Unlock the Value of British Airways Avios from New England

Do you ever daydream about the Caribbean in the midst of a brutal winter? Well I do, and did so often over this past winter. I had several clients do the same and it occurred to me that I never wrote about how to leverage some non-stop flights from Boston to the warmth the Caribbean offers (and to Europe in the summer). In short, the value of utilizing British Airways miles (called Avios) cannot be overstated.

British Airways has a distance based award chart so that means that the shorter the distance  from point A to point B, the less miles (Avios) required. You can see the award chart below (thanks to TheMilesProfessor):

 Avios

This chart is especially a gem for non-stop flights with British Airways partners, but can also be lucrative for itineraries with layovers as well. For flights from New England, this means you’ll want to focus on American Airlines flights, USAirways flights, and Aer Lingus flights. Ironically, you don’t want to look at British Airways flights as they come with very high fuel surcharges which can almost make the award redemption not worth it. The non-stop flights from Boston on these airlines with the corresponding Avios required are (business class is double the amount):

Flights on Aer Lingus:

BOS – Shannon, Ireland: 2895 miles per direction = 12,500 Avios each way in coach

BOS – Dublin, Ireland: 2993 miles per direction = 12,500 Avios each way in coach

 

Flights on American Airlines:

4,500 British Airways Avios each way in coach (650 miles or less)

BOS – New York

7,500 British Airways Avios each way in coach (1151 miles or less)

BOS – Chicago

10,000 British Airways Avios each way in coach (2000 miles or less)

BOS – Dallas, BOS – Miami

12,500 British Airways Avios each way in coach (3000 miles or less)

BOS – Los Angeles

20,000 British Airways Avios each way in coach (4000 miles or less)

BOS – Paris (Seasonal)

 

Flights on US Airways:

4,500 British Airways Avios each way in coach (650 miles or less)

BOS –Philadelphia, Buffalo, Harrisburg, Pittsburg, Syracuse, Rochester, La Guardia, Washington National

7,500 British Airways Avios each way in coach (1151 miles or less)

BOS – Charlotte

10,000 British Airways Avios each way in coach (2000 miles or less)

SEASONAL: BOS – Cancun, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Providenciales, Punta Cana

12,500 British Airways Avios each way in coach (3000 miles or less)

BOS – Phoenix

I’ve given examples here from Boston only, but this concept works to/from any airport that is served by British Airways partners. The best way to check the distance between your departure and arrival airports is at www.GCMAP.com. You type in your airports (for example “BOS-PHL”) and click “distance” and the number of miles appears. It’s a crucial tool when maximizing Avios.

Keep in mind that the list of potential destinations grows exponentially if you decide to make a connection. You’ll want to keep your itinerary in as straight of a line as possible, to minimize the number of Avios required. For example, say you wanted to go to the Bahamas this winter but there aren’t any non-stop flights on British Airways partners from Boston. You’d want to get as far from Boston as you can while staying under 650 miles to an airport that has a non-stop flight into Nassau. Looking at the map, Philadelphia appears to be the best option at 280 miles from Boston (4,500 Avios). And then the number of miles between Philadelphia and Nassau come in at 1030, resulting in an additional 7,500 required. So, the total one way cost between Boston and Nassau via Philadelphia on US Airways would be 12,000 British Airways Avios versus the 17,500 that American Airlines charges (US Airways only allows roundtrip redemptions at 35,000 miles per roundtrip).

For a comparison, the below is what American Airlines and US Airways charge to the destinations above:

  Domestic US Caribbean Europe
US Airways (each way based on roundtrip redemption) 12,500 miles 17,500 miles 30,000 miles
American Airlines (one way) 12,500 miles 17,500 miles 20,000 miles (off peak), 30,000 miles (peak)
British Airways (one way) 4,500 – 12,500 Avios 10,000 – 12,500 Avios 12,500 – 20,000 Avios

 You’ll see that using Avios for these select redemptions can be a much better deal than using the miles from the programs of the airlines that you’d be flying.

And maybe the best thing about Avios is how easy it is to acquire them. All of the following credit cards can get you there (maybe several times over!).

This topic can be confusing so don’t hesitate to contact me for my assistance. This is one of the most common type of booking that I do!

** Please note that none of the links above provide me with any commission. I just wanted to include them here for your convenience.

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