If you fly British Airways or decide to book on Oneworld partner airlines (or non-Oneworld partners like Alaska Airlines and Aer Lingus), you might be able to benefit from the Avios program.
However, it’s important to note that getting straightforward answers about how much your Avios are worth, as well as using an awards chart, can be challenging because British Airways doesn’t make their charts public. However, it’s possible to get a basic idea of how to maximize your Avios when booking travel.
Here’s everything you need to know about the (official and unofficial) Avios award chart to make your travels a success.
What are Avios?
Avios are the loyalty program awards earned when you fly British Airways. It’s also possible to earn Avios from spending using a British Airways co-branded credit card. Depending on the card you use, you can boost the number of Avios you have and use them to purchase awards flights. You can also earn Avios by staying at partner hotels, using certain car rental companies or engaging in other activities designated by British Airways.
It’s also worth noting that British Airways is a transfer partner with American Express and Chase. That means you can transfer your Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards to use for British Airways redemptions. As a result, it’s possible to build up Avios more quickly if you need more rewards in order to book a certain flight.
In turn, Avios can be used to book award flights with Oneworld Alliance airline partners such as Cathay Pacific, Iberia, and many others.
How does British Airways determine the redemption value of their flights?
There is no one set redemption rate for Avios, and trying to figure out exactly how to price out a flight can be difficult. However, there is a British Airways Avios calculator that can help you figure out how much an award flight “costs.” Additionally, when you use their tools to find and book award travel, the results often include options for paying with a combination of cash and Avios. Here are a few things to know about British Airways redemptions.
How BA redemptions are calculated
When calculating redemptions, the following items are used to determine the cost of Avios:
- Distance: The miles included in your trip matter. The distance of your destination will be considered for redemption rates.
- Peak and off-peak times of the year: British Airways also considers the time of year when calculating the value of your Avios. According to their website, two-thirds of the year is considered off-peak. When using the tool to book your travel, you can indicate whether you only want to see off-peak times, if you want to see peak, or if you want to see a mix of the two.
- Class of airfare: Finally, British Airways redemptions account for the cabin you’re booking. Whether you’re in economy or first class makes a difference in how many Avios you need to book an award flight.
Also, be aware that you’ll probably have to pay taxes, fees, and carrier charges, based on the route you fly and the carrier. You’ll see the charges displayed when you go to book, so you’ll be able to see the costs.
Unofficial Avios award chart for British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia
Because British Airways doesn’t publish an Avios award chart anymore, your best bet is to use the British Airways calculator or one of the other booking tools to get the most accurate cost of your flight in Avios.
Here are some basic insights into what you might expect, although you’ll have to actually attempt to book a flight to get the true cost. This chart is based on announcements from British Airways mentioning changes to its program, as well as past published charts.
651 - 1,151
1,152 - 2000
2,001 - 3,000
3,001 - 4,000
4,001 - 5,500
5,501 - 6,500
6,501 - 7,000
Redemptions are for one-way on a per-flight basis
It’s important to understand that redemptions are for one-way trips, on a per-flight basis. While this can make the situation a little more complicated, it also provides you with a great deal of freedom, including the ability to schedule stop-overs or open-jaw trips, which allow you to fly into one city and out of another city.
If you want to get the most out of your Avios redemption, consider looking for flights that fall within the lower-numbered zones in the chart above and arranging for city hops. When combined with other modes of travel (such as trains), especially using cities that might be close together, it’s possible to put together a trip that offers you amazing opportunities to really get to see the sights.
Mixed class trips are charged at the higher class rate
If you take a trip that involves flying in different cabin classes, you’re going to be charged at the higher class rate. Additionally, realize that some flights might be in different zones, despite the flight miles. For example, the Boston to Dublin flight is actually in Zone 5, even though, technically, it should be considered in zone 4.
This is one of the reasons that relying on a crowd-sourced or previously published Avios reward chart might not give you the full picture. Only by using the British Airways calculator, or attempting to make the booking, can you actually see exactly how much an award flight will cost in Avios.
A few more notes on booking flights with Avios
There are a few other things to keep in mind when booking flights with Avios, including:
- In some cases, redeeming Avios for flights in the U.S. can be less expensive than using another Oneworld partner, like American Airlines AAdvantage miles. This might be especially true in first class. Consider comparing your AAdvantage miles cost with the cost of using Avios before you commit to your redemption.
- There can be a lot of fees when booking British Airways flights. These fees include fuel surcharges, taxes, and other costs. If you’re flying Iberia or Aer Lingus, it might be better to transfer points to their loyalty program rather than book through British Airways, which, in some cases, could save your on both Avios and fees, especially on long-haul flights. As always, doing your research and comparing options will get you the most value for your awards.
How to search for and book your flight with Avios
In order to search for and book your flight with Avios, you need to be a member of the British Airways Executive Club program. Go to the website and login. Once you’ve done that, you should be able to use the tools available.
Use the Flight Finder to see what your Avios will get you. It’s an interactive tool that provides some insight into what’s possible, based on the Avios you have. Once you’ve done that, you can use the “Book a reward flight” option to choose your flight and then use your Avios to make the purchase.
The Avios award chart for British Airways partner airlines
Again, since British Airways does not publish an official chart, finding the value of your Avios in terms of what you can get with partner airlines can be challenging. The following crowd-sourced chart takes a look at the approximate number of Avios it takes to book a reward flight on a single carrier. Note also that these are Avios amounts for peak travel. As always, for more accurate information, you will need to log into your British Airways account and see what’s available.
Another consideration is that Zone 1 flights from or within North America cost a little bit more than what’s listed. Instead, you can expect to pay right around 7,500 for a one-way flight in economy and about 15,000 Avios for a first-class flight.
If booking with multiple carriers
Here is a chart for economy class if you book a multi-carrier flight. This is based on numbers officially published by British Airways. As you can see, you’ll have to pay extra in taxes, fees, and carrier charges.
|0-1,500||30,000 Avios + up to $168.05 in taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|1,501-4,000||35,000 Avios + up to $602.96 in taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|4,001-9,000||60,000 Avios + up to $756.29 in taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|9,001-10,000||70,000 Avios + up to $907.19 in taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|10,0001-14,000||90,000 Avios + up to $935.50 in taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|14,001-20,000||100,000 Avios + up to $863.86 in taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|20,001-25,000||120,000 Avios + up to $1,035.86 in taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
|25,001-35,000||140,000 Avios + up to $274.55 in taxes, fees, and carrier charges|
The Avios award chart above is for economy travel, and British Airways doesn’t provide pricing information for flight miles on trips beyond 35,000 miles. For other classes, you would see the following increase in the amount of Avios needed:
- Premium economy = 1.5X
- Business class = 2X
- First class - 3X
The fees paid would also increase on a sliding scale, and the amount of those fees would be presented to you upon booking, before you make the final decision to check out.
Are partner redemptions worth it?
Depending on the situation, it might be worth it to use these partner redemptions to book free flights or even upgrade.
For most partners, you can book directly online with other Oneworld carriers. This makes it a little easier to book your flights or determine whether it’s better to use Avios or loyalty points. British Airways partners Alaska Airlines and Aer Lingus are not Oneworld alliance members, so you have to call customer service if you want to use your Avios. When going this route, it’s best to look for flights ahead of time and come prepared with options.
The bottom line on how to read the Avios award chart
Even though British Airways no longer publishes its official awards charts, there are a lot of different charts that can be used to determine their value, mainly because there are so many options for Avios redemptions with partners. Still, because British Airways has different redemption rates depending on destination, origin, time of year, and other factors, it can be difficult to get completely accurate information from award charts.
However, because of the tools provided by British Airways, it’s possible to try out different redemption scenarios to see what might work best. In some cases, long flights might not provide the best value due to the associated high fees and charges. You might be better off putting together an itinerary that includes short to medium legs (and enjoying the scenery while you’re at those stops).
If you decide to use Avios so you can book flights on British Airways and its partners, you can earn them quickly, and improve flexibility, by using a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points or getting a card that offers American Express Membership points. Because these points can be transferred to Avios, you have a great deal of flexibility.
The bottom line is: Use awards charts to get a rough idea of what you need to get what you want, but realize you’ll need to actually try out some different flights and combinations on the British Airways website in order to see the final results.