Nutmeg Avios

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.

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  1. lee moss says:

    do you book cathay flights with avios at

  2. 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

    • pauldb says:

      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.

  3. 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?


    • I’m pretty certain you won’t be able to upgrade an AB flight using Avios. I looked at this for an AA flight last year and couldn’t do it.

  4. 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?

  5. Stephy says:

    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?

    • pauldb says:

      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.

  6. 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

  7. justin says:

    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?

    • pauldb says:

      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.

      • justin says:

        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

        • pauldb says:

          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!

        • Justin says:

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

        • pauldb says:

          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.

      • pauldb says:

        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.