The ULTIMATE GUIDE To Maximizing British Airways AVIOS For Free Flights, Upgrades + Partners...


It's high time that a landing page existed on the internet where everything you could possibly want to know about using British Airways Avios (miles) was in one place. After all, we don't want to use our miles, we want to maximize them. Here, in one place, for your viewing pleasure, we have what I assure you is the best guide to using Avios that has (or will ever) exist on the internet...

The Elevator Pitch For Maximizing Avios...

British Airways has a monkey wrench thrown into their Avios program in the form of high tax and surcharges added to most flights. That negates a lot of the value of using miles on long haul flights in economy or premium economy, where you pay nearly the cost of a cash ticket just in surcharges, and you still cough up a lot of miles! To maximize Avios, you generally want to use them where there are low or no taxes, such as flights within Europe, on longer flights in top first and business class cabins for aspirational seats, or on partners, with whom surcharges are not collected...

Let's Start With Short Haul Flights On British Airways Or Partners, They Can Be AMAZING Value...

At just 4,500 miles (Avios) one way, you can save an actual fortune on any flight under 650 miles in distance. Many of the shortest routes around the world, like London to Paris, New York to Washington, Tokyo to Kyoto are unfortunately not the cheapest, and when faced with a $500+ one way, or the opportunity to cough up just 4,500 miles.... no brainer. These 4,500 mile (Avios) options also work like a nearly free stopover to a nearby city on a vacation, allowing you to pop around to more cities, just 4,500 miles at a time. The next distance, the 7,500 mile one ways, and 15,000 mile round trips, which cover up to 1,152 miles in distance each way, are also very worthwhile, like New York to Miami...

For The Big Collectors, Get Aspirational, Go For Long Haul First Class Off Peak...

British Airways "Off Peak" rates, which make themselves known when searching, are one of their only remaining decent values for long haul flights, requiring less miles than dates that don't explicitly say "off Peak". It's easier to stomach hundreds in surcharges when you're getting a ticket worth many thousands, so using Avios for long haul first or business class, on particularly far, or rarely discounted routes is fantastic. Since almost all of you are inevitably now about to launch into your pitch about how you can never find seats, we have a great guide for that HERE

Partners Offer Better Seats And They Don't Even Require Surcharges!

Though you won't get "Off Peak" rates, which are only for British Airways flights, you can unlock some incredible flying experiences on the worlds best airlines, with virtually no cash outlay. Just the miles. Medium long distances are where the Avios value still shines. For flights under 2,000 miles (up to about 4.5 hours of flying), they only require 40,000 miles one way for First Class or 20,000 in Business. To answer your next question, you can search partners on BritishAirways.com, on any route where partners fly. You'll see their availability directly below any British Airways offerings and can book most partners online. It's the same exact search...

Upgrades From Premium Economy To Business, Or Business To First Are Still Solid Options...

The days of 10,000 mile upgrades to the next cabin are gone, but for 20,000-22,000 miles, you can find yourself experiencing far more comfort. There is no cash co pay for upgrades from Premium to Business or Business to First (unlike Economy to Premium) so you can simply part ways with a few miles to make the move. To find space, just look for seats using miles in the next cabin on your booked flight. If there's seats using miles, there are seats for upgrade. 

For An Epic Trip, Combine At LEAST Two Partners To Unlock A Hidden Chart For Using Avios...

OneWorld (the alliance British Airways belongs to) has a separate chart for long haul flights over certain distances which use two or more OneWorld Airlines. Think like Qantas, Cathay and British Airways in one booking with miles (which you now know you can search on British Airways website). You'll save a lot of miles and get free stopovers if you're planning a mega trip, so if you are, check out this handy post of ours which details all the...details, how, why, booking, etc.

If None Of These Fit Your Plans, Sit Tight And Buy Cheap Tickets (Earn More Miles)...

There are so many ways to earn miles be it from credit card, flying, online shopping, getting a magazine subscription and if none of the ways to "spend em" right now work for you, just keep earning. Every time you earn you extend the expiration date. We're seeing lower fares than (almost ever) and certainly the best within the last ten years, so be on the lookout for the next business or economy deal, which may net you a huge new stash, or the next great rewards credit card which can double your balance.