The British Airways Avios is a distanced base frequent flyer program that makes a great complement to Aeroplan.
While Aeroplan is excellent for flying over the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, the British Airways Avios shines on short haul flights. This is because it typically cost less miles for you to redeem Avios on short haul flights than if you were to use Aeroplan. You’ll be seeing some examples of this in this article.
How to earn British Airways Avios
The fastest way to earn British Airways Avios is through credit card signup bonuses. Here are some credit cards available where you can earn a big signup bonus that you can transfer to British Airways Avios:
- 40,000 AMEX points using this special referral link (normally 30,000 points on the main American Express website) – American Express Business Gold
- 60,000 AMEX points using this special referral link (normally 50,000 points on the main American Express website) – American Express Platinum
- 60,000 AMEX points using this special referral link (normally 40,000 points on the main American Express website) – American Express Business Platinum
Disclaimer: Some of the links above contain referral links where I will earn referral bonus points should you decide to use them. Some of the referral links above contain extra welcome bonus points not found on the American Express main website. If you decide to use them, it will be a win-win situation for us: extra bonus points for you and referral bonus points for me.
For a complete list of available credit cards with high signup bonus transferable to Avios, click here.
Once you’ve earned enough British Airways Avios, it’s time to make a flights redemption!
Redeeming British Airways Avios
When you redeem your British Airways Avios, chances are, the first thing you’re going to do is check out the rewards chart. This makes sense because you will want to know how much points you need to have to fly to your destination.
British Airways Avios Rewards Chart
The problem with this method is that you have no idea what the rewards chart above even means. Unless you’re a detailed oriented analytical nerd, then the chart above is going to be confusing as hell!
An easier way to find out routing and mileage cost is by using Avios destinations by price tool on wandr.me.
How to use the wandr.me to determine how much Avios you need to book your flight
The best way to show you how to use wandr.me is by giving you an example of how to book your Avios miles:
Let’s say you are travelling in Asia and want to go to Yangon in Myanmar. You are currently in Hong Kong, how will you find out if this route exist? And if it does exist, how much Avios miles you need to book this flight?
The first thing you want to do is go to wandr.me Avios tools website. Your screen should look something like this:
Looks kind of messy. Why don’t we zoom in and go to Myanmar and click Yangon to see if you can fly from Hong Kong to go here.
Look at that, it looks like you can only fly into Yangon, Myanmar from Hong Kong and it will cost you 10,000 Avios miles.
Great, now the next step is for us to find availability to complete this booking.
Using British Airways “Executive Club”, we can search for availability
Step 1: Click “Spending Avios”
Clicking spending Avios will take you to the the page where you can select Reward flights.
Step 2: Scroll down to the bottom and click “Book a reward flight”
After clicking Book a reward flight, you can now enter where your flight origin will be and destination.
Step 3: Enter necessary info, tick the “one way only” box, then click “Get Flights”
After entering your origin and destination information, it’s time to see if there is any availability.
Step 4: Select available flights
Congratulations, you just redeemed your Avios miles!
British Airways One World Partners
Because British Airways is part of the One World alliance, you can redeem your miles on many different airline partners around the world.
One World airlines carriers that people typically redeem their Avios miles are the following:
- American Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Cathay Pacific / Cathay Dragon
- Sri Lankan Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Royal Jordanian
- LATAM Airlines
You can technically book your British Airways Avios on Iberia but you need to merge both accounts first then do a mileage transfer. I might write a separate article in the future on how to do that.
Airline carrier partners that require you to call over the phone to make a redemption
- Alaska Airlines
- Aer Lingus
Sweet spot example
Seattle to Hawaii for 12,500 Avios one way or 25,000 round trip. Book over the phone and redeem through Alaska Airlines.
Redeeming Avios over zones 5-9
Looking at the rewards chart above, you will notice that Wandr.me only covers redemption between zones 1-4. What if you wanted to redeem from zones 5 to 9?
Then we’ll have to calculate your redemption the more complex way.
How to find out how many miles your destination is:
The first thing we need to do is use a tool called GCMaps.
Let’s say you are in Toronto and you want to fly to London, how many Avios do you need to redeem? Let’s find out:
After entering YYZ-LHR (Separate each segment with a dash when entering the airport code) on GCMaps, it looks like the number of miles between Toronto and London is 3,557. According to the rewards chart, that falls within Zone 5 which means we need to redeem 20,000 Avios to fly one way or 40,000 Avios to fly round trip.
After checking the British Airways website, the 20,000 British Airways Avios looks to be an accurate amount of points to redeem.
Now keep in mind, if you do a booking with a British Airways carrier, expect to pay a higher carrier fee and taxes. On the bright side, if you fly on off season, you can redeem less points.
Here’s the British Airways Avios 2018 Off-Peak and Peak season mileage redemption chart:
How I personally redeemed British Airways Avios in the past:
List of times I personally redeemed British Airways Avios during my one year trip around the world:
- Yangon to Hong Kong on Cathay Dragon for my girlfriend and I for 20,000 Miles + $76.04 CAD
- Brisbane to Port Moresby round trip on Qantas for 20,000 Miles + $201.47 CAD
- Brisbane to Sydney on Qantas for 4,500 Miles + $19.30 CAD
- Hanoi to Hong Kong for 4,500 Miles + $46.93 CAD
- Hong Kong to Jeju Island for 7,500 Miles + $38.55 CAD
- Cusco to Lima to Quito on LATAM for my girlfriend and I for 24,000 Miles + $120.28 CAD
- Medellin to Bogota on LATAM for 4,500 Miles + $7.14 CAD
- Bogota to Buenos Aires on LATAM Business Class for 37,500 Miles + $115.73 CAD
- Sao Paulo to Manaus on LATAM for 6,500 Miles + $76.77 CAD
- London to Edinburgh on British Airways for 4,500 Miles + $27.50 CAD
Based on my experience, I found that the Avios miles had tremendous value when booking domestic flights. I also found that Avios was great to use in Asia, South America, Australia, and Papua New Guinea. Had I not have access to British Airways Avios, it would have cost me a lot of money to fly to all the destinations above.
Conclusion and why you should earn and burn your British Airways Avios as soon as possible
Redeeming your British Airways Miles doesn’t have to be complicated. By using the Wandr.me tools, it makes it easy for you to find out routing availability for short distance flights.
However, if you are redeeming for zones 5-9, then use the GCMaps strategy to find out how many miles you will need to complete your redemption.
One of the reasons I strongly recommend you earn and burn all your British Airways points as soon as possible is because British Airways has been planning to change their frequent flyer program from distanced based to dynamic pricing. This means if you plan on flying during peak-season, you can expect to pay an absurd amount of miles for your redemption.
There’s a buzz going on right now that these changes can happen during the 4th quarter of 2018. So roughly sometime between September to December 2018. I don’t know if there’s any truth to this but I would definitely recommend you earn as many points with the British Airways program as soon as possible then redeem them sometime in July or August before the potential change in this currently fantastic frequent flyer program.