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Avios Redemption University – Lesson 9 – Using Avios for non-stop flights from the UK regions

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The “Avios Redemption University” series is a good starting point for beginners, although I hope everyone will learn something from them. Click here to see the other articles.

What flights can you book with Avios if you live in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham or anywhere outside London?

When British Airways sold its regional operations to Flybe a few years ago, it became an airline with NO flights which do not begin or end in London.  This situation has been reversed slightly in recent years as a few weekend routes were added from Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh, but to all intents and purposes there is no substantive route network outside London.

So, how are you going to spend your Avios points on flights?

Reward Flight Saver redemptions were originally designed so that you would not lose out (in terms of Avios) if you lived in the regions. Manchester to London to Nice cost the same as London to Nice, but connecting still added 2 hours to your travel time. The Avios devaluation in April 2015 got rid of this benefit entirely – if you fly from Manchester to Nice via Heathrow today, you must pay for two flights at a disproportionately high cost.  At 18,000 Avios plus £70 for an economy ticket, it makes far more sense to book a direct flight on a low cost carrier instead.

Luckily, there are still some good value options available if you live outside London.  In this article we have summarised direct flights from the UK regions which can be booked with Avios points.

We have given this list our best shot but I am sure a few options have slipped past us.  Please post below with any additions and I will add them in.  If you are reading this via email, please take a look at the online version later on to check for additions and deletions.

Remember that short-haul redemptions are NOT covered by Reward Flight Saver unless operated by a British Airways franchise such as SUN-AIR.  These flights will often be a very poor use of Avios points because the taxes represent a very high percentage of the fare.

Some services may be seasonal such as the American Airlines routes to Scotland. Domestic British Airways flights have been ignored.  Isle of Man and Channel Islands departures have been ignored.

A note on redeeming:

Nothing is ever simple when it comes to redeeming Avios.  For the airlines listed below:

Aer Lingus can be booked online at avios.com but taxes are lower if you ring up British Airways Executive Club and book from your BA account

Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair and American Airlines can only be booked at ba.com (you can book them via iberia.com but they are not refundable so this should be avoided)

Flybe can be booked at both avios.com and ba.com.  Historically availability differed between the two – it is not clear if that is still the case.

Vueling can only be booked at vueling.com and iberia.com – bookings via vueling.com are revenue-based, bookings via iberia.com are priced off the standard Avios redemption chart

Iberia and Iberia Express can be booked across all platforms but there is better availability via iberia.com

Oneworld members

Long haul flights have been marked in bold for easy reference.

Aberdeen

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Aberdeen is a major hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Belfast

Aer Lingus to Faro, Malaga, Palma

Belfast is a major hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Birmingham

Qatar Airways to Doha

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork, Shannon

British Airways to Florence, Malaga, Palma (all Summer only)

Vueling to Barcelona

Iberia Express to Madrid

Birmingham is a major hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Bristol

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork

BA to Florence, Ibiza, Malaga, Palma (Summer only)

Flybe to Jersey

Cardiff 

Qatar to Doha (starting in May 2018)

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Vueling to Alicante, Barcelona, Majorca, Malaga

Cardiff is a major hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Doncaster Sheffield

Doncaster Sheffield is a major hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Durham

Flybe to Aberdeen, Jersey, Stornoway, Wick

East Midlands

East Midlands is a hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Edinburgh

Qatar Airways to Doha

American Airlines to New York (Summer only)

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork, Shannon

Iberia Express to Madrid

Vueling to Barcelona

Finnair to Helsinki

BA to Palma, Florence (Summer only)

Edinburgh is a major hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Exeter

Exeter is a major hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Glasgow

American Airlines to Philadelphia  (Summer only)

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork, Donegal

Glasgow is a major hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Inverness

Flybe to Belfast City, Jersey, Birmingham

Kirkwall

Flybe to Aberdeen

Leeds Bradford

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Flybe to Southampton, Belfast, Dusseldorf, Aberdeen, Newquay

Liverpool

Flybe to Isle of Man, Belfast, Newquay

Manchester

American Airlines to Philadelphia and Chicago

Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong

Qatar Airways to Doha

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork

British Airways (SUN-AIR) to Billund, BA CityFlyer to Alicante, Ibiza, Malaga, Mykonos, Palma, Nice, Florence (Summer only), Salzburg, Chambery (Winter only)

Finnair to Helsinki

Iberia Express to Madrid

Vueling to Barcelona

Manchester is a major hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Newcastle

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork

Newcastle is a major hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Newquay

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Newquay is a hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Norwich

Norwich is a hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Southampton

Southampton is a hub for Flybe – see the route list here

Southend

Flybe to Manchester, Groningen, Prague, Dublin, Rennes, Glasgow

Stornoway

Flybe to Aberdeen, Glasgow

Wick

Flybe to Aberdeen

If I have missed out any long-haul flights from the UK regions flown by other oneworld partners, please let me know and I will update the list.

It is also worth remembering that most oneworld partners fly to other European capitals.  Instead of flying from Edinburgh to London or Manchester to pick up a Cathay Pacific redemption flight to Hong Kong, why not fly to Amsterdam instead and connect there?  If you separate your tickets, you would make a substantial saving on Air Passenger Duty.  You may also find better availability out of Europe.

The only thing to check is the type of plane used. Airlines generally send their newest aircraft to Heathrow because demand and competition is higher. Routes like Amsterdam often get older equipment with older-style seats.  Check before you book.

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

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Comments

  1. Isn’t there a direct MAN-SYY flight on Flybe?

    Also, slightly OT but what does this mean for Avios options?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/united-kingdom/england/cumbria/lake-district/articles/flights-to-lake-district-launch-june/

    • It means if they brand as Flybe you can earn and burn Avios.

      • Above it says you can book Flybe flights on ba.com, but I tried Glasgow->East Midlands (Nottingham) and it said no flights could be found. (Repeated the same search on avios.com and it worked as expected)

      • Should have read all today’s mail-outs before asking the question… 🙂

  2. Whats the best way to search for flights available for avios redemptions, primarily for Aer Lingus and Iberia due to the BA charges?

    The avios site seems to be a bit clunky in that you have to click on each date individually and then wait for it to load? If it loads that is, most of the time it seems to sit on we are processing your request…

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