Avios

8

This change takes effect for bookings made February 2 at 5 AM ET or later.

British Avios are great for short, direct, economy awards on flights with no fuel surcharges–but they are getting less great.

The price of an award flight booked with British Airways Avios is determined by only two things: the distance of the flight and the cabin you book. The price of an Avios award is the sum of the prices of each flight segment. The award chart used to be set up such that Business Class flights were 2x the economy price and First Class flights were 3x.

In April 2015, the changed. First Class flights are now 4x the economy price. Business Class flights longer than 2,000 miles flown are now 3x the economy price. I didn’t love this devaluation, but I argued it was basically no big deal since only a few high value awards (like Boston to Dublin in Aer Lingus Business Class went up in price.) Most of the best values, namely the cheapest economy awards, were untouched. Here is the current chart (in thousands of Avios), since that devaluation:

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 2.51.06 PM

I even argued that the devaluation might be a good thing, on net, since it would probably forestall additional negative changes to the chart. I was wrong. In October 2015, British Airways announced additional negative changes.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 3.19.49 PM

For awards booked February 2, 2016 and later, the minimum price for an award starting or ending in the United States will be 7,500 Avios. The minimum price for a connecting award within the United States will be 15,000 Avios.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 3.20.32 PM

This change only affects bookings made February 2, 2016 and later. You can book until February 1, 2016 on the current chart. That means all of 2016 is bookable at the 4,500 Avios price. Here is an award currently bookable for this Summer from Charlotte to Tampa for 4,500 Avios.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 3.19.42 PM

This change only affects flights to, from, or within the United States. Flights in other regions will maintain the current chart. Here is that current chart (in thousands of Avios):

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 2.51.06 PM

Here is the chart for award bookings of flights that touch the United States starting February 2, 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 2.50.49 PM

Bottom Line

These are the last five days to book Avios awards within the United States for 4,500 Avios. You can book for the rest of 2016 and lock in the price. Cancellations of Avios awards cost as little as $5.60, so you may want to book some awards now even if you aren’t sure you’ll take them.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

5

I just redeemed 5,650 Avios and $84 for a flight from Santiago to Buenos Aires (AEP), the closer airport to the city. Tickets to that airport were running over $400 one way.

Even tickets to the worse airport were $180+, meaning I was very happy to use an Avios & Money award.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.25.58 AMAward Planning

I am planning to return to Buenos Aires in February. I am planning to come from Santiago (though I don’t have a ticket to Chile yet).

Buenos Aires has two airports, EZE and AEP. The vast majority of international flights fly into EZE, which is about 45 minutes and $30 by car from where I stay in the Palermo neighborhood. AEP is about 15 minutes and $7. I have never flown internationally into AEP, but as long as immigration procedures are roughly the same speed, it is the far better option.

First I checked out the Santiago airport Wikipedia page to see what airlines fly to Buenos Aires. Aerolineas Argentinas and LAN fly from Santiago to both Buenos Aires airports. Chile’s Sky Airline flies to EZE, and Air Canada and KLM fly to EZE as part of tag flights from their home countries to South America.

LAN flights can be booked with Avios. That is the best option because the flight is short, and the price of an Avios award is based on the distance of the flight. Also, LAN flights don’t have fuel surcharges, so the Avios award will not have fuel surcharges. The total price for economy is 7,500 Avios + taxes.

Aerolineas Argentinas and KLM flights can be booked with Delta miles, but they cost quite a bit more miles.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.55.43 AM

Air Canada flights can be booked with any Star Alliance miles. Business Class has flat beds, but for 90 minutes in that air that isn’t very important to me. There is no chart that allows you to book the Air Canada flight for only 7,500 miles like you can book LAN with Avios.

Sky Airline can be booked with cash, which means you can use Arrival miles or the $250 Air Travel Credit on the Citi Prestige® Card to pay for the flight. I couldn’t find a good fare on the date I want to fly.

Award Search

I searched both Buenos Aires airport options at once on ba.com by using the city code BUE. Although ba.com doesn’t appear to recognize the code, it will still search the code as I explained yesterday.
Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.26.15 AM

Award space was available on the day I searched in economy on the flights to EZE and in premium economy to AEP.Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.26.21 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.26.27 AM I wanted to research Premium Economy, so I clicked on the flight number to learn the aircraft type. Then I looked up the seat map on Seat Guru.Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.26.39 AM Unfortunately, Premium economy is just a few extra inches of legroom and still has a 3-3 configuration (so I am not sure how it is wider than economy.Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.27.33 AMAvios charges 50% more for Premium Economy awards compared to economy. I don’t think that is a good deal for this product, but I greatly prefer to fly into AEP airport, so I selected Premium Economy anyway.

As I’ve detailed, Avios awards often offer Cash & Avios options. Here were mine for this award.
Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.28.03 AM

The best option is clearly the bottom one. It allows me to save 5,600 Avios for 50 euros ($54), which is like buying Avios for 0.97 cents each.

I selected that and paid with my Citi Prestige® Card to earn 3x points per dollar on airfare.

Confirmation & Seat Selection

It is always a good deal to see if the operating airline sees your reservation. I typed in my British Airways confirmation code on lan.com, and it found my itinerary.

I selected a seat. The seat map online shows a 2-2 configuration in Premium Economy, which makes me think that the row is 3-3, but the middle seats are blocked.
Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.34.06 AM

LAN’s confirmation number, which is what I will use to check in, is different than British Airways’, so I noted that when I was on LAN’s site managing my booking.

Bottom Line

Avios are the best miles to use for short, direct, economy awards on airlines or routes without fuel surcharges. I just booked myself such an award, except in Premium Economy (50% more miles) from Santiago to Buenos Aires (AEP.)

Now I just have to book from the United States to Chile, which I plan to do with Asiana for 35,000 miles one way in Business Class.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

MG asks:

I’m not too well-versed with AA miles, but I have about 100k. I really want to use them for off-peak to either Chile or Argentina and somehow use them to get down to either country’s Patagonia region. Where do you recommend searching for LAN and TAM to get to Patagonia… the airport codes don’t seem to show up on BA.com???

 

If you search ba.com for award space, which you should do a lot when trying to redeem American Airlines miles, you will notice some missing airports. A lot of the airports that LAN serves in Patagonia for instance don’t seem to be on the site.

Or if you type in Buenos Aires, you are directed toward EZE, the mostly international airport far out of town.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.20.14 PM

If you try to type in AEP, the mostly domestic airport closer to town, no prompt comes up, as if the airport isn’t searchable on ba.com.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.20.20 PM

But ba.com can search AEP. It can even understand BUE, which searches both Buenos Aires airports at once.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.20.57 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.21.09 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.22.18 PM Similarly FTE doesn’t prompt you to El Calafate, Argentina, but it is searchable.Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.22.23 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.22.29 PMAnd PUQ doesn’t prompt Punta Arenas, Chile, but it is also searchable.Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.27.27 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.27.46 PM

Bottom Line

Just because ba.com doesn’t appear to recognize an airport code doesn’t mean you can’t search that airport on ba.com. Hit “Find flights” any way and enjoy the results.

If you find award space on ba.com, you can book it with Avios or with American Airlines miles.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

23

British Airways Avios are fantastic for short, direct, economy flights on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines because the number of Avios needed for an award is determined only by the distance and cabin of each flight.

One sweet spot with Avios that I’ve noted over and over is that flights from the west coast to Hawaii are 12,500 Avios + $5.60 in taxes each way.

  • From where do American Airlines and Alaska Airlines fly to Hawaii?
  • How can you book these flights with Avios?
  • How much do the flights cost in First Class?
  • How can you get Avios?

American and Alaska all fly to the four major Hawaiian islands: Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and Kauai.

Flights to Honolulu, Oahu

Alaska flights in red. American flights in blue and black.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.40.40 PM

Flights to Kahului, Maui

Alaska flights in red. American flight in blue and black.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.43.59 PM

Flights to Lihue, Kauai

Alaska flights in red. American flight in blue and black.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.45.44 PM

Flights to Kona, Big Island

Alaska flights in red. American flight in blue and black.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.47.02 PM

Chart of Flights

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 5.53.52 PM
1: Seasonal Flight

Searching and Booking

All these flights can be searched on aa.com.

  • If an Alaska Airlines flight shows up on aa.com, it can be booked with Avios.
  • If an American Airlines flight shows up on aa.com labeled MileSAAver, it can be booked with Avios. If the flight is labeled AAnytime, it cannot be booked with Avios.

American Airlines flights can be booked on ba.com. Alaska Airlines flights can only be booked with Avios by calling British Airways at 800-AIRWAYS.

First Class

One drawback of Avios is that mid- and longhaul Business Class awards cost triple the price of economy awards, and First Class awards cost quadruple the price of economy awards.

All three airlines market their forward cabin on these routes as First Class, and British Airways charges quadruple the economy price, so all of the routes in this post cost 50,000 Avios one way in First Class. I think that’s a terrible deal, since all these routes merely feature recliner seats in First Class.

Canceling Avios Awards

Feel free to book your Avios awards to Hawaii speculatively. The cancellation fee for Avios awards is supposed to be $40, but in practice, you are charged $40 OR the taxes you paid on the award, whichever is less.

That means you can cancel Avios awards to Hawaii and get back your Avios for only the cost of losing the $5.60 per person per direction in taxes.

Full info: Another Reason Miles Are Better than Cash: Free Cancellations

Getting Avios

The British Airways card offers 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $2,000 in the first three months, another 25,000 bonus Avios for spending $10,000 in your first year, and another 25,000 bonus Avios for spending $20,000 in your first year.

The card earns 3 Avios per dollar on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios per dollar on all other purchases.

That’s 120,000 total Avios if you spend $20,000 in your first 12 months of cardmembership as long as $2,000 was in the first three months.

American Express Membership Rewards transfer 250:200 to Avios. Hopefully transfer bonuses will push this back to 1:1 or better at least temporarily in the future.

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to Avios.

SPG Starpoints transfer 1:1 to Avios. Every 20,000 points transferred earns a 5,000 Avios bonus.

CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

1
  • Groupon Spain is having a sale on Iberia Avios, offering them for about 1.35 cents each.
  • Iberia has a portal that allows you to earn 16x Avios on the purchase of Groupons.
  • Those extra Avios bring the effective purchase price down to 1.12 cents each.
  • You can freely transfer Iberia Avios to British Airways Avios if both your Iberia and British Airways accounts are 90 days old.
  • Both types of Avios are worth well more than 1.12 cents each.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 7.51.37 AM

Preparation

The only three things you need to make this deal work are a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees, the Google Chrome browser, and Iberia and British Airways accounts that have preferably been open for 90+ days. If you don’t have those three things, get them for this and future deals.

My favorite credit card with no foreign transaction fee is the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card because it offers 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months, 3x points on travel and gas, and 2x points on restaurants and entertainment.

Occasionally deals or useful information related to our hobby are only available in a foreign language. Chrome‘s built-in translator is awesome.

You can open an Iberia account here and a British Airways account here. Once both are 90+ days old, you can freely transfer miles between the two. The programs have slight differences, so this is very useful. Sign up now for the many future deals when you will want to transfer between the two, and put your log in information in your Award Wallet account, so you have it for the next deal.

Execution

1. Go to the Iberia Plus portal.
2. Search for Groupon or find its icon in the favorites section. This deal is based on Groupon offering 16 Avios / €1.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 7.58.22 AM

 

Keep clicking through until you get this final confirmation and click “Continue.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 7.58.37 AM

 

You can now be confident that the portal is tracking your shopping with cookies, so that you will be awarded 16 bonus Avios per euro.

3. Once on the Groupon site, find the Avios offer.

Hopefully right near the top is a banner ad for it.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 8.00.48 AM

If not, under Buscar (or Search if using Chrome translate), select Viajes (or Trips or Travel), and it should be the top offer on the next page.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 8.00.52 AM

4. Make your purchase with a no-foreign-transaction-fee card.

You have three options: 4,000, 8,000, and 12,000 Avios. You can buy five total packages, meaning you are limited to buying 60,000 Avios. The 4,000 package is slightly the cheapest, so if you want fewer than 60,000 miles, get there with multiple 4,000 packages.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 7.51.27 AM

If you buy only the 4,000 packages (ie you buy 4,000 to 20,000 Avios), you can get Avios for 1.12 cents each.

You pay 49 euros for each package, which is $53.39 at current exchange rates. In exchange, you get 4,000 Avios plus 784 Avios (16 times 49) for buying through the portal. That’s like getting each of your 4,784 Avios for 1.12 cents.

5. Optional: Transfer Iberia Avios to British Airways Avios

Once you have all the Avios, you can determine which program offers the better deals for your dream award. Usually, but not always, that is British Airways Avios. See Basics of British Airways Avios to learn more.

Here’s how to make the transfer.

Bottom Line

I value British Airways and Iberia Avios at 1.7 cents each. I normally say not to buy miles without an immediate use in mind, but 1.12 cents is such a good price that I will buy 20,000 Avios for myself.

The Points Guy reported that this deal ends at 6 PM ET, but it looks like it ends at 6 PM ET on December 29 to me.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

Membership Rewards used to transfer 1,000:1,000 to British Airways Avios, but the rate was cut to 250:200 on October 1, 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 1.44.32 PM

Through the end of the year, though, you can temporarily get the old 1:1 rate through a two-step process.

  1. Transfer Membership Rewards 1:1 to Iberia Avios during the current 25% transfer bonus.
    Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 1.44.40 PM
  2. Transfer Iberia Avios 1:1 to British Airways Avios.

Caveats

 

Great Uses of Iberia or British Airways Avios

Generally both are good for short, direct, economy awards on partners without fuel surcharges. Here is my rundown of British Airways Avios.

Iberia Avios–if you just want to transfer there and not on to British Airways–are additionally very good for Iberia Business Class. For eight months of each year (the off peak window):

  • New York or Boston to Madrid is 34,000 Iberia Avios each way in Business Class.
  • Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami to Madrid is 42,500 Iberia Avios each way in Business Class.

Connections will increase the price.

Bottom Line

There is a 25% Membership Rewards to Iberia Avios transfer bonus that runs through December 31, 2015. It brings the transfer ratio to 250:250.

If your Iberia account has been open for three months, you can then transfer the points 1:1 to British Airways Avios.

(By the way, if you don’t have an Iberia account, open one now to start the 90 day clock for future times when you want to transfer between accounts.)

Hat Tip -g

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

British Airways is happy to handle a number of transactions in dollars, pounds, or euros. Each transaction has a fixed price in each currency instead of a dynamic one that changes with exchange rates, so at the moment transactions in euros are way cheaper than transactions in dollars and pounds.

What currency you’re charged depends on what country you list as your residence, so I explained yesterday how to set your address to France to save about 25% on buying Avios.

The Free-quent Flyer (remember he did an awesome Manufactured Spending extra for my e-book) asked whether changing your address results in cheaper Cash & Avios awards on Twitter.

On almost all Avios awards you are given six payment choices that range from all of the Avios you are supposed to pay for the award down to about a third of the Avios. When you use fewer Avios, you have to pay more cash. Here is an example of the six price options for a one way award from New York to Berlin on airberlin:

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.35.36 AM

Free-quent Flyer was asking if the cash component was lower in euros than in dollars. I told him that it definitely was, but I didn’t have data.

He answered his own question, saying he would have saved $100 on a previous Cash & Avios award he booked if his account had been in euros instead of dollars.

So there is no reason not to put your British Airways account in euros right now; you’ll be able to buy miles cheaper and be given cheaper Cash & Avios options with no negative changes associated with switching. Here’s how to switch.

How cheap are the Cash & Avios options once you put your account in euros? Commenter Charles points us to a German-language post on the subject. It is a very good post, and Google Translate in Google Chrome translated it perfectly except for the charts, but you can pretty easily figure out that this chart is showing the price of “buying” Avios during a Cash & Avios award booking. It shows all nine Avios price bands (eg 4,500 Avios is band 1 and 12,500 Avios is band 4) and all six options for Cash & Avios awards at each price band.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.19.08 AM
From http://meilenoptimieren.com/executive-club-tutorial-praemienflug-buchen-avios-and-money/

Note that the prices are in euro cents. Right now 0.82 euros = $0.89.

Do check out the whole German post; it is really good. And do set the address on your British Airways account to somewhere in the euro-area. This trick will help you use Avios much more efficiently. I love Avios for short, direct, economy flights. Read more about Avios and the best Avios uses here.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

3

Through Friday December 4, 2015, British Airways is offering a 40% bonus on the purchase of Avios. The biggest bonus ever offered on the purchase of Avios was 50% in February, so this is a big bonus.Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 3.10.52 PM

The maximum Avios you can purchase in a year is 35,000. With a 40% bonus, that means you can add 49,000 Avios to your account. Americans are being offered those Avios for 2.01 cents each, but with one simple trick, you can drop the price to 1.43 cents per Avios!

The Trick

If you set your British Airways account address to a country that uses the euro, say France, you will be sold Avios in euros instead of dollars. The euro price for buying Avios is way cheaper!

The cost to purchase 49,000 Avios for people with an American address is $988 or 2.01 cents per Avios. The cost to purchase 49,000 for people with a euro-area address is $700 (661 euros) or 1.43 cents each. You save about 25% just for changing your address.

To change your address, click “Manage my account under Executive Club on any page.
Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.35.52 PM

Click “Update my personal information” on the left side of the screen.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.36.16 PM

Give an address in a euro-using country.Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.38.40 PM

Hit Continue about three times. The first time I tried to make the change, I stopped a screen short. You’ll know if you succeeded because when you go back to the Purchase Miles screen, you will be offered the Avios in euros.

The price of 49,000 Avios is 661 euros or $700.03 after the dramatic slide in the euro. That’s under 1.43 cents per Avios. And you can get a price under 1.52 cents on any purchase of 10,000 or more Avios.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 3.02.51 PM

If you purchase in euros, make sure you use a card that charges no foreign transaction fees like the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.

Does Putting Your Account in France Mess Up Transfers?

After setting my account to France, I initiated a 1,000 Ultimate Rewards transfer to my British Airways account that was already stored on chase.com. The transfer went through instantly as usual, so changing your address doesn’t appear to mess this up.Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.46.45 PMScreen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.46.53 PM

Eventually you can change your address back to your home address, but British Airways makes you wait six months between address changes.

Is This a Good Deal?

The best uses of Avios are short, direct, economy flights on partners without fuel surcharges.

At 1.52 cents per Avios, domestic (including Hawaii) one way awards that cost XXX Avios plus $5.60 in taxes one way would cost:

Those are pretty good deals. I’ve seen cheaper with cash on every route, and I’ve also seen a lot more expensive.

The bottom line with all miles sales is that they are a good deal if you have an immediate, high value use for the miles, and a poor deal otherwise.

Bottom Line

You have until Friday to get a big bonus on purchasing Avios. Ignore the 2.01 cent price for Americans. Anyone with a euro-zone address on file with British Airways and a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card can get the Avios for 1.43-1.52 cents each. The sales are consummated by points.com, so there is no bonus for an airline or travel purchase on your credit card.

The best deals with Avios are short, direct, economy flights on routes/airlines without fuel surcharges. That includes all domestic flights and all these flights.

Hat Tip One Mile at a Time

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Effective this Thursday, October 1, 2015, 250 Membership Rewards will transfer to 200 British Airways or Iberia Avios. That’s a 20% reduction of the current 1,000 Membership Rewards to 1,000 Avios transfers.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 3.58.38 PM
Source: Travel with Grant

This is a huge blow to Membership Rewards. It still has great 1:1 transfer partners like Delta, ANA, Aeroplan, and Singapore, but this majorly hurts the value of its best oneworld transfer partner.

In the past we’ve seen transfer bonuses from Membership Rewards to Avios like this year’s 40% bonus. I don’t know if this reduced transfer rate between Membership Rewards and Avios signals the end of those. A 40% bonus on the new transfer rate would mean 250 Membership Rewards transferred to 280 Avios, which is 12% better than 1:1.

Other Bad News for Earning Avios

This worsening transfer rate from Membership Rewards isn’t the only bad news we’ve gotten about earning Avios this year. Chase also changed the British Airways Visa to only earn 1 Avios per dollar spent, down from 1.25 per dollar, another 20% drop in rates for earning Avios.

Chase Ultimate Rewards earned on the Ink Plus and Sapphire Preffered still transfer 1:1 to British Airways Avios.

About Avios

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Avios are good for short, direct, economy awards on partners without fuel surcharges like airberlin; Niki; and American Airlines, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines within the Americas including Hawaii. The number of Avios for Business and First Class awards rose sharply in April, but that affected very few high value awards. Here are the basics of Avios, which every American frequent traveler should understand. Here are all the 12,500 Avios awards from the mainland United States to Hawaii.

Should You Transfer Your Membership Rewards to Avios Before Thursday?

It’s a tricky question with a lot of things to consider, so there is no definitive answer that covers everyone.

You’d hate to transfer 200,000 Membership Rewards to Avios only to see a big Avios devaluation (unlikely to happen for the next year or two in my opinion because we just saw one) or to see a big transfer bonus that brings the transfer rate above 1:1 (your guess is as good as mine about whether this will happen.)

I value Membership Rewards higher than Avios because of their flexibility–they can be Avios if those are the best miles for an award or Singapore miles if those are best or Delta miles, etc. So I am disinclined to send Membership Rewards to Avios this week to beat the devalued transfer ratio, however I understand if you look at the same facts and come to the opposite conclusion.

Hat Tip Travel with Grant

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

6

The British Airways card from Chase is back with a new 100,000 Avios sign up bonus. Like the other recent 100k Avios offers, you need to spend $20,000 in the first year on the card to get the full 100k Avios bonus.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.09.13 AM

  • You will get 50,000 bonus Avios after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • 25,000 bonus Avios after $10,000 in purchases within the first year of account opening.
  • Plus an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you make an additional $10,000 in purchases also within the first year of account opening.
  • The $95 annual fee is not waived

The British Airways card is divisive. For some people, it is one of the absolute best cards, and for other its rewards are nearly worthless.

  • Who should get this card?
  • Who should not?

Whether this card is right for you depends on how much you spend, whether your travel goals are well suited for Avios, and how much you value British Airways First Class tickets.

How Much You Spend

To get the full 100k Avios sign up bonus, you need to spend $20k on the card in the first 12 months after opening it. That works out to only $1,667 per month, so most people can meet it.

But that $20k could meet the minimum spending requirement on 4-10 other great cards instead, which would net way more than 100k bonus Avios.

There is a huge opportunity cost to chasing this 100k mile bonus unless you spend at least $5,000 per month on credit cards.

Are Your Travel Goals Well Suited for Avios

Avios are best suited for short, direct, economy flights on flights that don’t incur fuel surcharges.

I’ve used my Avios to book flights from the West Coast to Hawaii for 12,500 Avios and $5.60 each way. Here is a full list of such routes.

But a lot of people come to my Award Booking Service wanting to use their Avios to book an award from Florida to Australia in Business Class or Utah to Madrid in First Class, and those awards would cost a ton of Avios and a ton of money out of pocket in the form of fuel surcharges!

Here is a full list of which Avios awards incur fuel surcharges.

Do not get this card unless you will use Avios for high value awards. Make sure you read the Basics of Avios full before applying.

How Much You Value British Airways First Class Tickets

One of the most discussed features of the British Airways card is that if you spend $30k on the card in one calendar year, you earn a Travel Together Ticket.

The ticket allows you to book one roundtrip Avios award on British Airways flights at the normal price and get a second ticket for zero Avios + taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges.

Taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges are substantial as are the Avios needed to book First Class flights.

For example, one roundtrip in First Class from Seattle to London would be 200k Avios + about $1,250.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 2.08.28 AM

One roundtrip Avios award is already 200k + $1,250

Booking two roundtrips on the route–one with Avios and the other with the Travel Together Ticket–would be 200k Avios + about $2,500 total + the Travel Together Ticket.

The first ticket is 200k Avios + $1,250 and the second is zero Avios + $1,250. You have to pay the taxes and fuel surcharges on both tickets.

Since I value 200k Avios at $3,400, that breaks down to nearly $6,000 worth of miles and cash expended.

I would value two roundtrip First Class tickets from Seattle to London at about $5,000, so that makes the Travel Together Ticket worthless to me. If you would value the same two roundtrips at $10,000, then the Travel Together Ticket is worth $4,000 to you.

The richer you are, and the more you’d be willing to pay for First and Business Class award tickets, the more the Travel Together Ticket is worth to you, but I think for most people reading this blog, it will be worthless or at least worth very little.

IS THE BRITISH AIRWAYS CARD RIGHT FOR YOU?

The more you spend on cards; the more you want to book short, direct, surcharge-free award flights in economy; and the more you value British Airways First Class, the more valuable the British Airways card is to you.

If you don’t spend much on cards, have travel plans that are a poor use of Avios, and don’t value British Airways First Class highly, the British Airways card is less valuable to you.

Landing Page: British Airways 100k Offer

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

LAN Airlines, the flag carrier of Chile, has daily flights from Santiago to Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui and Isla de Pascua. That route makes sense to connect Easter Island to its capital city.

What makes far less sense is the weekly flight from Easter Island another five hours west to Tahiti. There’s also usually a summer seasonal (our winter) route from Lima to Easter Island, though it hasn’t been announced for 2015/2016.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.18.53 AM

LAN is a member of a oneworld, so you can use American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios to book the flights. These flights can be a creative use of either type of miles. For instance, with American Airlines miles, you could take a trip like this to South America, Easter Island, Tahiti, and Hawaii.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 3.40.08 AM

The Routes

Santiago to Easter Island is daily.

Easter Island to Tahiti operates on Mondays with the return flight on Tuesdays. It doesn’t appear to operate every Monday, but I don’t discern a seasonal pattern. You can check LAN’s timetable one week at a time to see when the flight operates.

Lima to Easter Island has been seasonal during our winter (their summer.) It is not yet on the schedule for our 2015/2016 winter, but I also don’t see any announcements that the route has been discontinued, so I think it will appear.

Award Price

Different miles, different price.

American Airlines Miles

American Airlines considers Tahiti and Easter Island to both be part of the South Pacific.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.04.32 AM

That makes tickets from Lima or Santiago to Easter Island outrageously expensive with American Airlines miles.

Between Santiago (or anywhere else in Southern South America) and Easter Island one way:

  • 37,500 AA miles in economy
  • 50,000 AA miles in Business
  • LAN doesn’t have First Class

Between Lima (or anywhere else in Northern South America) and Easter Island one way:

  • 40,000 AA miles in economy
  • 65,000 AA miles in Business
  • LAN doesn’t have First Class

Easter Island and Tahiti are in the same region, so award prices are much more reasonable one way:

  • 20,000 AA miles in economy
  • 30,000 AA miles in Business
  • LAN doesn’t have First Class
BA Avios

Avios awards are distance-based, and all three segments discussed in this post are between 2,000 and 3,000 miles flown, which means they cost one way:

  • 12,500 Avios in economy
  • 37,500 Avios in Business
Other Interesting Routes

Tahiti to Bora Bora:

  • Miles cannot be used on the route. Purchase with cash or points that can be used like cash for airline tickets–like Arrival miles or ThankYou Points.

Tahiti to Honolulu:

  • 27.5k/47.5k Hawaiian Miles one way in Hawaiian economy/First.
  • 37.5k/62.5k American Airlines miles one way in Hawaiian economy/First
Bottom Line on Which Miles to Use

There are no fuel surcharges on any of these routes, and taxes and fees are the same no matter which miles you use.

  • Use Avios between South America and Easter Island. Also use Avios in economy between Easter Island and Tahiti
  • Use American Airlines miles to fly LAN Business between Easter Island and Tahiti.
  • Use Hawaiian miles between Tahiti and Hawaii.

Award Space on LAN

You can search LAN award space on ba.com. Since you basically have to search one day at a time, make sure a flight is operating before you bother searching that day for award space. Here is how to search ba.com.

I found decent award space for one passenger between Santiago and Easter Island. Business Class costs 37,500 Avios + $11.
Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.06.37 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.06.42 AM

Some days have as many as seven award seats in each cabin.Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.07.26 AM Some days also have “First Class” award space listed. There is no LAN First Class, and if you try to select that space, you get an error.

Economy awards from Santiago to Easter Island cost 12,500 Avios + $11 or 4,000 Avios + $87, which is a better deal and ridiculously cheap. (Learn more about Cash & Avios awards.)Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.07.43 AMWhen Easter Island to Tahiti is operating, award space is good in economy.
Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.10.26 AM

It prices slightly higher because of taxes, but you can still book one of the most interesting routes in the world for an astounding 4,000 Avios + $106. (Why my BA account is in euros.)Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.19.20 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.19.24 AM

Getting Avios, American Airlines Miles, and Hawaiian Miles

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers 75,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 2.52.22 PM

The British Airways Visa offers 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $2,000 in the first three months. You can also transfer Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards 1:1 to Avios.

The Hawaiian Airlines MasterCard offers 35,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. You can also transfer Membership Rewards 1:1 to Hawaiian Miles.

Bottom Line

LAN flies some interesting routes in the South Pacific from Easter Island to Tahiti, Santiago, and Lima. Award space is searchable on ba.com and bookable with Avios and American Airlines miles.

Hawaiian Airlines flies Tahiti to Honolulu if you don’t want to backtrack.

All the necessary miles are easy to get with credit card bonuses from 35,000 to 75,000 miles.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

American Airlines award space was not displaying on ba.com for the last three weeks. Now American Airlines award space is back on ba.com. Here is a search result from a few minutes ago for Miami to Manaus, Brazil:

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 1.25.19 PM

The award prices out at 12,500 Avios + $6 or 4,000 Avios + $83. (Read more on Cash & Avios awards. Read why my British Airways account prices in euros and maybe yours should too.)Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 1.25.58 PM

The best use of Avios is short, direct, economy award flights without fuel surcharges, which includes every American Airlines and US Airways flight within the Americas. Last minute awards can be especially great redemptions. (Read the Basics of Avios.)

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 1.32.46 PM

These US Airways flights today from Charlotte to Tampa are 4,500 Avios + $6.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 1.33.40 PM

If you bought with cash, you’d pay $443.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 1.33.26 PM

What to Do When Award Space Isn’t Displaying Online

American Airlines space is back on ba.com, but what should you do next time any airline’s award space isn’t displaying online.

There are two possible reasons award space wouldn’t display online, and each reason has a different course of action.

1. The Space Doesn’t Exist

A lot of people complain to me that they can’t find LAN Airlines award space on ba.com, but I am aware of no glitch in displaying space. The problem is that LAN Airlines releases very little award space, and the people contacting me are searching routes and dates with no award space.

If there really is no space, there is no solution. You must move on to another trip idea or keep checking for award space and hope that some opens up later.

You can check whether space exists by checking other websites. For instance BA, Qantas, and AA all show some oneworld partners’ award space. Similarly United, LifeMiles, and ANA all show some Star Alliance partners’ award space. If the space is on one site at the Saver level, it should be available with other types of miles. If the space isn’t on any of the sites, the space doesn’t exist.

2. The Space Exists, and There is a Website Glitch

The problem for the last few weeks was that American Airlines award space existed, but it wasn’t on ba.com. We knew the space existed because it was available at the MileSAAver level on aa.com (and on qantas.com.)

When space exists but is not on a website, call the airline whose miles you want to redeem. Calls to British Airways in the last few weeks successfully ticketed American Airlines award seats.

When you have to call in because of a website glitch, always ask for the phone fee to be waived. In this case, phone fees were waived.

Bottom Line

American Airlines flights are again bookable on ba.com. Next time, there’s a glitch like this, if award space really exists, call the airlines whose miles you want to redeem and ask for the phone fee to be waived.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

Qantas has eliminated fuel surcharges on its flights that depart Australia.

This doesn’t matter at all for paid tickets because $1 of fuel surcharge and $1 of base fare costs the same to you, but this is huge news for award tickets with miles that collect fuel surcharges like British Airways Avios. Here’s surcharge info on Avios partners.

You can now book Qantas flights leaving Australia with Avios and pay no fuel surcharges.

Qantas Route Network

By the end of 2015, Qantas will fly from Sydney to five American cities.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 8.22.09 PM
Source: gcmap.com

San Francisco service begins December 20. New York service has a stop in Los Angeles, but is considered a “direct flight” with no plane change in Los Angeles.

Qantas also flies from Brisbane and Melbourne to Los Angeles.

From Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, there are connections throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Qantas also serves Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. For a full list of its destinations, see Wikipedia.

Qantas Flight Award Prices

Avios awards are priced per segment, so connections increase the price. Here are the prices in economy for direct Avios awards between Australia and the United States:

  • Sydney to Honolulu: 25,000 Avios one way
  • all other direct routes between Australia and United States: 50,000 Avios one way.

Business Class awards are three times the economy price, and First Class awards are four times the economy price.

Other than the Sydney to Honolulu route, these mileage prices are higher than American Airlines charges for the same awards. American Airlines charges 37.5k/62.5k/72.5k one way between the United States and Australia in economy/Business/First.

But if you only have Avios, or points that transfer there like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, the Avios economy price is reasonable now that there are no fuel surcharges.

Sydney to Dallas has taxes of $80 one way.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.42.12 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.42.21 PM

Sydney to New York has taxes of $86.Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.44.09 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.44.17 PM

This elimination of fuel surcharges applies to one way and roundtrip tickets originating in Australia. One way and roundtrip tickets originating in other countries like the United States have hundreds of dollars of fuel surcharges each way.

Non-US Routes

Avios have always been great intra-Australia and continue to be. Syndey to Cairns is just 10,000 Avios + $17 in taxes for a three hour flight. Many other intra-Australia routes are 4,500 or 7,500 Avios.Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.46.09 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.46.14 PM

Avios are also a good deal on some international routes like Perth to Singapore for only 12,500 Avios + $57. American charges 25,000 miles for the same route.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.49.55 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.49.58 PM

Searching and Booking the Space

AA.com displays Qantas award space and is much easier to search than BA.com. Search on AA.com and then move to BA.com to book with Avios if the deal is better than the deal with American Airlines miles or if you have a glut of British Airways Avios.

Bottom Line

Qantas has eliminated fuel surcharges on one way and roundtrip awards originating in Australia. You can now book one way Avios awards from Australia back to the United States without fuel surcharges.

Avios are also a good choice to book Qantas flights within Australia and on near international routes like to New Zealand or Singapore.

For many people, this change will have no effect because American Airlines awards between the United States and Australia are cheaper than Avios awards and have never had fuel surcharges.

Hat Tip Dan’s Deals

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

I’m on record saying that I don’t think the British Airways devaluation from last month is a big deal. Only Business and First Class awards went up in price, and the vast majority of good Avios redemptions are short, direct, economy awards.

Well there’s another good part of the “devaluation” that I haven’t covered yet: the introduction of cheaper off peak awards on British Airways and Iberia flights. Here’s the new award chart that shows off peak award prices next to peak award prices.

New Award Chart

Off peak awards are only possible on British Airways and Iberia flights. Other partner flights always price at peak level.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.49.32 PM

As a reminder, each British Airways flight on an award has its own price determined by three things: distance, cabin, and whether it is an off peak or peak date.

For distance, the zones are broken down like this:

  1. Up to 650 miles flown
  2. 651 to 1,151 miles flown
  3. 1,152 to 2,000 miles flown
  4. 2,001 to 3,000 miles flown
  5. 3,001 to 4,000 miles flown
  6. 4,001 to 5,500 miles flown
  7. 5,501 to 6,500 miles flown
  8. 6,501 to 7,000 miles flown
  9. 7,001+ miles flown

For a one segment award, read its price off the new award chart above. For an award of two or more segments, read the price of each segment off the above chart and add them up to get the whole award’s price.

What Dates Are Off Peak

British Airways promises that for British Airways flights: “Two thirds of the year is off-peak, including every Tuesday and Wednesday.” Here are the exact dates through April 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.44.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.45.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.45.12 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.45.20 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.45.29 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.45.41 PM

You can find the most up-to-date off peak calendar for British Airways and the separate Iberia off peak calendar here.

Good Deals?

Longhaul

There definitely are some good deals at off peak prices, but not every off peak flight is a good deal.

Longhaul flights have the problem of huge fuel surcharges. For instance, a British Airways flight this summer from New York to London costs 50,000 Avios + $442 in Business Class. Over $400 of that is a fuel surcharge.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.03.41 PM

Considering this award cost only 40,000 Avios one way before the devaluation, and you can book transatlantic Business Class on United flights with various types of Star Alliance miles for 40,000 to 58,000 miles without fuel surcharges, I’d say this isn’t a very good deal.

Better off peak deals are offered on longhaul economy and Premium Economy flights. That same New York to London flight costs only 13,000 Avios + $257 on off peak dates even during the summer. Or you can use Cash & Avios options to pay only 4,550 Avios and $342.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.10.59 PM

British Airways’ Premium Economy, which reminds me of domestic First Class, from New York to London on off peak dates is 26,000 Avios + $257 or 10,400 Avios + $411.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.11.19 PM

The value of longhaul off peak awards is severely hampered by the devaluation of Business and First Class awards last month and by the huge fuel surcharges on longhaul British Airways flights. If you find a longhaul off peak award you love, share it in the comments.

Shorthaul

Shorthaul off peak awards are almost all going to be Reward Flight Saver awards too, offering a better deal on fuel surcharges. Reward Flight Saver flights are Zone 1-4 awards to or from London on British Airways. Instead of paying taxes and fuel surcharges, you pay one flat fee.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.54.42 PM

Notice the fee is cheaper in euros, so you may want to set your Executive Club address to one in continental Europe. I set mine to continental Europe during a recent sale of Avios that was cheapest is euros.

I found award space in economy and Business Class (intra-Europe this is just an economy seat with the seat next to you empty) from London to Istanbul on an off peak date this summer.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.51.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.52.29 PM

The Business Class redemption would cost 17,000 Avios + $34.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.52.08 PM

The economy redemption would cost 8,500 Avios + $24 or 3,400 Avios + $81.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.52.45 PM

I value Avios at 1.7 cents each, so spending 3,400 Avios + $81 is like expending $139 of value for me. That seems like a very good deal from London to Istanbul, which is an almost four hour international flight.

But a quick search shows a low cost carrier offering even cheaper flights near the date I found award space.Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.55.12 PMI think there is more potential for value on shorthaul Avios off peak awards because shorthaul awards are a better value with Avios normally, and Reward Flight Saver awards avoid big fuel surcharges. But the value of shorthaul off peak awards is muted, since so many low cost carriers fly from London to Europe so cheaply.

BA Availability Calendar

Normally searching award space on ba.com is very slow, but when searching for British Airways award space, as you will be doing when hunting for off peak awards, searching is much faster. Click the blue button on your results that says “View calendar of BA availability” instead of clicking day by day to search.

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.05.56 PM The calendar shows award space that you can cross-reference with the off peak calendars above.Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.06.06 PM

Iberia Off Peak

Iberia and British Airways are owned by the same company, and both use Avios as their rewards currency, so it makes sense that Iberia flights can also be booked off peak with British Airways Avios.

The off peak dates for Iberia flights are different. Not every Tuesday and Wednesday is off peak for instance. Selected Iberia off peak dates:

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.55.57 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.56.09 PM

Another difference with Iberia flights is that they do not qualify for the Reward Flight Saver reduction in fees.

I searched Paris to Madird to see how Iberia off peak flights price out.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.06.57 PM

Oddly, ba.com didn’t give the off peak discount at all even though the words “OFF-PEAK” appeared next to the space I selected. Economy was 7,500 Avios and Business 15,000 Avios instead of the off peak prices on British Airways’ chart: 6,500 and 12,750 Avios for a zone 2 redemption. (Another side note: ORY-MAD is 639 miles, so it should be zone 1. Maybe it prices as zone 2 because CDG-MAD is 660 miles, and the whole city is geographically located at CDG for the purposes of Avios zones. But that’s just a guess.)

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.56.29 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 3.56.54 PMCan you get Iberia flights to price at the correct off peak prices? Leave the date, route, and cabin in the comments.

Bottom Line

British Airways’ “devaluation” last month is mostly no big deal. The bad values–longhaul Business and First Class–got worse. The good values–short, direct, economy awards–were untouched.

Simultaneously British Airways introduced off peak awards for Iberia and British Airways flights that lower the cost of an award in each cabin to any destination for eight months out of the year and every single Tuesday and Wednesday. (That’s the off peak calendar for British Airways flights. The Iberia off peak calendar differs substantially.)

These off peak awards will offer some value in some cases though many off peak awards will still be a poor value because of a high Avios price or big fuel surcharges.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

This is the tenth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

Where We Are and Where We’re Going

We’re in the section on redeeming miles. Once you understand how to redeem miles, you’ll understand which miles are right to earn for your travel goals. This post will focus on Delta miles, which are useful for a number of awards especially now that one way awards are allowed and award space has improved in 2015.

Why Collect British Airways Avios?

British Airways Avios are very often the best miles to book short, direct, economy flights.

I like international First Class as much as the next guy, but sometimes I just want to fly from Los Angeles to Hawaii or Hong Kong to Tokyo or Chicago to Dallas.

British Airways Avios are completely different than the other major types of miles like United and American miles.

While most major airline miles are region-based, Avios are distance-based.

Different equals more valuable when it comes to miles because it opens up different types of high value awards.

  • What airlines can you fly with British Airways miles?
  • What are the routing rules for British Airways awards (stopovers, open jaws, free one ways)?
  • What are the special features of the Avios program?
  • How can you book a British Airways award?

Mileage Price

British Airways charges a price for each segment of your award. The number of Avios–BA’s silly name for its miles–is determined by only two things: the distance of the segment and the cabin of the segment.

British Airways increased the number of Avios needed for Business and First Class awards yesterday. Here is the new award chart:

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 1.00.40 PM

If your award is more than one segment, figure out the price of each segment from the chart above and sum the prices of each flight.

The prices for the shortest flights in economy are unbeatable.

Partners

British Airways is a member of oneworld. That means you can use Avios on all these airlines:

  • American Airlines
  • US Airways
  • airberlin
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)
  • Finnair
  • Iberia (Spain)
  • Japan Airlines
  • LAN (Chile and Peru)
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas (Australia)
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines (Russia)
  • SriLankan Airlines
  • TAM Airlines (Brazil)

British Airways also has two partners that are not a part of oneworld. You can also redeem miles to fly these airlines:

  • Aer Lingus (Ireland)
  • Alaska Airlines (Western US, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico)

Routing Rules? What Routing Rules?

You pay a price for each flight depending on its cabin and distance.

Since you are paying for each flight, you can think of each flight as its own award. That means you can combine the individual flights however you want.

Stopovers & Open Jaws

You can stopover after every city on an Avios award if you’d like. You just pay for each segment based on distance and cabin regardless of the length of your stopover.

When each flight has its own price, you can have as many open jaws as you’d like.

Free One Ways

Free one ways are impossible on British Airways awards. There is no way to get a free segment. You pay for each segment based on distance and cabin.

Special Features of the Avios Program

Cash & Avios awards allow you to use fewer Avios by paying more cash for your award. Different awards offer different Cash & Avios prices.

Check out my full Cash & Avios analysis here because sometimes these awards are a phenomenal value.

Taxes, Fees, and Fuel Surcharges

Taxes

British Airways awards require you to pay the government taxes associated with the itinerary.

These start at $5.60 each direction for domestic awards and go up to $300 if you fly to a high tax country. Generally international awards have roundtrip taxes of $50 to $150.

Fees

Phone Fee: There is a fee of $25 per passenger to make a phone booking. Aer Lingus and Alaska Airlines flights have to be booked by phone, and I have had success getting phone agents to waive this fee when I have to book by phone.

Changes: There is a $55 date/time change fee per ticket.

Cancellation: There is a $55 cancellation fee per person to get your Avios redeposited. However, in my experience, if your award had taxes/fuel surcharges of less than $55, British Airways will just keep what you paid out of pocket and give you your miles back. That means that the cancellation fee is effectively $5.60 for a domestic one way award since $5.60 is the total out of pocket on those awards.

Full details on British Airways’ award fees can be found here.

Fuel Surcharges

British Airways collects massive fuel surcharges on almost all partners. Notable exceptions include American Airlines flights within the Western Hemisphere, Alaska Airlines flights, Aer Lingus flights, Niki flights, and airberlin flights.

For full details, check out When Does British Airways Add Fuel Surcharges to Avios Awards?

How to Book British Airways Awards

All partners except Aer Lingus and Alaska Airlines are bookable on ba.com. Here’s how to search ba.com.

Aer Lingus and Alaska Airlines can be booked by calling British Airways at 800-AIRWAYS. Alaska Airlines space can be searched on aa.com before calling. Aer Lingus space can be searched on Expert Flyer before calling.

If you can’t seem to find the award you want for your dream trip, you can hire my Award Booking Service to search and book your British Airways awards, probably as part of a larger trip with other awards using other miles. We have the expertise to search every British Airways partner to maximize convenience and luxury while minimizing out-of-pocket cost.

Bottom Line

British Airways are unbeatable for:

  • short
  • direct
  • economy flights
  • on partners with no fuel surcharges

British Airways Avios complement the other big types of miles, which tend to be better for international premium cabins.

Any questions? What did I leave out?

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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