Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 1 – Love it or Hate it; An Introduction to British Airways Avios

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I’ve been getting a lot of questions on British Airways Avios, perhaps because of the recent Chase British Airways credit card offer, so here’s a series on how to use Avios miles.  Please comment if you have any questions and I’ll try to answer your question in the comments or in future posts in the series!

Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro:


British Airways, like American Airlines, is a member of the oneworld airline alliance.

The oneworld alliance is a group of 12 airlines including:

oneworld together flies to over 750 destinations.  Malaysia Airlines is scheduled to become a oneworld airline soon.

British Airways also has non-oneworld alliance partners such as Alaska Airlines, Aer Lingus, Open Skies etc.

This means that you can use your British Airways miles not only for travel on British Airways, but also on their oneword and non-oneworld partners.

British Airways Avios also has a distance based award chart which makes it a great value to use Avios for short-distance flights, but a bad value (compared to other US frequent flyer programs) to use them for long-distance flights.

So one of the best ways to use Avios points is for short distance flights.  For example, it costs only 4,500 Avios for a flight up to 649 miles and 7,500 Avios for a flight up to 1,149 miles.

However, you have to break your journey up into segments and add up each segment to get the total price of your award.  You can check how many Avios points are needed for each segment by using the British Airways Avios Calculator.

I use the Great Circle Mapper to calculate the distance between airports.

For example, you want to fly from Kansas City to Detroit, which is only 629 miles.  Great, you say, that’s only 4,500 Avios since that is less than 649 miles.

But American Airlines (a British Airways partner airline since British Airways doesn’t fly from 1 US city to another US city) does not fly directly from Kansas City to Detroit, but via Chicago or Dallas.

So you will have to break your flight down into the segments flown:  The first segment from Kansas City to Chicago which is 403 miles and the second segment from Chicago to Detroit which is 235 miles.

Since each of these segments are LESS than 649 miles, you will pay 4,500 Avios for EACH segment or 9,000 Avios miles (4,500 Avios for the 1st segment + 4,5000 Avios for the second segment) for the entire trip.

This is different from, say, American Airlines which charges you a flat rate of 12,500 miles for 1-way travel anywhere in the US.

With Avios, you could pay MORE or LESS than 12,500 miles for 1-way travel within the US.

Is Avios right for you?

British Airways Avios is a very divisive program because folks either love the program or hate it.  For example, see the comments in this post when I first shared the news that the British Airways 100,000 mile credit card was back.

To be clear – British Airways Avios, more than any other miles and points currency – requires YOU to research how to best use them for your travel needs.

Unlike many US mileage programs like American Airlines or United, British Airways has a distance based award chart. What this means is that using Avios for certain flights is a GREAT value, but a TERRIBLE value for other flights.

See Post 2 for a more detailed discussion on the distance-based award chart.

My personal view

I don’t see Avios as a primary program to collect miles in, but I do see them as a great complement (for short distance flights) to my more valuable American Airlines, United, & US Airways miles (which I use mainly for long distance international flights).

As I wrote earlier, “Big Travel with Small Money doesn’t always mean first class award redemptions to exotic new lands and five star hotels.  Big Travel with Small Money also means saving money and traveling more often than you could otherwise do.”

And in the right circumstances, British Airways Avios miles will save you money and let you travel more often.

I personally feel that British Airways Avios is a must have in a mile-and-points collection.  Because it gives you a lot more options – particularly for short-distance flights, flights on American Airlines from the US to South America, flights in business and first class to Europe, and select redemptions on partner airlines.

But I wouldn’t go out of my way to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points into Avios (I prefer using Chase Ultimate Rewards points on United or Hyatt).  Nor would I credit flights for which I pay for my ticket and earn miles to British Airways instead of American Airlines, since I find American Airlines miles more useful.

But I would consider the limited time Chase credit card offer for 50,000 Avios points after your 1st purchase, or 100,000 Avios points after spending $20,000.  Especially since the previous offer was for 25,000 Avios after 1st purchase, and an extra 25,000 Avios after spending $2,500 within 3 months.

50,000 miles can get you a fair amount of domestic travel on American Airlines or a return ticket in coach from the US to South America without fuel surcharges.

And, as we’ll see later in the series, it could even be worth it for economy class travel on a few routes (even after fuel surcharges).

However, I wouldn’t spend $20,000 to earn the remaining 50,000 miles (unless I was qualifying for the Travel Together companion pass after spending $30,000 within a calendar year).

Again, to be clear, the Chase British Airways credit card is NOT the best credit card deal available (that would be using the 2-browser trick to get 100,000 American Airlines miles or getting the Southwest Companion Pass), nor is this the best Chase credit card.

I’d argue that the Chase Southwest, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, and United Explorer with 50,000 miles/points are much better deals.

But it is a way to quickly get some British Airways Avios points.

 Why folks HATE British Airways Avios

1.   High Fuel Surcharges & Taxes.  Like most European and Asian airlines, and UNLIKE most US frequent flyer programs, British Airways charges fuel surcharges on most award tickets.

This means that instead of paying $2.50 for a First Class award ticket on American Airlines from New York to London using American Airline miles, you’ll pay $412.70 if you use British Airways miles for the SAME flight on American Airlines.

British Airways Avios 5

You pay $410.20 more in taxes for the SAME flight if you use Avios instead of American Airlines miles

That’s $410.20 ($412.70 using British Airways miles – $2.50 using American Airlines miles) more for a ticket on the same flight with American Airlines just because you used British Airways miles!

Stay tuned for Part 3 – Taxes and Fees where we look at taxes and fees in more detail and see which routes have high fuel surcharges and which routes do not.

In short, this usually means that it is not a great value to redeem award flights in coach since paying the fuel surcharges is sometimes the same price as buying a regular ticket.  But it could make sense in some cases.

2.   Pay by Segment.   The more segments on your British Airways award trip, the more Avios you will pay.

For example, an award flight on American Airlines in Business Class from Kansas City to Chicago, Chicago to London, & London to Paris will all cost a total of 100,000 miles.  I’d still pay 100,000 miles even if I flew directly from Chicago to Paris on American Airlines.

British Airways charges by segment, so I’d pay more for my trip from Kansas City to Chicago, Chicago to London, and London to Paris than I would if I flew less segments.

This is great for folks who use Avios for direct flights and not so great for those who can’t use Avios for direct flights.

3.   Very Expensive for Long Distance Flights.  British Airways Avios has a distance based award chart, which makes it VERY expensive (both in miles as well as fuel surcharges) for long distance award flights, in particular Trans Pacific flights to Asia, flights to Africa and India from the US.

For example, it costs 105,000 Avios points + taxes and fees for a flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific First Class.

The same flight will cost only 67,500 American Airline miles + taxes.  That’s a difference of 37,500 miles (105,000 British Airways Avios – 67,500 American Airlines miles) just because you used Avios instead of American Airlines miles!

4.   Poor Telephone Customer Service.  British Airways Executive Club has long wait times, limited telephone hours from only 7:00 am to 8:00 pm EST, and customer service agents who aren’t particularly friendly.

However, with the exception of Air Berlin, Alaska Airlines and Aer Lingus, you can book most partner airlines online at British

See my earlier posts on how to find:

5. Travel Together Companion Pass.  If you spend $30,000 within a calendar year you earn the Travel Together Companion Pass which lets you take a companion for free with any paid or award ticket.

But the pass is valid for flights ONLY ON BRITISH AIRWAYS flights.  NOT on partner airlines.

And you do have to pay the fuel surcharges.  For example, you’d have to pay ~$400 per award ticket in Business or First Class to London from New York, in addition to 60,000 Avios miles in First Class or 40,000 in Business Class.

Yes, that’s not cheap, but I’d reluctantly pay $800 + 40,000 Avios miles for 2 Business Class awards to London since that is still less than the price of coach travel.  I quite liked my last British Airways First Class flight!

6.   Change Fees.  Unlike United and American Airlines, British Airways charges a $40 fee to change the dates of travel.

7.  Not Able to Hold an Award Ticket.  You can’t put a British Airways award on hold, since they only allow instant ticketing.

8.  Cannot Cancel an Award Flight Within 24 Hours of Departure. You can’t cancel and redeposit the Avios in your account within 24 hours of departure.

There is a wishy-washy exemption clause (clause 15.2) for exceptional circumstances which may get you your points back, but it is at British Airways’ discretion.  You don’t usually win when Airlines exercise discretion!

9.  Domestic First Class costs 3 times Economy.  US Airlines usually have 2 cabins (First & Coach) on domestic flights.  But the First Cabin is actually not really first class, but a slightly better version of coach.  However, you’ll pay 3 times the Avios points to travel in most domestic first class cabins (instead of the usual double price on other US airlines).

Why folks LOVE British Airways Avios

1.  Great For Short Distance Flights.  By far, the best use of British Airways Avios and the main reason why you should have some in your miles and points collection is because British Airways Avios is a GREAT value for short distance flights.

It costs only 4,500 Avios for a flight up to 649 miles.  Compare that to most other airlines which charge you 12,500 for any 1-way award.

Short distance flights are often very expensive on certain routes so using British Airways Avios for short distance flights in the US, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia could save you money.  We’ll discuss in dept in Part 2 – What Does a Distance Based Award Chart Mean,  Part 3 – Taxes & Fees & Part 12 – The Best Short Distance Awards in the series.

2.   Flights With NO Fuel Surcharges.   The following flights have no fuel surcharges:

  • Flights within North America on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines
  • Flights from the US to South America on American Airlines or LAN
  • Flights departing from Brazil

3.  Flights With LOW Fuel Surcharges.  Certain flights have low fuel surcharges, which we’ll discuss in Part 3 – Taxes & Fees, which make it worthwhile using British Airways Avios for booking those flights.

For example,  you pay only $168.80 + 35,000 Avios to fly from Chicago to Hong Kong in coach on Cathay Pacific.  A regular 1-way flight costs ~$700+, so this isn’t a terribly bad deal since you can save a bit of cash.

British Airways Avios

35,000 Avios + $168.80 for a coach flight from Chicago to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific

4.  Flights to Europe.  As I’ve written before, British Airways has terrific award availability to London.  They fly from 22 US cities (more than ANY other US airline) to London, and it usually is possible to get 4 award seats on many of their flights.

Yes, you’ll pay high fuel surcharges for the flight, but you’ll be able to travel with your family on the same flight.

5.  The Companion Pass.   If you spend $30,000 in a calendar year on the Chase British Airways credit card, you not only earn 37,500 Avios ($30,000 in spending X 1.25 miles per $1 spent), but also get a Travel Together companion pass.

This lets you take a companion on any paid or award flight for ONLY ON BRITISH AIRWAYS FLIGHTS.

For example, you’d have to pay ~$400 per award ticket in Business or First Class to London from New York, in addition to 60,000 Avios miles in First Class or 40,000 in Business Class.

Yes, that’s not cheap, but it is still less than the price of coach travel.

6.  Using Miles to Upgrade.  Using British Airways Avios to upgrade a paid World Traveler Plus (Premium Economy) seat could make more sense in the right circumstance.  That’s because you’d save cash AND you’ll also earn miles and elite status points for the flight in the upgraded class of service.

Stay tuned for more in Part 5 – Using Miles to Upgrade Paid Tickets in the series.

7.  Car Rentals and Hotels.   British Airways Avios points can be used not only for flights but also for hotels and car rentals.

If you’ve earned your Avios points from a credit card sign up bonus or a transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards, you could use your points for car rentals and hotel stays to save spending cash.

You get a value of about 0.5 to 0.80 cents per Avios point when used for car rentals and hotels.  More on this in Part4 – What Else Can I do with Avios Points? of the series.

For example,  a 2 day rental in Toledo, Ohio costs $62 on Hotwire.

British Airways Avios 2

Car Rental on Hotwire for $62

The same rental costs 8,400 Avios points, so you’re getting a value of 0.74 cents per Avios (6,200 cents / 8,400 Avios).

British Airways Avios 3

8,400 Avios for the same $62 Car Rental

 8.   No late booking fee and lower cancellation fees. British Airways does not charge extra fees for booking a ticket within 3 weeks of departure like many other airlines do.  For example, American Airlines charges a $75 fee for booking an award ticket within 3 weeks of departure.

British Airways also charges a $40 fee (versus $150 at most other US airlines) to cancel and redeposit the Avios points in your account.

9.   Household accounts.  You can pool your points together within a household.  However, you can only redeem points for folks within your household account.  More in Part 7 – Household Accounts.

Bottom Line:  British Airways Avios are harder to use than most other airline miles.  But they are a valuable addition to any serious miles and points collection!

Do you love or hate British Airways Avios? Share it in the comments!

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77 responses to “Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 1 – Love it or Hate it; An Introduction to British Airways Avios

  1. I look forward to detailed analysis in this series. One thing there is not a lot information on online is USA-Europe travel on Aer Lingus (EI) using Avios points. EI flies direct from ORD, BOS, JFK, MCO to Ireland and onward to many European countries … for LOW FUEL SURCHARGES AND FEES. Please research this aspect of Avios also .. it is something that not many bloggers seem to talk about either. thanks

  2. More on intra Europe BA awards too please, thanks!

  3. Hi darius
    The companion ticket , can i get a rountrip for my spouse if i book nyc to delhi or hong kong On BA business class using avios with a stopover in lhr since it stops there anyways ? And how does the companion ticket effect me since i have a 15 month old. Thanks

  4. Great start to this series, I am really looking forward to it!

  5. Recent redemptions of LIM-CUZ, and SCL-ZCO on LAN with my Avios points have shown me just how valuable Avios can be. Intra S.American flights are very expensive, but these flights with Avios were 4,500 miles each and taxes were minimal: $4.25 for LIM-CUZ and $13.02 for SCL-ZCO. I seem to recall that these flights were pricing out at @ $300 for LIM-CUZ on LAN and $325 for SCL-ZCO, one way!

  6. Agree with shah– Aer Lingus is the best use of Avios to Europe.

  7. Hi Darius,
    I’m one of those that believe the BA companion ticket is the best travel deal going. Fuel surcharges do not bother me. I still believe the value proposition is still excellent. I also believe traveling LAX-LHR-LAX on the upper deck in a 744 adds to the pleasures of travel. My question is this: Do you have a “strategy” for booking BA award round trips given 6 weeks between outbound and inbound? Availability for one is never the same for the other at the initial time of booking. Thanks.

    • @shah @tassojunior – I agree and I had earmarked that for Part 3– Taxes and Fees!

      @gpapadop – Avios are good for intra-Europe awards or for adding in stopovers if you’re using AA miles, since you can fly on either British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, or Air Berlin within Europe.

      – Yes, you can book the roundtrip from NYC to Delhi with a stopover in London using BA points and the Companion Pass. Since you have an infant, you may be able to pay 10% of the miles required as the price of the infant ticket, but you need to do that all at once, so I’d call to make the booking.

      @Ralph – Thanks!

      @D – That is a very good use of Avios, though flights on those routes are cheaper if you don’t fly LAN and fly Peruviuan Airlines.

      @Jim – I have a companion pass booking later this year, so I agree with you, that it could be a good value in the right circumstances. I don’t have a strategy for booking flights like you mention. I usually book my flights almost as soon as the booking window opens, so I have lots of availability to choose from. In a worst case scenario, you could ticket a “good enough” itinerary, and then pay the change fees to modify it.

      @HikerT – Good point and I’ll add that to the post.

  8. As far as cons: to fly domestic first class it costs 3x as much Avios vs. coach unless it’s a 3 cabin flight. Really kills the value for anything but coach.

  9. I have 550K Avios (all from Chase credit cards and Amex MR transfers with bonuses) and spouse has 160K (was going to use for old Easter Island redemption, now long gone – groan). My best use is the companion pass for a BA First ticket, and plan to use mine that way yearly. I don’t mind the fuel surcharge for 2 First tickets (seat 1A/K is awesome), and I make sure that my transit time in Heathrow gives me plenty of time to enjoy the cabanas and the great service in the Concorde room.

  10. Well, i have nome avios miles and dont want it either. Just for information, very often, i try to find some awards from OKC/DFW to GRU(Brazil) and I can never find any sit available, or if i find one, the date doesnt work. Of course, when i look on i find availability anytime I want… so, the point is, even for South America I still think it is not worth 🙁 maybe i have been just unlucky?

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  12. Darius Great start to a valuable series
    Here’s my 2 cents – we are interested in FL to S Africa
    Looks like BA partner , AirBerlin is a possibility for Fort Myers to Dusseldorf to Johannisberg ?

    Can you address the use of Air Berlin for avoiding hi taxes & fees
    using AVIOS pts for travel to Europe and onwards to say S Africa ?
    Many thanks

  13. British Air flies its metal on routes that don’t involve London, such as SYD-BKK. Can the companion pass be used on routes like that which don’t go through London and would consequently incur lower fuel surcharges?

  14. “@D – That is a very good use of Avios, though flights on those routes are cheaper if you don’t fly LAN and fly Peruviuan Airlines.” Yes true, (Peruvian is $395 RT v.s. LAN $595 RT LIM-CUZ), but when I have 225K worth of Avios burning a hole in my pocket, I am still very happy with a RT LIM-CUZ for 9,000 Avios and $8.50!

    • @PatMike – That’s a lot of Avios, but it is a good use for the Companion Pass – especially when compared to the price of coach tickets.

      – If you find low level i.e. MileSAAVer awards on, you CAN book them using Avios. You may have to call back a few times to get the agent to find them, but you can use Avios on AA flights AND on LAN flights.

      @Wagger – Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay ~$250 in fuel surcharges for each leg of your flight to Johannisberg, or about $1,000 in total for a coach redemption.

      – You can only use the Companion Pass for any route which starts and ends in the US, so you have to transit via London.

      @D – Agreed! It is a very good use of Avios. My point is just that the cash cost is less than LAN, but it is still significant.

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  16. For the COmpanion Pass, you didn’t mention how long it is good for once it is earned via spending. Is it like SW and it’s good for the current year as well as the following entire year?

  17. I’m excited for the rest of this series, and eager to see what Million Mile Secrets can tell me that The Points Guy hasn’t already covered in his BA Exec Club series from last year. In this first post, you’ve already taught me something new: that there’s no fuel charges on flights originating in Brazil. Pleasant surprise.

    Regarding your reasons why we love Avios, I feel you missed a huge positive of the program: The ability to link family member accounts with the same address and form a Household Account. This is far and away the main reason that I’ve chosen BA as my focal program for Oneworld travel over AA and any other. For the non-business traveler who flies sparingly, being able to pool a family’s miles together (especially little kids accounts) makes a world of difference.

  18. I’m trying to book a flight from SEA to AUS on Alaska Air with Avois. Alaska’s website is showing award availability on the day I’d like to travel, but the BA agent says that there isn’t any space. Is there anything I can do?

    • Ken – It is NOT like the Southwest Companion Pass since you can use it only once! Also, you have until the end of the following year to use it.

      – To be fair, there isn’t a whole lot of new information besides Avios being a distance based program, so I wouldn’t expect a lot of new information. You’re right about missing the household account. I added that to the post – thanks for commenting. I have a household account and love being able to pool points together. I’m guessing with a name like “Brazilflyer” you can take advantage of the no fuel surcharges for flights leaving Brazil!

      – I’d search the American Airlines website to see if it is available as well. I’ve read of issues with BA not being able to see Alaska Air availability. Sometimes it takes a few call to get a booked, and sometimes they are not able to book it.

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  20. I’m trying to book a flight from Granada (GRX) to Barcelona (BCN) one way for June 24 on BA. I get an error, saying BA and its partners does not fly this route, but when I go on Expedia, I see that Iberia does fly it and Iberia is one of BA’s partners. What’s going on? Any help on this would be greatly appreciated!

  21. Lucky jus reported that bos to dub on air lingus 50k rt business class n fron there rest of europe pretty cheap all with avios miles, great redemtion with the amex 50 percent bonus. Wat do u think darius

  22. Hi Daraius,

    I have to ask you the expert this question.. it is too annoying and i cannot figure out. I thought that BA’s US domestic economy class availability is same as AA’s Economy MileSAAver’s. However, i often found much more MileSAAver availability in AA’s website than in BA’s. am i wrong? if i am wrong, why do people use ExpertFlyer to find AA’s Economy MileSAAver’s availability in order to use Avios Point for AA’s domestic flight? Could you advise?


    • @Thalha – I’d been meaning to post on Aer Lingus for a while, but never had the time! It is a good deal, no doubt. There are some other options as well which could work which I’ll post on soon.

      – You’re right that the AA website doesn’t mirror the BA website in terms of MileSAAver awards. If you see a MileSAAver award that’s not on the BA website, you’ll have to call to book it. And sometimes you may need to call more than once. You can either use ExpertFlyer (paid service) or the AA website (free) to check AA MileSAAver awards to book via BA. Which route were your searching for?

  23. Hi Daraius,

    i want to book a one way trip CLT->DEN in Aug. For example i saw a lot of MileSAAver availability on AA website for 8/26, but nothing on BA website! Are you sure that BA’s customer service is able to book AA flight that is not shown on their website? (have you succeeded before in similar situation?) If so, will they waive the booking fee?

    Someone said that AA only releases a small number of seat to BA. if so Does that mean there is nothing BA’s customer service can do?

    many thanks again!

  24. Also, for the $35 changing fee, is it per person or per reservation (with multiple people)? thanks.

    it seems it is $40 now.. it is also confusing: it says “Reward fees apply to each passenger in the booking” then “This is regardless of the number of passengers” ??

    If you could pls clarify my follow-up question about availability, i would greatly appreciate it. thanks!

    • @Allen – I’ve been able to get BA reps to book flights not showing on the BA website, but appearing on the AA website as MileSAAVer awards. You may have to call back a few times to get them to do that and you usually have to feed them the flight number. Sometimes they don’t waive the fee and since it could take 30 mins or more if I hang up and call back, I just reluctantly pay the fee. But you may have luck asking for the fee to be waived.

  26. I have 100K+ AVIOS points because I signed up for the Chase Visa card.
    Then I realized I’m going to pay almost FULL ticket price if I use AVIOS points to fly to Europe.
    So I plan to use it for domestic flights within USA.
    But I’m having hard time figuring out how to use AVIOS to book American Airline flights.


  27. @Eric – You can also use your Avios miles to book a Boston to Edinburgh business RT for 50k Avios. Daraius posted about this recently.

  28. Hi there, I was approved for the Chase avios card, but still haven’t received it. Would you please tell me how many avios point does it take to flight from BUENOS AIRES to MELBOURNE one way?. I called American Airlines and they told me their price is 37.500 aadvantage for coach or 50.000 for business. They use LAN to flight from buenos aires to Santiago and then to Sidney, and then Quantas to flight to melbourne. After reading your post I guess I would pay each flight with AVIOS. I just checked the distance from Santiago to Sidney and it seems to be 7060 miles, so it would require 50.000 only for that flight…right? Is there any way to know that for sure? I called the avios contact number but I waited for 60 minutes and nobody answer. If I try to check online it will tell me that I can only go through london and HK with british airline but I couldn’t find an option to use the partners (LAN and QUANTAS). Thanks for this great blog and all your help!

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  30. I liked this post, when will we see the rest of the series?

  31. If I book 3 award seats from a household account, would the cancellation fee be $40? Or $120 (3X $40).

  32. Pingback: Mileage Checking Accounts – Bonus Miles vs. Cost and Hassle | The Trip Sherpa

  33. Hey D! Just a friendly reminder to finish this series 🙂

  34. Please finish the series? 🙂

  35. I personally would not get this credit card as the miles for europe are too difficult to use. I have mapped it out a year in advance and still can’t get a flight on a weekend to the location I want to do. I wanted to go to Australia and they had one ticket – middle of the week and that was it – a year out. I have miles and want to go to Ireland next year and would love to have someone tell me how I can get tickets. The website last year was not working half the time, then I had to call in and they couldn’t tell me when the seats would be released – highly frustrating!

  36. Part 5, please?

  37. I try to search for a one way flight from KIX – INC on October 1st but I receive the following message: “•British Airways and its partners do not fly this route. Please consider alternative destinations or call your Executive Club Service Centre”. However, on the Japan Airlines website, there are more than 10 flights operated on Octoter 1st for this route, Osaka – Seoul. How can I book a flight on Japan Airline using Avios? Thank you for your help!


    How do I find part 4?

  39. I have a terrible experience with the BA Avios. I have quite a few points and till date have not been able to use my points for one international ticket. I have tried with booking dates upto 9 months ahead of planned travel, towards India and US. NO LUCK!!!

    Before I realized this and unfortunately I transferred a large chunk of AmEx points balance to BA and am now stuck with a loyalty program I cannot get out off!!!

    I started with a BA Visa card and then decided to stop this because I realize that I can never use these points. I travel quite a bit and have points with other airline programs and have repeatedly used them for international tickets (economy and business). E.g. Lufthansa Miles & More



  40. D, a fight is available on AA award website i.e.17.5k Aa miles but I want to book with my avios, how many avios will it require? 17.5k? guess what I am asking, how do AA miles compute to avios?

  41. Thanks for the info Daraius. When is your next part to this British Airways Avios series coming? Thanks to you my wife and I have amassed over 400,000 Avios points by British Airways credit cards and transferring AMEX points over to AVIOS when they had bonuses for the transfers! Going to Kauai in July with family of five using only 125,000 Avios total. Looking to book flights to Cabo from LA in the winter now (Roundtrip coach tickets are only 15,000 miles with AVIOS!!!) If we cancel our credit cards when the annual fees are due, it should not affect the AVIOS we have accrued… correct?

  42. I booked economy from ICN-NRT on Japan Airlines using 7500 Avios, and now want to do biz instead on same flight. Is there a change fee? Thanks

    • @Robert – I’ll get to it, but can’t say when. I know it is long overdue!

      @at – Yes, there is a change fee, but if the taxes and fees aren’t much, you can cancel online and have your points redeposited (but you lose the taxes and fees you paid). You can then rebook the flights.

  43. I have a sneaky suspicion that I may have closed a BA CC about 4 years ago. IF that is the case would i be able to qualify for this offer? Would i have to call CHASE to ask?

    Thanks for your response!

  44. Where are the other parts great article!

  45. My wife and I have about 250,000 Brit Air miles (Avios) from our recently terminated Chase credit card. We would like to travel (coach) from NYC (home) to London and/or Paris and/or Rome within the next 18 months (shoulder season), but are concerned that with the non-fare costs (fees, etc.) we would be better off just purchasing a regular low cost ticket and selling the Avios (for about $2,000). What would you recommend ?

  46. How do I get to the other parts of this series..????

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  48. Valuable information. Lucky me I found your web site unintentionally, and I’m
    surprised why thi twist of fate did not came about in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

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  52. Its rather frustrating to find a ’12 part’ series from over 2 years ago and spend half an hour trying to find the other parts when it turns out they don’t exist. Don’t promise a 12 part series and then make people wait 2 YEARS just for the 2nd part!

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  54. Pingback: Last Chance for Great Deals Using British Airways Points? | Million Mile Secrets

  55. I agree with Ben!! Hello? Are you guys out there? Maybe you are on an airplane? I’ve been searching forever looking for a part 3 and there is nothing. How about, don’t promise info unless you really intend to put it out. You would have been better leaving all those promised parts out. Highly disappointed.


  56. HI
    Thanks so much for posting this series!! I had so much trouble navigating using my Avios miles and haven’t used them yet! esp because I was looking at international travel and HUGE fees!
    Whats the difference between domestic flights booked with avious vs Reward flight savers?
    $ 5.60 (includes up to $ 5.60 in taxes, fees and carrier charges)
    $ 27.50 Reward Flight Saver

  57. Hi,

    I tried booking a one-way award flight from DFW to YYZ on the BA website but I got an error stating “British Airways does not have traffic rights to operate directly between these two cities.”

    Where exactly can we use BA to book flights within North America?


  58. Read that I can fly business class from BOS to DUB on Are Lingus for only 50k points. Also read to use United website to find award flights. Have to find business saver award flights only for it to work? Thanks.

  59. Want to book flights from East Coast (Charlotte?) to Sydney and return from Aukland in Feb. / March of 2016 using BA frequent flier miles. Looks very difficult. Can you suggest best resource to get this accomplished?

  60. Hi Darius!

    Been a while since we spoke. I have two questions. First concerns this post:

    I just did a search for travel in September and it’s 32,500 avios plus 690 in fees to go from LAX to Heathrow. Then I did the same search on American, and it’s showing the trip is 100,000 points! This is considered a long flight which you deem not a good value, but it seems to be a much better value even with the fees.

    Second, how do people accumulate so many points? Like when I hear of millions of points. My lady and I both got the SPG card (60K total, and the british airways 100k bonus last year. With the spending since then it’s about 250K points and the BA companion pass.) Doesn’t seem like we can do much with that. I need more education, but on the surface, that’s one or two flights and a couple nights in a hotel.)

    Do you do private coaching? Ha.

    Thank you in advance!

  61. Pingback: Hot! British Airways Business Class to London ~$446 | British Airways flight status

  62. Can I get British Air points transferred to Alaska [non One World Alliance] and then to Southwest?

  63. Pingback: Mileage Checking Accounts - Bonus Miles vs. Cost and Hassle - Travel Codex