a bed with a pillow and a purse on it

If the way you’re cashing in isn’t on here, you might want to think twice about cashing in your Acvios…

British Airways Avios are the key to unlocking borderline free flights, upgrades, total luxury or just a whole lot of savings. But when and how you decide to cash them in can make a huge difference in whether or not you’ve gotten the most out of your hard earned frequent flyer points.

To get the most out of your precious British Airways Avios, we suggest using them for one of these great options in 2019. And if after reading this you need to earn a few more, check out these 23 ways to earn Avios every single day, without even flying…

a white airplane flying in the skyCover Short Expensive Flights Worldwide On Partners

People don’t realize that you can use Avios points on Cathay Pacific, American, Japan Airlines, Qantas, Finnair, Iberia and more.

Starting at just 4,500 points in many regions, you can score one way flights up to 650 miles in actual distance. A flight like Melbourne to Sydney would cost just 4,500 points and $10 one way, regardless of the cash price for the flights. Same would work in Japan, China, Europe, US and beyond, paying no more than 7,500 points for a one way flight.

This is a gem to save big when you want to move around a destination without adding to the trip expense.

Upgrade From Premium Economy To Business Class

Buying Premium Economy tickets makes more sense than ever. And when you do, it enables you to use British Airways Avios to upgrade to the next cabin – Club World. Starting at just 20,000 points one way and hardly any extra cash at all, you can turn a great premium economy deal into a stunning business class trip, enjoying flat beds the whole way.

Do note: British Airways have recently added some surcharges for upgrades departing in the USA, so it’s better to upgrade from Europe to the USA than the other way around. Cheers.

Finding these upgrades is easy, and almost always represents fantastic value.

the inside of a planeLong Haul First Class Flights On British Airways Or Partners

Believe it or not, we’re living in a time where business class is more accessible than ever. British Airways charges up to £500 in surcharges when you cash in for business class, in addition to Avios points. Since we regularly see fares hover down to £1000 these days, it’s not as knockout value as it once was.

First class however is always expensive, so even with £500 in surcharges added, it’s still a great way to make your points memorable and get bang for your buck.

Any time you’re enjoying grand cru champagne in the skies, life is good.

Around The World On Partner Airlines With A Hidden Chart

British Airways charges by segment for most flights. In other words, every flight you add will costs extra points, even connections! But if you use two or more different partner airlines, you gain access to a special chart for using points, which doesn’t care how many flights – just how far.

Two or more means a trip that includes perhaps… Cathay, JAL and Qantas. Or British Airways, American and Finnair. This is such a cool way to use points!

200,000 points would take you around the world in business class on great airlines like Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, American and more. You can add in connections, stops and tons of flexibility, which using Avios any other way wouldn’t give you.

a city by the waterOn Iberia Business Class For Just 25,000 Points To USA

Iberia regularly run 25% off sales for booking flights using Iberia Avios. You can instantly convert your British Airways Avios to Iberia Avios, if you have activity in both programs. A simple Amex points transfer to Iberia would kick off Iberia activity.

Once your Avios are in place, during a sale you can pay as little as 25,000 points and $150 for a one way business class fight to or from America, and just 64,000 points round trip to South Africa in business!

That’s an incredible steal, without a doubt!

One Way Flights In Any Cabin From No Surcharge Countries

It’s illegal to charge surcharges in some countries, which makes them excellent places to use points! Goodbye £500 surcharges, in addition to points!

Places such as Hong Kong, South Korea and others will often strip any surcharges from flights, so if you can get to one of these places, they are ideal candidates for cashing in points for a ticket back to London, or wherever you’d like British Airways to fly you!

To be ultra clear, this only works for booking a one way ticket starting from one of these low surcharge countries, not “to” one of them.

a bed with pillows and a purse on itEasy Upgrades From Business To First Class

Sometimes you’ve just gotta live a little bit. $130 a bottle champagne and $200 a bottle scotch, in the comfort of an exclusive cabin certainly counts!

If your work books you into business class, or you score an amazing deal in business class, upgrading to first can be a breeze. You won’t need to pay virtually any extra cash on flights departing Europe, and you’ll simply part ways with some points.

The longer the flight the better. First is a celebration, and Avios can be your ticket.

With A 2 For 1 Voucher In Business Or First

If you live in the UK or the US, you can earn a 2 for 1 voucher after spending on your credit card. If you earn tons of Avios points, spending the voucher for two first class tickets still represents easily one of the best ways to redeem points.

Go somewhere far, preferably warm and beautiful and in first class for half the points of anyone else. There’s a lot to love. If not, go business class, where there’s still a lot to love. You’ll get particularly good value if you use it for business class to destination which don’t regularly feature cheap sales, like Tokyo – which is never on sale!

Here are a few tricks to maximize your voucher.

a group of currency bills and coinsIn Lieu Of Any Expensive Last Minute Flight

This is general advice, but it can be the most valuable. Last minute flights, especially long haul international flights can be insanely expensive. Using Avios points however, you can seriously curb the costs of an unexpected trip.

Let this simply serve as a reminder that it’s worth looking at points options before forking over your dough. Last minute availability on British Airways and their partner airlines can be truly excellent, so give it a hard look before booking an expensive flight.

12,500 Avios One Way Flights Between US To Hawaii

Hawaii flights have been on sale lately, but in general they’re one of the most expensive tickets from the USA. For just 12,500 points one way, you can jet off from Los Angeles and other West Coast gateways to Hawaii on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines. 25,000 Avios round trip will always get you more than 1.5 cents per point of value, and often, triple that. Can’t beat it!

a seat with a screen on itBonus: Cover Part Of The Cash Cost Of A Flight

No one will tell you this is the best way to spend points. It’s generally not very good at all – but if you’re the type of person who will never have enough for a glamorous flight, and don’t use your points for short flights, it’s better than nothing.

British Airways allows you to apply points toward the cash cost of any ticket, which can help turn a $500 ticket into a $350 ticket. This can help offset vacation costs and help keep money in your pocket.

What’s your favourite way to spend Avios Points?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. The BA two-for-one voucher on Amex makes Avios worthwhile despite issues with the quality of the airline. London to HK in First, Tokyo to London in Business and a Cathay Business flight between them, for two people, at around 200k points plus surcharges feels like great value.

    London to Moscow return in flat-bed Business for 33k plus minimal charges is also terrific,

  2. Are you sure about South Korea having no surcharges? Just priced up a one-way back to London on BA in F and it seems to be £215.

    I thought it was just HK and Brazil where these surcharges were outlawed? A one-way back to London from these places normally have taxes around £30 each

  3. Great suggestions for using up Avios before defection to a quality airline that offers some diginty to their customers BA have simply gone too far on cost cutting and their attitude when things go wrong (as they do for all airlines) is amongst the worst inc. compared to the low costs.

  4. Well it doesn’t seem to be worthwhile if you are looking to upgrade WTP to BC. I have 4 flights booked so far this year and every one has “no availability” to upgrade with Avios but BA will upgrade every flight for cash!

  5. I cant see how you make it round the world using 200k avios. any trip rtw is > 20k miles
    and according to the table you need 240k avois then. Also how do I book this?
    Only option seems to call BA.

  6. Great article thank you.
    I struggle with this because every time i look at using points on a BA flight from England to Europe or Long Haul the cost of the surcharge plus the points is more than i can buy the flight for using straight forward cash, and booking a free flight I understand does not give you tier points either 🙁

  7. Every time I have tried to use avios I’ve found the surcharges a bit less than the cash price, so end up paying cash. Why collect useless avios?!

    1. Mainly because these opportunities are centered around lower surcharges and involve partner airlines or ways to minimize the surcharges. It’s not the best loyalty program, but it’s very solid if you use these options.

  8. This all sounds wonderful until one realises that the agreement between BA and CX (cue finger pointing) is only useful If redemption seats using Avios are available. I am finding it impossible to find a seat on any of CX 10 daily flights HKG-SIN in economy or business for the month of October, November, December and January. The Avios site requires clicking on each day individually (rather than a calendar view provided by QF) so this has been time consuming and unrewarding (pun intended).

  9. Great article. I have around 100.000 points that I have to use within the next 2 months unless I pay to extend them. I am flying out of Copenhagen. Seems like no matter where I want to go, the surcharges almost exceed what I can buy a regular ticket for. Any good suggestions?

  10. I suggest Lars Norwegian Air to fly either to the USA then use them on American Airlines to visit the Caribbean, Central America or South America. He could instead fly on it to Thailand and explore Asia . Good luck.

    I am doing the first option to the Caribbean to see two of the islands.

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