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british airwaysFor some reason, I have been concentrating a lot on British Airways Avios lately.  I love Avios for short-haul flights (I used them just last month to go from Cincinnati to Washington DC), but I have not yet gone to Europe where most of their flights are located.

First I found that you can go just about anywhere in Europe (anywhere under 2000 miles flown) for only $27.50 in taxes, fees and airport charges.  And then while I was researching that, I saw that you could actually fly to other destinations in the UK for NO additional Avios (free connecting flight!)

Another thing that I noticed while doing this research is that British Airways seems to allow stopovers, even on one-way flights

What’s a stopover?

In case you’re not familiar, a stopover is generally considered to be a stop longer than 4 hours domestically, or 24 hours internationally.  If it’s within that length of time, it’s just considered a layover.  This is what lets us do some of the tricks like the Caribbean Hopper, which takes advantage of the fact that most flights connecting 2 Caribbean islands connect through Panama City only once a day.  So you can oftentimes get 20-23 hours in Panama City without it counting as a stopover.  Different award tickets have different rules about how many stopovers you are allowed on the award, though generally it’s very rare to get a stopover on a one-way ticket.

Stopovers on British Airways

When you think about it, getting stopovers on British Airways one-ways makes sense, because since each leg prices individually (unlike an airline like ANA which prices on the total mileage for the ticket), you can kind of think of Avios tickets as a series of connecting one-way.

To book the stopover, just book a regular Avios ticket – if it’s not a direct flight, you’ll get greeted with the following screen

british-airways-stopoverThat’s it!  You can see that even the free intra-UK flights are eligible for stopovers!  Pick your dates, then pick your flights like normal

british-airways-stopover-summaryFrom North America

The same trick works from North America, though because the flights generally all go through London, it will mean that you have to pay the high airport fees / fuel surcharges going through London.  You do get to spend as long as you want in London though.


Let’s take another look at the example that I posted the other day.


  • BOS-JFK-TXL– 20,000 American AAdvantage miles on airberlin (we’re currently in off-peak season with American) + $5.60
  • TXL-LHR-BHD (Belfast) – 4,500 Avios + $27.50.  You can’t fly to Dublin for free because Ireland is not in the UK :-).  So you would need to make your own way from Belfast to Dublin, and also you are allowed a stopover in London as long as you want
  • DUB-BOS – 12,500 Avios + $73 – flying on British Airways partner Aer Lingus

You get as long as you want in Berlin.

Then you can take advantage of the British Airways free stopovers to spend as much time in London as you want (paying on $27.50 to transit!)

You get as long as you want in Belfast (the destination for your Reward Flight Saver flight)

Then as long as  you want in Dublin, before taking your return flight back to North America

This is just one example – you can do this in pretty much any cities in Europe (you’ll just have to adjust your return flight accordingly, though in off-peak season on American, you can fly anywhere from North America to Europe for only 20,000 miles)

What would your favorite cities to transit?

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