the flights because of the Corona virus. With Avios I had booked Miami to Antigua, Antigua to Tobago and the Port of Spain to Miami. BA gave me three vouchers for those. If I cancel and I get the points back yet I lose 35 pounds per ticket. There is 3 of us so it isn’t worth it. I need to come up with a trip to use the 3 vouchers.

  85. @Lucky I only see one way flights between LHR and cities in Europe for 8500 Avios. Is there a trick to get the 4000 flights?

  86. @ Bret — It sounds like you’re looking at business class flights, or roundtrips? Because economy would cost 4,000 Avios one-way.

  87. I use them for American when flying to Hawaii or Mexico from LAX. We’ve saved so much money during our Spring Break trips.

  88. Hi Lucky. I’m trying to find how to test-book with miles the JFK-CMN flight that you mentioned on RAM using BA avios. I can’t seem to figure-out how to do it. When I search for a mileage ticket on BA it indicates that there are no direct flights from JFK-CMN and routes via LHR on BA metal then a hop on RAM to CMN.



  89. @lucky – @bret is right.. even I see one way Economy short haul Awards within Europe priced at 8500 Avios each way.

  90. @ Terry

    what do you mean by ‘get our points back’ ?

    Hard to help when you don’t say what your actual problem is!

  91. @lucky – I use BA for work travel lot and am aiming for the Gold for Life status. This generates a lot of miles that I use for upgrades, but I also just accumulate hundreds of thousands of Avios. Whats the best way of searching availability of Aer Lingus?

  92. Is the reward chart in this article still valid now? I did a search for one way flight from LON to DUB which is only 290 miles, it returns either 8500 or 9000 avios for economy class for dates in late october. That’s very different from the values on the chart, do you know why? Thank you.

  93. @Lucky (or anyone): as a newbie to these kinds of transfer games, can you clarify where you’re supposed to be doing these bookings? Are they all booked from, or are you somehow using Avios as the currency at Iberia/Air Lingus/

    A few nights ago I tried some searches on for itineraries in the USA and couldn’t find anything listed

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