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Update: Beginning February 2, 2016, British Airways will no longer offer 1-way, short-haul (under 650 miles) coach award tickets on partner airlines in North America for 4,500 British Airways Avios points. Instead these flights will cost 7,500 British Airways Avios points.
UPDATE: The offer for the British Airways card in this post has expired. But check Hot Deals for the latest offers!
Australia is a long way from home! So when you visit, you might decide to explore more than 1 city.
I’ll show you how!
About British Airways Avios Points
Link: British Airways
Because British Airways uses a distance-based award chart, you’ll pay 4,500 British Airways Avios points for a 1-way coach award flight under 650 miles. You can fly between Melbourne and Sydney for this price!
Award prices go up from there. But you can fly between most cities in Australia for 10,000 British Airways Avios points. (I’ll show you how to easily calculate prices later.)
How to Book Qantas Award Flights With British Airways Avios Points
To get started, you must sign-up with British Airways Executive Club (free to join!), or log into your account.
On the website, hover over “Executive Club” then click “Spending Avios.”
Scroll down to the “Reward Flights” section and click “Book a reward flight.”
I checked prices from Melbourne to Sydney right before New Year’s Eve, to see the world-famous fireworks show at midnight.
There are over a dozen available flights on the date I picked for only 4,500 British Airways Avios points and $9 in taxes. For comparison, the same flight would cost 8,000 Qantas miles if you booked it through their frequent flyer program.
Because there are so many seats available on this route, you’re able to find a flight with multiple award seats if you decide to visit with a large group.
The same flights would cost ~$203. So using British Airways Avios points in this case is an outstanding deal!
Note: This is 1 reason I prefer using points for Big Travel rather than cash back! In this example, you’ll need 4,500 British Airways Avios points. You can get that by transferring 4,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways. If you had used the 4,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back, you’d get $45. But here you’d get a flight worth over $200!
Let’s look at another example.
Say you want to visit the West Coast of Australia, and decide to fly from Sydney to Perth. A 1-way flight costs 315 Australian Dollars (~$221).
There are 4 award flights available on the date I searched. Because of the longer distance, you’ll need to spend more points on this award flight. But it can still be a good deal at 12,500 British Airways Avios points plus $11 for taxes.
This flight would cost 18,000 Qantas miles, so you’d still come out ahead by redeeming British Airways Avios points.
It’s not as great of a deal as the short award flight between Sydney and Melbourne, but you’ll still save money by redeeming points.
I noticed a Business Class award seat was available, too.
Considering the flight between Sydney and Perth is ~5 hours, it might be worth it to some folks to fly in Business Class. But you’ll pay 37,500 British Airways Avios points plus $11 in taxes.
You’ll save a little by redeeming 36,000 Qantas miles instead.
The same seat would cost ~$1,402 out-of-pocket, so you’ll save a lot of money using your points instead!
If you have lots of points, this is a fantastic way to use them. Qantas has nice Business Class seats on flights within Australia!
That said, it’s usually best to stick to coach award seats when you redeem British Airways Avios points. That’s because they charge double, or even triple, the amount of points for Business Class and First Class award seats.
Coach award tickets come with 1 free checked bag included. And Business Class awards get 2 free checked bags.
See How Many Points You’ll Need
Wandering Aramean built a calculator to figure out how much flights cost with British Airways Avios points.
Enter your starting airport, and you’ll see a color-coded map of how many points it costs to fly to nearby cities.
For example, from Sydney, you can use 4,500 British Airways Avios points to fly to cities including Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Perth.
Only 2 cities, Broome and Perth, cost the maximum amount of 12,500 British Airways Avios points.
And if you fly from Melbourne, no award flight costs more than 10,000 British Airways Avios points. So you can easily visit another city during your visit to Australia!
Keep in mind British Airways charges for each flight segment. This makes it possible to stay as long as you want in each city! One day or 1 week costs the same amount.
Earn More British Airways Avios Points
Link: Chase British Airways
It’s possible to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points with the Chase British Airways.
But to get the full bonus, you’ll have to spend:
- $2,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (earn 50,000 British Airways Avios points)
- $10,000 (total) on purchases in the 1st 12 months of opening your account (earn an additional 25,000 British Airways Avios points)
- $20,000 (total) on purchases in the 1st 12 months of opening your account (earn another 25,000 British Airways Avios points)
So you’ll have to make $20,000 in purchases during the 1st year to earn all 100,000 British Airways Avios points.
Even if you signed-up for the card to earn 50,000 British Airways Avios points, that’s still enough for:
- 11 one-way coach award flights under 650 miles (or 5 round-trip flights)
- 6 one-way coach award flights over 650 miles, but under 1,150 miles (or 3 round-trip flights)
If each short-haul 1-way flight under 650 miles (like between Melbourne and Sydney) costs $200 out-of-pocket, that’s over $2,000 you’ll save by redeeming British Airways Avios points instead. And of course, you can earn up to 100,000 British Airways Avios points and save double that!
Here’s my full series about how to earn & use British Airways Avios points for Big Travel with Small Money!
You’ll pay 4,500 British Airways Avios points for a 1-way coach award flight under 650 miles, like between Melbourne and Sydney.
And most award flights within Australia cost 10,000 (or fewer!) British Airways Avios points.