Goodness knows I’m not a fan of British Airways Avios. I like my mileage redemptions long haul and in premium cabins. There used to be some fantastic values in the British Airways program for that — such as Cathay Pacific from the US to Asia in business class for 100,000 points with stopovers permitted. Sadly, since November 2011, no longer.
But there are great strategic uses for the points and they generally center around shorter flights (since British Airways award tickets are priced based on distance), non-stop (since British Airways charges separately for each flight segment), and coach (since the program charges a full double miles for business class and triple miles for first — and US domestic front cabin is triple miles for “first”).
You can still work the award chart to your advantage for flights like Aer Lingus Boston – Ireland (just 50,000 points roundtrip in business class, and low fees) or South America provided you’re flying non-stop (no more miles than American charges, and no fuel surcharges — and short flights like Miami – Lima are just 50,000 miles roundtrip in business).
The base case for Avios, though, is the short hop when fares are high.
I’ve certainly had much higher domestic fares, of course. A last minute trip to Dallas can price out at ~ $1500 roundtrip for non-stops from the DC area.
Even a simple Chicago one-way can make good sense. Here was the pricing on a recent day:
And here’s the cost in British Airways Avios:
It’s domestic. It’s coach. And it’s still getting better than 7 cents per miles. That’s what British Airways Avios are for.
Now, I happened to have plenty (more than I’d like) in my BA account. But if I didn’t, transfers from both American Express Membership Rewards and from Chase Ultimate Rewards are instantaneous.
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