Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

LAST CHANCE: Book short US domestic redemptions for 4,500 Avios before they go up

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Don’t forget that Monday is your last chance to use your Avios points to book sub-650 miles redemptions on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines flights in the US before the cost goes up.

You can read the full announcement on here.

For US residents – and UK residents on holiday in the States – US domestic flight redemptions represent good value because of the minimal taxes ($6).

British Airways 350 2

When Avios was launched, with its distance-based redemptions, it was a dream come true for those in the US.  The cost of a one-way flight from New York to Boston, costing 12,500 American Airlines miles, could now be had for just 4,500 Avios.

Given that the British Airways credit card in the US has an occasional sign-up bonus of 100,000 Avios, albeit with a substantial spend requirement, you can see why people were excited about this.

The changes which begin on Tuesday are relatively simple.  For flights under 650 miles:

Economy redemptions increase from 4,500 Avios one-way to 7,500 Avios

Business class redemptions increase from 9,000 Avios one-way to 15,000 Avios

First Class redemptions increase from 18,000 Avios one-way to 30,000 Avios

Pricing on routes over 650 miles remains the same.

The new First Class pricing is crazy.  Many US flights on two-class aircraft are sold as First and Economy.  (You also find this on Qatar flights around the Middle East.)  This means that a ‘First Class’ seat from New York to Boston – which is effectively a slightly bigger seat and not much more – will cost 60,000 Avios return!  These ‘First Class’ seats are nothing of the sort.

The Avios redemption chart is now beyond the understanding of the vast majority of members, to be honest.

We now have:

Off-peak and peak redemption pricing options

Different calendars for peak and off-peak between Iberia and British Airways

South African Avios members forced into using the BA peak and off-peak calculator for Comair flights.  As this is based around UK school holidays it makes no sense to them at all!

Non-linear multiples – on long-haul, business class is 3 x economy whilst on short-haul it is 2 x economy

Different redemption charts for Iberia and British Airways – there are some weird differences for long-haul redemptions which mean, for example, New York on Iberia requires far fewer Avios than New York on BA

Different airlines available for redemption depending on where you book, eg Aurigny / Air Malta via, Vueling / Royal Air Maroc etc via Iberia, Aer Lingus and Alaska via BA

And now, different redemption levels for US domestic flights under 650 miles

Full details on the US pricing changes are on here.  Remember that you can book until Monday night, for flights 355 days beyond that, at the current prices.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2024)

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital on Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year 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.

Comments (12)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • RIccati says:

    The complexity is not a bad quality here.

    It is best if BA fixes potholes rather than doing another overhaul.

  • Paul says:

    Glad the QR flights aren’t affected. 18k is already crazy. No way I’d pay 30k.

  • Rob says:

    Is there any reason why the American’s have access to such huge sign up bonuses across their credit card range? This is something that shocked me before. It doesn’t seem fair at all.

    • John says:

      The US is the world’s largest economy and has 5-6 times the population of the UK. The US was not economically devestated by WW2 and has a culture involving the “American dream”. If you can afford to have a credit card then you probably earn a lot more for the same job in the US than you would in the UK, and your taxes are probably lower.

      • Rob says:

        Anyone with a pulse can get a credit card in the US. Shop fees are so high – nearly 2 per cent – they don’t care about bad debt risk.

        Average wages are lower and taxes, when you adjust for buying health insurance, huge property taxes, high college fees etc, not much different.

    • Rob says:

      Shops pay SIX time more in fees – average 1.75% on Visa compared to 0.3% here.

  • Karl says:

    These fares were probably my best use of Avios miles. The cost of US air travel seems to have spiralled recently. 3-4 years ago there were lots of Southwest cash fares for around £50. Nowadays youll do well to find much under £100. A few weeks ago I managed to get a 4500 Avios AA flight where the best cash fare (on all airlines using Skyscanner) was £195.

  • n says:

    What’s refundable if I was to book then cancel a NYC – Washington return? I imagine I’d get my miles back and lose the fees?

    Where can I look to get an answer on this? Thanks!

    • Rob says:

      Correct. Technically fee is £35 but they won’t ask for more than the tax you paid. Avios returned.

  • Liz says:

    OT when you apply for a BAPP do the supplementary card holders have to be living at the same address as you?

  • Waribai says:

    Slightly OTT, a couple of weeks ago I booked AMS-BKK on BA for December 2016 in J for £1000 rtn. The lowest rate on the outbound was to do AMS-LHR-HKG-BKK. Now though AMS-LHR-BKK is pricing out the same. If I ring up BA, will they let me change to the latter (more direct flight) flight?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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