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Is this the best round-the-world routing using Avios?

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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.

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.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2023)

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 £12,000 Read our full review

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

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

30,000 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

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

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 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 (116)

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

  • 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.

  • Peter says:

    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…

    • Peter says:

      Forget to mention this is in the iPhone 5s

    • Liz says:

      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

  • 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.

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

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