Update: This transfer bonus offer ends today!
Originally posted on 9/15:
With this bonus 1,000 AMEX points transfers into 1,400 Avios. This promotion runs through 11/15.
This is only valid for US cardholders.
- Previous MR->Avios bonus offers:
- 12/02/15=25% (Effective 0% bonus due to decreased transfer ratio)
- 08/10/16=50% (Effective 20% bonus due to decreased transfer ratio)
- 11/15/16=50% (Effective 20% bonus due to decreased transfer ratio)
About British Airways Avios:
In 2011 BA launched the Avios program and it provides a great value for short-haul flights. Unfortunately their domestic OneWorld partner, American, has been stingy with award availability since they merged with USAirways, but there are still bargains to be had.
- There are no expedite or close-in fees for last minute award ticket bookings with BA Avios. That saves you $75 compared to other programs.
- Earning or redeeming any amount of Avios extends your entire account validity for another 36 months.
- You can cancel tickets and redeposit miles for the lesser of $55 or the taxes you paid. That means you pay just $5.60 to cancel a one-way domestic itinerary (and you always should book domestic flights as one-ways). That saves you up to $200 compared to other programs when you need to cancel.
- British Airways only charges 10% extra miles for a lap child flying internationally, even when traveling on AA. AA and other domestic carriers charge a whopping 10% of the full fare, which can add up to be a small fortune.
- You can search American and Alaska award availability on AA.com by looking for sAAver awards. BA can’t book AAnytime awards, but you should be able to find all AA sAAver awards on BA.com. BA.com does not display all available awards on all airlines, airlines like Alaska, Aer Lingus, and LATAM have to be booked over the phone. Additionally you will have to call BA to make a booking if you see a sAAver award on AA.com that’s not showing on BA.com.
- The cost of a domestic first class award has gone down from 4 times the price of coach to 2-3 times the price of coach due to being recategorized as business class. For example a one-way flight from NYC to Chicago or Miami is 7.5K in coach or 15K in first class instead of the previous rate of 30K in first class.
- I’ve booked dozens of short-haul tickets using Avios for travel on American. A Cleveland-NYC ticket can cost $1,200 round-trip if you don’t stay for at least 3 days. That means you can get a value of 8 cents per mile.
You can combine Avios via this link via the BA site. Sometimes that link doesn’t work so you can also try this link on the Iberia site to combine points. Avios from all 3 airlines can be combined.
You can save Avios on some routes by with Iberia Avios. Iberia’s awards start at 11K Avios round-trip. However Iberia partner awards are not changeable or cancellable, so you’ll typically want to use British Airways Avios to book partner award travel.
Avoiding fuel surcharges:
- There are no fuel surcharges for travel on American within the Western Hemisphere. Flights start at 7,500 Avios plus $5.60.
- Alaska flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide, these flights can only be booked over the phone.
- LATAM flights have no fuel surcharges systemwide. Many of their flights can only be booked over the phone.
- Flights within Australia, Europe, Japan, and many other countries and regions have little to no fuel surcharges.
- There are also no fuel surcharges for flying on Qantas within or from Australia.
- Fuel surcharges on award-winning carrier Cathay Pacific are also very low or non-existent 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 bed, 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 and intra-Africa flights will be very low. You can transfer points from AMEX, Chase, or Starwood to activate that benefit.
Here is the BA Avios award chart for flying on a single partner airline. Rates are for each segment flown.
|1 (Flights that don't touch the USA)||1-650||4.5K||9K||18K|
|1 (Flights to, from, or within the USA)||1-650||7.5K||15K||30K|
Sample uses (Don’t forget you’ll also get a 40% bonus for transferring points from AMEX into Avios!) :
- 4,500 Avios is enough for a one-way short-haul ticket from London-Milan, Iguazu Falls-Sao Paulo, Johannesburg-Victoria Falls, Hong Kong to Taiwan, Melbourne to Sydney, and between most cities within Europe.
- 7,500 Avios is enough for a one-way short-haul ticket between New York and places like Bermuda, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Miami, Orlando, Montreal, Pittsburgh, or Toronto, or between Miami and the Bahamas or Cancun, or between LA and Cabo on OneWorld partner American.
- 10,000 Avios is enough for a one-way flight between Chicago and LA, Hong Kong to Singapore, or JFK to Cancun.
- 12,500 Avios is enough for a one-way flight between the west coast and any of the Hawaiian islands or between New York and the west coast.
- 15,000 Avios is enough for a one-way business class flight between NYC and Toronto or Bermuda or between Miami and most destinations in the Caribbean.
- 20,000 Avios is enough for a one-way flight between Dallas and Hawaii or New York and London (though you’ll be hit with fuel surcharges for crossing the Atlantic on most airlines).
- 25,000 Avios is enough for a one-way flight between New York and Brazil or Argentina.
- 35,000 Avios is enough for a one-way flight between the US and Hong Kong in coach.
- 37,500 Avios is enough for a one-way flight in lie-flat business class on Cathay Pacific from JFK to Vancouver with no fuel surcharges.
- 50,000 Avios is enough for a one-way flight in lie-flat first class on Cathay Pacific from JFK to Vancouver with no fuel surcharges.
Will you transfer points to BA Avios with this bonus?