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Late last year, British Airways announced some changes to the way you could redeem Avios. Previously, one of the best miles and points deals out there had been using 4500 British Airways Avios (usually transferred from Chase or American Express) for short-haul flights (mostly in the US). Your 4,500 Avios ticket would often have a cash price of $300-400 (or more!), making this a great redemption. We’re using a 4500 Avios ticket as part of our epic round the world trip
Short-haul Avios bookings within North America going to 7500 Avios
Starting tomorrow (February 2nd), it will cost 7500 Avios to book any flights within the first 2 bands of British Airways travel. That means anything under 1,151 flown miles. So even the super short flights, like one of my favorites – CVG-ORD (264 miles) – will still cost 7500 Avios.
Note that you can still book flights under 650 flown miles for 4500 Avios as long as neither the origin nor the destination are in North America. So our flight from London to Nice that we took on our Europe trip last summer will still cost 4500 Avios.
(SEE ALSO: Yup, Avios are #worthless now)
United and American do offer discounted award tickets for shorter flights as well, but there is no longer a clear winner for short-haul flights. Southwest can be another option – I’ve had some pretty good luck getting direct flights even cheaper than 4500 Avios (not to mention 7500 Avios)
When exactly are 4500 Avios tickets going away?
If you’re one of those people that likes to wait all the way until the last second, the change is scheduled to happen at 10:00 a.m. GMT on February 2nd. So if you are in the Eastern Timezone of the US like I am, that would be 5 a.m. Other timezones adjust accordingly!
In my experience, transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways happen immediately, and I believe that transfers from American Express do as well.
Good luck out there and get those last-minute bookings in!