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Note that some of the transfer ratios and mileage costs have changed since this post was published.
We all have our favorite types of airline miles. They become our favorites because they are pretty easy to earn, they offer a comparatively good value for where we want to go, or maybe we are just used to using them and comfortable with the program. For many years now, one of my personal favorite types of miles has been British Airways Avios. That may come as a surprise to some given that Avios have a bad rap due to the fuel surcharges often associated with using them to cross the Atlantic, but they are also still pretty darn valuable for my family via some strategic uses of their distance based award chart.
50% Transfer Bonus to Membership Rewards Through 10/10/2016
Because the American Express Membership Rewards program and cards like The Amex EveryDaySM Preferred Credit Card and The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN are offering a limited time 50% bonus on points transferred from Membership Rewards to the British Airways Avios program through 10/10/2016, I wanted to offer a quick refresher on five of my favorite ways to use Avios, in case one or more of these ways aligns with your travel goals.
Award Flights up to 1,151 miles in distance for Just 7,500 Avios
Within North America, Avios fueled award flights no longer start at 4,500 Avios each way as they did in the past, but you can still get huge value out of flights up to 1,151 miles in distance for just 7,500 Avios. In and around the US you can fly on British Airways partners like American Airlines and Alaska Airlines on routes such as Miami – St. Thomas or Dallas – Las Vegas for just 7,500 Avios and $5 in taxes/fees. That is a fan-tas-tic deal, especially considering there are no close-in booking fees when using Avios.
Flights Within Europe From 4,000 Avios + $24.50
If you want to hop around Europe using Avios you can do so from just 4,000 Avios + $24.50 for an award flight, which can be a great deal at times, and is pretty much never a bad deal. Below is an example of a flight from London – Dublin, but a longer flights such as London – Rome will price starting at the same amount.
West Coast – Hawaii for 12,500 Avios
Even though I’ve never used this redemption myself, the ability to fly nonstop from the West Coast (and as far east as Phoenix) to Hawaii for just 12,500 Avios each way on partners American or Alaska, has a special spot in my Hawaii loving heart.
Most US based programs charge 12,500 miles just to fly within the lower 48, so stretching that all way to Hawaii for flights up to 3,000 miles in distance is pretty incredible in my eyes.
Flight to London on British Airways From 13,000 Avios + $286
You can fly on off-peak dates to London in economy from just 13,000 Avios + $286 from the closest US cities such as Boston. Since there are no close-in booking fees, you can leave as early as the 10:40PM flight tonight for that same price if you are so inclined and enjoy afternoon tea in London by tomorrow. I think that is a very solid overall deal even if there is a cash component to the cost.
Fly Aer Lingus Business Class to Europe from 37,500 Avios
To piggyback on the closest US airport to Europe in the Boston example, you can fly from Boston to Dublin in Aer Lingus business class for just 37,500 Avios + a much smaller amount of taxes/fees than actually flying British Airways and paying their fuel surcharges. Economy flights will run you 12,500 Avios + taxes/fees on that same route. You do need to call British Airways to book Aer Lingus operated award flights.
With the limited time 50% transfer bonus from Amex Membership Rewards to the British Airways Avios program, the normal 250 Membership Rewards = 200 British Airways Avios ratio gets bumped up to a 250 Membership Rewards = 300 British Airways Avios ratio. To put it another way, each Membership Reward points becomes roughly 1.2 Avios in the conversion with the 50% transfer bonus factored in. That may not sound amazing, but it isn’t bad if you are making use of one of the five great uses of Avios I mentioned above. It makes flying nonstop from Phoenix – Honolulu or Boston – Dublin just 10,417 Membership Reward points each way + taxes/fees.
Do you plan to take advantage of the 50% transfer bonus? What are your favorite uses of British Airways Avios for your family?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.