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I get a lot of questions on British Airways Avios points, and started a series on how to use British Airways Avios points 2 years ago and finally finished writing it.
For most folks, the best way to use British Airways Avios points is for flights. But you can also use them for rental cars, hotels, and travel experiences such as helicopter tours.
You can use your British Airways Avios points for hotels, rental cars, and travel experiences like city tours, but are they a good deal?
Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro:
- Part 1 – Love it or Hate it: An Introduction to British Airways Avios Points
- Part 2 – What Does a Distance Based Award Chart Mean?
- Part 3 – Taxes and Fees
- Part 4 – What Else Can I Do With British Airways Avios Points?
- Part 5 – Using British Airways Avios Points to Upgrade Paid Tickets
- Part 6 – Using Cash and Points
- Part 7 – Household Accounts
- Part 8 – The British Airways Companion Pass
- Part 9 – How to Find Award Availability
- Part 10 – The Best International Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
- Part 11 – The Best Domestic Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
- Part 12 – The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
Some folks have collected more British Airways Avios points than they can use for flights.
They may have stockpiled the points from flying and signing-up for travel credit cards like the Chase British Airways card and from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, and Ink Bold. (Points earned with those cards can be transferred to British Airways.)
If you have a surplus of British Airways Avios points or you’d rather spend those points instead of cash, you might consider using them for something other than flights.
But are you getting a good deal when using British Airways Avios points on a rental car, hotel, or travel experience? Let’s look at each one!
Or once you’re logged into your account, click “Executive Club” and then “Spending Avios” as shown below.
Renting Cars With British Airways Avios Points
You can rent a car using your British Airways Avios points only if you’re 18 years old. But to be the main driver, you must be at least 23. And if you’re younger than 26, you may pay a “young drivers’ surcharge” at the service desk.
To cancel or make changes to your rental car booking, you have to cancel your booking and create a new 1 from the British Airways website.
And you’re locked into using Avis.
Oh, and you can only pick up and drop off cars at the same location. And that location must be an airport.
With those restrictions in mind, let’s see if we can get a good deal using British Airways Avios points to get a rental car from Avis.
Let’s say you’ll be visiting family in Phoenix for a week over Thanksgiving.
Here would be your cheapest options using Hotwire:
Or you can search the Avis website:
Or you can rent through Avis on the British Airways site using your British Airways Avios points:
So you could use ~67,000 British Airways Avios points to rent a car for a week in Phoenix or use 25,000 of those points to fly round-trip coach (50,000 points for Business Class) from Seattle to Honolulu for example.
Or use 40,000 British Airways Avios points to fly round-trip directly from New York (JFK) to Berlin.
See a full explanation of how to get those deals in Part 1 of this series!
That’s why for most folks, shopping around for discounted rental cars and paying cash is better than using British Airways Avios points. Because saving a few hundred dollars on a rental car doesn’t match the savings you can get on flights.
However, you may be able to get a good deal by using your British Airways Avios points to book a hotel.
Note: When you rent a hotel room with British Airways Avios points, the only way to make changes to your booking is to cancel the room and make a new booking.
I made a test booking for late February at the Hyatt French Quarter in New Orleans.
I compared the cost in British Airways Avios points to the retail price on Hyatt’s website.
So is it a good deal to book this room with British Airways Avios points?
It’s automatically a good deal if you have an excess of British Airways Avios points and don’t want to pay cash! But let’s look how much you’re getting for your points with this booking.
You could pay ~$558 or 47,750 British Airways Avios points. So you’d be getting ~1.2 cents per British Airways Avios point (~$558 / 47,750).
Or instead of paying the ~$558 you could pay 38,200 British Airways Avios points + $90. In this case, your points are worth ~1.7 cents each ($558 – $90) / 28,200.
You can do the math on each possibility and you’ll find that you’ll get up to ~3.3 cents per British Airways Avios point ($558 – $400) / 4,800 British Airways Avios points.
Most people would consider getting ~3.3 cents per point to be a great use of British Airways Avios points. But you’d have spend nearly the entire cash cost to get that value.
But always do what you’re comfortable with! The best value for your points is always what gets you the travel YOU want.
Booking Travel Experiences
You can also use your British Airways Avios points for something British Airways calls, “Experiences.” For the most part, these are walking tours, bus tours, and excursions to prominent sites.
Let’s look at a couple of options in London.
You can reserve a spot to take the Celebrity Tour of London for 3,350 British Airways Avios points.
This is not an exclusive deal to British Airways. With a quick internet search, I found a website with the exact same ad copy, advertising the tour as 20 British pounds per person.
So with this deal you’ll be getting ~1 cent per British Airways Avios point (~$33 / 3,350 ).
Another example is the “Wimbledon All England Tennis Club and Lawn Tennis Museum: Behind-the-Scenes Tour and Ticket.”
Buying this museum and tour package directly from the Wimbledon website is 22 British pounds (~$36).
So paying with British Airways Avios points will again get you ~1 cent per British Airways Avios point (~36 / 3,700 British Airways Avios points).
Even if you don’t book these trips on the British Airways site, it’s helpful to take a look to get fun ideas for your trip!
For most folks, it’s best to use British Airways Avios points for flights.
But if you have a surplus of British Airways Avios points (from flying, the Chase British Airways card, or from transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, and Ink Bold) you might consider other options.
You can use your British Airways Avios points for hotels, rental cars, or travel experiences such as city tours and river cruises.
You tend to get the best value from hotels when you pay most of the cost with cash and the remaining amount with British Airways Avios points.
For all these deals, you can shop around for the cash price and divide by the cost in British Airways Avios points to see if it’s a good deal for you.
But as always, the best value is to get what YOU want!