What is the best value Avios redemption per minute of flying time?

I had lunch with a reader last week and he gave me an old spreadsheet he had put together.  I agreed to update it and tweak it, and we now have a comprehensive list of the flying time of British Airways long-haul routes compared with the Avios required for a Club World off-peak redemption.

Or, put more simply, “What is the cheapest route per minute of flying time for Club World Avios redemptions?‘.

The results were a little surprising, with the winners being the mid-haul routes.  Cape Town is known to be a great deal because it should, technically, be in a higher pricing zone than it is based on distance, but the new San Jose (Costa Rica) route is up there too.  Similarly, Las Vegas and other US West Coast cities are pushing the boundaries of their zone.

The ‘best value’ winner is Moscow.  This is not surprising as it is operated – on some flights – by long-haul aircraft but is priced off the short-haul list.  It is Reward Flight Saver as well!

Note that some of the ‘best value’ routes are only on the list because the flight has a stopover.  In theory you should discount the time spent on the ground, especially as you usually need to get off the plane.

The ‘worst value’ route also came as a bit of a shock.  I would have gone for Boston but there are actually plenty of long-haul routes which are even worse, mainly to the Middle East.

Flight times are based on flights FROM London.  This overstates the average North American flying time, due to the quicker return trip, and vice versa.  Some flights are also slower than others due to the aircraft type or to fit in with airport opening times – I used the first BA flight of the day in all cases.

Take a look and see what you think. This shows you the Avios you need to redeem to get 1 minute each-way of Club World flying time.

DestinationHoursMinutesIn MinutesOff Peak CW returnAvios per MinuteDirect?
Moscow35023034,000148
Grand Cayman1225745125,000168Stops
Abuja61037062,500169
Kuwait61037062,500169
Jeddah55535562,500176
Mexico City1150710125,000176
Turks and Caicos1150710125,000176Stops
San Jose (CR)1140700125,000179
Cape Town1135695125,000180
San Francisco1120680125,000184
Oakland1115675125,000185
Tobago1115675125,000185Stops
Los Angeles1110670125,000187
Cancun115665125,000188
Johannesburg115665125,000188
San Diego115665125,000188
Chicago850530100,000189
Sydney2201320250,000189Stops
Port of Spain1055655125,000191Stops
San Jose (CA)1055655125,000191
Phoenix1050650125,000192
Austin1045645125,000194
Grenada1045645125,000194Stops
Las Vegas1040640125,000195
Baltimore825505100,000198
Washington DC825505100,000198
Houston1030630125,000198
St Kitts1030630125,000198Stops
Santiago1440880175,000199
Philadelphia820500100,000200
Male1020620125,000202
Amman5530562,500205
Dallas1010610125,000205
Sao Paulo1210730150,000205
Toronto85485100,000206
Beijing105605125,000207
Kingston105605125,000207
Tampa105605125,000207
New Orleans100600125,000208
New York80480100,000208
Hong Kong1155715150,000210
Mauritius1155715150,000210
Buenos Aires1350830175,000211
Fort Lauderdale950590125,000212
Miami950590125,000212
Seattle950590125,000212
Bermuda750470100,000213
Tokyo1145705150,000213
Chennai945585125,000214
Orlando945585125,000214
Atlanta940580125,000216
Beirut45029062,500216
Cairo45029062,500216
Tel Aviv45029062,500216
Vancouver940580125,000216
Rio de Janeiro1135695150,000216
Boston740460100,000217
Bangalore930570125,000219
Bangkok1120680150,000221
Montreal730450100,000222
Shanghai1115675150,000222
Calgary920560125,000223
Abu Dhabi720440100,000227
Hyderabad910550125,000227
Punta Cana910550125,000227
Singapore1250770175,000227
Seoul1055655150,000229
Muscat715435100,000230
Dubai710430100,000233
Bridgetown855535125,000234
Mumbai855535125,000234
St Lucia855535125,000234
Kuala Lumpur1225745175,000235
Antigua845525125,000238
Luanda840520125,000240
Nairobi835515125,000243
Doha650410100,000244
New Delhi830510125,000245
Lagos640400100,000250
Accra635395100,000253
Bahrain635395100,000253
Riyadh625385100,000260

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Comments

  1. I’ve just been starting to think about where to blow some Avios and a 2-4-1 this year, so this is really timely for me. I didn’t have a specific place I wanted to visit so this should help make the decision. It’s interesting to see some of the places that I would have thought would be a decent deal, really aren’t at all.

  2. Excellent table Rob. As a collector who wants to travel to far-flung places around the world getting the best value for my points is great. Knowing I could travel a few hours more hours on the same amount of Avios would definitely alter where I visited next, just to enjoy the full experience.

    • many people would prefer to travel for less time, including me.

      • This table should be useful to you then so you can find places with little travel time 🙂

    • The table is so full of caveats and missing information I don’t think it would be any use at all in calculating the best value.

      Even if you’re going to ignore things like the additional charges or what the equivalent cash ticket costs (in itself a big mistake – im flying Hong Kong to London then Spain to London to Santiago (Chile) for Avios plus £160, MUCH better value than most of that list!), I would personally find the maps I saw on one of the Flyertalk guides showing the band boundaries on a map to be more useful anyway.

  3. Can’t believe people are proposing enhancements to make this useful! Its for fun people, not a tool to help you chose which flights to take.
    Me: I fancy a trip to Kuala Lumpur
    Rob: Wait though you are paying nearly twice as many Avios to fly there per minute as you would to go to Moscow!!
    Me: OMG….you are right, I’ll go to Moscow. I’ll make sure to Putin a good word for you whilst there!!!

    I love things like this Rob, thanks for publishing it.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Tbf 1 way distance and return Avios means all the avios/min were doubled that’s probably worth a fix.

    • Well I can’t believe people find a useless implementation of a potentially useful idea to be “fun”, so I guess we’re both perplexed!

    • If you are going to KL, Simon, rather than hang around and see the sights you’d actually want to see, you should absolutely take an internal malaysia airlines flight somewhere on business promo fare (book 7 days in advance) as you’ll be getting 40 tier points for about 50 USD, and experience business class for a brief amount of time.
      No but seriously, places like Penang and islands on the east coast are well worth seeing I’m told (and good tier points, avios meh..)

  4. Rob, I notice that Denver – where we are going with our next Amex 241 – is missing from your table,

    • Wouldn’t a similar short haul table be more useful because at least the tax is same for all flights? Although it doesn’t tell you anything meaningful that the map with bands can’t tell you anyway.

  5. Less fun but of potential more interest perhaps is the total financial cost of Avios flights where you assign a value to the Avios and you compare it to a cash fare.

    If you value an Avios at 1p each then long haul redemption flights, even using an Amex 2for1 are terrible value in business class.

    Here’s some examples per person using peak dates (Amex 2for1 in brackets)
    New York £1,730 (comes down to £1130 using an Amex 2 for 1)
    Singapore £2,660 (£1,610)
    Dubai £1,720 (£1,120)
    Sydney £3,700 (£2,230)
    Moscow £450 (£250)

    Scary numbers.