There is no secret that British Airways’ Avios represent great value for award travel thanks to its distance award chart. Its most beloved redemption of 4,500 Avios for short distance flights in North America unfortunately died in October 2015. Overnight Avios became worthless to some people including Dan, though it didn’t take him long to figure out a way to still use (Iberia) Avios to book short-haul flights.
I always keep a good balance of Avios (currently over 200K) in my account thanks to the transfer bonus that Amex offered in the past two years. I have used Avios several times for flights on Cathay Pacific, DragonAir and Japan Airline within Asia. For North America flights though, I only used it three times, each at 4,500 points, from Nassau to Grand Cayman and Grand Cayman to Miami in summer 2015 for my family’s first trip to the Caribbean, and from Boston to JFK this past June to visit colleges with my oldest daughter.
Last Friday I read a great article written in detailed by Mile Value about using 13,000 Avios to fly from a handful of east coast cities on Aer Lingus to Ireland for during the discounted off-peak period. Unfortunately during peak periods (including most of summer and Christmas holiday) it would cost 20,000 Avios, which is still a great value if you happen to live in one of those east coast cities. If your kids have a spring break in March or a week off over Thanksgiving, or school is out by early June, you should definitely consider taking advantage of the 13,000 redemption rate.
If you live on the west cost, one of the best redemption of Avios is to Hawaii and Mexico, as most routes can be booked for 12,500 Avios.
Million Mile Secrets had a great article written and showed you the step by step of how to fly to Hawaii on Alaska Airline. I have a two-week trip to Maui and Kauai already planned for summer 2017 for my family using a combination of Avios, ThankYou points and cash. I booked the flights as soon as schedule opened (at about 330 days and seats seem to get loaded around evening PST). Instead of calling the U.S. number next morning and being put on hold for a long time, I used Skype and phoned the Hong Kong office since it was day time there and the wait was less than 5 minutes. Here’s the contact number for BA’s Hong Kong office: 852-3071-5083, open 9am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 12:45pm Saturday, Hong Kong time.
Another great redemption of Avios is to Tokyo from Los Angeles (on AA/JAL), San Francisco and Vancouver (on JAL) for 25,000 Avios, compared to 35,000 miles required by most mileage programs.
This was how I booked the outbound flight for my friend who will be traveling with me to Japan next February, as she had only enough American Airline miles for the return flight.
Are you one of the lucky ones able to take advantage of the cheap Avios redemptions? If so, where do you plan to go?