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.

  • ADS says:

    does anybody have a list of BA route distances ?

    i would like to see what the list looks like based on Avios / mile or km.
    i’ve scoured the interweb but can’t find one !

    • Rob says: can do you the numbers in about 20 seconds per route, then cut and paste our Avios numbers into Excel.

      Won’t be a lot of difference though.

      • ADS says:

        that’s a lot of x 20 seconds … and i don’t know all the airport codes – the shame !

        just noticed that BA inflight magazine has all the distances – result !!

  • Charlieface says:

    Moving on from this analysis and the rewardflightfinder one recently, how about an analysis on last minute availability in both economy and business. A friend missed a flight and booked a new one on RFS while in the airport with an hour to spare. I think this is one of the best uses of Avios.

    • Jake says:

      Problem with that though it’s so dependent on outside factors.

      Last min availability to Rio prior to carnival = 0
      Last min availability to Rio during wet season = High
      Last min availability to Orlando over Easter = 0
      Last min availability to Orlando during hurricane season = High

      Etc etc

      • Rob says:

        Indeed. Lufthansa / SWISS are your friends for last minute availability from Europe long-haul (as per Anika’s recent last minute US trip when her passport got damaged and we had to rebook her – SWISS was the only option).

      • Charlieface says:

        Yes true, but I find that’s only at very high peak seasons. Most of the year I see availability on the day with BA, especially if you’re flexible with times.
        Could be wrong but extra availability often seemed to pop up on the Saturday for the following week.

    • Lady London says:

      Hah! I booked an Avios flight whilst sitting on a Ryanair flight that was fully loaded but had gone tech. 1 and a half hours at the stand and then they Saïd it light not take off that night.

      By then it was after 9pm so i used m’y phone to book an Avios ticket same route on the 7am flight. Clever me I thought.

      20 mins later it was announced our Ryanair plane was repaired and we would take off after all. I had about 30 mins before wheels up and had to shut down the phone.

      Do you think i could get any BA office anywhere to answer the phone so I could cancel the Avios ticket ? No data on phone so had to dial them. But BA would not pick up the phone. On landing, still BA would not answer. This was past midnight.

      With an interview early that morning i needed sleep after Ryanair finally landed (5mins within thé duty of care window). The 0700 BA ook off before i could cancel. I lost my Avios because BA wouldnt pick up the phone. I wrote it off as the cost of the ‘Insurance policy’ of the Avios ticket.

  • Harry T says:

    OT, as no bits:
    Priority Pass lounges in DXB Terminal 1 – is Ahlan Business Lounge or Marhaba Lounge better? Flying in the early hours of the morning so won’t have access to the Skyteam lounge that Priority Pass lets you into.

  • Genghis says:

    OT. Email just now from BAEC. Seems interesting.

    Dear Mr Genghis

    We know how important it is for you, as an Executive Club Member, to use your Avios to explore the world.

    Simply register, book and fly four return trips in Club World or First by 12 February 2020, and you’ll unlock exclusive reward flight access.

    We’ll give you the ability to convert any available seat* into an Avios reward seat. So start exploring now, and see where your Avios could take you.

    Take us up on this offer, and we’ll be in touch in the New Year, with your exclusive reward access voucher, and instructions on how to redeem.

    • Anna says:

      That is interesting, but not a lot of detail given they want you to pay for 8 legs in J or F in the next 3 months! I suppose it’s good for anyone who flies CW on business regularly.

    • Rob says:

      We had the inside track on this – article tomorrow.

    • BJ says:

      Got the email yesterday but it had been around a few days already. Would have been more interesting if the dates were not so restrictive. Also, the shorter destinations that would have allowed people like us to game it are exempt.

      • Anna says:

        I’ve not even got the email! They obviously looked at my HHA, saw a school age child on it and realised it would be a waste of time.

      • Polly says:

        Think too short notice for most people, flights well booked by now, methinks. Only frequent biz folk might benefit. A big ask, actually.
        Radisson at ARN Arlandia gave us a nice upgrade tonight, and threw in breakie. We had dropped from Plat to Gold, so had lost breakfast. I acted surprised! As if…And they did the ness. Nice touch. Very convenient, local airport bus drops you off along with multiple aircrew.
        Food seems improved in Galleries N. Sorry, meant to offer guest entry…SIN on QR tomorrow.
        Q Suites on Doh Sin leg.

  • Anna says:

    Very OT – I am looking at booking an apartment in Spain directly with the management company (rather than via or similar), but they want to charge 4% to pay with Amex. I thought the ban on cc charges was EU-wide, but am I wrong?

    • HAM76 says:

      It is EU-wide unless you book as a business… Businesses can charge other businesses what they want.

    • Scallder says:

      Pretty sure it was only Visa and MasterCard. The UK govt went further and included Amex. I had to pay a charge with KLM using an Amex (even though UK version of site as company is in the Netherlands couldn’t avoid it)

      • Anna says:

        That’s a pain, 4% must be higher than the fee Amex charges the company? Interestingly don’t charge for using Amex, but there was a case recently where someone lost their Amex consumer protection because is classed as a 3rd party, so I’m reluctant to make an expensive booking with them.

        • Anna says:

          I’m still confused though – if Ryanair isn’t allowed to charge for paying with Amex, how can a resort in Spain do so? Neither are UK companies.

          • John says:

            It depends on where the sale is made, I think. Ryanair may be able to charge people in Spain a fee to use Amex.

    • Roy says:

      Pretty sure you’re not wrong. IIRC one of the Payment Services Directives bans the charging of any free for using an electronic means of payment (such as a credit card). Merchants are free to refuse Amex, but I don’t think they can charge extra for it.

      What you can usefully do about it – in practice – is another matter.

  • lebron 23 says:

    what beach you on rob? usual half term middle east jaunt?

    any reviews to come following your trip?

    • Rob says:

      No. I have never reviewed this place despite coming here for about 12 years!

      Decided that Lufty business class wasn’t worth another review on the way down. I MIGHT do Etihad A380 business on the way back as we haven’t covered that for a while.

  • Jill (Kinkell) says:

    OT/Bits: my 0705 flight to LHR tomorrow morning was cancelled today at 14.26. Subsequent email states due to adverse weather….That’s because Inverness is shrouded in fog and today’s flights can’t land/diverted or cancelled. However, that means no plane at Dalcross for 0705 and therefore cancelled. ( am now on the 16.45 tomorrow). Can BA claim weather 18 hours before a flight ? Weather is a knock on effect putting planes out of position. Is this a reason t refuse compensation!
    Fed up….second cancelled flight, not to mention a delayed flight in the last 7 weeks.

    • Scallder says:

      No they can’t. Take screenshots of weather websites tomorrow morning, take screenshots of the departures board showing other planes taking off and landing and you should be good to go.

      • Jill (Kinkell) says:

        Thanks. Visibility is good, EasyJet and Loganair both departed around 7 am, so no excuse. ( just no BA plane on stand!) screenshots taken.

    • Rui N. says:

      Easyjet just lost a case in court in Portugal (with a €125k fine going with it) because they also claimed that a flight in Lisbon was cancelled because several hours earlier there was bad weather in Madrid (or something like that), so the plane couldn’t be in Lisbon in time to make the flight.
      Like in many cases throughout Europe, the court said that was bogus and that it’s on the airline to find a replacement flight for the passengers that were on the flight cancelled.
      So, yeah, pressure BA for compensation.

      • Lady London says:

        Hi Rui, what did the court stage as the reason for thé extra 125,000 EUR fine on BA?

        Thinking this might set a précédent for fining airlines extra amounts if they persist in denying compensation in cases where it’s clearly due…

        At the moment, airlines have no disincentive for denying or delaying clearly payable EU,261 claims. So they do it and many people give up. So would be nice if a précédent has been set punishing this.

        • Jill (Kinkell) says:

          I’ll keep folk posted on how I get on with my comp. claims . This will be my third claim in 2 months.

  • Dawn says:

    I see Fort Lauderdale is still on the list as a direct flight but it’s been discontinued apparently.

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.