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Where can I fly with Avios from the UK regions? – Avios Redemption University – Lesson 10

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The “Avios Redemption University” series is a good starting point for beginners, although I hope everyone will learn something from it.  Click here to see the other “Avios Redemption University” 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 did not begin or end in London. This situation has been reversed slightly in recent years as a few weekend routes were added using aircraft which were idle whilst London City Airport was closed, but to all intents and purposes there is no substantive route network outside London.

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.

Important: because Flybe is leaving Avios on 30th April, we have not included it in this article as it is designed as a long-term reference piece.  You can still book Flybe flights for the next four weeks, however, for travel up to a year in advance.

Iberia Express UK routes

What regional flights can be booked with Avios?

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. Domestic British Airways flights have been ignored. Isle of Man and Channel Islands departures have been ignored.

Vueling flights from the UK

This list keeps on getting shorter ….

I update this article annually.  Every year it gets shorter.  We’ve lost, entirely, Aurigny, Monarch, Air Malta and Flybe (from 30th April).  In 2019, British Airways has dropped its weekend routes from Birmingham and Bristol.  American Airlines has dropped out of Glasgow and stopped the New York flight from Edinburgh.

The major gain this year was Cardiff, which launched its Doha flight with Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways routes from the UK

A note on redeeming

Nothing is ever simple when it comes to redeeming Avios, but I think the caveats below show that the level of confusion has now got beyond silly.  For the airlines listed below:

Aer Lingus can be booked online at avios.com but taxes may be lower if you ring up British Airways Executive Club and book from your BA account.  For additional confusion, avios.com has different availability to ba.com.

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

Vueling can only be booked at vueling.com and iberia.com – bookings via vueling.com are revenue-based (more expensive flights need more points) whilst 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

Finnair flights from the UK

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

Aberdeen

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Belfast City

Aer Lingus to Faro, Malaga

Birmingham

Qatar Airways to Doha

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork, Shannon

Vueling to Barcelona

Iberia Express to Madrid

Bristol

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork

Cardiff

Qatar to Doha

Vueling to Alicante, Majorca, Malaga

Edinburgh

Qatar Airways to Doha

American Airlines to Philadelphia (Summer only)

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork, Shannon

Iberia Express to Madrid

Vueling to Barcelona

Finnair to Helsinki

BA CityFlyer weekend routes to Dublin, Palma, Florence (Summer only)

Glasgow

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork

Leeds Bradford

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Manchester

American Airlines to Philadelphia

Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong

Qatar Airways to Doha

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork

British Airways (SUN-AIR) to Billund

BA CityFlyer weekend routes to Alicante, Ibiza, Malaga, Palma, Nice, Mykonos, Florence (Summer only), Salzburg, Chambery (Winter only)

Finnair to Helsinki

Iberia Express to Madrid

Vueling to Barcelona

Newcastle

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Newquay

Aer Lingus to Dublin

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.

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Comments

  1. What’s the CE food like on the BA Cityflyer routes from the regions like? Do they make more of an effort as per LCY departures or is it the more standard BA fare?

    Considering whether it’s worth going CE on a reward flight from Edinburgh to Florence?

    • For a no status passenger the main advantage is lounge access but if you have that anyway I find the exit rows to be superior to the CE seating. The food in CE nowhere near justifies the price differential or additional avios on those flights.

  2. Roblamrock says:

    I phoned BAEC recently to book 2 return tickets from Belfast to Faro on Aer Lingus. The agent sold me 2 business class tickets for 34,000 avios and £225-54 taxes. Turns out there was no business class on these flights – Just 3 types of economy! I cancelled and booked 2 tickets directly with Aer Lingus which was far better value. I suppose I should have checked seat classes on that particular flight first…

    • Michael says:

      Well if BAEC sold it to you as Business class they are a bunch of con artists.

  3. Freddy says:

    Due to the recent sign up bonus change I did contemplate getting the BA card and trying to find some value in avios points but the options outside of London are absolutely dire on BA.

    • They really are, and not being able to use the 2 4 1 on any of the ones which do exist (except possibly for Cityflyer which wouldn’t be great value in any case) makes it suck even more! Though as Harry will no doubt point out, there are still more option from MAN than from Torquay or Bristol!

      • Can you use the 241 on Cityflyer? I think I’ve been told it’s BA mainline only.

        • I don’t think there’s a definitive answer yet, it was has said previously that as long as the flight has a BA flight number you can use a voucher but I might be thinking of the Lloyds upgrade!

        • BlueThroughCrimp says:

          Yes, you can. I burned one last summer on a day out to London.

  4. A note of caution with Cityflyer from Manchester. Summer flights were quite heavily advertised and I booked Aviios flights to Majorca. Great until Cityflyer cancelled a fair number of departures. Being fair they offered via Heathrow on any flight as an alternative but that negates the value of a short break. I have ended up on a direct Sunday flight. All very ironic when BACityfler’s Head Office is in…..Manchester!

    • Is your new flight with a different airline or a BA Sunday service from MAN?

  5. OT – I know it is not much but I have 3750 miles on my Emirates skywards and they expire next month – how can I keep them or get them transferred

    • Heathrow rewards?

    • Was going to suggest The Emirates High Street, but I see that closed at the beginning of February. You don’t have enough points for most of the redemption options – Heathrow Rewards requires multiples of 6,000, easyJet redemptions start at 8,250 miles o/w. Not worth the cost to transfer or buying more to make it up to a figure you’d use….

      I’m in the same boat and am planning to let them expire.

  6. Memesweeper says:

    Not sure if it’s really regional but there are CityFlyer routes out of “London” Stansted at weekends. This might be handy for East of England residents.

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