Best Ways to Spend British Airways Avios for Maximum Value

British Airways has a distance based award chart that is priced per segment, which means that a direct flight is going to cost less Avios than a connecting flight. 

British Airways is one of the worst airlines you can use your Avios on. British Airways charges sky high fuel surcharges and taxes on long haul flights (taxes and fees on a New York to London round trip flight would cost $572 in economy and $1,541 in Business class in addition to spending your Avios)

But you can unlock great value by using Avios on short and direct flights on OneWorld airlines including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Qantas. 

British Airways’ Airline Partners

Below are all of the airlines that you could fly on using Avios. To find direct flights, try the One World Route Map or Flight Connections (choose OneWorld).

  • American Airlines
  • Aer Lingus (book via call center; medium fuel surcharges)
  • Air Italy  (medium fuel surcharges)
  • Alaska (book via call center)
  • British Airways (high fuel surcharges)
  • Cathay Pacific/Cathay Dragon
  • Comair
  • Finnair
  • Fiji Airways
  • Flybe
  • Iberia (high fuel surcharges)
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM
  • Malaysia
  • Qantas
  • Qatar  (high fuel surcharges)
  • Royal Jordanian (high fuel surcharges)
  • S7
  • Sri Lankan
  • Vistara

You can find award space for all partners on BritishAirways.com, except Alaska (use AA.com) and Aer Lingus (use United.com). American has been very stingy with award space over the past year, so don’t be surprised if you struggle to find American Airlines flights. You can also quickly see award space for British Airways operated flights (not partner or OneWorld) for an entire year via this website.

How Many Avios It Will Cost

British Airways has three different award charts:

  • Off-Peak on British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus
  • Peak on British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus
  • Airline Partner Award Chart

It is important to remember that awards are priced per segment, which means you have to price out every stop. 

Off-Peak Award Chart for British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus 

Distance (in miles)EconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
1 to 6504,0005,7507,75015,500
651 to 1,1516,5009,50012,75025,500
1,152 to 2,0008,50012,75017,00034,000
2001 to 3,00010,00020,00031,25042,500
3001 to 400013,00026,00050,00068,000
4,001 to 5,50016,25032,50062,50085,000
5,501 to 6,50019,50039,00075,000102,000
6,501 to 7,00022,75045,50087,500119,000
7,001+32,50065,000125,000170,000

Peak Award Chart for British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus

Distance (in miles)EconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
1 to 6504,5006,7509,00018,000
651 to 1,1517,50011,25015,00030,000
1,152 to 2,00010,00015,00020,00040,000
2001 to 3,00012,50025,00037,50050,000
3001 to 400020,00040,00060,00080,000
4,001 to 5,50025,00050,00075,000100,000
5,501 to 6,50030,00060,00090,000120,000
6,501 to 7,00035,00070,000105,000140,000
7,001+50,000100,000150,000200,000

Partner Airlines Award Chart

Distance (Miles)EconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
1 to 650*6,0009,00012,50024,000
651 to 1,1509,00012,50016,50033,000
1,151 to 2,00011,00016,50022,00044,000
2,001 to 3,00013,00025,75038,75051,500
3,001 to 4,00020,75041,25062,00082,500
4,001 to 5,50025,75051,50077,250103,000
5,501 to 6,50031,00062,00092,750123,750
6,501 to 7,00036,25072,250108,250144,250
7,000+51,500103,000154,500206,000

* For awards within North America, Zone 1 pricing does not apply. Flights under 650 miles will be priced out as a flight between 651 and 1,150 miles.

Fees and Rules

Fuel Surcharges: Includes fuel surcharges for most partners, except American (only collects to/from Europe) and Aer Lingus. The airlines with high fuel surcharges are Qatar, British Airways, Iberia, and Royal Jordanian. (Chart)

Stopovers: Since each segment is priced separately, you have unlimited stopovers.

  • The exception to the per-segment rule is if you flying to a city in England or Scotland and connect in London, where you can do a free stopover.

Fees: Depends on the country. For the U.S. it is $55 to cancel or the cost of taxes and fees (whichever is lower), $55 change fee, and $25 phone booking). For U.S. domestic flights, the cancel fee would only be $5.60 each way.

Points Expiration: 36 months of inactivity.

Phone Number: 1-800-452-1201

Avios Sweet Spots

American Airlines

If you are traveling to or from an American Airlines hub (DFW, LAX, ORD, JFK, CLT, PHL, MIA, DCA, or PHX), British Airways Avios can save you a lot of money. For example, you the standard non-stop price between Charlotte and St. Louis is a ridiculous $554. But you can book that same flight for only 9,000 Avios plus $5.60.


Aer Lingus

  • 10,000 Avios (off-peak economy to Dublin): Montreal (only 31,250 avios for one-way business class)
  • 13,000 Avios (off-peak economy to Dublin): Hartford-Springfield (BDL), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Washington, DC (IAD), and Chicago (ORD)
  • 16,250 Avios (off-peak economy to Dublin): Orlando (MCO), Miami (MIA), San Francisco (SFO), and Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Eligible for British Airways “Off Peak” pricing. You can find award space via United.com and call to book with British Airways’ call center.

West Coast to Hawaii

  • A direct flight from the West Coast to Hawaii is only 13,000 Avios one-way + $5.60 on either American or Alaska.
  • Honolulu (HNL)
    • Alaska: Anchorage, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle.
    • American: Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Dallas (20,000).
  • Maui (OGG)
    • Alaska: Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, Anchorage (seasonal), and Bellingham (seasonal)
    • American: Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Dallas (20,000).
  • Kona (KOA)
    • Alaska: Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, San Francisco, Anchorage (seasonal), Bellingham (seasonal), Portland (seasonal)
    • American: Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Dallas (seasonal and 20,000)
  • Lihue (LIH)
    • Alaska: Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, and Portland (seasonal)
    • American: Los Angles, Phoenix, and Dallas (seasonal and 20,000)

British Airways Economy Around Europe

There can be some good values flying economy on short and direct flights from London for either 4,000 or 6,500 Avios. But the taxes are usually around $40. When you factor in the ability to fly an ultra-low-cost-carrier on a similar direct flight, the value of using Avios on these routes are diminished. 

Expensive Direct Flights

To maximize British Airways points, think about really expensive direct flights. Most of the time it will be flights to islands, which are usually absurdly expensive. Some examples are:

  • Santiago, Chile to Easter Island on LATAM.
  • Hong Kong to Okinawa (7,500 Avios + $49 for a $595 flight) on Cathay Pacific
  • Hong Kong to Maldives on Cathay Pacific.
  • Lima to Iguazu Falls on LATAM for 10,000 Avios.
  • Johannesburg to Victoria Falls for 4,500 Avios on British Airways. 
  • Doha to Muscat in Qatar Airways First Class for 18,000 Avios plus $72. The huge advantage of this award is that you can access Qatar’s amazing first class lounge.

Iberia

Iberia and British Airways have separate award programs, but you can transfer Avios between the programs for free. British Airways imposes fuel surcharges on Iberia flights from the U.S. to Europe (about $500+ one-way). However, you can transfer British Airways Avios to Iberia Avios, book that same flight for less than $100 in fuel surcharges