Knowing how to take advantage of British Airways Avios is a great tool in your award booking arsenal. They don’t have the most competitive pricing, and they tag on outrageous fuel surcharges, so they can be quite a pain to use. I generally like using them for short hops (like Hong Kong to Taipei for 4,500 Avios in coach one-way, or short domestic flights on American for 7,500 Avios in coach one-way).
50% off British Airways Awards in Economy
At the moment British Airways is having a promotion where you can save 50% when you redeem Avios for Economy award tickets involving London. You can fly to or from London Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), or City Airport (LCY); you can even just transit through either of those airports. The promotional pricing is valid for travel between January 4 and June 30, 2018.
Of course, there are two big caveats here.
- Promotional pricing only valid on Economy flights
- British Airways imposes pretty outrageous fuel surcharges on all flights
But if you are planning a trip and don’t mind flying coach (or if you’re the sort of person who generally uses Avios for them anyway), this is a pretty good sale for you! Here are some sample prices for flights to/from Europe, routing through London:
- New York (JFK) to London (LHR): 6,500 Avios + $179
- London (LHR) to New York (JFK): 6,500 Avios + $327
- New York (JFK) to Paris (CDG): 10,500 Avios + $198
- Paris (CDG) to New York (JFK): 10,500 Avios + $253
- New York (JFK) to Dublin (DUB): 10,500 Avios + $198
- Dublin (DUB) to New York (JFK): 10,500 Avios + $185
- Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR): 8,125 Avios + $179
- London (LHR) to Los Angeles (LAX): 8,125 Avios + 347
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Paris (CDG): 12,125 Avios + $198
- Paris (CDG) to Los Angeles (LAX): 12,125 Avios + 253
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Dublin (DUB): 12,125 Avios + $198
- Dublin (DUB) to Los Angeles (LAX): 12,125 Avios + $185
You can also fly to Asia through London (for example, flights on JAL or Cathay Pacific are not eligible). Here are some sample prices:
- New York (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG): 16,250 Avios + $432
- Hong Kong (HKG) to New York (JFK): 16,250 Avios + 233
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG): 17,875 Avios + $432
- Hong Kong (HKG) to Los Angeles (LAX): 17,875 Avios + $267
- New York (JFK) to Tokyo (HND): 16,250 Avios + $432
- Tokyo (HND) to New York (JFK): 16,250 Avios + $361
Avios can be transferred in from Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, and Chase also has a British Airways card that earns you Avios outright. SPG also transfers to British Airways, though keep in mind SPG transfers are not instant; they generally take about 5 days, but may take up to 4 weeks, so you could potentially miss the deadline to book if something goes awry.
On paper, 13,000 Avios for round-trip between New York and London is great, even in Economy, but when you consider you will be paying over $500 in fuel surcharges, you might as well pay cash for a ticket that will earn you miles if the price is right. One strategy is to fly to London, and then fly back from an airport with cheaper surcharges, like Dublin (DUB). You will have to make further arrangements between the two cities though, and the total cost in Avios will also be higher in such a scenario.
The up side is that award availability is really good (I wonder why…), so if you are interested, it shouldn’t be too hard to find space that works for you. If you are interested in taking advantage of this offer, make sure you book your British Airways awards before December 17, 2017.