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Interesting anomalies in Avios reward pricing you can exploit – more examples!

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Last week, I ran this post which touched on interesting Avios redemption opportunities which are disproportionately ‘cheap’.  This is because they fall right on the edge of an Avios pricing band.  Dublin to Boston, for example, is 2,993 miles and so is available at the cheaper “sub 3,000 miles” pricing of 50,000 Avios return in Business.

Over at Flyertalk, BA forum senior moderator Prospero has taken up my idea and produced some truly fantastic diagrams.  These make it easy to spot interesting redemptions which might be surprisingly good value.

This chart, for example, shows Avios pricing bands for Qatar Airways, radiating out from Doha:

Qatar distance map

The numbers refer to the nine Avios pricing bands, ie:

Avios bandingsLet’s take a look at the Qatar chart in detail.  A green dot means that the city is in the lower priced band.  A red dot means that the city is in the higher priced band.

London to Doha, as you can see, is Zone 5.  That means you pay 80,000 Avios return in Business Class.  Tax is £502 on top.

Frankfurt, though, is just in Zone 4This means you pay only 50,000 Avios return in Business Class from Frankfurt to Doha!  More importantly, you only pay £292 of tax, return, for your Frankfurt to Doha ticket.

(Both Copenhagen and Frankfurt run the latest Qatar 787 with the new business class, albeit that Frankfurt has a track record of short-notice equipment changes, I was told.)

You will also see that Singapore is conveniently placed on the edge of Zone 5.  This means that, whilst connecting usually means a bad deal when redeeming with Avios, in this case it works out OK.  Frankfurt to Singapore via Doha is 65,000 Avios plus £190 tax (business, one-way).  London to Singapore – a VERY tricky seat to find – is 70,000 Avios plus £407 tax one-way.  OK, one of these trips involves three flights and other just one, but if you need to get to Singapore it would do the trick.

You can spend ages playing with these charts and working out options.  Prospero has created them for:

  • Aer Lingus ex-Dublin
  • airberlin ex-Dusseldorf
  • airberlin ex-Berlin
  • American Airlines ex-Los Angeles
  • American Airlines ex-New York
  • American Airlines ex-Chicago
  • American Airlines ex-Dallas
  • American Airlines ex-Miami
  • British Airways ex-London
  • Cathay Pacific ex-Hong Kong
  • Qatar Airways ex-Doha

All of the charts can be found in this Flyertalk thread.

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Comments (24)

  • Mycity says:

    I may be thick but I can never find Avios redemption on BA for anyone other the BA am I missing something, ie is there another website I need to book through?

    • Rob says:

      If you’re looking on, they will show automatically. However, not all routes have partner options. However, try something like London to Singapore and you’ll be shown Qatar, Cathay, BA and possibly some others.

    • Fred says:

      Me neither. I have been trying to book a single to or from the USA on EI or AB but neither of those shows up.

      • Brendan Sweeney says:

        EI doesn’t show up online. Need to ring BAEC to check availability and book

      • Matt says:

        I may be mistaken but I think that EI availability never shows online and will require a phone call. Air Berlin does show – I’ve seen plenty of availability from Abu Dhabi to Berlin, for example – but I’ve never checked them from Germany to the USA. Presumably it ought to show availability if there is any…

        • Rob says:

          Yes it will – I have booked 2 this year. On the last one, seats only opened up a couple of months before departure though.

          • ABC says:

            When does BA and AB release award space?
            Are they more likely to release close to departure if they are unlikely to fill the plane (similar to Delta’s model )?

          • Rob says:

            BA is now very random, but they have taken to releasing quite a bit close to departure. I don’t study AB much, but I do know that seats from my NYC to Berlin flight in August appeared about 2 months before.

            The difference with AB is that they only release 2 seats per flight in business (potentially 2 more may appear later, no guarantees) so if you want more than 2 then you need to scrub them off your list.

      • GUWonder says:

        BA’s website is not showing AB flights as well as it used to do. In other words, I am being made to call in and get BA call centers to book the redemption flights after (i) doing the research segment by segment on or (ii) doing the research for the AB route on

  • Mike turnbull says:

    You both, (Prosperro) need a hearty congratulations on this one.
    If only Aus and NZ were included as I’m still working on the most ‘cost effective Avios’ way to get ‘down under’..not easy! Perth seems to be the nearest landing spot, but trying to work the best way is difficult.

    • FromTheRail says:

      I’m looking at the same but going the other way from Perth back to the UK, FRA is great for redemption’s but am thinking that spending an extra 10k avios and getting straight into EDI will be better for me, though when leaving from LHR on the way home I can see a trip over to FRA being beneficial.

    • Lady London says:

      Intra-Australia Avios is quite cheap IIRC even though cash fares may not be. Did you check out other Oz start points. Not sure if the oft-overlooked BNE is served by Avios?

      • Lady London says:

        sorry.. this suggestion applies to starting and finishing at Oz destinations, of course

    • Tim says:

      If from the UK: via CPH and DOH looks good. Qatar have a direct service to Perth from Doha and Copenhagen just falls inside band 1 from London and band 4 from Doha. It is only a slight saving in Avios but a big saving in taxes & fees.

  • AndySmiff says:

    Another route that provides good opportunities..,

    I have regularly used BA for Heathrow to Kuwait in Business for 50k Avios return when I visit Dubai.
    Again, it is the only Gulf country that falls in this bracket.
    As soon as you fly south to Bahrain, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the redemption rate reaches 80k in Business.
    In First, the rate to Kuwait is 75k, so 5k less than Business to the rest of the gulf.
    BA use 747s on this route most of the time and reward availability is generally good.
    Then pay for the short hop from Kuwait to Dubai on a local / budget airline.
    Jazeera, Fly Dubai, Sri Lankan and Mihin Lanka are always very cheap.
    Or, fly with Qatar to Dubai via Doha using miles and it’s still cheaper.

    Just thought this may be of interest.

    • Rob says:

      Thanks Andy, that seems another good one (although zero chance of my wife countenancing that with the kids!)

    • erico1875 says:

      Thanks Andy. That makes the Middle East in Business Class so much more achievable.

      • AndySmiff says:

        It’s an overnight going out, morning flight coming back.
        We often do First out, CW back and that makes it 62,500 Avios.
        There are loads of options between KWI and the other Gulf cities.

  • Anonymous says:

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  • M says:

    Any idea why fra-doh-bkk shows as 65000 avios on ba? It’s under 6500 miles on the GCM.

    • Rob says:

      Because Avios looks at each individual leg. You measure FRA-DOH and look up that price, then DOH-BKK and look up that price, then add them.

      The odd outcome of this is that the same route can have totally different pricing depending on carrier. I was looking at London to Singapore yesterday and you get different Avios requirements depending on whether you use BA direct, Finnair via Helsinki, Cathay via HK or Qatar via Doha.

      • M says:

        Thanks for clarifying that Raffles.

      • CV says:

        There is also the MAS option via KL although on redemptions their taxes may be higher than Cathay.

        Slightly OT but you can also use Virgin Flying Club miles to redeem via MAS and Singapore Airlines – someone posted about it on HfP a few months ago and it was less miles and taxes than via BA, I think. No use if trying to use a companion voucher though.