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Avios are the shared award currency of a group of international airlines that includes British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Qatar. Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to Avios at a 1:1 ratio, making them an attractive option for U.S.-based flyers.
Travelers looking for great uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards should specifically take a look at the British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus programs. From short flights within the U.S. to flights to Hawaii and even business class to Europe, excellent sweet spots are found scattered throughout the Avios partner airlines.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Avios sweet spots to consider
1. Fly within the U.S. for just 7,500 points each way
British Airways doesn't publish an award chart for partner flights. However, award flights on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines within the U.S. are priced as follows based on actual searches by NerdWallet.
Note: British Airways uses higher award rates for its lowest distance tier (1-650 miles) when flown within North America. If you book partner Avios reward bookings outside the U.S., you can pay as few as 6,000 Avios for routes under 650 miles.
For flights within the U.S., you can pay just 7,500 Avios for American or Alaska award flights up to 650 miles. With the 1:1 transfer ratio and required increments of 1,000 points, you need to transfer 8,000 Chase points to British Airways to book one of these award flights.
While 650 miles might not sound very far, from Chicago-O'Hare, you could fly to major cities and airports including Washington-National, Charlotte, Atlanta, Baltimore-Washington and Toronto.
2. Fly lie-flat business class for as few as 16,500 Avios each way
American Airlines will sometimes operate its internationally configured aircraft on select domestic routes. That means you can try some of American's best business-class seats on flights within the U.S., and you can use British Airways or Iberia Avios to book these seats for a very reasonable rate.
Business-class awards cost just 16,500 Avios each way on routes up to 1,150 miles. That includes the following routes on which American uses internationally configured aircraft for some flights:
Charlotte to Miami.
Dallas-Fort Worth to Miami.
New York-JFK to Miami.
Miami to Philadelphia.
To get the 16,500 Avios needed to book a one-way business-class award on these routes, you’ll need to transfer 17,000 Chase points to Avios due to the requirement to transfer points in 1,000-point increments. When searching for flights on British Airways’ site, click on the flight number to bring up a screen showing the flight details. To get the best American Airlines business class seats, look for an aircraft type of either 777 or 787.
3. Flights to Hawaii from 26,000 points round-trip
Another favorite domestic Avios sweet spot is flights between the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii. For nonstop flights under 3,000 miles each way, British Airways and Iberia charge just 13,000 Avios each way for an economy award. That means a round trip can be booked for 26,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when transferred to Avios.
Between American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, there are dozens of routes under 3,000 miles in distance that you can book at this rate. This includes routes between Hawaii and:
4. Fly business class to Europe for just 34,000 points one-way
We saved the best for last. Iberia Plus’ distance-based award chart offers business-class awards between the U.S. and Europe for as few as 34,000 Avios each way. The catch: You need to fly during off-peak dates, and the flight must be less than 4,000 miles each way. That includes Iberia’s routes between:
Boston and Barcelona.
Boston and Madrid.
New York and Barcelona.
New York and Madrid.
You'll need to transfer 34,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Avios to book a one-way award in business class. Or you can transfer 68,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to get enough for a round trip in business class.
Chicago to Madrid clocks in at over 4,200 miles. That means awards should cost 42,500 Avios each way in business class on off-peak dates, based on its award chart. However, Chicago-based flyers are in luck: Iberia only charges 34,000 Avios each way on this route as well.
» Learn more: How to redeem British Airways Avios for maximum value
How to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to Avios
Many Chase credit cards earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. However, not all Chase Ultimate Rewards points are treated equally. In order to transfer them to airline and hotel partners, you’ll need to have one of the following Chase credit cards:
To transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to an airline or hotel, log in to your Ultimate Rewards account, select a qualifying card and browse to the Points Transfer landing page. Click the airline for the loyalty program you want to which you want to transfer points.
On the next page, you should be able to select an authorized user, if you have one on your account. Otherwise, the page will default to transferring points in your name. Enter your loyalty program account number and select "next."
On the next page, enter the number of Chase Ultimate Rewards that you want to transfer and select “next."
On the final page, Chase will confirm how many points you’re transferring. Point transfers are immediate when transferring points to all three Avios transfer partners. That means you should be able to book your award flight quickly, and there’s no time benefit to transferring points to one program over another.
Transferring Avios between programs
Good news if you have Avios scattered across the four participating programs. You can transfer points between Avios-earning programs to help you use all of your Avios toward a reward flight.
On the British Airways website, you can transfer Avios between British Airways Executive Club and either Iberia Plus or Qatar Privilege Club.
Note that the programs can be rather particular about your personal information. Make sure that your name, address, email and phone number match exactly in these accounts before initiating a transfer between programs.
If you're considering a transfer of Chase points to British Airways
There are plenty of excellent sweet spots in the Avios award charts. These sweet spots help make it appealing to transfer Chase points to British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus programs. From short-haul flights from 7,500 points to flights to Hawaii from 13,000 points, there's plenty of value to be found for flights within the U.S. And the business class sweet spot to Spain for just 34,000 Avios remains one of the cheapest business-class awards to Europe.
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 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card