My single and favourite use of British Airways Avios is redeeming them on short to medium-haul flights that otherwise could cost hundreds of dollars, especially if booked at the last minute. The absolute best value of Avios is redeeming them on short-haul flights.
British Airways has an amazing distance-based award chart, which makes Executive Club the best oneworld frequent flyer programme for redeeming miles on relatively short flights. Why? Because British Airways charges as low as 4.500 Avios for flights under 650 miles (this excludes flights in America – where flight awards start at 7.5k Avios).
oneworld has some fantastic airlines that are not only great for long-haul travel, but also great for short-haul travel. If redeeming miles for long-haul travel on oneworld, I would generally recommend American Airlines AAdvantage. Within North America, you can redeem your Avios for travel on Alaska Airlines (a BA partner) and American Airlines starting at 7.5k Avios for flights under 1.151 miles.
Within Europe the best use of Avios is for travel on airBerlin, British Airways, and Finnair, though keep in mind that BA charges “per-segment” so that means if you have two or more flights, each flight will be priced on its own and then the price of all flights will be added up. You can travel within the Middle East on Qatar Airways (for example, just 4.5k Avios between Dubai and Doha), using Qantas around Australia, Malaysia around Asia, etc.
So why are short flights the best value of Avios? Because last minute, short-medium flights often cost hundreds of dollars. For example if I book Seattle to Los Angeles tomorrow, it would cost me either ~$400 USD or just 7.5k Avios and $5.60 USD…. amazing (assuming the flight has availability)!
Flights around Europe are usually the same – but it is harder to find good value because you usually have to fly between hub cities, leading to 2+ flights; in America, Alaska and American have a good route network between most major cities – meaning you can somewhat avoid additional flights.
However, short flights aren’t the only good use of Avios. For 12.5k Avios, you can fly between the West Coast and Hawaii (as long as the flight is non-stop). I recently booked Seattle to Honolulu for 25k Avios round-trip – that’s incredible! Alaska and American charge more than 12.5k miles from their own programmes for the same flights! Sure, it is a six hour flight in Economy… but the deal is just too good to not book… especially when considering these flights cost around ~$800 USD last minute.
To sum it up, I love using my British Airways Avios for short flights in Economy… starting at just 4.5k Avios, it’s tough to find a better deal on short flights (or starting at 7.5k Avios in America).
What’s your favourite use of Avios?