I have become something of a champion for the now taboo Avios Points. When British Airways switched the currency used in their frequent flyer program, the British Airways Executive Club, from BA Miles to Avios Points it was not well received (to put it kindly).
At the risk of beating a dead horse I want to take you inside the Avios Points and show you everything you need to know.
BA Miles vs. Avios Points
The switch to Avios Points rang in a change of focus for the British Airways Executive Club with the introduction of a distance based reward chart. This is a grand departure from the static reward chart that they used for so many years and it frustrated many travelers.
What this means for the average traveler is that some long-haul flights became more expensive because their new classification was based on the amount of air miles flown and not what Region the destinations were located in. For short-haul flights it had the exact opposite implication; those short flights that are so expensive to book became more accessible. (Reward Chart via Iberia)
Weekender guilt has been eliminated because of the distance based redemption chart. The strength of the Avios program is in short-haul reward flights. I know that I like to travel local and sometimes I feel guilty about it. It is hard for me to rationalize using 25,000 AAdvantage miles to fly from New York City to Montreal or 35,000 AAdvantage miles for Dallas to Cancun. They just seem so wasteful and they are.
Avios points have become a perfect program for a weekender because you dont need to spend a ton of mileage. The guilt and insecurity of a wasteful reward redemption has been solved thanks to BA Avios points. For the NYC-Montreal flight I only need 9,000 Avios and that same Dallas-Cancun route is a more respectable 15,000 Avios. That is a difference of 16,000 and 20,000 frequent flyer miles respectively.
Another great side of this deal is that one-way reward flights cost 50% of their Roundtrip Avios points. If you have an open ended return you can avoid the price burden of a one-way revenue ticket and use 4,500 Avios to fly to NYC-Montreal.
No longer do you have to feel ashamed for your short-haul or even domestic award redemption. Say it loud say it proud. You redeem domestic and you don’t care who hears it!
See how many Avios points your favorite routes cost by going here.
The Waived Fee
If you have booked a reward flight on American Airlines less than 21 days before departure you had to pay $75 award processing charge. Sounds like another way to squeeze a couple of hard earned $’s from the reward travelers wallet and I don’t like it. British Airways Avios points think it is garbage as well because they do not have this fee. Feel free to book your reward flight 3 days before departure without having to pay a silly $75 in fees.
The Evil Fee
The British Airways excessive taxes & fees they levy on international travel to Europe have become notorious. They are extremely frustrating because it makes a normal reward flight redemption outrageously expensive even with the cost sharing benefits of using points. The main cause of these high surcharges has nothing to do with government fees or taxes but British Airways own fuel surcharge, meant to curb the cost of jet fuel. You get hit with this on arrival and departure flights, a double whammy.
How large can this fuel surchage get US to (economy fare tickets)?
- Europe: ~$400+ fuel surcharges. High fees are pegged across all partner airlines.
- Asia: ~$300+ fuel surcharge. Depends on distance and class. Found on partner airlines too.
- South America: No fuel surcharges.
- Africa: No African Airlines in OneWorld Alliance. YMMV.
- Australia: ~$400 in fuel surcharges.
Then domestic flights within any of those regions do not have the asinine fuel surcharges. The fuel surcharge is a huge reason why the short-haul flight has come to dominate the Avios point discussion.
Using BA Avios for international travel anywhere but South America needs to be weighted more on its intrinsic value than the cost of Avios points and fuel surcharges. If you have no other airlines to choose from and you always wanted to go to Rome well you have to decide if that trip is worth the price.
I prefer to save my Avios for short-haul and U.S.-South America flights.
BA Avios are have become even more important because of the strategic role they play in my Someday travel plans. Using them as a secondary partner for domestic flights and short-haul flights, either in U.S. or South America, has made them indispensable. Other airlines may have better reward flights to Europe or Asia but all airlines can’t be all things to everybody. If they don’t sound like the right program for you that is fine as well, we will continue to go inside frequent flyer programs and reveal where its strengths and weaknesses lay.
Please remeber to sign up for the Good Friend of the Blog Newsletter or subrscribe to my RSS feed to stay updated on all the latest tips tricks and trips. Like me on facebook and follow me on twitter.
##Leave your thoughts and insight in the comment area below to continue the discussion.##