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Interesting anomalies in Avios reward pricing to exploit

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The Avios reward chart, as most people know, is based purely on distance. The further you fly, the more it costs. However, this can lead to interesting arbitrages when you get very close – but not quite – to the edge of a distance band.

Here is the chart:

Avios bandings

There are two well-known redemptions that maximise the value of this chart.

Dublin to Boston, on Aer Lingus – it drops in just under 3,000 miles, so a return flight in economy is only 25,000 Avios return. Business Class is an even bigger bargain at 50,000 Avios return – especially as the tax is only £75. It would cost 40,000 (economy) or 80,000 (business) Avios to fly London to Boston or even Dublin to New York.

Berlin to Abu Dhabi, on airberlin – again, just under 3,000 miles. This makes it a 25,000 economy / 50,000 business class return flight. Even Dusseldorf to Abu Dhabi pushes you over 3,000 miles and into the higher pricing band.

There are obviously more of the same out there, it is just a case of tracking them down. Reader Stephen pointed me to this article from Travel Is Free which outlined a few other ideas.

Helsinki to Dubai, on Finnair, is also just under 3,000 miles. Compare two options for getting to Dubai, one-way, in economy:

British Airways London to Dubai – 20,000 miles plus £214 tax, one-way

British Airways London to Helsinki, Finnair Helsinki to Dubai – 20,000 miles (7,500 + 12,500) plus £135 tax, one way

Now, I’m not sure this is worth it to save £80 of tax. However, you effectively get a free trip to Helsinki if you build in a stopover of a night or two

There are also other interesting l-o-n-g – and expensive – flights which still drop under 3,000 miles and thus cost just 25,000 Avios return in economy and 50,000 return in business:

Miami to Lima

US West Coast to US East Coast

Easter Island to Tahiti, Santiago or Lima

Hawaii to West Coast USA and Alaska

The ‘Travel Is Free’ piece also highlights two things worth remembering if you are struggling to find flights from the UK to the Caribbean:

New York to Bermuda is only 7,500 Avios one way

Miami to Cancun, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay or Turks & Caicos is only 4,500 Avios one-way (Barbados etc is further, so 10,000 Avios each way)

These may even be more interesting holidays when turned into a ‘two centre’ vacation, with a few days in Miami or New York at the beginning or end.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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

Comments (45)

  • Selecting redemption destinations on the edges of the pricing bands - FlyerTalk Forums says:

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