US-Europe Awards from Just 5460 British Airways Points Roundtrip. Seriously.

Virgin Atlantic is offering 20% off economy and premium economy redemptions right now.

British Airways now has its own award sale which is 40% off travel on British Airways and Iberia originating in the U.S.

This is available for economy awards only booked by September 27 for travel October 1 through March 31.

While the British Airways program suffered a huge devaluation for premium cabin awards at the end of April, the value proposition for economy rewards remained unchanged. Though — since they add fuel surcharges onto the price of award tickets — that value proposition didn’t start out all that good to begin with.

Under the Virgin Atlantic sale, East Coast – London roundtrips start at 28,000 miles. This sale makes East Coast – London roundtrips as low as 15,600 points… that’s 7800 miles each way (plus taxes and fees).

Here are the included routes:

Discount pricing is automatic, applies only to economy awards and only trips originating in the U.S.

I pulled up award space on a random set of days in November:

It priced at 15,600 points roundtrip plus the usual extortionate fees.

And of course British Airways offers cash and points at a price just too high to be worth it at time of redemption.

You really can pay just 5460 points roundtrip between the US and Europe. The crazy thing? That’s not a good deal. You’re better off buying a ticket, where you don’t need to worry about award availability and the flights will earn miles (100% flown miles crediting to American AAdvantage). Here’s pricing of paid BA travel on the same dates:

Terms and conditions:

The required amount of Avios will be reduced by 40% on the selected destinations as stated. The full airline taxes, fees and Carrier charges will apply per person, which as of 26 August 2015 are approximately as follows in economy for a return journey:

British Airways flights to London Heathrow from Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, Washington DC, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, Las Vegas, New York (Newark), New York (JFK), Philadelphia, Austin, Dallas, Houston and Seattle – $697. From Montreal and Toronto – $474. From Vancouver – $469. From Calgary – $477.

British Airways flights to London Gatwick from Las Vegas, Tampa and Orlando – $652.

Iberia flights to Madrid from New York (JFK) – $621, from Miami and Chicago – $586, from Boston and Los Angeles – $663.

OpenSkies flights to Paris (Orly) from New York (JFK) and New York (Newark) -$636.

All prices are correct as of 26 August 2015 but are subject to change. Discounts are available on direct flights only on the airlines stated for each route. Not available for flights operated by American Airlines or Finn Air. Changes are not permitted; cancellations will be subject to the standard Avios terms and conditions. All flights are subject to Avios Terms and Conditions and the carriers conditions of carriage. Flights are strictly subject to availability which may be very limited or not available on some routes and will not be available at all on some dates. This offer is available on both peak and off-peak Avios prices and cannot be combined with any other offer. All prices are quoted in USD.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I’m just not understanding HOW these airlines are still able to get away with charging a fuel surcharge when fuel is lower than it has been in ages. The trucking industry has all but eliminated the fuel surcharge, most companies base this on the national averages for fuel or price per barrel on oil, with it being so low, how is this happening?

  2. Years ago Premium Economy was available in these promotions with no increase in fees. That was actually a decent deal.

  3. @clickbaiters

    How is this clickbait? Do you expect gary to put “5460 BA points roundtrip seriously* (* don’t forget to add $900 in taxes and fuel surcharges)” in the headline?

    It’s well known that BA and VS add enough fees to the point where coach redemptions aren’t all that great of a deal. While I can’t quote the numbers off the top of my head, I kinda knew that something like this would be forthcoming later in the post.

  4. I don’t understand how a FULLY PAID TICKET can cost less than just the taxes+fuel on an award flight?? I always thought paid ticket already contains the same taxes+fuel plus the actual tariff??? That’s beyond my understanding…

  5. With $205 in taxes, that leaves $493 in fuel surcharges. I could buy 345 gallons of jet fuel with that money, which is roughly 5% of the plane’s fuel capacity.

  6. @Pat – I’ve been reducing my (admittedly infrequent) flights on BA over the last couple years because of their high fuel surcharges, but your concise analysis makes it plainly clear that BA is just straight up robbing passengers and blaming it on fuel prices. Thanks for pointing this out.

  7. This is where I filed a DOT complaint against BA as they offered a ticket for 9000 avios + $125 or buy it outright for $115 next time I looked BA charged 9000+ 50$ after the complaint

  8. the act of a desperate blogger. I’ll continue to come here but I block ads and will never use a referral link. suck it loser

  9. Headline is seriously misleading to make it sound like a great deal and then end of article points out the deal isn’t good. I expect this from other blogs, but I didn’t expect it here.

  10. Avios for travel are worthless, with high fuel fees they are a terrible deal. I got my Avios when I first started churning and are going to use them for hotel stays next year.

  11. Carrier surcharges seem extortionate. Out of a $710 roundtrip JFK-MAD $94 is taxes/airport charges and $496 is carrier imposed charge. Only $120 is the actual fare.

    Based on number of seats in an A330 and Iberia fare structure they are collecting $60,000 in fuel surcharges from economy and $15,500 in fuel surcharges from business per flight. Based on rough numbers, an A330 would consume about 10,000 gallons of jet fuel on a 7 hour flight so they are charging $7.50/gallon. Per US EIA, current jet fuel price is $1.43/gallon.

    Also interesting, if I used the Avios & Money option on Iberia I can pay for the flight using 11,100 Avios and $333.51. Way better deal than going through the BA Avios “sale” at least for Iberia flights.

  12. I just checked the Iberia website and found availability for a one way JFK to Madrid on Oct. 26 for 10,200 Avios and $72.70. That’s a deal I would jump all over if I had some flexibility in that part of October. It seems like not many dates are available in their “Blue” Class, though. You can get Iberia Avios, of course, with an instantaneous transfer from BA Avios. I will definitely be checking around looking for something I can use at another time.

  13. If BA wants to move some avios off the books, they should consider offering a no fuel surcharge sale for low season.

  14. @Gary, WTF is going on with these clickbait titles? I’ve been a loyal reader for ages and even defend you from time to time against the trolls, but these misleading headlines are outrageous. And it’s not just this one. You’ve been doing this for weeks now. I really hope you are making lots of ad dollars from your page hits but you are going to lose more readers (including myself) if you keep this up. For the record, I gave you the benefit of the doubt initially because I figured this headline couldn’t possibly be about the points and cash option (since it is such a common feature with the Avios program AND no fool would choose that option on an award ticket to London during offpeak travel season when fares are lower).

  15. I have no ads at the moment that earn on a per-click or per-view basis.

    And seriously, I put British Airways in the title and folks are shocked that the award has a high cash cost?

  16. Gary – stop trying to defend yourself. The truth is you were trying to be a wise ass so you could then point out that only total idiots would forget about fuel surcharges. It’s click bait and you know it. Just own it, it would make your recent theme a lot less offensive.

  17. Seriously, Gary? You’ve heard loud and clear how frustrating click baiting is but still…?

    You are not Mr Rolling Stone. This blog, and you, have very limited appeal – listen to your readers, stop this b*llshit, and be the ‘thought leader’ you pretend to be.

  18. @Ehch I have always written what I wanted, what interested me, how it interests me. I think it’s great that people – a rapidly increasing number – read the site. But make no mistake I write for myself. That’s the only way and reason I’m doing this after 13 1/2 years.. and loving it every day!

  19. uh, yeah, considering you can USE british airways points on AA with no ridiculous fees, of course we’d think it would just be 5460 points RT.

    piss-poor title.

  20. Seriously, Gary is really becoming super slimy and losing all credibility.
    Half the time the stories aren’t even original (always HT: someone else) and when it is original, it’s almost always clickbait.

    I’d rather read Lucky’s blog.

  21. I agree that the clickbait approach is annoying. I’m considering dropping my email subscription. I value Gary’s useful analyses but I dislike teaser titles. It’s just a waste of my time.

  22. I’ve enjoyed this blog for many years. If not, I would “vote with my feet”. I find criticising a free blog quite bemusing.

  23. Gary, I think some of the hate in these comments is just from people that have a bunch of useless avios.
    Seems like the fare sale could, maybe, have some companion pass applications but still not a great deal. This sort of evidence is why there should be legal action against BA in my opinion. Made even worse by curently low, actual fuel prices.

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