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I’ve made no secret about the fact that I really like British Airways Avios as a secondary mileage program. United is my primary program mainly due to my location and the excellent redemption options on Star Alliance partners using United miles. However, Avios are incredibly helpful and valuable for some other short distance hops that can be done on British Airways partners such as American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. You can read about my favorite uses for Avios here, but now you can add one more good use for my friends who live in the Houston area.
American Airlines has announced a few new routes, including nonstop service between Houston Bush Intercontinental and JFK in New York City. Since Avios are by far the most valuable on nonstop routes, as they charge per segment, this is great news! It is also great news because sometimes it can be tough to get a good fare between Houston and one of the NYC airports – especially for very short trips. This will also allow for inexpensive positioning flights if you wish to depart on an international journey from one of the New York area airports and can’t get there using points on your international trip.
You should be able to book this new route beginning today (12/23/12) for service starting on 4/2/13. While there isn’t an easy to read official Avios award chart, this route comes in at 10,000 Avios each way, or 20,000 round trip.
That makes it a less expensive points option than American Airlines, Delta, United, etc. that would all typically cost at least 25,000 points/miles round trip for an award ticket. What makes it an even better deal is that there are periodic transfer bonuses from American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios. I transferred a bunch of my Membership Reward points to British Airways during a 50% transfer bonus earlier this year, so that means that a round trip from Houston to JFK would effectively just cost me a little under 14,000 Membership Reward points.
It is good to stay on top of new routes to/from your home airport as new routes can open up award options that might not have been there before. You can read about some of the other newly announced routes on American here. If you want to take advantage of this or another Avios opportunity, remember that there is currently a 30% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios that is available from accounts such as the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card or Amex Mercedes Benz Platinum card until 1/14/13. There is also a sign-up offer for the British Airways Visa (now expired) available that offers up to 100,000 Avios (the first 50,000 points come easily after just $1,000 in spending, but the second 50,000 to require significantly more spending).
I’m sure I will take advantage of this points option at some point in the future – always great to have more options.
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