Is this the best round-the-world routing using Avios?

A HFP reader sent in his round-the world itinerary and was wondering if it was the best way to travel around the world using Avios points?

I liked his itinerary but, as the reader was not based in the UK, I thought I could tweak it to start in the UK and add some extra destinations.  This is what I came up with.

My suggested routing trip takes in Berlin, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Doha and Venice. 

The total cost (in Economy) is just 110,500 Avios plus £194 tax.

One way sign

This is how I did it:

London to Berlin, British Airways (4,000 Avios + £17.50 off-peak)

Berlin to New York JFK, airberlin (20,000 Avios + £60)

New York to Chicago, American (7,500 Avios + £14)

Chicago to Los Angeles, American (10,000 Avios + £3)

Los Angeles to Tokyo (American, 25,000 Avios + £3)

Tokyo to Doha (Qatar, 25,000 Avios + c £40)

Doha to Venice (Qatar, 12,500 Avios + £39)

Venice to London (BA, 6,500 Avios + £17.50 off-peak)

You could chop the cost down sharply by ignoring Doha and Venice and doing this:

Tokyo to London (BA, 19,500 Avios + £61 off-peak)

This would reduce the cost to 86,000 Avios plus £158.50 but you miss out on Doha and Venice.

You could also swap Berlin for Dublin and fly Aer Lingus to New York for roughly £60 of tax.

If you have any ideas for improving on this (whilst keeping a good balance of Avios, taxes and destinations) please post your ideas below.

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

I'm ill .... Head for Points returns on Sunday!
Run your own company? Join Star's PartnerPlusBenefit scheme and get a free upgrade
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Rodger McSalty says:

    This sounds more like an ex-EU trip to three USA cities with a stop in Tokyo and Doha on the way back…

    Seems like a good use of Avios if those three places are where you want to visit, but not much to be gained otherwise. No stops in South America, China, Australasia or Africa which seems to miss the opportunities a round-the-world trip ordinarily offers (and gives it the slight adventurous feel over regular return journeys).

    • Christian says:

      Agree, USA doesn’t deserve that many stops.

    • Exactly, this is not a round the world trip, it is a trip to the USA which returns the “long way”.

      If you reduce it to LHR-DUS-LAX-TYO-LHR you can get it down to 78500 avios

    • +1 not my idea of RTW fun at all.

      I’d rather go the other way around taking in a couple of the best countries in Europe, [given that you might want some winter sun in Australasia, perhaps the warmer ones for Nov/ Dec], Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, NZ, USA on the way back.

      Missing out Doha would be a massive plus in my eyes as it is definitely NOT a place you’d choose to spend even 1 day.

      • +1 for this, it is about seeing the things you want to see or going to the places you want to, rather than just a straight circumnavigation

  2. How about the best route in business or the best in first if you really want a challenge.

    • Jamie P says:


    • +1

    • +1

      • But for the same price in business of F you could probably visit a lot more places in economy, plus there is the availability issue…

    • -1.

      Just multiply the longhauls by 3 avios, if you can get availability.

      • Or you are probably better looking at a distance-based multi partner award if you can get it to work as the business multiplier is 2x and first 3x (versus 3x/4x).

        You can do Asia and North America <20k miles flown for 200k avios in J. Or a simple trip to Oz or NZ plus North or South America in <25 miles = 240k but the sweet spot for a once in a lifetime is maybe 280k for 35k miles of flying in J.

  3. Also interesting would be the best routing to gain as manyTPs for the least cost. Ex UK /Europe

  4. I echo Kavino – that would be really useful – especially if some sectors could incorporate an open jaw BA flight so 2 for 1 could be used. A real challenge for somebody! Business n First RTW may be via Australia back from Tokyo may enable a big chunk with open jaw 241??

    • Out to Oz and back from Tokyo wouldn’t be an RTW. If BA are strict on the distance restrictions for open jaws then I believe the only RTW 241 use allowed is -NRT//LAX-.No was to combine SYD with anywhere in the Americas. (Unless BA start flying to SCL!)

      Incidentally on the original routing you could swap LAX-NRT for LAX-HNL-NRT for an extra 7.5k. I think that would make the trip a bit more special. NYC-MCI-PHX-HNL would be more efficient but probably not desirable unless you already seen LA/ORD.

  5. Erico1875 says:

    Amazing. However you still get people complaining collecting Avios is a waste of time.

  6. If you swapped Berlin for Dublin, you could then add a stop in Boston (12,500 Avios) before going on to New York (4500, I assume) for slightly less Avios in total than direct to New York… Maybe I read HfP too much!

  7. Very poor example

    In my opinion last leg to London should be from
    RIO/GRU or HKG to avoid taxes
    My proposition
    Some legs are only twice expensive to got business seat
    For example
    SYD-AKL-SCL-GRU on LATAM airlines new b787

    • Don’t hold back…

    • That’s pretty caustic. I make your route 131k and who exactly flies AUH/DXB-KUL/SIN? No thanks.

      Business at twice the cost: don’t think so …. unless you book the whole route as a multi-partner award (biz = 2x) which is probably the right way to consider a J RTW unless you want to use a 241 voucher.

      • check out for example
        SCL-GRU on new b787
        10000avios economy
        20000avios bizness

        • yes sure that’s how the short hauls price (as is the case for BA shorthaul) but the significant leg AKL-SCL 30k or 90k.

  8. I like this article. I need a trip for 80 tier points this year. Where do I look for the cheapest 80 tier weekend trip from London?

    • Depends what level you are now but worth a look at maybe Athens or Marrakech, you can us the Avios calculator on the BA website.

    • the flyer talk TP run thread

    • LondonFoodie says:

      Club Europe LGW – many destination on sale < £200 will give you 80 TP
      See Rob's article about the promo – I think BCN was super cheap

  9. Mikeact says:

    This has just come at the right time for me, as I’ve spent the last couple of weeks on my PC trying to do this very thing. I am trying to take in Australia and SA and flight availability is always a bit dicey although one ways seem to be a little easier than returns.I shall press on with further advice on here as it’s easy to forget something, ie the Boston route.

    • What does Boston have to do with getting to Australia and South Africa?

      • I guess he might mean South America, in which case a cheap transatlantic to Boston might make sense (though an Iberia offpeak might be better if you don’t specifically want to call by North America).

    • There is loads of availability to Australia, you just have to pony up the Avios to fly CX/JL/QR

      • Availability to Australia is only an issue if you are trying to use a companion voucher which many people are… My wife an I are looking at heading down under and have decided that finding a cheap business class fare from somewhere outside the UK is probably the best way to go as earning enough Avios is more effort than we are prepared to put in

        • I’m looking to do the same thing, Scott. Been looking for a while but haven’t found much!

          • I’m sitting in the lounge at Oslo, on my trip to Australia. Thanks to hfp I’m on a business class trip from LGW-OSL-LHR-HKG-Cairns then back the same way from Melbourne. Loads of tier points. I’ll be 80 tier points away from Gold… The Oslo lounge is small but it has lovely food.

            • The Oslo lounge does NOT have good food.

            • Well the salmon, egg hollondaise, Meatballs, salad and soup were tasty bit there wasnt proper dinner food. I guess it was good for mid afternoon when I wasn’t hungry.

            • Mind if I ask how much that routing cost? Did Expedia HK ticket ex-Frankfurt to HK/SIN last year, was a steal at £1100.

  10. Awesome results, what’re the individual websites/schemes for using avios for Qatar, Airberlin? And how do you transfer avios to these ff schemes?
    Is a BA companion 241 usable on any of these, like Berlin to jfk, or Dublin to jfk?


  11. Steve T says:

    I was told by Avios this week I can’t use Avios points on American Airlines and this was on a flight with a BA codeshare.

    • Jamie P says:

      Was there availability for the flight you were wanting to redeenm for?

    • You can’t book partner awards on, I believe – you need to go to But since it’s easy to move miles from one to the other, that’s not a problem.

  12. Can you do this type of trip using virgin air miles?

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      Yes…. Easily do:

      LHR – BOS – LAX – AUC – SIN – HKG – LHR

      Getting an actual seat? Good luck!

      • Sandgrounder says:

        AUC? Isn’t that Santiago Pérez Quiroz Airport in Arauca, Colombia? Interesting choice! :-)

  13. Booked CX jfk – hkg for 130k + £4 in first. It’s a 16 hour flight so well worth it IMO.

  14. Nice piece.

    Im in the middle of a round the world trip, i’ve used 97750 avios, 17500 united miles and £700 and my last destination so far is mexico city, add a trip back to london and its an extra 16250 avios and £157 but i’ll probably keep going. I’ve flown with air asia in asia because it’s so cheap.

    my itinerary has been..

    London/paris/colombo/bangkok/jakarta/sydney/auckland/phnom penh/kuala lupmur/borneo/hong kong/shanghai/tokyo/dallas->ausitn/lima/mexico city.

    • That sounds like a great trip. Over what timescale? I wonder what everyone’s ideal trip would be (apart from RTW in F)

    • JamesWag says:

      That’s more like it. This one suggested in the article is terrible !

      So how many avios & cash will you have used on airfare by the end ?

      This is a very nice itinerary.

  15. Interesting article. Worth pointing out no luggage allowance when redeeming Avios on AA. Found this out the hard way flying LAX to OGG on AA economy. Baggage fee at airport stung!

  16. JamesWag says:

    Whilst this might keep going only one direction ’round the world’, it is not really what most people would consider a trip around the world.
    Nearly 50℅ of the stops are in one country !!
    One of the stops is a total waste of time (Doha) too !!

    Anyway, interesting in theory to see how ‘cheaply’ one could go around the world with Avios but surely there are far more interesting and varied itineraries than that.

    Maybe I’m just grumpy this morning !!

  17. JamesWag says:

    The best ????? Seriously ?!

    This is far from the best !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. lee moss says:

    I cant see how you can get Airbelin for 20000 miles i searched lots of dates on BA.COM and just got iberia and british airways , can someone explain how i find these deals , and what dates are available for Airberlin to new york for 20,000 miles plus £60 tax ?

    • Hi
      I would like to know this as well?

    • You need to go through, as you’ve done – but you can’t check availability for airberlin for longer periods, so you have to click on every single day to see if and when there are flights available. AB tend to release 2 business and 2 economy for each flight, I believe, so they are usually snapped up quickly. More might be made available as the date approaches, however.

    • Search on BA a couple of random dates,

      TXL-JFK June 22 and 23 2016 economy and business

      TXL-JFK July 26 and 28 economy and Business July 27 business only

  19. lee moss says:

    are there any cheaper ways to get to asia tax wise with avios with any partner airlines any ideas would be great , open to bangkok singapore hong kong etc.. mayalsia

    • Sandgrounder says:

      Cathay is the most sensible, fantastic network and low charges. Book the long haul ex-AMS or similar if flying premium cabins and are looking to minimise cash cost. If you are up for and adventure you could mix in a trip to Siberia on S7, FRA/PRG-OVB will let you skip Moscow if you can get a seat, some Asian connections are seasonal though. YKS, IKT, VVO and a few others offer connections to China, Japan, Korea, Thailand. It is more for fun than cost as visa fees will wipe out cash element savings.

    • Lee depends what you are looking for. I paid 49500 + £325 for a BA reward to BKK in Y. he only reason I did this was it gave me the flexibility to cancel. If I was booking flights without having this restriction and wanted Y then I would book an RFS to Oslo and pick up the Qatar flight which is pricing at £375.

  20. lee moss says:

    thanks for replies is very confusing this reward system

  21. lee moss says:

    do you book cathay flights with avios at

  22. lee moss says:

    Im looking for JAN 2017 im flexible with the date looking to go about 4th jan for 4 weeks
    best ive found is london to bangkok 39000 miles and £320 fees with BA

    • Unless you have loads of avios and put a very low value on them, the fact that BA will charge you off peak rates for your dates is quite a swing factor here. Any other partner would cost around 20k more which delfects any cash saving.
      However if you book as 2 oneways and return from HKG you can avoid surcharges. Out to BKK or HKG is 19500 + £205 but the return from HKG is 19500 + £10!
      You could save some APD by starting in JER or INV but for £50 I’d avoid the hassle.

    • Yes I agree with pauldb if looking at BKK BA is the best option. If your avios rich AMS-HKG is 30000 avios and only £18 tax direct with CX then take BA back to LHR for 19500 and £10 as pauldp said. HKG_BKK is 7500 and under £15 taxes.

  23. OT: I booked DUS-BOS-DUS with AirBerlin in Economy. Does anyone know, if I can use Avios for an upgrade to Business, as long as it available? Or is that only possible with their own bonus scheme top bonus?


  24. I actually did a 6 month RTW trip when I was 36. It was November when I started & all I wanted was to get out scuba diving in Australia, in those days not too many Avios for me (though little did I know I could have had free flights instead of stashing 100K MR points in Virgin, internet was poor back then). So I bought a decent deal with Trailfinders, about under £1K for flexible RTW ticket. All eco of course. Hopped over to Great Barrier Reef via USA and dived for 3 months. Then Indonesia & Thailand, got my future wife to join me for various bits. Back to Europe. Thought I might as well marry her lol

    That’s all, folks! 6 months of scuba diving in tropical waters in the European autumn/ winter.

    • BrianDT says:

      OT I met my wife at Charlton football ground, I was supporting QPR and she was selling raffle tickets for Charlton, in exchange for her phone number I bought a few. I didn’t win the raffle, but we’ve been married 46 years this August. ,

      • Nice one, I sure like to hear about true love :) shame about Charlton lol

        Congratulations on your upcoming 50th, that’s rare as hen’s teeth.

        Of course, the food we ate out there (tropical places) doesn’t exactly compare to eel & chips lol

    • Axel Heyst says:

      genuinly nice story Harry.

      How many Avios points did you get the wife for? And how would you value that redemption?

  25. I’m in the process of trying to plan a trip for my disabled grandmother, I wanna take her to sydney from london via Calgary, Alberta some how? i don’t mind other stop offs, just want something thats gonna be easier on her. Plus i’m new to all this so… is this gonna be possible with the 2-4-1 ba?

    • When are you travelling. Do you want business or economy. Do you have lots of avios or miles in other programmes that might be useful?
      It’s not going to be a very efficient use of miles but something might work.

    • Lady London says:

      Air Canada has shown some stunning pricing recently to and via Canada out of Europe. Opodo and the like are selling it. AC themselves were not selling it but Opodo, budgetair etc., were. It is definitely ticketed as an AC ticket though although likely the first leg will be operated by BA or SAS. I did not find it by booking via AC themselves but it is ticketed as an AC ticket.

      For your onward ticket to Sydney, tickets which start out of Canada seem to be expensive due to market conditions. So it would be worth writing your first ticket from Europe to Canada as an AC ticket, buying it from someone like Opodo, lastminute etc., to Canada but ending on West Coast USA such as LAX or SFO. LAX in particular seems to have some excellent award availability to Sydney due to expansion of a few airlines of flights from the West Coast to Australia this year.

  26. Slightly OT but I tend to read HFP in bed first thing in the morning and can’t quite understand (without choosing reader view available) why some replies appear in full rows whereas some appear as just 4-5 characters in length making most of the the replies quite unreadable…

    • Forget to mention this is in the iPhone 5s

    • If someone is replying to a comment, the comment box gets smaller. The more comments on that thread they reduce even more. On a small device like a phone the boxes reduce even more which means the texts end up reading in long columns – it only happens on phones. -Tablets, PCs and laptops have bigger screens so are more readable

  27. I hope someone can help – What is the best routing using a avios/ voucher getting to NZ in first? Hong Kong and then book cathay to Auckland?

    • HKG-AKL on Cathay is painfully expensive a 90k for business (no F). Going as far as you can on the voucher works best so ideally use the voucher to SYD, or the next best is KUL and then MH to AKL but annoyingly they only seem to release 1 business seat per flight.
      Consider that you probably don’t want to fly to and from AKL: if you travel through NZ you’d probably want to return from Chrstchurch/Queenstown, which also favours SYD as you can fly back there.
      If you struggle to get enough Avios together, or to struggle to find availability to NZ, we are doing some legs on SQ. Availabiity is very good (they fly to AKL/CHC/WLG) and 46k SQ miles per person (one way J) is competitive and quite achievable with an Amex plat even with the £450 fee.

      • Thanks very much, this is not going to be an easy one. From what i can see is that BA are no longer releasing first to Sydney. Would be interested in more info on Singapore

        • Any SQ booking between SIN, HKG, BKK, KUL and Oz, NZ or vv is 46750 Krisflyer miles. The optimum is perhaps to use it on the leg from NZ to Asia as you then benefit from NZ’s no fuel surcharge policy on a long haul which saves you £100ish pp of BA fuel surcharges.
          If you haven’t already held Amex gold/plat cards in the last 6 months you can accumulate 93500 Krisflyer quite quickly: if you want a referral for a plat card (let me know!) your first card will earn you 35k + 2k miles for spending £2k, and as soon as you have it you can refer your partner for 18k + 35k + 2k, making 92k. That will cost you 2 x £450, offset by the lower fuel surcharges and any value you put on the other Amex plat benefire (travel insurance, priority pass). An SQ leg probably saves you 80-180k and £100-300 avios depending on the routing you would have taken so it’s a good payoff, but maybe more importantly it gives you flexibility in finding availability.
          If you can scrap together or buy another 17k miles per person you can do it in SQ F!

          • Thanks a million Paul very helpful indeed. I need to give it some thought. Have a great evening

          • Of course you can also cancel the amex part way through the year for a pro data refund.

    • Lady London says:

      I think Pauldb’s advice below is good. Remember Hong Kong also has recently severely restricted fuel surcharges on all airlines on tickets whose first leg departs from Hong Kong. This will reduce charges on BA avios tickets as well.

      American Airlines is also adding flights this year from the West Coast USA into AKL and Australia. So there will be more capacity there. Some of it is showing bookable already on Avios. At the same time UA and VA are also adding capacity to West Coast to NZ and Australia now. So award seats on both major alliances to Australasia via West Coast USA might become more findable than they have been for years. Following pauldb’s suggestion and splitting the ticket so that the return departing from NZ is its own one way should reduce the taxes below what they would be if you kept both outward and return on the same ticket. Ex-EU would also reduce your taxes quite markedly as I am sure you know.

      If you’re happy to add a further domestic flight, perhaps on avios, once you reach Australia then quite a bit of capacity has been added by various airlines internationally into Brisbane recently. So you might find award seats easier if you are able to use Brisbane as your gateway. IIRC an SQ award ticket could then get you anywhere in Australasia from there quite flexibly if you did not want to use avios.

      • You can’t do ex-EU on a 241 though. Maybe ex-JER/INV.

        And 2 singles doesn’t fit either. My suggestion was NZ-Asia separately and Asia-UK on the voucher. So you can’t avoid paying the surcharges on the BA leg, but that’s ok when it’s 241.

        Coming all the way home on AA miles or SQ miles can justify discarding the inbound voucher leg, but those miles are more hassle/cost.