I've done my fair share of slating British Airways and they've deserved every slice. With that said, Avios currently have excellent niche value, especially on partner redemptions with Qatar, Cathay Pacific, TAM, Qantas, American and Japan Airlines. Taking advantage of distance based awards is by far the smartest way to play Avios. When you combine distance sweet spots with great partners, you open up new cabins, wider routes and of course, the holy grail....less taxes and surcharges.
For anyone that's been hiding under a rock, come April 28th partner award redemptions are going to sky rocket. I highly suggest you book these great values before that tragic day arrives. As you may have picked up, other than European short haul, often the best way to maximize Avios is to not use them on British Airways at all. For bookings made before the 28th of April think distance, think partners. To find your personal sweet spot using partners, simply check the BA distance chart. I personally like using Avios for short haul economy (<1,152 miles each way), or medium long haul business class (<6,500 miles each way) on partners. As always, using miles for premium cabins will increase your cents per mile. Here are a few good uses of Avios on partner airlines...
All Examples are Roundtrip Mileage. For One Way, Simply half the numbers. Starting point can also be flip flopped with destination for the same amount of miles.
London to Doha: 40,000 miles in coach, 80,000 in Qatar Business Class.
Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires: 15,000 miles in coach. 30,000 in Qatar Business Class.
Doha to Dubai: 9,000 miles in coach, 18,000 in Qatar Business Class.
London to Hong Kong: 60,000 miles in coach, 120,000 Business, 180,000 Cathay First.
Hong Kong to Bangkok: 15,000 miles in coach, 30,000 miles in Cathay Business Class.
New York to Vancouver: 25,000 miles in coach, 75,000 miles in Cathay First Class (WOW).
Sinagpore to Hong Kong: 20,000 miles in coach, 40,000 in Cathay Business Class.
Miami to New York: 15,000 miles in coach, 30,000 in American (Non Flat) First Class.
New York to Los Angeles: 25,000 miles in coach, 50,000 in American (Flat) Business Class.
Montreal to New York: 9,000 miles in coach, 18,000 in American (Non Flat) First Class.
London to Tokyo: 60,000 miles in coach, 120,000 in Japan Business class.
Tokyo to Shanghai: 15,000 miles in coach, 30,000 in Japan Business Class.
Los Angeles to Tokyo: 50,000 miles in coach, 100,100 in Japan Business Class
London to Dubai: 40,000 miles in coach, 80,000 in Qantas Business Class.
Sydney to Melbourne: 9,000 miles in coach, 18,000 miles in Qantas Business Class.
New York to Melbourne: 100,000 miles in coach.
As always, when it comes to the execution of booking these awards, consult our Essential Tips For Booking Award Tickets. What I hope this post illustrates is that using the distance chart to your advantage is essential. Look at the mileage calculator to find trips which fall within your ideal mileage.
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