Sweet Spot: British Airways Avios Points to Europe Using Chase & Starwood Points!

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Here in the 2nd entry of my Sweet Spot series, I’ll show you how to use fewer miles to get to Europe in coach!  

These tips are especially useful for those of y’all near Boston, Chicago, Fort Myers, Hartford, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco, or Washington, DC.

To make the most of this Sweet Spot, it’s best if you have (or will have!) a collection of any of these points:

  • British Airways Avios
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Starwood
Sweet Spot British Airways Avios Points To Europe Using Chase Starwood Points
You Can Transfer Certain Points to British Airways. And Then Use Those Points to Fly on Aer Lingus to Dublin for Less Points Than With Other Airline Programs!

I’ll show you how and why to transfer points to the British Airways Avios program to get a great deal on coach award flights to Europe!

Shorter Flights Make Sense With British Airways Avios Points

Link:   British Airways Award Flight Calculator   

Link:   Wandering Aramean Avios Calculator

British Airways award prices are distance-based, so shorter flights tend to be a better deal.

And most folks avoid redeeming British Airways Avios points for British Airways flights, because they add expensive fuel surcharges!

But they’re terrific for short flights on partner airlines like Aer Lingus to Ireland.

The redemption rates for one-way, short-haul coach flights are:

  • 7,500 British Airways Avios points required for flights under 1,151 miles
  • 10,000 British Airways Avios points required for flights between 1,152 and 2,000 miles
  • 12,500 British Airways Avios points required for flights between 2,001 and 3,000 miles
  • 20,000 British Airways Avios points required for flights between 3,001 and 4,000 miles

And there are a number of routes between the US and Europe that fall within their short-haul distances!

Aer Lingus

Link:   Aer Lingus

Link:   British Airways Award Flight Calculator   

Link:   Wandering Aramean Avios Calculator

Ireland’s national airline is partners with British Airways, meaning you can redeem your British Airways Avios points for an Aer Lingus award flight.

Aer Lingus flies to the following cities in the US:

Europe is close enough that folks on the East Coast can get very cheap award flights to Western Europe!

For example, Boston to Dublin is just under 3,000 flight miles, so you can fly that route on Aer Lingus for just 12,500 British Airways Avios points one-way, or a round-trip flight for only 25,000 miles!

Sweet Spot British Airways Avios Points To Europe Using Chase Starwood Points
Get to the Emerald Isle for Less Using British Airways Avios Points

To compare, United Airlines charges 30,000 miles in coach one-way between the US and Europe.  Or 60,000 miles for a round-trip ticket!

Other good one-way deals in coach on Aer Lingus include:

  • Chicago to Dublin – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • New York (JFK) to Dublin or Shannon – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Orlando to Dublin – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • San Francisco to Dublin – 25,000 British Airways Avios points

Aer Lingus also has very low fuel surcharges, so the fees on your ticket aren’t a lot, although you may have higher charges on your way home due to European departure taxes.

The Sweet Spot Isn’t as Sweet for Business Class Flights

When you use British Airways Avios points, Business Class award flights cost 3X the coach price.  So compare that to flying on a United Airlines plane where a one-way Business Class ticket costs 57,500 United Airlines miles no matter where you depart from in the US.

Note:   You can NOT search for (or book) Aer Lingus award flights on the British Airways website.  But you CAN search for saver level award seats on the United Airlines website (or use ExpertFlyer if you have a subscription).  Then call British Airways to book: 800-247-9297.  Ask them to waive the phone fee because it’s not possible to book online. 

Air Berlin

Link:   Air Berlin

Air Berlin is a oneworld alliance partner, and another great option for British Airways Avios point redemptions.  Especially because they don’t impose fuel surcharges!

Sweet Spot British Airways Avios Points To Europe Using Chase Starwood Points
Visit Beautiful Berlin for only 20,000 British Airways Avios Points From New York – Even Better, There Are NO Fuel Surcharges!

Air Berlin’s destinations in the US are:

  • Boston
  • Fort Myers
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York
  • San Francisco

Good deals from US cities to Germany on Air Berlin include:

  • Boston to Düsseldorf – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • New York (JFK) to Berlin or Düsseldorf – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Chicago to Berlin – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Fort Myers, FL to Düsseldorf  – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Miami to Berlin or Düsseldorf – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Los Angeles to Düsseldorf – 30,000 British Airways Avios points

Again, Business Class requires 3X the miles of coach.

Beyond Dublin and Düsseldorf

You can take advantage of these great options even if Ireland or Germany is not your final destination.  Travel within Europe is cheap and easy thanks to low-cost airlines like RyanAir and Europe’s sophisticated rail network, both of which can take you to your final destination.

You can also use your British Airways Avios points for short-haul flights to other parts of Europe.  Remember, award flights under 750 miles outside of North America still cost just 4,500 British Airways Avios points one-way!

Sweet Spot British Airways Avios Points To Europe Using Chase Starwood Points
We Took the Train From London to France – Convenient and Reasonably Priced!

Likewise, Düsseldorf is a great city to visit because it’s close to so many destinations like Cologne (and about midway between Brussels and Frankfurt) that you can make it part of a multi-city tour.

How Do US Airline Awards Compare?

You’ll usually pay more to get to Europe when you use miles from US airlines, like American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines.

Usually, these airlines charge 30,000 miles one-way in coach between the US and Europe.

For example, United Airlines saver awards are 30,000 each way in coach:

Sweet Spot British Airways Avios Points To Europe Using Chase Starwood Points
You’d Pay 30,000 United Airlines Miles One-Way Between Newark and Dusseldorf – or Spend 20,000 British Airways Avios Points to Fly Air Berlin From JFK Instead!

Delta no longer publishes an award chart, but this is a typical low-level coach award flight:

Sweet Spot British Airways Avios Points To Europe Using Chase Starwood Points
You’ll Also Pay 30,000 Miles for a Delta Low-Level Coach Award Ticket

American Airlines award flights to Europe are 30,000 miles one-way most of the year, although they do have a short “off-peak” period when awards drop to 22,500 miles one-way:

Sweet Spot British Airways Avios Points To Europe Using Chase Starwood Points
During Off-Peak Times, American Airlines Award Flights to Europe Are Just 22,500 Miles One-Way in Coach

So in many cases, using British Airways Avios points to Europe from the East Coast can save you lots of points!

How to Earn British Airways Avios Points

Another reason to consider British Airways Avios points is there are so many ways to earn them!

And British Airways is a transfer partner of 3 of the 4 major flexible points programs:

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio.  And transfers are usually instant.

For a limited time, you can earn 70,000 bonus points when you sign-up in-branch for the Chase Ink Plus and meet the minimum spending requirement.

Or with our link you can earn 60,000 bonus points if you don’t have a Chase branch nearby, or prefer online applications.

The Ink Plus is a small business card, but you may qualify as a business even if you don’t have millions in revenue!

If you don’t have a business, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after you meet the minimum spending.

With 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on dining and travel, and no annual fee the first year, this is one of my favorite cards!  Especially if you’re new to the miles & points hobby.

Remember, if you’re just starting out, it’s better to apply for the Chase cards you want first.  Because with Chase’s tougher approval rules, if you’ve opened more than ~5 credit cards (not counting these business cards) within the past 24 months from ANY bank, it’s likely you will NOT be approved for most Chase cards.

Transfer Starwood Points

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Starwood points aren’t as easy to earn as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but they’re a terrific deal if you transfer them to British Airways.

You’ll get 25% bonus airline miles with most airlines when you transfer Starwood points in increments of 20,000 points.  So 20,000 Starwood points = 25,000 British Airways Avios points!

Or use Starwood Nights and Flights to get a 5-night hotel stay along with a bonus transfer to airline miles.

You can earn 25,000 Starwood points after meeting minimum spending requirements on the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest personal and small business card.

And check out my post to see why these cards beat the Chase British Airways card for regular spending!

Earn British Airways Points Directly With the Chase British Airways Card

Link:   Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card

You can also earn British Airways Avios points directly with the British Airways Visa Signature Card.  Because this is a Chase card, you’ll also want to consider adding this card to your wallet if you haven’t opened a lot of new cards in the past ~24 months.

You’ll earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Note:   This is NOT the highest offer for the card.  Recently, you could earn up to 100,000 British Airways Avios points after meeting tiered spending requirements.  And most recently, there was a 75,000 British Airways Avios point offer.

So if you’re not in a rush, you might want to sit tight and wait for a better offer to return!

Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points

Moving American Express Membership Rewards points to British Airways isn’t as good as deal as it used to be.  Previously, you could transfer points at a 1:1 ratio.

But last year, the ratio changed to 250 AMEX Membership Rewards points = 200 British Airways Avios points.  Or 5:4.

I’d rather save my AMEX Membership Rewards points for transfers to airlines with a 1:1 ratio, like Air Canada, Delta, or Singapore Airlines.

But this could be a good option for folks who need to top-off their British Airways account for an award.

And because British Airways isn’t a US airline, you won’t be charged an excise fee when you transfer points.

Bottom Line

There’s a terrific sweet spot when you use British Airways Avios points for partner flights to Europe on Aer Lingus and Air Berlin.

It’s easy to earn British Airways Avios points, because they’re a Chase Ultimate Rewards, Starwood, and American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner.

From certain departure cities, you’ll pay fewer points to Europe than with US airlines on similar routes.

And you’ll pay minimal fuel surcharges when you redeem for flights on Aer Lingus and Air Berlin.

Have you taken Aer Lingus or Air Berlin award flights to Europe?  Please share your experiences in the comments!

And see more ways to save airline miles in my Sweet Spot series, like flying to Hawaii for less using Chase, Citi, AMEX, or Starwood Points!

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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