Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 4 – What Else Can I Do With Avios Points?

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Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 4 – What Else Can I Do With Avios Points?

Million Mile SecretsBook British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 4 – What Else Can I Do With Avios Points?Million Mile Secrets Team

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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.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
Using British Airways Avios Points for Something Other Than Flights Might Make Sense for You

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:

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!

You can spend your British Airways Avios points by going to this page.

Or once you’re logged into your account, click “Executive Club” and then “Spending Avios” as shown below.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
There’s a Page Dedicated to Helping You Unload Your Points

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.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
You Won’t Be Renting a Car for a Road Trip With a Different Drop-Off Location With British Airways Avios Points

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.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
While Renting a Car in Phoenix You Can Drive to the Desert for a Nature Walk

Here would be your cheapest options using Hotwire:

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
You’ll Pay ~$260 to Rent a Small Car at the Phoenix Airport via Hotwire

Or you can search the Avis website:

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
You’ll Pay ~$376 for a Small Car From Avis Over the Same Week in Phoenix When You Select the Pre-Paid Rate

Or you can rent through Avis on the British Airways site using your British Airways Avios points:

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
Deduct ~67,000 British Airways Avios Points From Your Account to Cover the Cost of Renting the Same Car

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!

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
You Could Use ~67,000 British Airways Avios Points for ~$376 Worth of Rental Cars or a Flight to Europe From the East Coast

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.

Booking Hotels

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.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
Booking With British Airways Avios Points Can Sometimes Be a Good Deal

I compared the cost in British Airways Avios points to the retail price on Hyatt’s website.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
Two Nights in New Orleans During Peak Season in a Prime Location Won’t Be Cheap!

Kayak showed a price similar to Hyatt.com.

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.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
You Can Book the Hyatt French Quarter New Orleans With Only British Airways Avios and No Money or a Mix of Points and Cash

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.

And if you have elite status with Hyatt (like those with the Chase Hyatt card have), you probably won’t get those benefits when booking with British Airways Avios points.

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.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
Visit Celebrity Homes, Film Locations, and Music Landmarks in London With a Pop Gossip Guide

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.

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
To Get Your Photo Taken on Abbey Road and See the Former Homes of Winston Churchill, Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles You Can Pay 20 Pounds (~$33) or 3,500 British Avios Points

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.”

Book British Airways Award Flights Like A Pro Part 4 What Else Can I Do With Avios Points
Fans Can Visit Historic Wimbledon, the Oldest Tennis Tournament in the World Beginning in 1877

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!

Bottom Line

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!

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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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How many I transfer/combine British Airways Executive Club with Iberia Avios points into one account?

Whatever happened to the on line shop were you could buy anything from a bath time rubber duck to a 46″ TV using Avios. It had pages and pages of goodies?

JUST found out about this! Gonna use my Avios for a helicopter tour when I’m in Los Angeles next weekend!

Anyone had success with hotel bookings? I’m only finding hotels listings for cities with a major international airport, but not the other smaller nearby cities where I might want to visit for just a day or two.

Thank you for covering this – using the BA Avios has been a tough one for me, and without time to do my own 12-series research, I wouldn’t have considered the options of partial redemptions towards a hotel. I typically only looked at the total for doing 100% point redemptions and that didn’t often have the greatest conversion rate as you noted, especially for rental cars. I think a lot of us (the readers) appreciate these posts so please continue them.

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