Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios

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Update, 06/11: This post has been updated with the current information on the Avios program including Avios new award charts and why some flights like Philadelphia-Toronto in business class now cost fewer Avios than they did before.

Originally posted on 01/14/15:

British Airways Avios are awesome.  They effectively fill the gap that is left by the major programs like American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus.  The major programs provide a fantastic value for long-haul flights, but most programs are not great for short flights.

In 2011 BA launched the Avios program and since then it has continued to provide an incredible value for short-haul flights.  A last-minute one-way flight that would otherwise cost $600 can be had for just 4,500 Avios plus $5.60.

Everything you need to know about the program can be found after the jump:


Signup for an Avios account:

You can register for an British Airways Executive Club Avios account via this link.


Award chart:

While most airlines have a region based award chart, British Airways has a distance based award chart.  Every flight segment is charged a flat rate of Avios based on how long the flight is:

The following award chart is applicable for travel on partner airlines on all travel dates and on British Airways/Iberia on peak travel dates:

ZoneFlight DistanceCoachBusinessFirst


The following award chart is only applicable for travel on British Airways and Iberia on off-peak travel dates:

ZoneFlight DistanceOff-Peak CoachOff-Peak BusinessOff-Peak First


Here are the off-peak dates for 2015.


GCmap.com can show you the distance between 2 cities. Type in ORD-PBI for example to learn that Chicago is 1,144 miles from West Palm Beach and is therefore a zone 2 award.

You can also check the rate of a route via this BA calculator (login required).

Here are some sample routes by zone:

Zone 1: LGA-Cleveland, LGA-Detroit, LGA-Montreal, LGA-Toronto, Miami-Cancun, Miami-Key West, Miami-Nassau, London-Paris, Melbourne-Sydney, Los Angeles-Las Vegas
Zone 2: JFK-Bermuda, Los Angeles-Cabo San Lucas, LGA-Chicago, LGA-Miami, LGA-West Palm Beach, Philadelphia-Miami.
Zone 3: JFK-S. Maarten, JFK-Cancun, JFK-S. Juan, Los Angeles-Chicago, Columbus-Los Angeles, Berlin-Tel Aviv, Hong Kong-Singapore
Zone 4: Boston-Dublin, JFK-Los Angeles, JFK-Vancouver, Los Angeles-Maui, JFK-Costa Rica, Pittsburgh-Los Angeles
Zone 5: NYC-London, NYC-Berlin, Chicago-Dublin, Dallas-Maui
Zone 6: NYC-Buenos Aires, NYC-Rio de Janeiro, London-Johannesburg
Zone 7: NYC-Amman
Zone 8: S. Francisco-Hong Kong, JFK-Hong Kong
Zone 9: Los Angeles-Sydney, JFK-Sydney


Transferring points:

-Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred instantly at a 1:1 ratio into BA Avios from the Chase Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card® Card and  Chase Ink Plus credit cards.
Cards like Chase Freedom and Ink Business Cash® Credit Card can’t directly transfer points into miles, you’ll have to transfer those points to a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Plus that belongs to you or your spouse before you can transfer those points to British Airways.

American Express is a DansDeals.com advertiser.

-American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned from credit cards like The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card or The Amex EveryDay Card.

The Preferred card awards 1.5 points per dollar everywhere, 3 points per dollar on Uber and gas, and 4.5 points per dollar on groceries if you make 30 transactions per month.

The EveryDay card awards 1.2 points per dollar everywhere and 2.4 points per dollar on Uber and groceries if you make 20 transactions per month.

You can also earn Membership Rewards points from consumer cards like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, and from business cards like the AMEX Business Gold Rewards Charge Card or The Business Platinum Card. 

The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee and a limited time increased signup bonus. It earns a generous 1.3 points per dollar everywhere, but you’ll need any of the membership rewards cards listed above to transfer points from that card into airline miles.


-The Starwood Consumer AMEX and the Starwood Business AMEX awards 25K signup points with no fee for the first year. 20K Starpoints can transfer into 25K Avios with the permanent 25% transfer bonus. Transfers can take a few days.


-You can also earn Avios directly with the Chase British Airways Visa Signature cardwhich is offering up to 100K Avios currently!

The BA card also gets you 10% paid BA flights with code: CARDOFFERU

If you spend $30K in a calendar year on the BA card you also get a free companion pass good in any class of service on BA award flights.

Partner airlines:
Aside from British Airways, you can use Avios to fly on the following airlines:
Aer Lingus (Bookable over the phone only)
Air Berlin
Alaska (Bookable over the phone only)
Cathay Pacific
LAN (Many routes are bookable over the phone only)
Open Skies
Qantas (Some routes are bookable over the phone only)
Royal Jordanian


Avoiding fuel surcharges:
When searching using the strategies below, bear in mind which flights won’t be hit with fuel surcharges.
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on Aer Lingus. A flight from Boston to Dublin or Shannon is just 12.5K in coach or 25K in business. From there you can fly elsewhere within Europe without paying fuel surcharges. Plus you can fly to Boston from cities like Buffalo, NYC, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or Washington DC for just 4.5K Avios. Aer Lingus flights can only be booked over the phone.
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on Air Berlin.
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on Alaska. These flights can only be booked over the phone.
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on LAN. Some of their flights can only be booked over the phone.
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on Niki. They fly from Israel to Vienna for 10K Avios.
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on TAM
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on American within the Western Hemisphere
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on USAirways within the Western Hemisphere
-There are also no fuel surcharges for flying on Qantas from Australia to anywhere in the world or within Australia.
-There are no fuel surcharges for JAL flights within Japan.
-Fuel surcharges on award-winning carrier Cathay Pacific are relatively low and you don’t even need to fly all the way to Hong Kong (though you should-great city with awesome kosher food, airport lounges with kosher food, and a business or first class flight you’ll never forget!) to get a taste of their awesome service, seat, pajamas, and amenities. They fly a daily 777 nonstop between JFK and Vancouver which I reviewed in this trip report.
-You can significantly cut the fuel surcharges when flying on Iberia by transferring your BA Avios into Iberia Avios
-British Airways 5th Freedom Flights (flights that don’t depart from or arrive to the UK) have significantly lower fees. For example even though Singapore-Sydney is a longer flight than NYC-London the fees in first class on Singapore-Sydney are less than half of those from NYC-London.
-As long as you have earned a single Avios within the past 12 months then fuel surcharges for intra-Europe flights will be very low. You can transfer points from AMEX, Chase, or Starwood to activate that benefit.


Searching for award availability:

If you want to fly on Air Berlin, Alaska, British Airways, Finnair, Niki, Open Skies, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, or USAirways then the best way to search for saver award space is actually on AA.com, not on BA.com. (Note that AA.com does not search Aer Lingus, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, JAL, LAN, Malaysia, Meridiana, Qatar, S7, and TAM.)

Just go to the AA.com homepage, type in your route, click on redeem miles, and search:





On the results page click “non-stop only” and choose from Economy or Business/First MileSAAver.  BA.com can only book the MileSAAver awards, not the AAnytime awards.  It also only competently searches for nonstop flights only.

Any date in light green or light blue will be bookable with Avios.

Ignore the mileage rates on AA.com, they have nothing to do with what BA will charge you in Avios to fly on that same AA flight.  While a flight from Miami to Cancun will show as 17.5K miles on AA.com, BA will charge just 4.5K Avios for the same exact flight!









Now that you know which dates have Avios availability you’re ready to book!


Booking an Avios flight:

Use this link to login to your BA account and be forwarded to the flight booking page.

Locate the “Book with Avios or money” box on the left-hand side and toggle the payment type to “Book with Avios”

In general you should book Avios flights as one-way journeys. That gives you the maximum flexibility should you need to change only one part of your trip.

Searching for NYC to MIA will pull up different results than EWR-MIA, LGA-MIA, or JFK-MIA, so be sure to search for all of those.

If you’re willing to fly from LGA-PBI, PHL-MIA, or PHL-PBI you should search for that as well.




If you get an error about BA not having traffic rights to a route you probably forgot to switch it to “Book with Avios.”

On the results page you can change your date by clicking on nearby dates.

Beware that clicking on the change button will only work if you manually trip in the date in the MM/DD/YY format.  If you use the popup calendar it enters the date in the DD/MM/YY format which will result in an error page or the wrong date.

That’s because the change calendar during the booking process spits out the international version of the date with May 7th being 07/05/14 but when you search it then gives you the results for July 5th.

That’s an easy fix, just manually type in 05/07/14 instead of clicking May 7th on the calendar.





Beware that the taxes on the flight results page are not accurate. They can be off by hundreds of dollars. Always select the flight you want and continue onto the next page to view the true tax rate.


What to do if BA.com doesn’t show availability for a non-stop that AA.com shows as being available in MileSAAver class:

Call them at 800-452-1201.

It may take a few tries, but you should find an agent who knows how to book it.

You can also try the Singapore call center +65 6823 2095 which has a good reputation for helping people out in this situation.


Using Avios for connecting flights:

The BA site is downright terrible at finding any flight that requires a connection.  That means if you want to fly from Vancouver to Boston you’re going to have to search for 2 separate tickets.  As BA charges a flat rate for each flight segment you’ll pay the same amount of Avios whether you book 2 flights on 1 ticket or on 2 tickets.

Search for a paid flight on Orbitz to find possible connection cities to know which segments to search for.

Searching from Vancouver to JFK:





Searching from Vancouver to Boston:



Searching from JFK to Boston:



Or say you want to go from NYC to Tucson, AZ.

AA.com is great at finding connecting options:





BA.com can’t find a single coach award:





But AA.com showed that Chicago would be a good connecting option.  So all you have to do is book 2 separate tickets on BA.com.

First search and book NYC-Chicago:





And then search and book Chicago-Tucson:




You can try to get BA to book that over the phone as one ticket and waive the phone booking fee.  But it will be the same amount of Avios to just book them online as 2 tickets.  At checkin just show both boarding passes and your luggage will be checked in all the way to Tucson.


Booking travel on airlines not displayed on BA.com:

BA.com can’t book awards on Aer Lingus, Alaska, or on select LAN flights.  There are lots of Avios bargains with those airlines (Boston-Dublin for 12.5K, Seattle-Kauai for 12.5K, Buenos Aires-Iguassu Falls for 7.5K, etc) but you need to call to book.  Be sure to get them to waive the phone booking fee.

You can search for Aer Lingus availability on United.com, though British Airways may not see the same availability as United. The same flights that cost 30K in coach and 70K in business with United miles will cost 12.5K in coach 37.5K in business with Avios:






Booking travel to Israel without fuel surcharges on Air Berlin:

Air Berlin flies from Berlin Dusseldorf, and Munich to Tel Aviv.  The flight from NYC to Germany is 20K and the flight from Germany to Tel Aviv is 10K Avios.

It can be very hard to find on BA.com from the USA.  Use the same strategy as above to piece it together.  Search for flights from NYC to Berlin or Dusseldorf on AA.com and limit the search to nonstop flights only.

Then search from Berlin or Dusseldorf to Tel Aviv on AA.com.

Once you found dates plug them in on BA.com.

You can also call to piece together a flight from JFK to Berlin to Tel Aviv onto 1 ticket.  If you’re willing to take a long connection or an overnight stopover BA.com won’t find that when you search for JFK-Tel Aviv but you may find JFK-Berlin and Berlin-Tel Aviv award space when searched separately. When booked together you’ll save on German taxes that only apply to non-connecting flights.  Call and BA will be able to book both segments on one ticket to avoid those taxes and have them waive the phone booking fee.

You can use ITA to use the monthlong search option to find for dates where Air Berlin flies from JFK-TLV with short connections.  See here for how to use codes and then use code: AB+ / maxconnect 300
That code would limit the search to flights that have a connection of 300 minutes or less. Once you find dates where they actually have flights with short connections you can search MileSAAver award space on AA.com and then book tickets on BA.com.


Avoid booking travel on 2 airlines:

When you book on 2 different airlines pricing shoots way up as you will be subject to this completely different award chart.

Say you’re booking a flight from Philadelphia to Miami flying on USAirways on the outbound and American on the return. You’ll be quoted a whopping 35K Avios:


Just book those same flights as one-ways on their own itinerary and the price is just 7.5K each way:









That’s just another reason (aside from flexibility to change just one portion of the trip) to book one-way awards.


Selecting seats:

Once you’re booked you can click on manage your booking to change your auto-assigned seats. Just click on seating and then “Your allocated seats”





That will bring you over to AA.com where you can change your seat selection.

Take note of your AA.com record locator as it will be different than your BA.com record locator.  You’ll need the AA.com record locator to checkin for your American Airlines flights.


Making a flight change:

Login to your BA account here or enter your British Airways confirmation number here to manage reservations. Then click on change/cancel booking.

Changing an award incurs a $55 penalty, but the cost to cancel an award is the lessor of taxes paid or $55.  In other words on a one-way NYC-MIA award the cost will be just $5.60, the taxes owed for that award.

If you had booked a round-trip and only want to change the return you’ll have to cancel the whole award.  That means you’ll pay $11.20 instead of $5.60 and you might lose your desired outbound flight that you didn’t want to change.  Both of those are reasons I book BA awards as one-way trips.

If you want to cancel within 24 of booking you will get back your taxes, but you must call to cancel.  You can reach BA at 800-452-1201.

Flight cancellations and changes must be done more than 24 hours before the time of departure or else you will not get your Avios back.


Award expedite/close-in fees:

American and USAirways charge $75 for booking a flight within 3 weeks.  But British Airways can book you on those same flights and you won’t pay a dime for bogus close-in fees.


Booking infants:

DO NOT book a lap child on a domestic flight or a flight to Canada. Just have the child added by American or USAirways at the counter, free of charge for domestic flights or for a few dollars for Canadian flights. You can also call American or USAirways to add an infant over the phone. Be sure to have a passport or birth certificate to prove your child is under 2.

DO book a lap child at the time of booking for international travel. BA is very generous in only charging 10% of the Avios instead of 10% of the full fare ticket.
When we flew with Rafi to Buenos Aires in first class in 2012, American wanted $1,000 just to bring him on as a lap child. BA charged just 15,000 Avios. Just be sure to book the domestic portion separate from the international portion so that you don’t pay 10% for the domestic legs where the child shouldn’t need to pay anything.

If you’re like me and want to book an Avios award to have a seat for an infant under 2, just make your infant a little older as you can’t book a seat online for infants under 2 😉
Dates of birth are never actually printed on a ticket.


Adding an American AAdvantage or USAirways number to your Avios reservation:

If you have an AA credit card or AA elite status you’ll want to attach your AAdvantage number onto your BA reservation to take advantage of those benefits.

There’s no need to pay with AA credit card to get free baggage. You only need to have your AAdvantage number that is attached to that credit card on the reservation.

Same goes if you have a USAirways credit card and are flying on USAirways, you’ll need your USAirways mileage number in the reservation.

Alas if you book a ticket for yourself on BA.com from your own Avios account then AA.com will not let you enter your AAdvantage number.

All you need to do is go to Finnair.com, click on manage booking, and enter your BA confirmation number:





Then just click “Update your details,” enter your AAdvantage or USAirways number and your email address, and you’re good to go.  You will get a confirmation email that your record was updated.

If you can’t add your AAdvantage number on AA.com or Finnair.com You can also try updating it on RJ.com.


Miles expiration:

Avios never expire as long as you earn or redeem a single mile every 36 months.

Closing a credit card will not affect your Avios account.

Transferring points from AMEX, Chase, or Starwood will extend the life of all of your points for 36 months.

If your miles are expiring just book a domestic one-way flight for 4.5K Avios plus $5.60, wait 24 hours, and cancel the award.  You’ll get back your Avios and will have effectively paid $5.60 to extend the life of all of your Avios.

Even if you miles do expire BA is very good about reinstating them for free and giving you 3 months to get some activity to keep them alive for at least another 36 months after that.


Transferring British Airways Avios into Iberia Avios or Avios.com:

You can transfer Avios from British Airways to Iberia Avios or to Avios.com here. By transferring to Iberia as you will save a bundle on fuel surcharges for Iberia operated flights. More info in this post.

Avios.com has access to book award travel on airlines that British Airways does not.  Those include Air Malta, Aurigny, Flybe, and Monarch. You can also use Avios.com to book Eurostar train travel and other non-flight awards that British Airways does not have access to.

Award chart anomalies:

Flights from North America to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific are zone 8 awards, even though they should be zone 9 awards.  The AA flight from Dallas to Hong Kong is a zone 9 award, so it’s cheaper to fly Dallas-Chicago-Hong Kong then direct from Dallas to Hong Kong.

It’s important to search for surrounding airports. For example a flight from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale is 1,182 miles according to the Great Circle Mapper and is therefore a zone 3 award. However a flight from Chicago to West Palm Beach is just 1,144 miles and is therefore just a zone 2 award, saving you 5,000 Avios round-trip per person in coach in 15,000 per person in first.

-Due to the zone system, flights with connections may be cheaper than flying nonstop so always check possible connections! A nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Sydney is 7,488 miles placing it into zone 9 with a round-trip cost of 100,000 Avios in coach. However a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu is a zone 4 at 2,556 miles and a flight from Honolulu to Sydney is a zone 6 at 5,066 miles. The cost of a zone 4+zone 6 round-trip is just 75,000 miles in coach.

-A nonstop from JFK to Dublin or Shanon on surcharge-free Aer Lingus is a zone 5 award. If you fly from NYC-Boston-Dublin or Shannon you’ll save Avios as zone 1+zone 4 is less than zone 5.

The zone system also created anomalies where your connecting city will greatly affect the cost of your ticket:
-Los Angeles to Dublin via JFK=65,000 Avios round-trip.
-Los Angeles to Dublin via Chicago=60,000 Avios round-trip.
-Los Angeles to Dublin via Boston=50,000 Avios round-trip.

Always check different connecting options to ensure that you’re paying the lowest rate.


Is business class double, triple, or quadruple the cost of coach?

-Within the US, business class always costs quadruple what coach costs as American codes the flights as first class. There are 3 notable exceptions.  All flights between JFK-Los Angeles and JFK-S. Francisco have business class that costs triple the price of coach as they operate with a first class that costs quadruple the cost of coach. Select flights between Miami-Los Angeles that operate with 3 classes of service have business class that costs triple the price of coach and first class that costs quadruple the cost of coach.

-Short-haul international business class (flights under 2,000 miles as the crow flies) generally costs twice what coach costs.

-Long-haul international business class (flights 2,000+ miles as the crow flies) generally costs triple what coach costs.

-Alaska business class is always coded as first class, and therefore always costs quadruple coach. So Los Angeles-Cabo in business is 15K on AA or 30K on Alaska.

-USAirways short-haul international business class is now coded as business class instead of first class.  That means international flights like Philadelphia-Toronto can be booked in business class for 9K Avios instead of 18K Avios.



When flying business class on short flights makes sense:
Generally speaking flying business class on a short-flight isn’t worth the cost.
But when you have a lot of luggage it can make sense. American for example gives 3 free 70 pound bags in business class. If you’re flying from Chicago to Toronto the cost of business class is only 4.5K miles more than coach, so for 3 free 70 pound bags that’s a great deal.

TAM flies lie-flat business class seats from JFK to Toronto for just 9K Avios with 3 free checked bags.

Plus business class availability can be better than coach availability on short flights.

Priority access:
Due to a bug, people who fly on American with BA Avios tickets have priority access printed on their boarding pass that allows them to use priority checkin and security lines.

Sometimes agents (and especially the kiosk checkin machines) also give free baggage, but it’s hard to count on that happening.


Foreign carrier flights within North America come with free bags:
While American and USAirways only give 1 free bag to cardholders and elites within North America, other carriers are more generous.

Cathay Pacific flies daily between JFK and Vancouver. Coach passengers get 2 free 50 pound bags and business or first class passengers get 2 free 70 pound bags on that flight.

TAM now flies between JFK and Toronto. They allow a free 50 pound bag in coach and 3 free 50 pound bags in business.

Qantas flies from JFK-Los Angeles, but that can only be booked when continuing onto Australia. They allow 2 free 50 pound bags in coach and 3 free 70 pound bags in business or first.

Those flights are internationally equipped, so they offer some of the best coach, business, and first class you’ll find within North America.


AA.com calendar search to Hawaii includes flights that BA can’t book:

While the AA.com award calendar search is amazing for quickly spotting flights that you can use Avios for, it’s not great for flights to Hawaii.  That’s because AA.com searches for award flights on Hawaiian Airlines, but Hawaiian is not a partner with BA.

Therefore when searching for flights to Hawaii be sure to click through on AA.com to view the carrier and make sure that it’s not a Hawaiian flight.  If you clicked nonstop only for flights from JFK to Honolulu then AA.com would only display Hawaiian flights, but that can only be booked with AA miles, not with BA Avios.

AA.com will also display Alaska Air awards. BA.com can’t book those, but you can call BA to use your Avios for those flights.


Family Pooling of Avios:

You can pool a households Avios together.

Frankly I’ve never looked into this option too much as Avios awards start at just 4.5K anyway and becoming a household creates rules on who you are allowed to redeem for and how points are pulled out of each account that it seems like more of a headache than it’s worth. From a non-household linked BA Avios account you can book travel for anyone without restrictions.


Award availability is fluid:
This has nothing to do with Avios specifically, but some folks seem to think that if they check award space and see nothing then that’s it.

Award space is always very fluid and can open up as the flight gets closer. You just have to keep checking a few times a day to make sure you can grab it when it opens.

I can’t possibly count the number of times that checking multiple times daily has allowed me to grab an award seat as soon as it opens.


Be willing to stopover. It’s free and can help you out!

As BA charges by the segment you can take as many “stopovers” as you want without paying extra by just booking separate tickets for each flight. Creating your own adventure can be a blast and it can help you find award space when it might not otherwise exist.

They can even help you out:

There might not be availability JFK to Hawaii on the day you need it, but there may be if you stopoff in Los Angeles for a night.
There might not be availability JFK to Tel Aviv on the day you need it, but there may be if you stopoff in Berlin for a night.

If you’re flying from Los Angeles to Sydney via Honolulu just purchase the Los Angeles to Honolulu flight for 12.5K and the Honolulu to Sydney flight for 25K Avios on separate tickets.  If you just fly Los Angeles to Sydmey direct you’d pay an additional 25K Avios round-trip! Plus you can stopover in Hawaii for as long as your heart desires.


Avios Destination charts:

I’ve made charts for several cities to show where you can fly nonstop with your Avios. Get inspired and go make memories that will last a lifetime!  (Note that only the NYC chart has been updated with the new award pricing changes in business and first class that went into effect in April 2015)
-Click to view Direct Avios Flights From Montreal, Toronto, Denver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, S. Francisco, And 6 Ohio Airports
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 29 Direct Avios Flights From Boston
-Click to view 126 Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-Click to view 196 Direct Avios Flights From Dallas
-Click to view 12 Direct Avios Flights From Johannesburg
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view 99 Direct Avios Flights From NYC
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia

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175 Comments On "Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About British Airways Avios: Tips, Tricks, And Advice You Need To Know To Maximize Your Avios"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


Thanks for this awesome post!
What do you mean by “from a non-household linked BA avios account you can book travel for anyone without restrictions”. When it’s linked there are restrictions?


If you have a household you can only book travel for up to 5 people that are not part of your household account.
And you can only change that list of 5 people once every 6 months.


What airlines does the Avios annual earning effect the YQ on?


Amazing post, Dan, thanks! Can you make a destination chart for ATL or give advice on how to search out the info so I can do it myself? Unfortunately the list won’t be very long I’m sure. 🙁


Bookmarked. This is awesome.
One question though. You often talk about finding last minute fares using Avios, but in my experience, it’s really hard to find availability (I typically fly AA when using Avios) even a week or two before the date I’m trying to book. I actually recently tried booking a NYC-CHI flight for March 22nd and there apparently isn’t any availability.
When booking something last minute, do you typically have to use some of the “tricks” that you mentioned in this post or do you find that availability is rarely an issue, even last minute?


The bug that allows priority access & sometimes luggage, is that coach or only business?


When booking with Avios, is there any way to link my citi AA credit card to my reservation so that i get a free bah checked in and priority boarding?


Great article, thanks!


Flights on BA within Europe or Africa.


In the entire months of March only 4 dates don’t have coach availability (as you can see from the AA.com calendar).

Do you really call that very hard?

And if you search daily until then there’s a 95% chance it will open up.

Sometimes it doesn’t open until the day before, but they almost always open.


Read this post again.



when booking with Avios on AA, is there anyway to upgrade to First (domestically)?


Thanks Dan, great post! I figured that when searching on BA.com for close date (3-4 days) for AA domestic flights, availability on coach is really rare, while seats on business/first is opening up, but on later dates (2-3 weeks) it’s just the opposite. Now my question is, since i prefer to fly business can i book first coach seats and then if business seats become available closer to my departure date, is there anyway i can upgrade to business with Avios?


@reb yid:
Ask at the gate. I’ve upgrade CLE-ORD with a $35 sticker upgrade.

Don’t search BA.com, search AA.com…

There’s no way to upgrade, but you can always just cancel and rebook.


Thanks, awesome.
Is it possible to transfer AA miles to Avios? Or what do I do with my 50000 AA miles if I am to planning travel soon and want to cancel my credit card?


Cancelling an AA credit card has no effect on your miles.


Great post, thank you Dan.
I think TLVDusseldorf is only10k, TLVBerlin is 15k.


TLV to Berlin, Dusseldorf, Munich, or Vienna is 10K with no fuel surcharges.

Thank you

This was the best article I have ever read of yours! Perfectly clear and understandable Thank you so much.


Downside to booking connections as separate itineraries vs. online–you pay an extra security fee ($5.60) for each additional booking. That also means it costs more to cancel.


Thanks for this terrific compilation.
Just to clarify: if one wants to use Avios for BOS-LHR on Aer Lingus, the steps would include:
1. Find flight schedule on AerLingus.com
2. Call BA to inquire about availability.

There’s no way to check Avios award availability on AerLingus other than PUTPAC BA, right?

DZ The Telzer

When I try booking flights from Philadelphia to Montreal, it doesn’t show any flights even though US Air has flights. Is there a way to check availabilty on US Air like you showed how to check for AA on AA.COM


thanks as always Dan I need to fly to Miami next week and aa was very expensive because I didn’t book 3 weeks in advance. I looked at aa to see what flt were available with mileage on aa and I called ba and had a few choices to fly with aa. I didn’t have the points available in avios. while I was talking to ba I quickly transferred points from my ink chase account. the agent proceeded to tell me their aren’t enough points. I was able to answer oh yes there are clear your screen and look again a miracle the points were there thanks once again as always


Great post! Just read: “AA.com will also display Alaska Air awards. BA.com can’t book those, but you can call AA to use your Avios for those flights.”

Don’t you mean “call BA to use your Avios for those flights.”?


how do we search aer lingus award availability?


@Thank you:
Not sure what that says about the rest of my articles but thanks 😉

Yup, that’s why I wrote to call to piece it together.
But then you’ll spend an hour on the phone and have to argue for the phone fee to be waived.

You can search Aer Lingus availability on United.com, but it’s not an exact match to what BA sees.

@DZ The Telzer:
You search for USAir flights on AA.com just like you would search for AA flights or any other partner airlines that are shown on AA.com as I wrote in the post.

Don’t see why you had to call BA, but have fun.

Of course, thanks.


I don’t have an aadvantage credit card but my mother does. Can I link her aadvantage number to my ba account to get free luggage? Also does the free luggage work for us airways flights as well? Thanks Dan


Man that was an awesome read


Dan, thanks. Will look at United.com. The (very nice) BA CSR said I could search and see Aer Lingus availability on the BA.com site. I looked and didn’t see…I think she was wrong.


Great post Dan! I would love to see you make a post on all infant charges/points needed and when to book the infant vs not across all airlines that you know. I think that would be an incredibly valuable tool.


I just booked AA lga to yyz using Avios. Beware, If you book Round-Trip it’s $55 in taxes. But if you book 2 one-way tickets the taxes are $49 each way


Dan. If I book a flight on alaska using avios, does it make sense to use my AA ff# on the reservation. I have the AA card that gives 1 free bag but I understand thats only for AA operated flights. Is that correct?


IF I fly with Avios on US Airways, can I get a free bag with an AA executive credit card?


I’ve read dozens of columns on using Avios, but this is the clearest, most comprehensive of all. Thanks for this column, and for all the others which have taught me so much and saved me so much money. I always believe that what goes around, comes around, so you’re in for some very good fortune!


And you need a USAir card for free bags on USAir.

Glad you enjoyed 🙂

Most definitely.

BA and Air Canada have very infant friendly policies.

NYC-Toronto is $5.60 one-way.
The return is $49 one-way due to Canada taxes.
Same price whether booked as a one-way or round-trip.

The AA card offers no benefit on Alaska.

No, you need a USAir card.

Thanks 😀


Terrific article. In the past, you’ve written several comprehensive articles about Avios. It would be helpful if you would indicate which of those articles are still pertinent, and which ones are obviated by this one. Thanks loads!

high end hobo

Why don’t you include transferring to the avios programme which allows you to fly on many other European airlines, and reportedly has better availability?


I applied for this credit card about a month ago, but i was declined.

recon said my “credit history is great but quite young, and you have to many new credit cards, so we want to wait to see how you handle them” I recently got chase sapphire and freedom, and us airways, but i have a Capital one for 7 years and a credit score of about 760.

What can I say next time I call recon to get a different decision?


Just opened a ba credit card and wanted to know when the avios get added to my account. Thanks


This article pretty much supersedes most older Avios articles.

@high end hobo:
Yes, you can transfer BA Avios into Iberia Avios or Avios.com.

I mentioned the Iberia angle for lower fuel surcharges, but generally speaking those programs are pretty obscure for my US based audience.
Avios.com gives you access to airlines that most Americans will never need, namely Air Malta, Aurigny, Flybe, and Monarch.

That you are going to be flying on BA and need the card for the benefits it offers for that.

Points post a few days after the statement closes. Once you spend the $2K the Avios will post on the following statement (unless you finished the $2K spend within a week of the statement close in which case it will post on the following statement)


I’ve mentioned this before, but you’ve again failed to note the single biggest limitation on using Avios points in the USA. It is, of course, flight availability. It is extremely poor. On US (where I have more experience than with AA), it seems to be about 5% of flights. Mind you, this isn’t lower than what US/AA makes available at the “low” category to its own members, but it a huge impediment to booking award travel. I search for new inventory all the time, and I do book awards, but it is with extreme flexibility. If, say, there’s a certain date or weekend you need to be someplace, the odds that you’ll get there on AA/US with obvious are small. So, bottomline, great deal, but useful only occasionally.


USAirways has always had poor coach saver availability.

I’ve always had excellent success with domestic awards on American. Even when it’s available when I search I’ll often be able to grab it by checking several times per day.

Just because USAir was added to the Avios program last year doesn’t mean that Avios aren’t useful. It just means that USAir is stingy with their own saver award space and hopefully that will change once they’re integrated into AAdvantage in Q2.

Mind you, USAir first class saver award space is very good, and eagle eyed readers of comments on this site know exactly how to take advantage of that.


With avios you can book on Malaysia….. wonder how many dandealers are booking those…

high end hobo

thanks for the article, its always annoying when you make a new post and i already know everything on it. (i remember when avios first came out and we were figuring them out based on LAN and Iberia).

the avios programe has proved very useful if someone is planning a eurotrip, the short haul value is just too good to beat.

other things maybe worth mentioning is if your flying in or out of anywhere in the UK, you can get a free stopover in London for however long you desire. e.g. Edinburgh to Prague with a stop in London for only 4.5K!

lastly any idea when my USair card will earn me free bags on domestic AA flights bought with avios? (through finair obviously)


if you spend 30K in a few months do you get the companion pass then? Or they wait until the end of the calendar year?

high end hobo

its also worth noting about the iberia program, the X-fers are glitchy, sometimes you need to use avios as an intermediary.
once they’re iberian, you can book royal air morocco, gol, avanica, taca. However IB recently devalued and has quirky YQ with partners, in addition to unfriendly reps (remember the great panic in the blogosphere, and led to machlokes between you and VFTW. as usual you were right baruch hashem)


Any tricks to getting onto that Qantas trans-con without actually flying all the way to Australia?



Yes, it is not uncommon to see many first class award seats available on a US flight, when there is zero coach availability (I guess US figures they’re going to sell the coach seats, but just upgrade folks to fill up first class). But I’m mystified about a strategy to take advantage of this, as US FC is normally 3x on Avios and therefore pretty useless. Can you provide a hint as to what you’re talking about?


Thanks Dan. I called and im still declined ):
I guess ill try again in another month.


@high end hobo:
Sometime in Q2.

You get it then.

@high end hobo:

Book a one-way and get sick after you land in LAX?
Not recommended 😀

If I did I’d wind up in bloggers killing deals thread.
Or it would be highlighted with big yellow arrows and circles in a 65 part series 😉

high end hobo

thats called cabotage, and although protected by the 8th freedom of flying, is effectively banned by the FAA. no workarounds


1. No.
2. Are you using AA.com as I wrote? I see plenty.
3. Officially you can get the bonus 24 months after you last got it. Nothing to di with time from closing.
4. No need to do it 7 days in advance. Companions automatically will get the bag benefit.
5. Companion pass is only for BA flights.


@Dan:Glad this supersedes all. So I don’t have to memorize your 22 points anymore! 😉



Hinting at a trick but then providing no way to find it? That’s not very sportsman like, is it?


What is the best mileage system to go from nyc to cdg in business?


When I am trying to add my AAdvantage on Finnair it is not allowing, it is grayed out. Any advice?


I just read your post about household accounts. Its much easier now that you also have an option of adding “family and friends” (I think up to 6)and they can also fly from your household account. I have a household acct for more then 2 yrs and its great cuz the kids don’t have to many avios and i keep using them through the household acct


Muchas gracias!
2. You are suggesting to search on AA and then book over the phone with British because it won’t show up on their own site?
4. But just bringing the AA cc to the check-in counter will not be enough. What’s the definition of a companion, anyone who rolls up to check in counter with you even though they booked with different avios account and cc?

New question (sorry for being so inquisitive): Can you use avios to fly from NY or the Midwest to France or is there a better mileage program for that?

cool d

did they stop the direct flight from LGA to Your home town Cleveland ?


Looking to fly LA-NYC on Jan 28th or 29th in Business… Cant seem to find any availability on BA or AA’s website 🙁 Any ideas?


What is or where can I find out more about a $35 sticker upgrade you mention?


My sister is flying on british airways and virgin atlantic is there anyway to credit those miles in to my account (with her permission of course)?


I’m not a spoonfeeder/deal killer, sorry!
Hunt through comments on my BA posts from the past couple months and ye shall find…

United or maybe Delta.

Did you try changing it on AA.com?
You can also try on RJ.com

It’s up to 5 others (1 per person in your household I believe).

For my money if your kid has 4,500 Avios just book a flight with that. And if he has less than that then forget about it or transfer some points in from AMEX.

2. AA.com makes it easier to find valid dates. 98% of the time is AA.com shows a nonstop MileSAAver flight then BA.com can book it.
2% of the time you’ll need to call BA.

4. It has nothing to do with showing the CC. It’s all about the AAdvantage number.
A companion is someone on your reservation only.

@cool d:


Fly with a connection or keep checking.

Or use United miles, they have business nonstop on the 28th.

Just ask at the gate next time about an upgrade…



I have a household account already. Is it possible to get rid of it and go back to individual?

Name (Required)

Two more tips:
– BA considers an infant to be priced as such judging by the beginning of your trip, even though a 2 year old must legally be granted a regular seat. This means if you have a 4 or ten flight itinerary but you board the first flight before your child turns two, all subsequent legs are “free” even though your child is already two. I say this from personal experience.
– BA allows minors to have Avios accounts only as members of a family account. Set it up and let them earn for their flights – You can then dissolve the family account and the miles will be deposited into the primary member’s account.

Us airways card

Since American Airlines and us airways merged can I use my us airways card to get free luggage on an American flight? (Booked with avios btw thx :))


Is there any way to use avios to europe without paying heavy fuel surcharges (I.E. flying through london) or many stop-overs?

Looking for the best options in business class from NYC area to Amsterdam. I have avios, ur, mr, united, and usairways.



@Name (Required):
Good tips.

@Us airways card:
Not until Q2.

Yes, read the post.


You mention that since connecting flights is hard to find on BA, you should try to search first for those flights
not on BA, and then book it on BA as 2 seperate tickets for same amount of miles, since it goes anyway per segment. I’ve found on AA.com a connecting flight LGA-DFW-PSP for 12.5k SAAver miles (regular amount for NY-CA) and when trying to book it as 2 seperate flights on BA it’s 10k for first flight and 7.5k for second. Where is my mistake???..


You’re misreading what I wrote.

Every segment costs more Avios, as the award chart in this post shows.

However it’s the same amount of Avios to book LGA-DFW-PSP on one itinerary as it will be to book LGA-DFW and DFW-PSP on 2 separate itineraries.


So how come AA.com shoes 12.5k for that total trip while when booking seperate on BA.com it totals 17.5k?


That’s like asking why something in Mexico cost 300 pesos when in Miami the same thing costs $50.

The 2 currencies have nothing to do with one another. Each has their own rules and rates for every route. AA charges the same for connecting flights as nonstop flight, BA charges more for connecting flights except in a few exceptions.

MIA-CUN in coach is 4.5K BA or 17.5K AA.
JFK-HKG in first is 105K BA or 67.5K AA.


Thanks for this post. I’ve been waiting months for this.


I see. so flying connect will always be more miles then flying direct, not like when purchasing tickets with money it may be even cheaper. correct?


In general yes.
There are exceptions, some of which are listed in this post.


Last but not least…
Whats the no show policy or missed flight for an AA flight booked with avios, will they let you go standby on the next flight?

Also can you take a standby for an earlier flight if its still available for the same amount of avios?

hey dan

Im trying to book ewr to mco on AA and the only available option for saver awards is EWR->DFW->MCO
How can I book this on BA? Will I be charged the standard 7500 miles each way that is from ewr to mco or be charged for EWR to DFW and then DFW to MCO?


Thanks Dan, you are great, could you just explain me how to transfer my miles from my Amex Green card to avios?


Just a general fyi: I flew with wife and infant jfk-yyz (with avios)not booking infant a seat,checked a bag and rep said I have to pay 10% full fare for infant claiming yyz is international (which it is, but aa considers it domestic in this respect).. I had to argue (respectfully of course) for a solid 15 min, before the rep went into a back office for 15 min to sort it out… thankfully she added infant for return flight at the same time..


Can i transfer points from my Chase freedom to a sapphire card of a relative besides my spouse?

yanky Bennish

What i love about this the most is how you extol avios like they’re the salt of the earth, yet you’ve never been on a BA flight, and neither have you been to the UK 😉
just goes to show the daedalian (pun intended) nature of this hobby


Thanks for the great post Dan!
As someone living in Israel, do you recommend investing in collecting Avios? Or is it more worth it to go for United miles/Chase points to convert to United miles?


This year-old FT thread provides some good visuals of the redemption anomalies from various OWhubs:



Dan, great article, read it thru and thru.
To attach aa account and receive free bags:
I go to finair and when I get to details the option is in gray
And doesn’t let me click it? Ideas?
I made a flight to Cancun with avios from jfk.


Thank you so much! I’m a beginner who has lots of Simchas in Israel. I just booked an Awards ticket with AMEX Delta and needed 80,000 miles. It is a pleasure to see that I now have enough Avios, about half the amount, for my next flight! 😊


I have a BA household account. They only let you change the people every six months, but you can just click edit on one of your existing names and change it to someone else. I just tried this yesterday and it worked.


FYI- I checked my Avios last nite since I am going on a trip next week. My acct was hacked and someone used 54,000 miles to book a 4 nite stay at the Crown Plaza in Moscow. Luckily I caught it and busted them. Just letting everyone out there beware and check your miles frequently!!!


Dan, you said don’t book a lap child if you are going to Canada (for American and Us Airways), but what if the flight available is on TAM. Should I book the lap child or just wait until I get to the airport?



I’ve been able to go standby earlier.

@hey dan:
Each leg is charged separately with BA.

Online or call the number on the back of your card.

You can call AA next time.

Not officially.

@yanky Bennish:
I most certainly have been to the UK before. Spent a shabbos and went to a wedding on London.

But point taken.

United will be easier.

good thread.
There’s also one on DDF.

Try AA.com and RJ.com and let us know if either of those work.


Personally for 4,500 I’d rather have a seat and bring along a carseat for the baby…

That being said, TAM doesn’t yet fly YYZ-JFK, they may not even have a policy formed yet.

To be safe, spend the 10% of the miles for the infant.


Dan —

You’re awesome.

Have a great day!


Did you find it? Because i searched and couldn’t find…


I look at your site all the time and have gotten some great deals over the years thanks to you. I am trying so hard to understand how to make these rewards points work for me. I have about 200,000 us airways rewards and don’t want to waste them. Is there a way to transfer them to avois and use them on some short haul flights? Like Phl-mco for example? I also have about 50,000 Starwood points… What would you do with these?


Can I have equal amounts of Avios and AA miles. How do I combine the two together? Can I?


Hi dan!
if I just started with credit cards, does it hurt my credit score more when i apply for new ones now than later on?


Hi Dan any BA avios direct flights post for San Diego imminent?

also these posts are great; for the next great post how about a tutorial booking a trailing free one way domestic flight after booking an award round trip purchase I don’t think one has been done yet?


dan, can i use someone else’s aa advantage account to get first bag free? say he adds me as an AU….?


Is it possible to do?


Do the bonus points expire if not used after a certain time
If the Ba account is active?

chana k

Thanks for combining your Avios posts. Now it’s all neat easy to use!


Hi Dan,
Can you post what to do when you absolutely have to travel direct to London (have to leave sat. night and be there sunday for simcha) is there any way to avoid the taxes and fees or at least pay less?


Hi Dan,
booking from jfk-hkg is not better with AA miles then BA Miles??


I booked domestic and international segments separately and now baggage allowance comes into question. AA claims I’d have to pay for the baggage for domestic portion $25(1st bag)/$35(2nd). Is there any way to “join” domestic segment to international one so bags would fly free?


“Alas if you book a ticket for yourself on BA.com from your own Avios account then AA.com will not let you enter your AAdvantage number.

The simple way out if you remember, is during the booking process, delete your avios number (if you check the box saying the account holder is flying, it will put it in, but you can go straight away and remove it!) then when you bring it up on AA, you’ll have no FF# inserted so you can add your AA#.

Also, you should mention you can use checkmytrip.com to retrieve your AA or US (or any other operating carrier’s) record locator (most oneworld airlines use amadeus record locators so it will be the same as BA’s)


@david: I just tried to edit my FF# on a BA ticket on an AA flight in the US, using Finnair’s website, it didn’t work! the drop down menu was greyed out and I couldn’t edit the numbers (I already changed it on AA to my AA FF# but Finnair showed it as my BA#)


Never mind. I switched browsers, and it worked.


great post and CRAP I JUST booked an EWR-MIA round trip for myself and lap infant and was charged 10% more for him… the trip hasn’t started yet. Anyway I can get the 10% back?


RJ.COM works.
The ticket was made with my avios and my wife has the aa-city card. question: Do I take off my avios account and leave only her aa account? Or leave mine and add hers hers? I don’t know if it’s a good idea to take mine off altogether and get in trouble with them (cancel tickets for “playing around”)?


Hi Dan, I completed to book a ticket from JFK to TLV through DUS on air berlin using avios points, I booked it as 2 separate bookings, do I have to link the 2 bookings as one ticket to TLV from JFK, I don’t want to have to recheck my luggage at DUS, if yes is it done with british airways, air berlin or at the airport in JFK?

Sam thanks you

Can I transfer BA points back to a avios account?


Looks like Finnair does not allow you to change your mileage account anymore 🙁


Very well written. I would like to know how long takes to get back BA points in my account after cancelling a booking?

Thanks a lot


Instead of a $5.60 fee each way for a flight within the US, I am seeing a $80.60 fee each way on AA.com. Is this a recent change or am I doing something wrong?


Try RJ.com


When you go to BA.com it will be $5.60


Hi – I am trying to book pbi to lga and I see it on aa for 25k from pbi to clt and then clt to lga.

When I go on to ba as you described nothing with connections so I looked at them separately but then they want 13,500 avios for each segment.

what do you mean by ‘As BA charges a flat rate for each flight segment you’ll pay the same amount of Avios whether you book 2 flights on 1 ticket or on 2 tickets.


Thank you for the incredibly thorough posting. (I am new to the Avios world — so, this information is awesome.)

At your suggestion, since I can’t find the flight I want on the BA site — I searched through AA Awards (where I did find an available flight). But, when I have called (3x) — the agents each have said they can’t help me with booking through AA.

Have you really had luck with the BA agents? I am going to try calling Singapore this evening…

Other than these suggestions — anything else I should try?


Why is it impossible to find avoid flights from NYC to Israel even with a stopover in Germany? Does it open up?


@ Dan: I have BA visa through chase. At the time this was published, how many Avios points are earned per dollar spent? I was pretty sure I read 1.5 per dollar, I am being told it’s actually 1.25. TIA!


I know you always advise booking only one-way tickets, however it appears that if one were to book a round-trip between two normally 7500-avios destinations like PHL-ORD, if you book different carriers for each way BA charges double avios (30K for the RT instead of 15K). I don’t recall seeing this information printed anywhere…


If I set up a household account but don’t want to be tied by the restrictions how can I simply ‘cancel’ the household account



the finnair option is not working for a long time


Still works for me. If it doesn’t work for you then use the RJ option.


booking lhr-nyc one way with miles in off peak its 13000plus 352 gives you 2 free luggaege


its not working for nyc-lhr one way or round trip eather way


i just tried to search on ba.com from nyc to tlv i got a few connecting flight but their was a few hundred dollars tax , how can i avoid not paying it ?


Statement? Question?

I wrote how in the post.


I get it how Avios are awesome and I have used them myself.

But why do all the points sellers offer so little for them? Whenever I price them, the going rate seems to be one cent per point, if you’re lucky.

Why are they so undervalued??


Pretty simple. Brokers make $$$$$ by selling business and first class tickets. They might buy 120,000 miles from you for $2,000 and use them to sell a first class ticket to someone for $8,000 that would have otherwise paid $30,000 for it.

Avios are primarily useful on domestic flights in coach for 4.5K or 7.5K miles. They might be able to flip that 4.5K award for $150, meaning that it won’t be worth their time to pay you more then $50 for the miles. There’s also less competition as many brokers don’t want to mess around with small margin transactions.

However if you travel there’s no reason to value them by what a broker would pay. It’s also against the rules of the programs to sell miles and can get your accounts closed eventually. I giggle every time I get on a flight that would have cost me $600 for just 4.5K Avios, that’s more than enough value for me.


Will the recent switch in ownership of Aer Lingus change the partnerships mentioned? I’m specifically looking to take advantage of the BOS to DUB route for my extended family.


Hopefully it will just mean that we will be able to book Aer Lingus flights online.





high end hobo

@dan sorry to break it to you, but with the IAG takeover of aer lingus corp, I’m afraid YQ is inevitable.
Also why do you to go to finair when you can get your AA booking reference by clicking on choose a seat, and enter AAdvantage number there to get your status benefits.

Jason Smith

I don’t see any direct flights from LGA – PBI? A I missing something? Thanks in advance for any help.


Hi Dan,
I’m trying to book a flight to Spain and Italy. Seems like one way flights are more expensive than round trip to just one destination. Any advice on booking a reasonable flight to Spain from JFK then from Rome to JFK. I have about 75k avios . Thanks in advance


Thank you for this great post and all your terrific advice always.

Recently I was trying to book a rewards room at the Intercontinental London but there was no availability for weeks . Following your advice/encouragement I ‘nudniked’ their site several times a day for weeks, I got a room. Thanx for that too.

Btw the London master thread on DDF listed the Bevis Marks restaurant under kosher supervision of the London Beth Din. Checked LBD web site and it’s not listed. This was also confirmed by email from LBD. The restaurant remains under another kosher supervision.


can you tranfer avious from one account to another?


@Dan: before I go looking for that US First Class hint – does it even exist anymore now post Award integration?


Thanks for e/t! Just got my BA card and wondering…
1) Any way to get an AAdvantage number w/o having an AA credit card?
2)How can you get the BA phone fee waived? How much is it anyways?
Any response would be greatly appreciated. Thnx


ba.com doesn’t let you put a PreCheck number into your reservation (I assume because they’re not a US-based airline) and so, although I have precheck, I end up having to add it later at the airport or over the phone. A real pain in the butt. Does anyone know if there’s a way to do this seamlessly via ba.com?


Does transfering ba avios to Iberia avios ever help you if you want to go to israel peak season-summer?


@Anonymous Says:
when you try to select or change seats it sends you to aa’s site. there you can enter your known traveler/passport etc. info.


These miles are beyond useless….can never get a domestic flight to use them on and the fees to travel to Europe are insane.


@high end hobo:

You go to Finnair to change your mileage number to AA. You can’t do that if you book a BA ticket out of your account.

@Jason Smith:
It’s a seasonal route.

Check via Air Berlin or Aer Lingus.

Why do you need to?

It’s dead.
When you booked USAir flights in first over the phone it was pricing them out as coach.

1. Yes.
2. Ask for it if it’s not bookable online.

It may. Search on Iberia.com for awards.

Then you’re clueless. I’ve used hundreds of thousands without issue and there are workarounds for the fees as I wrote in the post.

Sam gucci

Hi, I simply want to book two roundtrip tickets jfk-London for my brother and his wife In September-October time. I have 52k avios and 50k a advantage miles. Can I please get advice on what are my best options for this booking?


Are there any direct flights from NYC to Brussels using avios surcharge free? I seem to be getting lots of connections via London but nothing direct.


I spoke to two different BA agents and they both told me that they don’t partner with Niki. ????


Are BA Avios good for international short flight like tlv-vie?


Can someone please hp I still don’t understand if I find a flight under economy milesaaver that mean I have FORSURE find it with BA? Bc I am trying and I cannot find those flights available on BA .


Hello Dan,

THANK YOU! for this article.
Just booked my trip from SFO to BWI. 17K + 10$, the cheapest option I could get for a flight within 3 days.


Dan, my wife and I were hit with $25-per-ticket cancellation fees for cancelling our trip booked with Avios within 24 hours of purchase. You should probably make clear above that cancellations even within 24 hours incur penalties.


@Sam gucci:
Use the AA miles to fly on AA and the BA Avios to fly on Aer Lingus via Ireland.

You would have to connect in Ireland or Germany to avoid surcharges.

So they’re clueless, what else is new?
It’s bookable online.


If it’s nonstop, yes.


Were you flying to/from the US?


I log into my avios account often, and my search option never looks like the picture you posted, I always have to click on executive club, choose spending avios, and then conduct my search, am I doing something wrong?


I got a British Air Visa Signature card in Jan. ’14 and canceled it March ’15. Can I apply for a new card now and get the 50,000 avios bonus, or do they really enforce the 2 year rule?


Anyone know how I can get an AAdvantage number?


Which points are better for short international flights, BA or United?


I have looked for american airlines availability using avios points and in recent weeks no matter what domestic route/dates I search nothing appears. Any insight to what happened?!!!


@Dan yes, it was a one-way flight from TLV to JFK via LHR.


First of all thanks dan for all ur hard work put in to this ….If I would book a flight from jfk to toronto would I need to book return flight also when I book the flight going or will there be openings when I look in two weeks or there is the same price no matter when I book it !! Also I looked and saw not 1 flight on economy or first class going to toronto looking at a. Month radius ,and not always is the. Aa flight availible on ba and they give a hard time with the phone fee and only have the 9k flight bussiness how can I tell them to waive the fee for me !?


Also is it better to covert into ba avios from my freedom and or gold amex or platim..or is it better to get cash if not such a frequent flyer , and what’s a good rate for each point freedom and amex gold and platim.. Thanks dan


Is it true that a low mileage aa award is not necessarily bookable with avios anymore?

I have been trying to book an aa ticket to south america- aa.com shows 20 days with low mileage availability yet ba says there is no availability. The ba agent claims that as of 2 weeks ago everything has changed and a low mileage aa ticket found on aa.com means nothing in regards to avios availability. Anyone heard this before?

I am beginning to think all my remaining avios are indeed worthless. I have literally checked for availability to 6 different cities, every day for the next 6 months or so and I have not found even a single seat.


I have a offer from my cc to convert my points for a 50% avionics bonus. Should I do it? It seems that the avios rewards is in question if it will continue as it’s been difficult to book flights

Tasha Covington

Are you still looking for deals for LGA – PBI?


Hey Dan,

I just booked a flight via BA.com from JFK – TLV via DUS on Air Berlin.
I guess I got lucky also because the flight came up after searching JFK – TLV on BA.com and I didn’t have to search single legs. I did however see the flight come up first on AA.com.
I paid 30K Avios and 29$ CAN!!
I have two questions:
1) How is Air Berlin, do they offer screens? do they have good customer service?
2) I have a 1h35m stopover in DUS. Is that enough time?


Also, do they offer kosher food?
and how much does a second checked bag cost?

Richard Rose

Can you use BA miles to upgrade an already paid and booked Air Berlin flight?


In the past when I booked my infant a seat on aa via ba avios for a domestic flight they blocked the middle seat for the baby and charged me 10% of the miles, but didn’t actually give her a seat, so if the plane was full I would not have had a seat for the baby.
If I want to be certain the infant has an assigned seat can I do it online (I don’t see how) or must I phone in the reservation?


No reason to pay 10% on domestic flights.
If you don’t want a seat don’t add until you get to the airport.
If you want a seat just make the date of birth at least 2 years old, nobody will care.


This post has saved me too much time and money to enumerate, thank you so much for compiling.



Really informative and a pleasure to read.

Have over 150k avios. Son is going to Israel (from New Jersey) and wife and I would like to visit last week of November preferably in first or bussiness as we have a free companion ticket. There doesn’t seem to be availability on Aa.com.

1) is this a possible way of using a companion ticket?
2) assuming it makes sense to fly BA first or bussiness and use a companion ticket, should I just keep on checking in?


Going to maui with avios on october 11 but cant find anything available with avios for the way back on oct 14. Dan do you have any advice? Also booked waldorf astoria for 37k chase points per night for deluxe ocean room. Looks like a nice hotel but didnt see anything about it in any of your trip notes is the Andaz worth a little more points and if yes which room gives me full ocean view? Were just 2 people and i saved $20 a day with chabads code with enterprise for a convertible. Thanks so much!!


@Dan: if you cancel the card do you keep the miles?


Dan both me and my wife earned 50K Avios each through the recent Chase Avios card offer. We each opened up separate CCs and have separate Avios accounts. I need to get for her another 25K miles. Can I make our account a household account and that would combine the miles to 100K?


Hey dan,
Can I transfer American Express to BA and is it worth it? and what is the ratio compared to aa and delta?
(do you have an article that can answer this questions by any chance?)


Anyway to see which flights are AA Award miles and and which not? The new layout doesn’t show any difference.


Is anyone able to find AA flights any more?


This is great! Can it be updated to advise how to know if BA will have availability now that AA dropped its saver award charts?