In response to my post last week, Why the British Airways Card Offer Still Makes Sense, I’ve received several emails asking for recommendations on uses of Avios points for long-haul flights, unfortunately there aren’t many of value! Again, I’d take a look back at that post for short and medium haul options that present a much higher return on your points. However, in this post we’ll take a look at a few of the long-haul options.
Given the outrageous surcharges on flights to Europe, redemptions from North America to South America are a great value with no fuel surcharges on any LAN or American operated flights.
JFK – EZE (Buenos Aires, Argentina) or GRU (Sao Paulo, Brazil) or GIG (Rio, Brazil) on American-> 25,000 each way in coach (2X in Business and 3X in first) and $23.70 in charges.
JFK – LIM (Lima, Peru) on LAN -> 20,000 each way in coach (2X in Business and 3X in first) and $45.70 in charges
JFK – SCL (Santiago, Chile) on LAN -> 25,000 each way in coach (2X in Business and 3X in first) and $23.70 in charges
Another decent value proposition are Cathay and JAL awards to Asia. On these redemptions it’s important to keep in mind that AA awards normally require fewer miles on these routes and BA charges surcharges on both carriers.
YVR – HKG (Hong Kong) on Cathay -> 30,000 each way in coach or 60,000 in Business and $186.39 in charges
These same one-way flights on the exact date were $5130 in Business and $2989 in Coach. If purchasing round-trip the flights were $8297 in Business and $5960 in Coach.
YVR – NRT (Tokyo, Japan) on JAL -> 25,000 each way in coach or 50,000 in Business and $337.29 in charges
These same one-way flights on the exact date are $4989 in Business and $1029 in Coach. If purchasing round-trip the flights were $5067 in Business and $1649 in Coach. While neither the HKG or NRT option are the best use of your points, they do present a significant savings if you were to outright purchase a business class fare. As stated in the short-haul post, it’s also important to set a value for the BA Avios points you’ve received. One should keep in mind that essentially only a $95 annual fee was paid for the 100,000 Avios points.
Now, it seems that almost all of the emails I received want to know better ways to redeem their points to Europe for a summer holiday. Take a look back in the short-haul post for the Aer Lingus redemption options, which are by far the best value for your Avios points when redeeming for Europe, thanks to One Mile at a Time for the info. However, let’s see just how bad the BA redemptions are…
BOS – VCE (Venice, Italy) flying on BA or Iberia -> 55,000 each way in business + $439.48 or 27,500 each way in Coach and $290.67 in charges
These same ROUND-TRIP flights on the exact same mid summer dates are $3780 in Business and $1366 in Coach. At the one way prices above, you’d be using your miles AND paying $878.96 in Business and $581.34 for Coach. A savings of $2901.04 in Business but only $784.66 in Coach. At these levels I’d definitely advise against coach, however business is not a horrible deal. Yes, you are spending $878 for a ticket but the same ticket would cost almost $4000 on these dates. For those of you really wanting to fly business to Europe this summer, it’s not a horrible value. Keep in mind the value proposition changes based on the city you are flying into. Venice is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Let’s take a look at Rome…
JFK – FCO (Rome, Italy) flying on BA or Iberia-> 55,000 each way in business + $456.40 or 27,500 each way in Coach and $301.40 in charges
These same ROUND-TRIP flights on the exact same mid summer dates are $2841 in Business and $1359 in Coach. At the one way prices above, you’d be using your miles AND paying $912.80 in Business and $602.80 for Coach. A savings of $1928.20 in Business but only $756.20 in Coach. At these levels I’d probably forgo both options, however similar to what I mentioned above, for those set on flying business to Europe this summer it isn’t horrible. You will be paying $912.80 for a business class round-trip ticket to Europe during the prime tourist season. Again, if you accumulated these points by signing up for the BA card, you’ve only spent $95 out of pocket.
To conclude, I’ll continue to use my Avios points for the short hops to the Caribbean and Hawaii as well as to South America (and potentially Asia). However, when redeeming for business tickets on select routes, you can certainly make a European trip this summer work for you.
Does anyone have any other enticing long-haul options using Avios?