Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What Jamie did right – and very, very wrong – when he booked his Indonesia holiday on Avios

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Over the last couple of weeks we have run a series of flight reviews from Jamie’s recent month-long holiday in Asia.  The majority of the international flights were booked with Avios.

Before we go on, I should say that I wasn’t involved in the booking of this trip and didn’t know he was going until I got an email offering me the reviews.  You’ll see why I said that in a minute!

As a reminder, this is what he flew:

Heathrow – Kuala Lumpur, British Airways Club World – reviewed here – 105,000 Avios one-way (peak date)

Kuala Lumpur – Jakarta, Malaysia Airlines Business – reviewed here – 15,000 Avios one-way

Bali – Doha, Qatar Airways Business – reviewed here – 75,000 Avios one-way

Doha – Gatwick, Qatar Airways Business – reviewed here – 60,000 Avios one-way

In theory, this itinerary should have cost him 255,000 Avios.  In reality, Jamie only paid 200,000 Avios.

This is why.

Welcome to the Avios multi-partner redemption chart

99% of British Airways Avios collectors do not know that BA also has a second redemption chart.

I bet that most of you have never seen this chart before (click to enlarge):

OneWorld Avios redemption chart

You can see the original by clicking here to ba.com and scrolling down to click on ‘Partner Airlines’ and then ‘Avios costs for booking on two or more oneworld airlines’.

This is the reward chart that British Airways uses to price redemptions which include two or more oneworld partner airlines, excluding British Airways (although BA can be included on an itinerary).

The chart is for economy travel.  Multiply by two for business class and by three for first class.

Let’s take a look at Jamie’s itinerary

Because Jamie’s itinerary used two oneworld airlines, plus British Airways, he could use the multi-partner Avios redemption chart to price his trip.

Let’s look at the flights again:

  • Heathrow – Kuala Lumpur (6593 miles)
  • Kuala Lumpur – Jakarta (699 miles)
  • Bali – Doha (4873 miles)
  • Doha – Gatwick (3244 miles)

This is a total of 15,409 miles.  You can get exact distance figures from gcmap.com – click on ‘Distance’ and use airport codes, eg ‘LHR-KUL’.

Look at the multi-carrier Avios reward chart.  15,409 miles falls into the 100,000 Avios band (14,000 – 20,000 miles flown) for Economy.  We double that for Business Class.

This is why Jamie only paid 200,000 Avios for his trip, and not the 255,000 Avios that it would otherwise have cost if he had booked it one flight at a time.

Except:

He made a BIG mistake!

Look again at the reward chart.

Jamie’s trip was 15,409 miles.  He paid 200,000 Avios, which was the cost for trips of between 14,001 and 20,000 miles.

This means he could have added an additional trip of up to 4,591 miles for FREE! 

Well, not quite free because taxes and charges would have been due, but no additional Avios would have been required.  He could have added on:

a one-way in Club World from London to Miami (4425 miles)

or

a return in Club Europe to Athens (3020 miles) AND a return in Club Europe to Berlin (1180 miles)

or

a one-way in Club World to Delhi (4191 miles)

….. or many other options – for no additional Avios!

So …. well done to Jamie for remembering to ring BA and book his itinerary via the multi-carrier redemption chart, which saved him 55,000 Avios.  But a slap on the wrist for missing out on the chance to add a couple of future trips onto his itinerary for no extra Avios …..

(PS.  As someone asked in the comments ….. to book these flights, search availability for each flight separately on ba.com and then call BA Executive Club. The rules for how pricing works if you have mixed classes is not published anywhere and is not fully clear to anyone. It really needs a separate article of its own, suffice it to say that sometimes you can sneak in one flight in a higher class for free.)

(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.)

Comments (168)

  • James says:

    Thanks to Jamie for allowing you to share his error so that we can be reminded to maximise the returns on our Avios outlay.

    I would not have thought of adding extra trips completely unrelated to the one I was currently planning. Is there a time limit ? Or is it a case of if it’s bookable, you can add it (so potentially 355 days away) ?

  • Timothy Firmager says:

    This is really useful information, but how do you actually go about booking a multi-career Avios reward flight. What would be genuinely useful is an article explaining how to do this.

  • James says:

    Hmmm…. I wonder if it works out a good idea if my folks know the weeks they want to be in France each month to look at using this system to book everything in one go.
    Probably not.

    • John says:

      Unless they want to get to France using two or more non-oneworld airlines, this system is not appropriate. Do they live outside Europe? For multiple short haul trips, BA offers Flight Pass on Optiontown.

    • Rob says:

      Not unless you can find two non-BA oneworld carriers to get you there!

    • Pierre says:

      don’t forget the yellow vest in the carry-on 🙂

      • Peter K says:

        For the French protests or in case BA have another IT melt down and you want to join Alex Cruz?

  • James says:

    I’m guessing there are rules about backtracking ?
    How does that impact trying to add a seperate trip ? I guess it would limit origin & destinations depending upon your “main” itinerary.

    • John says:

      Don’t think so, this is not a “round-the-world” trip or oneworld explorer etc

    • Cat says:

      The circumference of the world is 25,000 miles (ish). If backtracking were ruled out, it would make the 25,001 – 35,000 and the 35,001 – 50,000 bands redundant.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Not really as you can go as you can clock up miles without backtracking by simply heading NE then slightly SE etc.

        • Cat says:

          I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that James was referring to both latitudinal and longitudinal backtracking (in which case equator-hopping in the manner of Andrew’s fantastic route would be banned).
          Either way, I’m now convinced that I need to spend some time this weekend figuring out how to use GC mapper!

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        Depends on a definition of backtracking. A route like lhr-scl-dfw-syd-nrt-cmb-doh-jnb-lhr would have only one stop per (sub)continent and not visually backtrack in a meaningful way, yet is much longer than 25k mi.

        • Cat says:

          I suspect that for the rest of the day, I will be preoccupied with the problem of the different ways of defining “backtracking” when travelling on a series of great circles…

  • Christian says:

    Very useful reminder that this exists. Where can one find out the amount of miles for the purposes of this chart?

  • PAL says:

    If he had known, could he have added in a couple trip return accordingly or does it have to be only the initial traveller from earlier legs I am guessing?

  • Tim says:

    Anyone know if this in anyway can apply if 2x legs are on 241 voucher?

  • TripRep says:

    Slightly related, trying to plan a NZ trip for next Xmas using Lloyds Upgrade Vouchers, Avios and VS miles.

    Grateful for any suggestions on routes from folks that might have tried similar, not fussed about seeing particular cities was thinking outbound KL/SIN and possibly rtn via HKG to get VS Upper home.

    Would prefer flat bed if possible but economy also considered for a bargain, am I being too optimistic in getting availability for two of us.?

    • TripRep says:

      Also would consider RTN via California….

      • Frankie says:

        Though not NZ, I am doing Oz this Christmas time and leaving on Boxing Day. The following is my itinerary and cost. I am travelling with my partner.
        LHR to BNE economy one way on Emirates. Cost was £700 each one way. (there was an Amex offer on each of our gold cards of £100 off an £800 spend on emirates earlier in the year)
        Brisbane to Sydney is a cheap internal flight with Jetstar at about £60 each
        Sydney to Bangkok (9th jan) was 50,000 avios each in economy and £50 each in taxes and fees.
        Bangkok to London (18th Jan) was 75,000 avios each for Club World plus £160 each in taxes and fees.
        So £970 cash and 125,000 avios each, with one of those flights (a 13 hour flight) being in club world. Also, the routing and dates were exactly what I wanted. The availability of avios seats did not determine my routing. Avios seats were booked in Feb and I held off booking the one way to Brisbane until I saw the Emirates money off offer on Amex gold.
        Not sure if this was a good deal and use of avios. Maybe someone on here will tell me…

        • Jon says:

          Using Avios to go where you want to go, when you want to go there is always the best use. Becoming too preoccupied with maximising £/Avios (e.g. taking flights/trips/entire holidays that you would never have booked otherwise) misses the whole point of the exercise!

    • Nathan says:

      I recently booked similarly LHR-SIN-SYD-AKL-MEL-KUL-SIN-LHR, for Easter as BA SYD Christmas time availability in J is like rocking horse poo, and found the Qantas website the most helpful when searching availability. Also, consider AKL-SCL-EZE-LHR (LATAM/BA) return?
      VS redemption AKL-NRT is cheap as chips IF it actually exists other than in theory?? I never found any :<

    • Neil says:

      Hey TripRep, with the other half being Kiwi we do this route twice a year. A personal favourite for us is using the upgrade voucher to HKG (It used to have cheap APD). Then Cathay business class down to SYD and then VS across to NZ. VS offers excellent value at 30,000 return for business class. When it comes to the return journey, nothing beats QF1 SYD – LHR for 50,000 avios & £52.00. QF1 has an economy section on the upper deck with only 20 seats. If you have status, free seat selection will allow you to grab two seats and very often the upper deck is empty so it’s the closet thing to a private jet for a fraction of the cost. Just my opinion of course. The reason I also choose all of the above is because I find it’s the perfect balance of cheap taxes and I also find availability quite easy to find.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      The one that springs to mind is LHR-HKG with the Lloyds vouchers (return, not as lucrative now they’ve permitted YQ again), then HKG-MEL on VA with VS miles, then onwards to NZ on either QF (Avios), VA (VS miles) or SQ (MEL-WLG on SQ with VS miles)

      LHR-HKG will be on the BA 777 or A380 (latter is better), HKG-MEL on VA A330 (The Business is excellent).

      Across the ditch depends on where you want to go. You’d more than likely be on a 737, though SQ operate long haul aircraft MEL-WLG and it’s a great way to make the journey. LATAM also fly SYD-AKL on a 787, which can be booked with Avios.

      EK fly SYD-CHC on an A380 (EK First is an amazing way to get to NZ). EK can’t be booked with any of those, but is a great deal with QF points (52k each way in First, IIRC) if you can get some of those via Marriott.

      If you arrive via Australia, domestic QF can be booked easily with Avios, and the taxes are cheap. If you end up needing a MEL or BNE-SYD, look for the A330s as they have flat bed J (which you obviously don’t need for such a short flight, but I seek it out every time!).

      Hope you find something that suits, interested to hear how you get on!