Avios Redemption University – Lesson 10 – Using Avios for non-stop flights from the UK regions

EDIT:  Monarch, Aurigny and Air Malta stopped being Avios partners on 4th January 2017.  You should ignore the references to them in this article.

The “Avios Redemption University” series is a good starting point for beginners, although I hope everyone will learn something from them.  Click here to see the other articles.

When British Airways sold its regional operations to Flybe a few years ago, it became an airline with NO flights which do not begin or end in London.

Reward Flight Saver redemptions were originally designed so that you would not lose out (in terms of Avios) if you lived in the regions.  Manchester to London to Nice cost the same as London to Nice, but connecting still added 2 hours to your travel time.  The Avios devaluation in April 2015 got rid of this benefit entirely – if you fly from Manchester to Nice via Heathrow, you must now pay for two flights at a disproportionately high cost.

Luckily, there are still some options available if you live outside London.  This article summarises direct flights from the UK regions which can be booked with Avios points.

I have given this list my best shot but I am sure a few options have slipped past me.  Please post below with any additions and I will add them in.

Remember that short-haul redemptions are NOT covered by Reward Flight Saver unless operated by a BA franchise.  These flights will often be a very poor use of Avios points because the taxes represent a very high percentage of the fare.

Some services may be seasonal.  Domestic British Airways flights have been ignored.  airberlin is not listed because it now only flies to Guernsey and Jersey with no UK mainland services.

A note on Flybe:

ba.com and avios.com have different Flybe reward availability so it is worth looking at both.  Because not all routes are included, it has not been possible to list them here.  The current list of Flybe UK departure airports can be found listed at the bottom of the page on the Flybe website.

A note on Vueling:

Vueling redemptions can only be booked using Iberia Plus Avios points.  You need to have an active Iberia Plus account (ie have earned at least 1 Avios point in it) and the account must be 90 days old.  You can then transfer points across from British Airways or avios.com.

Oneworld members

Aberdeen

Aer Lingus to Dublin (telephone booking via BA)

Belfast

Aer Lingus to Fara, Malaga, Palma

Vueling to Barcelona

Birmingham

American Airlines to New York

Qatar Airways to Doha (from March 2016)

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork, Shannon (telephone booking via BA)

Air Malta to Malta (bookable via avios.com)

Vueling to Barcelona, Alicante (from June 2016)

Iberia Express to Madrid (from March 2016)

Birmingham is also a major hub for Flybe

Some Monarch services from Birmingham are likely to be bookable via avios.com.  You can see a list of current routes here.

Bristol

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork, Shannon (telephone booking via BA)

Air Malta to Malta (bookable via avios.com)

Aurigny to Guernsey (bookable via avios.com)

Cambridge

British Airways (SUN-AIR) to Gothenburg

Cardiff

Aer Lingus to Dublin (telephone booking via BA)

Air Malta to Malta (bookable via avios.com)

Vueling to Alicante, Barcelona, Majorca, Malaga, Barcelona

Doncaster Sheffield

Aer Lingus to Dublin (telephone booking via BA)

Flybe is launching eight routes from Robin Hood in March 2016

East Midlands

Aer Lingus to Dublin (telephone booking via BA)

Aurigny to Guernsey (book via avios.com)

Edinburgh

American Airlines to New York

Qatar Airways to Doha

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork, Shannon (telephone booking via BA)

Iberia Express to Madrid

Vueling to Barcelona, Paris (from March 2016), Alicante (from June 2016), Rome (from June 2016)

Finnair to Helsinki (starts 2016)

Exeter

Aer Lingus to Dublin (telephone booking via BA)

Air Malta to Malta (book via avios.com)

Glasgow

American Airlines to Philadelphia

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork (telephone booking via BA)

Air Malta to Malta (book via avios.com)

British Airways to Salzburg (trial service for Winter 2015)

Inverness

Aer Lingus to Dublin (telephone booking via BA)

Leeds Bradford

Aer Lingus to Dublin (telephone booking via BA)

Vueling to Barcelona (book on iberia.com, starts March 2016)

Some Monarch services from Leeds Bradford are likely to be bookable via avios.com.  You can see a list of current routes here.

Liverpool

Aer Lingus to Dublin (telephone booking via BA)

Vueling to Barcelona (from March 2016)

Luton

Iberia Regional to Vigo

Some Monarch services from Luton are likely to be bookable via avios.com.  You can see a list of current routes here.

Manchester

American Airlines to New York

American Airlines to Philadelphia

American Airlines to Chicago

Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong

Qatar Airways to Doha

Air Malta to Malta (book on avios.com)

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork (telephone booking via BA)

Aurigny to Guernsey (book on avios.com)

British Airways (SUN-AIR) to Billund and Gothenburg

Finnair to Helsinki

Iberia Express to Madrid

Vueling to Barcelona, Alicante (from June 2016), Rome (from June 2016)

Manchester is also a major hub for Flybe

Some Monarch services from Manchester are likely to be bookable via avios.com.  You can see a list of current routes here.

Newcastle

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork (telephone booking via BA)

Air Malta to Malta (book on avios.com)

Vueling to Barcelona (starts March 2016)

Newquay

Aer Lingus to Dublin (telephone booking via BA)

Norwich

Air Malta to Malta (book on avios.com)

Southampton

Aer Lingus to Dublin (telephone booking via BA)

Aurigny to Guernsey via Alderney (book on avios.com)

Southend

Aer Lingus to Dublin (telephone booking via BA)

If I have missed out any long-haul flights from the UK regions flown by other oneworld partners, please let me know and I will update the list.

It is also worth remembering that most oneworld partners fly to other European capitals.  Instead of flying from Manchester to London to pick up a Malaysian Airlines redemption flight to Kuala Lumpur, why not fly Manchester to Amsterdam instead and connect there?  If you separate your tickets, you would make a substantial saving on Air Passenger Duty.

You will also often find better availability out of Europe.  This article, for example, shows how Cathay Pacific was offering up to eight business class seats per flight from Dusseldorf to Hong Kong.

The only thing to check is the type of plane used.  Airlines generally send their newest aircraft to Heathrow because demand and competition is higher.  Routes like Amsterdam often get older equipment with older-style seats – this may mean no flat beds in business class, for example.  Check before you book.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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Comments

  1. Aer Lingus Manchester to Shannon was canned as soon as Ryanair entered the market unfortunately.

  2. Aer Lingus are returning to Liverpool in October. Vueling also starting a service to Barcelona in March.

  3. OT: We have two lots of Shangri La points that will expire at the end of 2015. If I get a restaurant voucher online rather than an instant dining voucher can I extend the expiry for 6 months? I think I read somewhere that the vouchers were valid for 6 months …?

  4. Aer Lingus no longer fly from Southend, their slots were sold to Flybe. Not quite sure what Flybe are using them for now, but they stopped Dublin.

  5. Has anyone got an idea of the charges for an Aer Lingus redemption from UK to Ireland please?

    • I looked into this for a positioning EDI-DUB return positioning flight for an upcoming TP run. I’m afraid I didn’t keep a note of all the numbers, but sadly even with low airport taxes, the EI YQ pushed it up to 4,500 + 36.80 DUB-EDI – not worth it when it’s 53.99 for the ticket. For outbound it was even higher thanks to UK APD in addition to YQ. I had been hoping for really low figures as you can check EI availability with United – the taxes/fees are very low as they don’t charge the YQ, unfortunately they want lots more miles!

      If you do a search for the routing you want on Matrix ITA then click through on the flights you’ll get the breakdown of all the taxes/fees – the numbers BA were quoting me matched those pretty well.

      Overall long haul business EI redemptions are great value just now, but the sadly on short haul the YQ is a disproportionately large component. The value proposition changes of course as flight prices increase. I’d also assume that redemption tickets include a checked bag – I was there comparing with the EI Plus fare to include this too. I was booking about 9 months in advance though!

      • thanks Alan; I suspected as much

      • With a bit of planning you can often get to Dublin for a tenner with Ryanair. Lowest I had was a penny about 8 years ago.

        • I did DUB/EMA for 8 euros when I did my TP run to LIH

        • Looked at Ryanair (purely for interest, wouldn’t fly with them after a major saga a few years ago!) – once you include a checked bag, which I wanted as going for a longer holiday, then they ended up costing more than Aer Lingus! (plus worse flight timings)

          • cheekychappie says:

            Saga + Ryanair normally means they made you pay up for some rule infringement 🙂

            You might want to take a second look as they are now ‘friendly’ and you get more generous treatment eg 2 cabin bags.

            I’ve never had any issues with them, their rules are clear enough and if they are the cheapest on a convenient day, I wouldn’t hesitate to use them. Even though they might embroider a few stats http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22659822 , their performance on safety, punctuality, lost luggage etc is the best in Europe.

          • Haha you’re close – it was flying from Prestwick when we were students, got the first train of the day to the airport (no car and taxi cost prohibitive) – had to be there 45 min before for check-in (this was pre-OLCI days), arrived 44 min before, flight already showing as delayed by 2h but they refused to let us check-in (even for any extra fee), next flight not until the next day – and that was it, holiday to Italy gone!

            I see they now allow “One cabin bag weighing up to 10 kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, plus 1 small bag up to 35 x 20 x 20 cms may be carried per passenger” but going for a couple of weeks so prefer the ease of just chucking stuff in a case rather than trying to squeeze under the 10kg limit. Agree if just doing a quick cabin-backage only trip they’re probably worth a look but prefer EI or Easyjet ahead of them. Their new website is at least much more functional and a lot clearer!

  6. Think Vueling are starting a Newcastle service from Madrid next year too.