5 Best Ways to Redeem British Airways Avios

Partner airlines and short flights are great ways to get the most from your British Airways Avios.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 
Updated
Edited by Giselle M. Cancio

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Despite the British Airways Avios program being based in London, U.S. travelers shouldn't ignore the power of the British Airways Executive Club. Some of the best ways to redeem British Airways Avios include domestic U.S. flights and flights departing the U.S. for international destinations.

Even better, you don't need to fly British Airways or its partners to collect Avios to take advantage of these sweet spots.

U.S. cardholders can transfer points to British Airways from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards®, Capital One miles and Marriott Bonvoy. Check out some credit cards for earning points transferrable to Avios below.

Here's a look at the best ways to redeem British Airways Avios for U.S.-based travelers.

1. Short-haul domestic flights from 8,250 Avios

The best use of Avios inside the U.S. is for short, nonstop flights on British Airways partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. You'll only have to redeem 8,250 Avios if you book a nonstop under 650 miles long.

That might not sound far, but this sweet spot covers hundreds of flights — including between cities that wouldn't be fun to drive between.

For example, driving from Birmingham, Alabama, to Washington, D.C., can take over 11 hours. Instead, you can book a two-hour flight from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) for 8,250 Avios plus $5.60 in taxes and fees. And some days have excellent award availability.

West Coast flyers can spend Avios on Alaska Airlines flights under 650 miles for the same 8,250-Avios rate.

For example, save yourself the 11-hour drive between Portland, Oregon, and Salt Lake City by booking a hop on Alaska's nonstop flight for 8,250 Avios plus the minimum $5.60 in taxes and fees. You can even score this rock-bottom price during ski season.

2. Flights to Mexico, the Bahamas and the Caribbean from 8,250 Avios

British Airways' short-haul sweet spot isn't limited to domestic U.S. flights. As long as you keep the flight under 650 miles, you can fly American or Alaska to international destinations for 8,250 Avios.

This pricing is almost exclusively limited to short flights from Miami to the Bahamas, the Caribbean or Mexico's Cancun and Cozumel. For example, Miami-based travelers can hop over to Cancun for 8,250 Avios plus $48.23 in taxes and fees. Or splurge for business class on the same flight for 16,500 Avios plus $48.23 in taxes and fees. It also works in reverse.

It doesn't cost many more Avios to fly farther. American and Alaska award flights up to 1,151 miles in distance cost 11,000 Avios. That expands this sweet spot to include dozens more flights from American Airlines' East Coast hubs to Mexico, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

West Coast flyers can use American Airlines and Alaska Airlines routes to Mexico — such as Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas.

3. U.S. West Coast to Hawaii from 16,000 Avios

Mexico or the Caribbean not calling your name? How about flying to Hawaii for 16,000 Avios each way. That's the rate when using Avios for American and Alaska award nonstop flights between 2,001 and 3,000 miles.

That distance is far enough to cover dozens of American and Alaska flights from the West Coast to the 50th state. You can stretch this distance band nearly to its max by flying between Phoenix and Honolulu for 16,000 Avios plus $5.60 in taxes and fees.

4. U.S. East Coast to Ireland from 13,000 Avios

Looking for an excuse to pull out your passport? You can redeem as few as 13,000 British Airways Avios for Aer Lingus flights between the U.S. Northeast and Ireland.

For example, you can fly from Boston to Dublin for just 13,000 Avios each way. Unlike British Airways-operated flights, these awards have reasonable taxes and fees of around $116 one way.

During off-peak dates, you can splurge for lie-flat business class on Aer Lingus for 50,000 Avios plus $137 in taxes and fees one-way. That's one of the cheapest options to fly to Ireland in business class.

Peak dates — which vary from year to year — are a bit more expensive but still quite reasonable. To fly from New York to the west coast of Ireland (Shannon Airport), it's 20,000 Avios each way in economy or 60,000 Avios each way in business class.

5. Business class to Europe from 34,000 Avios

The cheapest way to fly business class to Europe — and one of the best sweet spots in points and miles — is by redeeming 34,000 British Airways Avios to fly business class between the U.S. East Coast and Spain.

Previously, travelers needed to transfer British Airways Avios to Iberia Plus to get this incredible deal. However, in 2022, British Airways slashed both the Avios price and out-of-pocket cost on this redemption.

Now you redeem 34,000 British Airways Avios and pay $129.50 for a one-way business class award to Europe, easily making this one of the best Avios redemptions available.

More tips for redeeming Avios

We've highlighted five of the best ways to redeem British Airways Avios for U.S.-based travelers. But this is far from an exhaustive list. The thing to remember when trying to maximize British Airways Avios redemptions is to find shorter nonstop flights on British Airways and its Oneworld alliance partners.

Intra-Europe flights on British Airways from 3,250 Avios

The cheapest British Airways Avios redemptions are between London and nearby European destinations. When going through the booking process, you will be presented with preset Avios price options that include a combination of Avios and cash. You can redeem as few as 3,250 Avios to offset the cash price for these flights.

For a flight from London to Amsterdam, the option to redeem 3,250 Avios comes with a $76 cash price. The cash price reduces the value on these redemptions, so you're typically better off with another option.

This same flight has the option to use 5,250 Avios plus $31. By using 5,250 Avios instead of 3,250, you're essentially using 2,000 additional Avios to save $45. NerdWallet values Avios points at 1 cent each, so this 2.25 cent redemption is over double the typical valuation.

Book shorter distance flights in business class

British Airways’ distance-based award chart generally charges a substantial premium for longer business and first class awards. However, business class awards can be a reasonable upgrade on shorter flights. Some examples of where you might want to splurge include:

  • Miami to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, in American Airlines business class for 33,000 Avios plus $118.40 in taxes and fees round trip.

  • Hong Kong to Seoul, South Korea, in Cathay Pacific business class for 32,500 Avios plus $69.20 each way.

Fly between regions in close proximity

Take further advantage of British Airways' mileage-based award chart by crossing neighboring geographic regions. When you book these awards via mileage programs with a region-based award chart, you typically have to pay a substantial premium.

For example, a flight from Amman, Jordan, to Tunis, Tunisia, is classified as a Middle East to Africa award through American Airlines’ AAdvantage program. That means you'll have to pay 30,000 miles in economy or 55,000 miles in business class.

Booking the same ticket through British Airways would cost 11,000 British Airways Avios in economy or 22,000 Avios in business class. That's an incredible deal for a four-hour flight.

Cards for earning Avios
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Annual fee

$95

$95

$395

$695

Welcome offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

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Final thoughts on the best Avios redemptions

Avios is a powerful award currency and can go far — if used right.

In general, long-haul flights on British Airways aren't a good deal due to the high taxes and fees. Instead, focus on redeeming Avios for short- or medium-distance flights in business class on partner airlines and on short flights between geographic regions.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

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