Book US Airways Operated Flights Via British Airways Avios for 4,500+ Miles!

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I have mixed feelings on US Airways official arrival to the oneworld alliance effective today, but since my personal thoughts on it don’t matter one tiny bit, I plan to focus on some of the upsides of this new marriage.  Specifically, this means that we can take advantage of the British Airways Avios distance based chart to snag some killer deals on some US Airways operated flights the same way we have been doing with American Airlines and Alaska operated flights for a couple of years.

For those not familiar with this sometimes killer deal, the British Airways Avios chart is distanced based, so short flights require as few as 4,500 miles each way.  Longer flights will price higher, and those with connections will charge per segment.  This means the trick is to use Avios for short and/or medium distanced flights that don’t require connections.  You can now book US Airways operated flights on the British Airways website!  The trick will be that there has to be availability with US Airways at the saver level for British Airways to be able to secure the award flights.

Here are a few examples of what should be available via British Airways Avios (prices in Avios one-way):

Charlotte – New Orleans 4,500

Charlotte – Houston 7,500

Charlotte – Toronto 4,500

Charlotte – Montreal 7,500

Charlotte – St. Croix 10,000

Charlotte – St. Kitts 10,000

Charlotte – Cancun 7,500

Charlotte – Grand Cayman 7,500

Charlotte – St. Thomas 10,000

Charlotte – Montego Bay 10,000

Philadelphia – Aruba 10,000

Philadelphia – Chicago 7,500

Philadelphia – Halifax 7,500

Philadelphia – Nashville 7,500

Philadelphia – Nassau 7,500

Phoenix – Boise 7,500

Phoenix – Calgary 10,000

Phoenix – Dallas 7,500

Phoenix – Honolulu 12,500

Phoenix – Houston 7,500

Phoenix – Kahuiui 12,500

Phoenix – Kauai 12,500

Phoenix – Las Vegas 4,500

Phoenix – Puerta Vallarta 7,500

Phoenix – Salt Lake City 4,500

Phoenix – San Diego 4,500

Phoenix – Vancouver 10,000

Many of these routes would be 12,500 or more miles each way using either AA or US miles, so being able to get so many routes for 4,500, 7,500, 0r 10,000 Avios each way is pretty great.  Heck, having another city (Phoenix) that you can leave from to get to the Hawaiian islands for just 12,500 Avios is really great since it would be 20,000 each way via US miles!

Book US with Avios

Charlotte – Grand Cayman for 7,500 Avios!

A few tips when searching for availability on BA using US operated flights:

  • First check availability via the US Airways website
  • Select “non-stop” flights operated by US only when searching on the US Airways website (assuming you just want non-stop options which will be the cheapest in Avios).
  • Look for the light blue colored dates which indicate saver availability on the calendar.
  • Then enter those dates to search on the British Airways website to search and book flights using Avios.
  • US Saver availability is often not great, so the more flexibility you have with dates the better.

US Airways with Avios Bookings

Booking via Avios also has some “hidden” benefits over booking via AA or US.  A few of those include:

  • No close-in booking fees
  • No online cancellation fee – just lose the taxes that you paid for the flight which is often $5 – $10 for domestic flights.
  • Just a $40 change fee – which is much lower than many other airlines (of course, you could potentially just cancel and rebook for even less)
  • It also gives you Priority AAccess with AA operated flights, time will tell if it does anything similar with US flights.

How to Earn Avios:

If British Airways Avios all the sudden sound pretty solid for your travel plans, there are lots of ways to earn them.

British Airways Visa Signature® Card  – this card gives 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 within the first three months.  In addition to the bonus miles from the sign-up bonus, you earn 1.25 points per dollar charged on the card.

Chase Ultimate Rewards – Since British Airways is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, that means that the points you get from the sign-up bonus, everyday spending, and points earned via the online Ultimate Rewards shopping portal with the Ink Plus® Business Card, Ink Bold® Business Card, or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can transfer 1:1 to British Airways.

American Express Membership Rewards – British Airways is also a transfer partner of the Membership Rewards program at a 1:1 ratio, however for the last few years there have been several transfer bonuses as high as 50% from MR to BA.  That would mean that if you are transferring 50,000 Membership Reward points during a 50% bonus, you end up with 75,000 Avios.  This is how I have racked up most of my Avios.  Some eligible cards for Membership Rewards transfers include American Express(R) Premier Rewards Gold Card, the new Amex Everday Preferred, or the Mercedes Benz Platinum Amex.

Starwood Preferred Guest Amex – The SPG program allows you to transfer SPG points to Avios at a rate of 20,000 SPG points to 25,000 Avios.  You don’t need a credit card to earn SPG points – you can do it via the SPG program.  Personally I love my SPG points for use at SPG hotels, but this is technically an option.

Shopping:  Like many airlines and hotels, there is an online e-shopping portal that you can use to shop at retailers like, JCrew, Home Depot, Nordstroms, and more.

I’m excited that on oneworld Alliance Day 1 for US Airways, US operated flights are already bookable online via British Airways Avios!  Which routes will you be trying to lock up on Avios?


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  1. […] This news has been making its way around the travel blogs like crazy. I am so, so excited by this development. I frequently fly from Washington, DC > Pittsburgh, and since US Airways pretty much has a monopoly on that route, flights can be very, very expensive ($400+ for just a 30 minute flight). I checked flights for some weekends I plan to travel to Pittsburgh this spring and summer, and Avios availability seems to be plentiful! So excited to have this redemption opportunity! […]


  1. I booked our summer trip to Florida from DCA. BA website is a bit buggy, though. Availability was uneven; we’re flying into FLL and out of MCO.

  2. This is such fantastic news for me. I’ve been swimming in Avios points for a while. I live in Washington, DC but my family is still in Pittsburgh, so I travel between DC and Pittsburgh at least a half dozen times per year. US Airways always charges ridiculous fares for this route, and they’re pretty much the only ones that operate it, unless I want to travel an hour to Baltimore’s airport to get cheaper flights on Southwest. So I’ll definitely be using this option for DCA-PIT!

  3. Al, I think you will find more deals of this nature our of NY on AA operated metal since it is their hub, though you can do the US Airways shuttle between New York and Boston or Washington DC for just 4,500 Avios each way. LGA – PHL or CLT is also just 4,500 Avios each way.
    Rachel, here I am talking about booking US Airways operated flights with Avios. Is that what you mean, or do you really mean the opposite and booking British Airways awards with US Airways miles? Due to fuel surcharges I don’t think that route would often be all that great, but if that is what you mean let me know.
    Elena, BA is a bit buggy all the time, sadly. Calling can be a good option when the website really isn’t cooperating. Glad you got it to work though!

  4. I must be missing something. I tried a BA search ATL-SAN. USAir showed light blue 5/8 and 5/13. BA did not turn up anything. All I keep getting is a red message – “We are unable to find seats for your journey”

    Am I doing something wrong?

  5. Gettothepoints, well there isn’t a direct US Airways flight between those two points. You can connect in PHX on US or DFW on AA, but both will increase the price. On your outbound there is light blue availability, but when you look closer it takes three flights to get there so BA simply isn’t pulling it up. You may be able to get them to book that over the phone, but I highly doubt you would want to. Coming back you can do it with just a connection at DFW on AA. Regardless though, a transcon flight will end up costing more in Avios than booked via AA or US due to the distance, so unless you just have Avios to burn or there is a transfer bonus, that isn’t the type of flight I would look to book via Avios.

  6. MP, thank you for confirming this benefit is now available! I am extremely excited — I have a dwindling US miles balance, mostly still left over from the last Grand Slam (I know, I know, earn and burn — working on it). I do a lot of flying from my local airport in South Carolina, and while I can drive to Charlotte to take advantage of great US metal redemptions, there are two 4,500 sweet spots from my home airport: DCA and PHL. I’d like to build my Avios balance so I can reduce that redemption cost from 20k miles as a US cardholder to 9k Avios.

    I do have something like 40k Avios from an Amex MR transfer bonus, and I encouraged my parents, who could meet the higher spending for the 100k BA Visa offer, to get the card (their first mileage card!) in December. They added me as an authorized user for emergency use, and I linked us to a household account so I could help them utilize their miles.

    Do you think my recent addition as an authorized user would affect my chances at approval for the BA Visa with the 50k offer? The spending requirement is doable, and I know I’d get a lot of travel out of those miles. Also possibly relevant is that I’m young but with a good credit history — mid-700s — age of accounts is low because I’m young, but I have four Chase cards (one dating back to 2011) with a combined limit of $19,500, and have been planning to cancel the IHG Rewards Card. Have not applied for a Chase (or any other) card since the United Explorer 50k offer in November or so. I have never had to adjust credit lines to be approved for a card, but would be happy to close IHG and shift credit from my Sapphire if needed.

    Given the above information, do you think I should try for the BA card? There have been others on my list — my UR balance is low and have been considering an Ink card — but the spending requirements are higher and all in all, Avios would serve my needs the best right now.

    Thanks, as always! Sorry to hijack this great post!

  7. Chum, I’m sure there are. Just guessing I’m betting they are to their hubs. I would play around on their website.
    Amanda, being AU won’t impact getting your own card, so I say go for it if you know you will get good value for your Avios….which it sounds like you will. That said, the Ink is also very good, but if you want Avios right now then BA card is a good way to get them.

  8. Hi, do you know why CLT is not showing up on the BA website? I am looking for paid flights, not freeL Either to San Francisco (SFO) or Sofia, Bulgaria (SOF). AA website sees the flights and even those operated by BA

    I am still debating whether to get CITI AAdvantage Platinum or Chase British Airways CC.

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