Short-Haul Flights: BA Avios Versus LAN Lanpass.

Related:
BA Miles Are Now Avios…For Better Or For Worse.
Get An Incredible Value Out Of Starpoints With LAN’s OneWorld Award Chart!
Get 1,000 LANPASS kilometers for signing up for a LAN account.

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Back in 2009 I broke the news on the exciting changes to the LAN Oneworld chart.  It’s an extremely lucrative chart for nonstop short-haul awards, which are typically poor uses of miles in most programs.

Last week BA moved to a chart that is also very generous for nonstop short-haul awards.  Many people are angry that they got rid of lucrative long-haul reward options like 40K flights to South America and 50K flights to Asia.  It could have been worse though, they could have left North America tickets at 25K which would have eliminated most of the value from the BA program, so all was not lost.

While many are saddened at the BA changes, for those who have miles across multiple programs (especially in valuable programs like American and Continental/United) then the changes can help as you now have great options for short-haul and long-haul redemptions without having to actually pay for tickets on either type of flight.

For example a last-minute round-trip ticket from Cleveland-New York today is $1,200. (Granted that most Clevelanders would drive the extra 15 minutes to Akron and take the Airtran flight from CAK to LGA for $400, but let’s say you wanted to fly into JFK instead of LGA or wanted to take the train right into the Cleveland airport). Here it would have made sense to use 25,000 AA miles on the short-haul ticket.  With BA or LAN though it can be done at a fraction of those miles. It’s so few miles that even if you have travel dates set more than 2 weeks in advance it still would be worth using the miles instead of paying for a flight, which is something that’s rarely worth doing with most mileage programs when flying domestic and planning ahead.

With American Express Membership Rewards (MR) or Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) you can also transfer points to British Airways.

If you have Starpoints though you’re in a very good position.  For long-haul flights you can transfer to American at a 20K:25K ratio for OneWorld long-haul flights, to Delta or Flying Blue at a 20K:25K ratio for Skyteam flights, to USAirways or Aeroplan at a 20K:25K ratio for Star Alliance flights, or to British Airways at a 20K:25K ratio or LAN at a 20K:50K ratio for Oneworld short-haul flights.

Let’s take a look at some of the rules and routes to see when it’s worth using BA miles or LAN kilometers for your next short-haul award flight.  With either airline you can book travel on AA or Alaska.  For AA, award space must be available at the sAAver rate, which you can check on AA.com.

BA:
-Partners with American Express Membership Rewards at a 1K:1K ratio and points transfer instantly.
-Partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1K:1K ratio and points transfer instantly.
-Partners with Starwood Starpoints at a 20K:25K ratio but the transfer can take 3-14 days.
-One-way redemptions are allowed.
-Families can pool miles, but if they do pool miles then you can only redeem miles for family members, not for anyone else.
-Online redemptions are possible, but often you need to call to find flights and book as not all flight options are shown on BA.com.
-Date changes and award cancellations are $40 online and $65 by phone.
-Charges fuel surcharges on all partners except for LAN and for AA flights within the western hemisphere.
-Charges double points for business class and triple points in first class

LAN:
-Partners with Starwood Starpoints at a 20K:50K ratio but the transfer can take 3-14 days.
-Round-trip required.
-All tickets must be booked over the phone and you must fax in proof of identity if redeeming for other travelers and you are not flying. Reportedly not required anymore!
-LAN retains a chart for travel on LAN only which has hidden gems like USA-Brazil or Peru for 48,000 kilometers round-trip, or less than 20,000 Starpoints round-trip, but travel isn’t allowed on AA. The route comparisons below are for travel on any Oneworld or partner airline.
-Date changes are free online or $50 over the phone and award cancellations carry a kilometer penalty ranging from 4K (for awards that cost up to 15K kilometers), 8K (for awards that cost between 15,001-30K kilometers), 10K (for awards that cost between 30,001-50K kilometers), all the way up to 35K (for awards that cost more than 300K kilometers).
-Does not charge fuel surcharges.  This creates opportunities for some long-haul awards like JFK-Amman-Tel Aviv for 44,800 Starpoints and no fuel surcharges.
-Charges double points in business class, but just 2.5 points in first class.

Route comparisons:
-Flight distances can be researched on the Great Circle Mapper.
-I’ve broken these down into every possible scenario and labeled each scenario with the first number indicating the BA zone and then 2nd number indicating the LAN zone. Bear in mind that flights booked with BA miles can be taken at half of these rates for one-way travel.
-City pairs are listed as examples for each scenario.

Scenario 1-1 (Flights between 1-310 miles):
New York-Boston, Los Angeles-Las Vegas, London-Paris, Miami-Nassau, Miami-Key West, Amman-Tel Aviv.
BA: Zone 1, 9,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 7,200 Starpoints or 9,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 1, 12,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 4,800 Starpoints)

Scenario 1-2 (Flights between 311-466 miles):
New-York-Montreal, New York-Toronto, New York-Cleveland, Chicago-Toronto, Sydney-Melbourne, Miami-Grand Cayman.
BA: Zone 1, 9,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 7,200 Starpoints or 9,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 2, 16,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 6,400 Starpoints)

Scenario 1-3 (Flights between 467-621 miles):
New York-Detroit, Miami-Atlanta, Miami-Cancun, Miami-Montego Bay.
BA: Zone 1, 9,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 7,200 Starpoints or 9,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 3, 18,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 7,200 Starpoints)

Scenario 1-4 (Flights between 622-650 miles):
Valparaiso-Dallas
BA: Zone 1, 9,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 7,200 Starpoints or 9,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 4, 20,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 8,000 Starpoints)

Scenario 2-4 (Flights between 651-807 miles):
New York-Chicago, Hong Kong-Shanghai
BA: Zone 2, 15,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 12,000 Starpoints or 15,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 4, 20,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 8,000 Starpoints)

Scenario 2-5 (Flights between 808-932 miles):
Chicago-New Orleans, Los Angeles-Cabo San Lucas
BA: Zone 2, 15,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 12,000 Starpoints or 15,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 5, 24,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 9,600 Starpoints)

Scenario 2-6 (Flights between 933-1,151 miles):
New York-Miami, Cleveland-Miami, Hong Kong-Bangkok
BA: Zone 2, 15,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 12,000 Starpoints or 15,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 6, 28,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 11,200 Starpoints)

Scenario 3-6 (Flights between 1,152-1,242 miles):
Chicago-Miami, Los Angeles-Dallas
BA: Zone 3, 20,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 16,000 Starpoints or 20,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 6, 28,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 11,200 Starpoints)

Scenario 3-7 (Flights between 1,243-2,000 miles):
Chicago-Los Angeles, Hong Kong-Singapore.
BA: Zone 3, 20,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 16,000 Starpoints or 20,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 7, 54,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 21,600 Starpoints)

Scenario 4-7 (Flights between 2,001-3,000 miles):
Los Angeles-Hawaii, New York-Costa Rica, London-Tel Aviv, New York-Los Angeles, Miami-Los Angeles
BA: Zone 4, 25,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 20,000 Starpoints or 25,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 7, 54,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 21,600 Starpoints)

Scenario 5-7 (Flights between 3,001-3,106 miles):
London-Lagos
BA: Zone 5, 40,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 32,000 Starpoints or 40,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 7, 54,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 21,600 Starpoints)

Scenario 5-8 (Flights between 3,107-4,000 miles):
Dallas-Hawaii, New York-London
BA: Zone 5, 40,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 32,000 Starpoints or 40,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 8, 100,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 40,000 Starpoints)

Scenario 6-8 (Flights between 4,001-5,500 miles):
London-Johannesburg
BA: Zone 6, 50,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 40,000 Starpoints or 50,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 8, 100,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 40,000 Starpoints)

Scenario 7-8 (Flights between 5,501-6,213 miles):
New York-Amman
BA: Zone 7, 60,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 48,000 Starpoints or 60,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 8, 100,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 40,000 Starpoints)

Scenario 7-9 (Flights between 6,214-6,500 miles):
Vancouver-Hong Kong
BA: Zone 7, 60,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 48,000 Starpoints or 60,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 9, 140,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 56,000 Starpoints)

Scenario 8-9 (Flights between 6,501-7,000 miles):
S. Francisco-Hong Kong
(Exception: Other flights from North America to Hong Kong that should fall into scenario 9.9 are actually being priced by BA as zone 8 flights, these include flights to/from Hong Kong and Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto)

BA: Zone 8, 70,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 56,000 Starpoints or 70,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 9, 140,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 56,000 Starpoints)

Scenario 9-9 (Flights between 7,001-9,320 miles):
Los Angeles-Sydney, Chicago-Delhi
BA: Zone 9, 100,000 miles round-trip. (Approximately 80,000 Starpoints or 100,000 MR/UR points)
LAN: Zone 9, 140,000 kilometers round-trip. (Approximately 56,000 Starpoints)

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40 Responses to “Short-Haul Flights: BA Avios Versus LAN Lanpass.”

  1. Azhoopsfan Says:
    1

    are there any star alliance airlines that have short haul charts like these? it’s too bad lan and ba are both I’m the same alliance.

    ReplyReply
  2. Dan Says:
    2

    @Azhoopsfan:
    ANA has a zone award chart, but they charge fuel surcharges which pretty much kill the value in it.

    Air Canada Aeroplan has a short-haul 15K award, but only for flying on Air Canada, which requires fuel surcharges and kills the value there as well.

    Continental/United have short-haul 20K awards for flights like NYC-Toronto/Montreal or NYC-Cleveland.

    ReplyReply
  3. aussie Says:
    3

    While the mileage required for JFK-HKG is correct, the distance is wrong.
    It’s actually 8072 miles and seems to be an exception along with a few of the other CX ex-USA routes.
    http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=jfk-hkg

    ReplyReply
  4. Dan Says:
    4

    @aussie:
    Fascinating!
    I’ve updated the post.
    Are there any other BA flight exceptions that you know of?

    ReplyReply
  5. Yitzi Says:
    5

    Great post. Thanx

    ReplyReply
  6. lrgfc Says:
    6

    Hi Dan, thanks for your helpful summary. I just realized that I made a huge mistake to spend 40k BA miles several days ago to redeem two one way ticket from Shanghai to HK on my asia trip. And now I can redeem them for 15K. Is it worthy to cancel my award booking? In that way I paid 40 dollars but get 25K miles back. Also, will I get my BA miles or avios back if I cancel my award booking? How long will it back? Thanks so much!!!

    ReplyReply
  7. Dan Says:
    7

    @lrgfc:
    Definitely worth cancelling the award online and rebooking so long as there is still award space for the flight you want.
    You will get the 40K back as Avios.

    ReplyReply
  8. yeshivaman Says:
    8

    So a combo of 4.7 & 5.8 would get me to Israel? What would BA’s surcharge be on that?

    ReplyReply
  9. Dan Says:
    9

    @yeshivaman:
    Correct, but it’s not worth using BA miles to go to Israel in coach, the fuel surcharge will probably be at least $600 on top of 65K miles. Terrible waste of miles.

    ReplyReply
  10. Toronto fan Says:
    10

    I find LAN there customer service is only opening mon-Friday 9-6, limiting your options to book last minute flights if necessary.

    Is there any other way to book

    ReplyReply
  11. yeshivaman Says:
    11

    @Dan: so once & for all, the most efficient way to use miles to get to Israel is AA?

    ReplyReply
  12. Anonymous Says:
    12

    @Dan: well if you fly on continental or us airways thru ana then they don’t charge fuel surcharges which shoyld work for short haul flights (I just don’t think that their chart is that great for short haul flights)

    ReplyReply
  13. michael Says:
    13

    Dan. I am a bit confused airlines-wise.

    With BA the only domestice airline I know you can use is AA. Is that correct?

    What airlines can I use if I move my Starpoints to LAN? Do any oft these airlines have better availibilty than AA?

    ReplyReply
  14. Leeboy Says:
    14

    @Dan,
    It seems that BA is charging fuel charges to fly domestic to mexico to Jamaica and so on. so far every search I tried had a surcharge

    ReplyReply
  15. Dan Says:
    15

    @Toronto fan:
    That’s the only way to book.

    @yeshivaman:
    No. There is no most efficient way.
    Feel free to read this article though for the options: http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/15417

    @Anonymous:
    No, their 15K short-haul award is only for use on Air Canada.

    @michael:
    Both BA and LAN can book you on AA or Alaska when flying domestically.

    @Leeboy:
    There shouldn’t be, but I’ll look into it.
    Remember that fuel surcharges are additional taxes not mandated by the government. Many governments require taxes though even on award tickets.

    ReplyReply
  16. berney Says:
    16

    I’m looking to sell ba miles anyone know to whom I can sell ?

    ReplyReply
  17. bringer Says:
    17

    Dan, can you help me understand this..I recently figured out that there is value for me flying from RDU-NYC airports using Avios miles (only 9000 round-trip) . Great Circle mapper says RDU to LGA is 430 miles. Are you saying I could instead, award thorugh LAN and get the same RT for only 6,400 starpoints? What would the approx taxes be?

    The typical charge is around $200 if I pay out of pocket..I think 6400 starpoints would be a good use for me. Could you please clarify…especially the taxes bit. Thanks!!! Love the blog

    ReplyReply
  18. Dan Says:
    18

    @bringer:
    You are correct, RDU-LGA would fall into scenario 1.2, so the charge with BA would be 9,000 Avios round trip and the charge for LAN would be 16,000 kilometers round-trip. Both would book you on AA. Taxes should be just $5-$10 for the $2.50/leg 9/11 fee.

    Note that the 6,400 Starpoints is approximate. It is assuming you make transfers in increments of 20K to get 50K LAN.

    With a 20K transfer you would have enough for 3 round-trips between RDU-LGA and have 2K kilometers left over as each trip only used 16K and you get 50K for the transfer.

    ReplyReply
  19. Eli Says:
    19

    Do LAN and BA have the same availability of AA flights?

    ReplyReply
  20. bringer Says:
    20

    Great info Dan! What is the best way to see potential LAN award availability? I know I have to call to make the award booking but am wondering the best way to get a since of which flights (AA flights in my case) are available to use LAN Kilos? Also is the 1000 Kilo offer for new users still valid? I just signed up today..not sure how long it takes to show up in the account.

    Thanks again! You’ve just added even more value to my SPG cards!

    ReplyReply
  21. bringer Says:
    21

    Also, are they flexible like Avios Miles in the since that I can book last minute flights with no penalty (as long as their is availability?) Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  22. stever Says:
    22

    @Eli:
    i heard its very hard to get a seat on a BA make AA domestic ticket

    ReplyReply
  23. clevelander Says:
    23

    @stever: never had that problem

    ReplyReply
  24. ralph Says:
    24

    what is Alaska airlines good for besides flying to Alaska domestically?

    ReplyReply
  25. nitantel Says:
    25

    Congrads on this accomplishment, thank you!

    ReplyReply
  26. bringer Says:
    26

    @ralph: Regarding Alaska Airlines..they are also good for redeeming on AA domestic flights..their card seems to be churn-able in the since that you can reapply for the same bonus again and again.

    ReplyReply
  27. stever Says:
    27

    @clevelander:
    for which segments did u mainly try for?

    ReplyReply
  28. Dan Says:
    28

    @Eli:
    Yes, just search AA.com

    @bringer:
    Any saver award flights on aa.com or alaskaair.com

    @stever:
    It’s the same as you would find on aa.com

    @ralph:
    Look at their route map. They fly to tons of places on the west coast and more.

    ReplyReply
  29. DanMan Says:
    29

    Hi Dan,
    So does this sign the end of 35K from NYC to OGG that BA used to offer through AA?
    Thanks, so much.

    ReplyReply
  30. steve Says:
    30

    Great post. I come to a slightly different conclusion on BA vs LAN. I value BA 1.5c, LAN 1.0c, SPG 2.5c, MR 2.0c, UR 1.5c. Thus rather than comparing which is better in SPG terms I use the eff $ cost of BA vs LAN. BA looks better on this versus Dan’s (since his SPG to BA creates BA at 2c cost). Feel free to use your own cent values instead, but using mine, gives eff cost (BA first, LAN second) in coach as follows.
    1.1 $135 $120; 1.2 $135 $160; 1.3 $135 $180; 1.4 $135 $200
    2.4 $225 $200; 2.5 $225 $240; 2.6 $225 $280; 3.6 $300 $280; 3.7 $300 $540; 4.7 $375 $540; 5.7 $600 $540; 5.8 $600 $1k;
    6.8 $750 $1k; 7.8 $900 $1k; 7.9 $900 $1.4k; 8.9 $1.05k $1.4k
    9.9 $1.5k $1.4k so LAN only wins 1.1, 2.4, 3.6, 5.7, 9.9

    ReplyReply
  31. Dan Says:
    31

    @DanMan:
    Correct.

    @steve:
    Your values seem completely arbitrary.
    What makes a BA mile worth 1.5 cents? And why would MR be worth more than UR, if anything the opposite is true.

    ReplyReply
  32. wandering_minds Says:
    32

    So, is there a penalty if you book LAN award flights within the 21 day window?

    ReplyReply
  33. Dan Says:
    33

    @wandering_minds:
    No, neither BA nor LAN charges a close-in/expedite fee.

    ReplyReply
  34. steve Says:
    34

    @Dan: Not arbitrary, but clearly subjective. Others will value points differently; as I mentioned, feel free to use your own values. Simply trying to help by offering another way to solve for best BA vs LAN award (ie eff $ cost vs in terms of SPG pts). All the best and thanks for all the great info!

    ReplyReply
  35. mike Says:
    35

    What’s my best option if I want to fly nyc-london-swiss, Swiss -nyc on first class? I have miles in Amex, continental, AA,

    ReplyReply
  36. MG Says:
    36

    The problem with LAN is there very hard to deal with I’ve bin dealing with them for a while now and there web site isn’t reliable

    ReplyReply
  37. a dan fan Says:
    37

    Hey dan

    just want to thank you and let you know, we just got back from an all expense paid vacation thanks to u and avios – we signed up for the british airways card spent $3000 and walla flights, hotels and even had extra for cars!!!! ($1800 value)

    ReplyReply
  38. sara Says:
    38

    would i have any problems if i had someone tranfer amex points into my ba account? i mean as far as all the stories i hear of aa shutting down ppls accounts?

    ReplyReply
  39. Jaicky Says:
    39

    I had booked JFK – Cancun before the switch to Avios at 35,000 miles. Once they switched to Avios, it went down to 20,000. I cancelled and rebooked for $200 and got back 60,000 miles (4 tickets).
    Also booked toronto for 9,000 miles and $57.
    Even though it’s terrible for Europe and Israel, using them on AA for NA and Carribean is great.
    Time to move the credit line from BA to another chase card as once I got my bonus 100,000 miles, and the Amex bonus for transferring, dont need it anymore.

    ReplyReply
  40. cyclotron Says:
    40

    How do I use LAN to book ORD–>LIMA or DFW–>LIMA or vice-versa?
    LAN’s website says that there are no affiliated or one world partners available.
    Do I need to call them?

    How do I do international bookings on LAN if we can’t fly on AA with LAN points? Which cities are connected to the LAN network with non-AA flights?

    ReplyReply

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