Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What is the best value Avios points redemption per minute of flying time?

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

I often get emails from readers asking what the ‘best value’ Avios redemption is.  The honest answer, of course, is ‘one that takes you somewhere that you really want to go’.

There is a more scientific way of looking at this question.  The question is: “What is the cheapest route per minute of flying time for Club World Avios redemptions?‘.

With the help of a HfP reader who did some of the groundwork, we have put together this list of the flying time of British Airways long-haul routes compared with the Avios required for a Club World off-peak redemption.

The results were a little surprising, with the winners being the mid-haul routes.

What is the best value Avios points redemption per minute of flying time?

Cape Town is known to be a great deal because it should, technically, be in a higher pricing zone than it is based on distance.  The San Jose (Costa Rica) route is up there too.  Similarly, Las Vegas and other US West Coast cities are pushing the boundaries of their zones and so offer good value.

The ‘best value’ winner is Moscow.  This is not surprising as it is operated – on some flights – by long-haul aircraft but is priced off the short-haul list.  It is Reward Flight Saver as well!

(This article in our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series looks at how Avios Reward Flight Saver works on short-haul British Airways flights.)

Note that some of the ‘best value’ routes are only on the list because the flight has a stopover.  In theory you should discount the time spent on the ground, especially as you usually need to get off the plane.

The ‘worst value’ routes also came as a bit of a shock.  I would have gone for Boston, given that it is the nearest US East Coast city to London, but there are actually plenty of long-haul routes which are even worse, mainly to the Middle East.

Flight times are based on flights FROM London.  This overstates the average North American flying time, due to the quicker return trip, and vice versa.  Some flights are also slower than others due to the aircraft type or to fit in with airport opening times – I used the first BA flight of the day in all cases.

Take a look and see what you think. This chart shows you the Avios you need to redeem to get 1 minute each-way of Club World flying time.

DestinationHrsMinsIn MinsOff-peak CW
Avios per
minute return
Grand Cayman1225745125,000168Stops
Mexico City1150710125,000176 
Turks and Caicos1150710125,000176Stops
San Jose (CR)1140700125,000179 
Cape Town1135695125,000180 
San Francisco1120680125,000184 
Los Angeles1110670125,000187 
San Diego1105665125,000188 
Port of Spain1055655125,000191Stops
San Jose (CA)1055655125,000191 
Las Vegas1040640125,000195 
Washington DC825505100,000198 
St Kitts1030630125,000198Stops
Sao Paulo1210730150,000205 
Seychelles (Mahe)1005605125,000207 
New Orleans1000600125,000208 
New York800480100,000208 
Hong Kong1155715150,000210 
Buenos Aires1350830175,000211 
Tel Aviv45029062,500216 
Rio de Janeiro1135695150,000216 
Abu Dhabi720440100,000227 
Punta Cana910550125,000227 
St Lucia855535125,000234 
Kuala Lumpur1225745175,000235 
New Delhi830510125,000245 

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2022)

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. 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

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

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.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital on Tap Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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.

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

Comments (109)

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

  • The Original David says:

    Always plenty of availability to Abuja too!

    Not sure if anyone would actually book a trip based on this metric, but interesting analysis nonetheless. How does CE compare?

    • Alex W says:

      Club Europe is a waste of Avios on 100% of routes.

      • John says:

        Unless there’s no Y availability

      • Rob says:

        Of course it isn’t. It’s all proportional. I just booked a UK domestic in CE for next week one-way – it’s an extra 3k out of 1m+ across the family. You’d be stupid not to do that unless you’re masochistic. It’s like the average person being offered an upgrade on the train for 50p.

        I also tend to do it for the family – there are 4 of us and CE gets us a full row (and, as Gold, that usually means Row 1 if we’re booking a few months in advance).

        Would I do it if I had 100k Avios? No.

  • BJ says:

    The shortest long haul flight that is sufficiently delayed to qualify for maximum compensation under EU261. Added value can then be expected from other common occurrences on BA including malfunctioning seats, broken IFE, failure to load meals and lost baggage.

    • Ant says:

      Our family of 4 (Avios with 2 companion vouchers) was delayed for 4 hours and 2 minutes on a flight to Cairo (3510km). Paid for the holiday.

      • BJ says:

        Great result, I guess you are now disappointed every time you depart on time 🙂

        • Rob says:

          My brother got €3,000 when his family of 5 got a 4 hour delay on a WTP trip to NYC. Was very happy!

          • Anna says:

            We (eventually) got 1200 euros for our 5 hour delay coming back from NYC. It covered most of the “taxes” on our 2 4 1 in F!

            Flyertalk report that BA gave £300 in vouchers as compensation to a couple they had thrown off a fight for being disorderly 😂 (though they then said it was a mistake).

          • Anna says:

            Flight even! Though there could very well have been a fight.

          • BJ says:

            @Anna, I hope that is not giving you ‘good’ ideas!

        • Ant says:

          Exactly! Last holiday we were delayed for 2 hours 30 due to mechanical issue – was trying to think of ways to help it stretch it out to 3 hours!

          • BJ says:

            My partner and I had expensive LNER tickets back from KGX earlier this year. Leaving Berwick we were so sure we were going to be 30+ minutes late abd wd would get money back. Never fekt a train in the UK go so fast in my life and all the time I was hoping it woukd need to sliw. It bever dud, even felt fast getting into the station and it made it with about half a minute to spare. It was going on to Aberdeen so probably a good result for them.

          • Polly says:

            BJ, your report had me in stitches..can just imagine the state of anxiety on that journey! Willing it to slow down..

          • BJ says:

            @Polly, I think you are picturing it just right. To add to the drama a lady from Berwick came on and sat next to us, she was on her high horse because she had just been advised (helpfully in my view) that LNER would soon stop selling return tickets and therefore she would subsequently have to pay double for two singles. This was an interesting chat in I self but I colddn’t focus for watching my watch and trying to to estimate arrival time.

          • John says:

            Long distance train timetables have plenty of slack time built in. If you are 30 mins late leaving a station on LNER you are unlikely to be 30 mins late at the next station unless the delay is due to something wrong on the tracks in front of you.

          • Rob says:

            There is a lot of slack on the last leg. Easy to check – look at timings between laststop and London, vs London and firststop on the outbound. The former is likely to be longer.

  • Phil says:


    Compared to Abuja, Lagos and Accra cost you 37,500 more Avios for flights less than half an hour longer!

  • TripRep says:

    Continuing with the curious novelty value of the post, just for a bit of fun…

    How about best value when you include the cash element and compare to full fare?

    £490 + 65,000
    Club Europe + Club World rtn to Florida.

    Usual cash price £2450rtn

    • Rob says:

      The issue is getting a ‘usual’ cash price based on when people actually want to redeem, and whether you should factor in pricing on carriers others than BA.

      • TripRep says:

        But remember, keeping an equivalent full cash quote from BA on email/file (taken at the time of redemption booking) is useful for any potential future small court claims….

    • Tim says:

      When fees are added, and a value of say £10 per 1,000 Avios, it is always Avios partners that come out top, especially JAL, Cathay and to a lesser extent Qatar, especially on the wide body 20k Avios destinations with £10 fees. Istanbul is a good starting point for Qatar as it is only 20k biz in wide body although fees not as low as JAL or Cathay. Still better than Bloody Awful though.

  • Marcw says:

    Does anyone book reward flights based on this BS?

    • Tim says:

      It is a useful metric if you don’t know the distance between city pairs, especially if the hour unit is used instead of minutes.

    • TripRep says:

      Doubt it, but I see the article as a light-hearted “filler” for mild amusement.

      • Rob says:

        I’m guessing you don’t have a numbers job Marc 🙂

        • Marcw says:

          Yes, I do work with numbers 😃. It’s an interesting or curious analysis, alternative view – you ain’t going to get a Nature paper.

          • Russ says:

            Oh sure like we all have 5+ papers in Nature published every year 🙂

          • Rob says:

            I assumed anyone even slightly ‘on the scale’ (which all City analysts are) would appreciate it 🙂

    • aDifferentSimon says:

      I think they probably do based on the popularity of the flyertalk page on which airports are closest to the far edge of the zone boundary. This is the same kinda thing. I know I tend to think Bilbao in zone 1 is a bit of a steal.

      • Anna says:

        I do get this – I’m actually trying to put together a trip to Chambery as I think it’s the only Zone 1 flight which you can do direct from MAN.

        • Anna says:

          Apart from domestic which doesn’t really count as a holiday!

        • Lady London says:

          Better be quick Anna it will disappear soon! Obviously it’s an oversight by BA to actually leave an international flight to anywhere in Zone 1 from MAN.:-)

    • Lady London says:

      Apparently some people actually like to have long routes not just for sleeping, but also to enjoy what’s on offer especially in F.

      • Polly says:

        Agree, it really is a lovely experience to do just once even, or better still on our 241. Feel you are getting the value and the experience. Long may it last, until the new biz suites get rolled out. Then it’s biz from then on.

  • BJ says:

    O/T: Nectar offering 1000 bonus points for £5 ebay spend within the next 5 days. As usual with Nectar, probably targeted.

    • Harry T says:

      Yeah, targeted – I haven’t got it.

      • BJ says:

        IIRC you are new to Nectar so be patient, the offers will come. Usually bewbies get iffers to book first trips at LNER and Virgin without minimum spebd, and small bonuses to link accounts to Ebay and argos. Once you have done so, avoid spending there to encourage more offers..

        • Harry T says:

          Thanks, I’ll bear that in mind. What are the best value redemptions of nectar points?

        • EwanG says:

          Offers have been rubbish on ‘new Nectar’ – both for Sainsbury’s spend and partners, on my account plus wife’s account and not compelling me to spend there instead of Morrisons or Waitrose.
          Aside from your eBay gold above BJ, how have you been finding it?

          • BJ says:

            @Ewan, my Sainsbury offers have been good with 300-500 points per week on stuff I buy regularly. By contrast my parents Sainsbury offers are garbo, they struggle to get 100 points per week. My Partner offers apart from that cited are rubbish; all just x2 or x2 points at various retailers which can be easily beat in other ways. My LNER and Virgin are now 500 for minimum £5 spend so that’s useless for the moment. Got the bonus points on the Sainsburys nectar cc for a second time and Sainsbury Bank dropped in 1000 bonus for who knows what. I hope the £10 spend promo with the mystery bonuses comes back soon. Been looking out for an additional bonus from Nectar on the amex card but nothing this month.

            @Harry I have only redeemed for double value on trains or in the Sainsburys double up event. One time only I got £50 double on ebay soon after I started collecting. Never got it again. I never redeem at standard rates.

  • xcalx says:

    My go to destination for cruise departures San Juan PR using IB comes in at an eye catching 67.3 Avios per minute. 1010 mins 68000 Avios and taxes of around £150

    • xcalx says:

      Sorry my maths is out, make that 134.6 Avios per min based on the calculation formula above.
      return avios divided by one way minutes equals off peak avios return ? can’t get my head working today.

      • xcalx says:

        Can someone explain the workings out for this, I just can’t fathom it out . Thanks.

        • pauldb says:

          134 is right; consistent anyway. 134 avios gets you 1 minute out and 1 minute back. It would perhaps be better to start with the oneway avios, divide by the oneway time, and say it’s 67 avios per minute.

          • xcalx says:

            Ok I get it now. I think I had worked it out correctly to start with 67.3 per mile flown. The avios per minute return column equates to per 2 miles flown. is that correct?
            Senior moment.

    • KevMc says:

      +1 – lots of great ‘value’ (as measured here) with IB to the Americas from Madrid.

      eg Santiago return costs 102,000 and is 26 hours total tiem in the sky = 65.38 points per minute

  • Anna says:

    The GCM route is 2nd on the list because the stop in NAS adds at least 90 minutes to the travel time (it can be more, e.g, when we flew there in August we were stuck on the tarmac at NAS for 3 hours due to a private jet crash landing). Having flown the route a few times I question the “value” as during the GCM-NAS/NAS-GCM sectors the F & B service is kept at an absolute minimum which means that on the return leg you don’t get a meal until 5 hours into the flight, which is a total pain if you want to maximise sleep. There’s no lounge at GCM so if you want to dine before you fly your choice is Burger King or Subway!

    • Chris says:

      I acknowledge the above, however having flown the route on a 2-4-1 and booked nearly a year out on the stroke of midnight, I am please to hear that we got ‘good value’ since it was the only ‘good value’ thing about our holiday in Grand Cayman!!!!!

      • Anna says:

        Totally agree Chris! It’s a perfectly pleasant way to fly but no-one should book it thinking they are getting an extra couple of hours of CW service, because that’s not the case. I much prefer to go via the US as 8-9 hours is the limit before I start really wanting to get off the plane, but OH prefers to fly direct so we take it in turns to choose the route. Hit very lucky this year (apart from various delays) as unbeknownst to us the aircraft had an F cabin and we were allocated seats in it!

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.