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Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 12 – The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points

Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 12 – The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points

Million Mile SecretsBook British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 12 – The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios PointsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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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.

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.

The best short distance awards using British Airways Avios points are ones that cost fewer British Airways Avios points than other airline’s miles.

For example, you can fly round-trip from New York to Cleveland for 9,000 British Airways Avios points.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
9,000 British Airways Avios Points Gets You a Round-Trip Coach Ticket From New York to Cleveland

Keep reading to find out other great uses of British Airways Avios points for short distance flights.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro:

The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points

Link:   British Airways Avios Calculator

Link:   Book flights with British Airways Avios points (sign-in required)

Link:   Wandering Aramean Avios Tool

As a distance-based program, short flights on British Airways cost fewer points than region-based programs such as American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines.  

With region-based programs, for the most part, you’ll pay the same number of miles to fly within 1 region, such as North America.  Even if it’s a very short or inexpensive flight.

However, any coach flight under 650 flown miles is only 4,500 British Airways points 1-way!  You might pay more than double that for the same flight using United Airlines miles!

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to both United Airlines and British Airways at a 1:1 ratio.

You can check the Wandering Aramean Avios Tool or British Airways Avios Calculator to see if using British Airways Avios points for short direct flights makes sense for you!

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
You Can Fly 1-Way in Coach From Austin to Dallas for 4,500 British Airways Avios Points

And with British Airways Avios points you:

  • Do NOT pay fuel surcharges on partner airlines like American Airlines, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines
  • Pay NO last-minute booking fees (great for folks who procrastinate like me…or folks who book last-minute tickets)
  • Will pay fuel surcharges on partner awards in Europe, Asia, and Australia on partner airlines like Qantas and JAL

I looked for a coach ticket just a few days in advance, from New York to Toronto.  The cost was $223.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
1-Way Last Minute Coach Ticket From New York to Toronto for $223

Or you could pay 4,500 British Airways Avios points.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
I’d Rather Use 4,500 British Airways Avios Points to Fly 1-Way at the Last-Minute Than Pay ~$223!

There are lots of short-distance award flights where you could use British Airways Avios points.

Here are some examples of the best ways to use British Airways Avios points for short-distance tickets.

Note:   British Airways has made changes to its Executive Club award program, which start on April 28, 2015.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
There Are Many Places You Can Go for Only 4,500 British Airways Avios Points

1.   Quick Border Hops, Such as New York to Toronto

A 1-way flight such as New York to Toronto or Montreal, or Portland to Vancouver costs:

  • 4,500 British Airways Avios points in coach
  • 13,500 British Airways Avios points in First Class
  • 18,000 British Airways Avios points in First Class (starting April 28, 2015)
Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
4,500 British Airways Avios Gets You 1-Way in Coach from New York to Toronto

So spending 9,000 British Airways Avios points for a round-trip coach ticket between New York and Toronto is a great deal.  That’s because on US airlines, like American Airlines, you’d pay 25,000 miles!

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
Using American Airlines Miles to Fly Round-Trip Coach From New York to Toronto, Costs Almost 3X as Much British Airways Avios Points

The same round-trip New York to Toronto flight would cost ~$365.

2.  Flights Within the Same State, Such as Los Angeles to San Francisco

Flying between cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, or Dallas and Corpus Christi, you’d pay:

  • 4,500 British Airways Avios points in coach
  • 13,500 British Airways Avios points in First Class
  • 18,000 British Airways Avios points in First Class (starting April 28, 2015)

Note:  Some flights are flown on smaller planes and do NOT offer First Class.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
You Can Fly From Los Angeles to San Francisco to See the Golden Gate Bridge for 4,500 British Airways Avios Points

You’d pay ~$73 to fly from Los Angeles to San Francisco 1-way.

3.   Traveling the Midwest, Such as Chicago to St. Louis

Examples include Chicago to Cleveland, Indianapolis, and St. Louis for:

  • 4,500 British Airways Avios points in coach
  • 13,500 British Airways Avios points in First Class
  • 18,000 British Airways Avios points in First Class (starting April 28, 2015)
Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
4,500 British Airways Avios Points Gets You a 1-Way Coach Ticket From Chicago to St. Louis

So you’d pay 9,000 British Airways Avios points for a round-trip coach ticket from Chicago to St. Louis instead of 25,000 American Airlines miles.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
Using British Airways Avios Points to Fly From Chicago to St. Louis Is About a Third of the Cost of Using American Airlines Miles

4.   Flights to the Caribbean, Such as Miami to Jamaica

From Miami to a long list of cities such as Nassau, Bahamas, and Montego Bay, Jamaica, you’d pay:

  • 4,500 British Airways Avios points in coach
  • 13,500 British Airways Avios points in First Class
  • 18,000 British Airways Avios points in First Class (starting April 28, 2015)

Folks looking for flights to Caribbean destinations such as Jamaica, The Bahamas, or Turks and Caicos can get good deals using British Airways Avios points! 

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica Is Only 4,500 Points 1-Way From Miami

Using the Wandering Aramean Avios Tool you can quickly see the number of British Airways Avios points per 1-way coach ticket.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
From Miami You Can Use 4,500 British Airways Avios Points to Get to the Caribbean

5.   Heading South of the Border, Such as Dallas to Monterrey, Mexico

A 1-way flight from Dallas to Monterrey, Mexico, or Miami to Cancun costs:

  • 4,500 British Airways Avios points in coach
  • 13,500 British Airways Avios points in First Class
  • 18,000 British Airways Avios points in First Class (starting April 28, 2015)
Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
The Catedral Metropolitana de Nuestra Senora de Monterrey Was Built in 1777

6.   Short Expensive Flights in Europe, Such as Rome to Vienna

You can fly to Rome from Vienna or Amsterdam to Paris for:

  • 4,500 British Airways Avios points in coach
  • 9,000 British Airways Avios points in Business Class

Note:  You’ll pay fuel surcharges on partner awards in Europe.

Note:  The only partners that fly nonstop from Rome to Vienna are Air Berlin and Iberia.  Air Berlin only offers coach on this flight.  Iberia only has a business class section which is coach with the middle seat blocked.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
Save Your Cash for a Carriage Ride and Use British Airways Avios Points to Pay for Your Flight From Rome to Vienna

So you’d pay 9,000 British Airways Avios points for a round-trip coach ticket from Rome to Vienna instead of ~$252.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
I’d Rather Use British Airways Avios Points Than Spend Cash

7.   Intra-Asia Flights, Such as Tokyo to Osaka

A 1-way flight from Tokyo to Osaka or Bangkok to Phuket costs:

  • 4,500 British Airways Avios points in coach
  • 9,000 British Airways Avios points in Business Class
  • 13,500 British Airways Avios points in First Class
  • 18,000 British Airways Avios points in First Class (starting April 28, 2015)
Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
You Can See the Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo and Then Use British Airways Avios Points to Fly to Osaka to See More Cherry Blossoms!

8.  Traveling Down Under, Such as Sydney to Melbourne

Flying 1-way from Sydney to Melbourne will cost:

  • 4,500 British Airways Avios points in coach
  • 9,000 British Airways Avios points in Business Class
  • 13,500 British Airways Avios points in First Class
  • 18,000 British Airways Avios points in First Class (starting April 28, 2015)

Note:  First Class on Qantas from Sydney to Melbourne is NOT available on all planes.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
4,500 British Airways Avios Points 1-Way From Sydney to Melbourne Lets You Stroll Along the Melbourne Harbor

Your British Airways Avios points can take you all around Australia.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
You Can Visit Several Cities in Australia Using British Airways Avios Points

9.   Fly Between Europe and Africa, Madrid to Casablanca

You can fly from Madrid to Casablanca for:

  • 4,500 British Airways Avios points in coach
  • 9,000 British Airways Avios points in Business Class

Note:   Iberia is the only British Airways partner that flies nonstop between Madrid and Casablanca but those planes do NOT have First Class.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 12 The Best Short Distance Awards Using British Airways Avios Points
From the Spanish Cathedrals to the Casablanca Mosques for 4,500 British Airways Avios Points

These are only some of the best ways I think you can use British Airways Avios points for short distance flights.  However, your best personal use of British Airways Avios points might be to see your family in Tulsa!

Bottom Line

You can use British Airways Avios points to get a good deal when flying short distances.

Because British Airways Avios is a distance based program, you get the best value from short nonstop flights like from New York to Toronto.

That’s because these flights can be expensive, especially when you book only a few days in advance!

You will NOT pay fuel surcharges on domestic flights nor last-minute booking fees.  That’s why British Airways Avios points are great for last-minute expensive tickets!

But you will pay fuel surcharges on partner awards in Europe, Asia, and Australia on partner airlines like JAL and Qantas.

What’s your favorite use of British Airways Avios points for short flights?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Planning to send family from Phoenix to NY. 2 adults, 3 boys, ages between 7-14. Got any ideas for me? I’m footing the bill. Southwest? HawnAir? You mentioned British Airway. Can I merge points somehow?. Or do I stock up on one airline?

How to book domestic flight say SBP to AUs on AA using British Airways Avios? need to go to AA or BA, than what? Thanks

Just tried looking for LGA to YYZ and got this “British Airways does not have traffic rights to operate directly between these two cities.” LOL

would a flight from DCA to MIA for 7,500points each way be worth it? this would be over Easter/spring break where the flights are running $300-500.

thanks!

Short-haul BA awards are especially valuable for last-minute redemptions. For example, I would pay $73 cash in preference to 4500 Avios to fly SFO-LAX with advance purchase, but I would happily pay 4500 Avios instead of over $200 cash for the same flight last-minute.

Another big AAdvantage: When you cancel domestic Avios award bookings, you get the points back, and just lose the $5.60 Sept. 11 tax. Cancelling other airline awards is usually much more expensive. (I’ve got an “orphaned” AA one way domestic award I’m trying to use before it expires; I’m not willing to pay $150 to get 12,500 AA miles back. I know others will disagree with me, but for my redemption patterns and current high AA mileage balance I value additional AA miles at about 1 cent each.)

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