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?

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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20 comments

Label April 25, 2012 - 7:22 pm

Yes. West Coast to Australia=37,500 miles via Hawaii. Otherwise it is 50,000 direct on Qantas from LAX-Australia.

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adam April 25, 2012 - 7:23 pm

@Label – great addition, thanks for including! What are the surcharges from HNL to SYD?

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Craig April 30, 2012 - 8:54 pm

But doesn’t the partner award require that all segments be on the same partner? Which means that for LAX-HNL-SYD, you’d have to use the multipartner award (60,000 one-way in economy) because Qantas doesn’t fly LAX-HNL and American doesn’t fly HNL-SYD. Unless there’s something I’m missing.

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adam May 2, 2012 - 11:44 pm

@craig – absolutely correct, thanks for catching this. Connecting via HNL would require more than one carrier as AA or Alaska would have to be used instead of Qantas. As such the multi partner award would come into play.

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Philatravelgirl April 25, 2012 - 7:42 pm

I use my points to upgrade WTP ticket to CW on BA to Europe from East Coast and then still earn credit and tier points on BA, I never use for Europe redemption outright

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Label April 25, 2012 - 8:38 pm

Not sure!

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James Elkins April 25, 2012 - 9:46 pm

All awards on S7 airlines have no fuel surcharges (only taxes + airport fees). You can fly from HKG-VVO for 10K miles + $27.30 . Or, if you are trying to region-hop (as part of a larger RTW itinerary, or perhaps just to combine with an intra-europe award on a region-based frequent flyer program) for cheaper, try KHV-NRT for 7.5K + $11.84.

Looking at http://www.aa.com/i18n/disclaimers/aadvantageAllPartnerChart.jsp#1 , we can see that Europe->Asia Zone 1 or 2 is 35K AA miles 1 way. Using the aforementioned region-hopping technique, we can travel from Europe->Asia for half that (10K AA miles intra-europe, which includes Russia + 7.5K KHV = 17.5K miles total). This is probably even LESS than the true value of 17.5 AA miles because Avios are generally worth less than AA miles & easier to get (think MR 25% transfer bonus, hotel points 25% transfer bonus).

If you don’t like Japan, you can also go from VVO/KHV->PEK for 7.5K. Award availability on those S7 routes is great because thinks to go to Khabarovsk or Vladivostok . However, they are very cool places to visit, with lots of history! See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khabarovsk and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladivostok . Slight catch: most citizens of 1st world countries need a visa to transit or stay in Russia. Depending on your visa (tourist vs. transit) it will cost more, anywhere from ~$40-$140.

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James Elkins April 25, 2012 - 9:48 pm

forgot a __. Correction – “…because _nobody_ thinks…”

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adam April 25, 2012 - 10:00 pm

@James – Thanks for these options, they are some great alternatives that are truly unique and great values!

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Mike from Berlin April 26, 2012 - 5:27 am

Madrid to Dakar (Senegal/Western Africa) is only 20000 Avios + 27€ return in Economy. Pretty unbeatable for a flight of almost 5h duration!

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adam April 26, 2012 - 2:35 pm

@ Mike from Berlin – Thanks, another great use of Avios points!

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James Elkins April 27, 2012 - 5:13 pm

Hey Mike – I wasn’t able to find it so cheap. When I priced out a MAD-DKR RT it came to 20K avios and $437.23 taxes + fees + YQ (proof: http://imgur.com/B3VrX). This is not a great value, seeing as I can I can find a ticket on Kayak for $745 . How were you able to get the fees down to 27 euros?

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Michael from Berlin April 28, 2012 - 11:44 pm

Just entered it on the BAEC website. You need to have earned at least one AVIOS during the last 12 months, than book a NONSTOP (!) as a reward flight saver, it’s 20000 Avios plus € 27 rt. Available SEP3rd to OCT 19th for example.

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Rebecca D. May 4, 2012 - 3:23 am

On the first three headers don’t you mean to say 3x in first not 3x in coach?

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adam May 4, 2012 - 3:25 am

@Rebecca – hah, yes great catch! I should have you proof-read these before they go out!

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