EXCLUSIVE: What is the best value Avios redemption per mile flown?

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After October’s article on which routes are the best British Airways redemptions on an ‘Avios per minute of flying time’ basis (link), we were left wondering whether the league table would change when calculated per mile.

With the help of Andrew, a reader who kindly did much of the ground work for us, we have put together a list of the flying distance of each long and mid haul British Airways route and compared it with the Avios required for a Club World off-peak redemption.

Distances are measured using the ‘great circle route’ ie. the most direct path between origination and destination.

(If you ever need to work out the distance between two cities, we recommend Great Circle Mapper at gcmap.com.  Use airport codes in the search box, eg LHR-CPT for London Heathrow to Cape Town, and click ‘Distance’.  Andrew used the data from BA’s High Life magazine.)

Hopefully this gives you a better idea of the value of different routes, although you should remember that ‘value’ is subjective.  If you don’t want to fly to Kuwait, for example, it doesn’t matter how ‘cheap’ a redemption would be!

As we always say, the ‘best’ Avios redemption is one that takes you to somewhere you really want to go.  With the exception of South Africa, both the ‘best value’ top four and ‘worst value’ bottom four destinations are unlikely to be top of your bucket list.

What is the best value Avios redemption per mile flown?

There are various reasons why a list of ‘best Avios redemption per mile flown’ will NOT be the same as ‘best Avios redemption by minute of travel time’:

stopovers on some routes have a big impact, padding out travel time hugely

some flights are forced to fly circuitous routes due to political issues about overflying certain countries, so the flight time is disproportionately long compared to distance

some routes have ‘padded’ flight times to minimise the impact of prevailing winds on connections and landing slots

The winner based on ‘Avios needed per mile flown’ is Cape Town.  10 Avios will get you one mile in a Club World flat bed on that route.

It was in the top ten of the ‘Avios per minute’ chart but has now climbed to the very top of the list. This is great news since Cape Town – in addition to being great value – is also a fantastic city to visit! Cape Town is one of the destinations in BA’s route map that should technically be priced in a higher Avios category but isn’t, so it makes sense that it should be excellent value.

Most of the top fifteen remain the same when calculated by mile or by minute. Abuja, Jeddah, Kuwait, Moscow, Johannesburg, Mexico City, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose (CR), San Francisco, San Jose (CA) and Sydney all perform well.

The biggest climber is Bangalore, which climbed 38 places and is the 25th most value-for-Avios route based on distance travelled. It was 63rd on a per-minute basis! The biggest loser is Dammam, which dropped over 60 places to almost the last spot – the stopover in Bahrain made it a long flight but, purely on distance, it is a bad Avios deal, as are most Middle Eastern destinations.

Other interesting differences are Tokyo, which jumped 34 places to 18th best; Singapore which jumped 37 to 35th place and New York which fell 24 places to 68th.

Take a look and see what you think. The table shows you the Avios per mile you need to redeem to get a Club World redemption.

If you want to compare these results to ‘best Avios redemption by minute of flying time’, you can find those results here.

I also recommend this HFP article which shows every British Airways route and the Avios required to fly it.  Thanks again to Andrew for his help with this.

Destination Avios for CW return off-peak  Miles flown (each way) Avios needed per mile flown
Cape Town 125,000 6,010 10.40
Abuja 62,500 2,960 10.56
Durban 125,000 5,903 10.59
Jeddah 62,500 2,945 10.61
Kuwait 62,500 2,900 10.78
Moscow 34,000 1,560 10.90
Johannesburg 125,000 5,635 11.09
Mexico City 125,000 5,530 11.30
San Diego 125,000 5,470 11.43
Los Angeles 125,000 5,455 11.46
San Jose (CR) 125,000 5,425 11.52
San Francisco 125,000 5,360 11.66
San Jose (CA) 125,000 5,360 11.66
Sydney 250,000 10,665 11.72
Male 125,000 5,295 11.80
Phoenix 125,000 5,255 11.89
Lima 150,000 6,305 11.90
Las Vegas 125,000 5,230 11.95
Tokyo 150,000 6,220 12.06
Santiago 175,000 7,249 12.07
Chennai 125,000 5,115 12.22
Grand Cayman 125,000 5,085 12.29
Seychelles (Mahe) 125,000 5,076 12.31
Beijing 125,000 5,065 12.34
Mauritius 150,000 6,055 12.39
Bangalore 125,000 5,000 12.50
Hong Kong 150,000 5,965 12.57
Cancun 125,000 4,965 12.59
Chicago 100,000 3,955 12.64
Bangkok 150,000 5,930 12.65
Buenos Aires 175,000 6,915 12.65
Osaka 150,000 5,909 12.69
Austin 125,000 4,910 12.73
Sao Paulo 150,000 5,890 12.73
Singapore 175,000 6,755 12.95
Turks and Caicos 125,000 4,820 12.97
Houston 125,000 4,820 12.97
Hyderabad 125,000 4,795 13.03
Rio de Janeiro 150,000 5,745 13.05
Seattle 125,000 4,785 13.06
Shanghai 150,000 5,720 13.11
Dallas 125,000 4,745 13.17
Seoul 150,000 5,650 13.27
Vancouver 125,000 4,705 13.28
Islamabad 100,000 3,750 13.33
Kuala Lumpur 175,000 6,555 13.35
Kingston 125,000 4,680 13.35
Pittsburgh 100,000 3,715 13.46
New Orleans 125,000 4,617 13.54
Washington DC 100,000 3,675 13.61
Amman 62,500 2,290 13.65
Muscat 100,000 3,660 13.66
Baltimore 100,000 3,625 13.79
Tobago 125,000 4,495 13.90
Mumbai 125,000 4,465 14.00
Port of Spain 125,000 4,455 14.03
Miami 125,000 4,435 14.09
Philadelphia 100,000 3,545 14.10
Toronto 100,000 3,545 14.10
Tel Aviv 62,500 2,215 14.11
Tampa 125,000 4,425 14.12
Cairo 62,500 2,195 14.24
Grenada 125,000 4,360 14.33
Orlando 125,000 4,355 14.35
Calgary 125,000 4,355 14.35
Beirut 62,500 2,165 14.43
Nassau 125,000 4,330 14.43
New York 100,000 3,450 14.49
Bermuda 100,000 3,440 14.53
Punta Cana 125,000 4,290 14.57
Abu Dhabi 100,000 3,425 14.60
Dubai 100,000 3,405 14.68
Nairobi 125,000 4,250 14.71
St Lucia 125,000 4,220 14.81
Atlanta 125,000 4,200 14.88
Bridgetown 125,000 4,195 14.90
Nashville 125,000 4,176 14.97
New Delhi 125,000 4,165 15.01
St Kitts 125,000 4,140 15.10
Boston 100,000 3,260 15.34
Charleston 125,000 4,075 15.34
Antigua 125,000 4,075 15.34
Montreal 100,000 3,240 15.43
Doha 100,000 3,240 15.43
Accra 100,000 3,170 15.77
Bahrain 100,000 3,150 15.87
Dammam 100,000 3,124 16.00
Lagos 100,000 3,115 16.05
Riyadh 100,000 3,065 16.31

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  1. Peter Hodson says:

    The table that puts Dammam so low cannot be quite right. It is less than 50 miles from Bahrain to Dammam. BA do it in a 1 hour limo service.

    • Shoestring says:

      yep, if it flies to Bahrain then transfers to car to continue onto Dammam after luggage reclaim & security, it’s not really comparable to the other flights – which seem to all be direct scheduled flights departure time—> doors open

  2. Colin Johnston says:

    I always enjoy reading your comments on Avios. I have been Gold with BA since inception in 1990 and learnt the ropes over the years and am now Gold for Life , retired abd travel for fun. One always needs to remember not only is it Avios value but also the varying taxes associated to each trip. For example i have just booked Tokyo to Cape Town usiny BA avios. If i had used the special via Shanghai and London, the Avios woukd have been less but the taxes several hundred pounds. On this journey travelling Qatar via Doha its 51500 miles but taxes are a mere 39 pounds. Quite good value i think!

    • ankomonkey says:

      Fully agree on the taxes and fees part. The Avios value is only part of the ‘deal’ – the taxes and surcharges are the other. If two flights are fairly similar in distance and Avios cost but one has taxes&fees of £500 and the other £600 then that makes a difference, particularly if your group size is 2 or more.

      Would also be interesting to see the equivalent for VS, particularly to compare on routes that both they and BA fly.

  3. BA now fly back into Dammam, albeit with a stopover in Bahrain. (after the BAH-DOH-BAH leg was removed)

  4. Internet says GCM is 4810 miles?

    • Andrew used a different data set so the numbers below vary slightly from that site.

    • Andrew used a different dataset to Great Circle Mapper as I mentioned in the article. I checked a few – some are out by a few %, like GCM, and others are pretty much bang-on Great Circle Mapper.

    • These distances are lifted straight out of the BA High Life magazine

      I thought that would be a reasonably reliable dataset 🙂

  5. Erm, Reward Flight Finder reckons Cape Town is 150k off-peak return. Is that wrong?

  6. As this feels like a light-hearted filler article for Xmas cheer, are we going for the hat trick and doing avg £ cost / Avios? Or is that too variable?

    Maldives is good for 4p/Avios

    • Shoestring says:

      the trouble with my 4p/ Avios claims is that they’re not actually completely true most of the time – I am fleet enough to get in T-355 at Xmas & Easter – the worst prices for peak flights start & end of school hols – as the dates are known in advance so there’s not much in the way of seeking agreement with my wife & family on timings/ I can just book ’em

      I probably could pay more reasonable cash (@T-355) instead and therefore the p/ Avios value would be under 2p/ Avios – BA have finally caught up and do actually price my flights high right from T-355 these days, though nothing like as high as closer to the flights – doesn’t take many weeks before they hit 3p/ Avios and were well over 4p/ Avios last time I checked (now completely sold out for all the days both sides of our flight times)

      ie is Maldives 4p/ Avios @T-355 vs cash?

    • How can you value something at 4 p, when you can buy billions of Avios at around 1p each.

      • agreed…the other question is would those claiming 4p/avios value actually pay these high flight prices in cash if that was the only option…i doubt it somehow for the majority…

        i love getting good value for my avios but i think a bit of realisim is needed sometimes

        • The Original David says:

          Why can’t something be worth more than you paid to get it? If you buy a £100 Amazon voucher for £70 via Monese, how much is your £100 voucher worth? If you find a £10 note on the floor and pick it up for free, is it worthless?

          • because as mentioned above it is generally pretty easy to buy avios at 1p each. just because you got outsize value for some doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what they are ‘worth’ – you can’t buy unlimited amazon gift cards at 30% discount, only 1 or 2 and you don’t see a tenner floating down the street every 2 minutes do you

            as i mentioned, would the majority of these people claiming this value of 4p/avios actually be spending that amount on the flights if they were forced to pay cash…?

          • But these offers are limited. The same as Spanish Duty Free shop had a 50% off during BF and you could have bought Don Perignon for about 89-90€.

            You can, however, buy billions of Avios at around 1p.

      • Shoestring says:

        it’s a nominal, pat-on-the-back 4p of course, ie I saved £££ vs paying cash fare

        • Shoestring says:

          actually I messed up and it’s only sold out completely for Avios flights! in cash terms my points would be worth over 6p/ Avios (£950 return in Economy)

    • it sounds too variable to me! and pretty hard to get at the base fare data in bulk form?

      if you could get the data, a more interesting calculation would surely be:

      ( Base Fare – Taxes/Fees for Reward flight ) / Avios

  7. Dies the question restrict itself to CW? Because … LCA!

  8. Abuja / Lagos is the big eye opener for me, not that Nigeria is that high up my bucket list anyway……

  9. I think I found an error in the chart: Durban is listed to cost 150K Avios CW Off-peak, but it actually only costs 125K. This I believe would also mean second place for Durban on the list 🙂

  10. What has caused Tokyo to jump so much? Doesn’t seem as if anything on that has changed, or has it gotten cheaper?

    Should taxes be a consideration? For instance if one was taking a holiday in places in SEA which are not direct, Hong Kong might be a better redemption than Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.

    • if you look at distance divided by time for all these routes, Tokyo comes out second fastest (after San Jose California).

      so presumably it was lower in the original rankings because it’s a relatively quick route to fly.

  11. Just some anecdotal redemptions this year for me using joker as GGL
    – 4 first class tickets to rugby World Cup in japan (bud class return) for under 400k avios using 2 companions. Cash price was £32k 8p/avios
    – 2 first class returns to Sydney with a companion and GUF for 240k, cash price was about £12k from memory which is about 5p/avios

    In my opinion there are far better ways to get to the Maldives than using avios on BA while they continue to run old 777’s down there.

    You can fly etihad first class all the way if you have etihad/aa miles

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      And no doubt private jet and Superyacht is “better” still. As 99.9% of HfP readers will have Avios in far greater abundance than nonUK airline currencies, it’s hard to see how other methods are better in the context of the HfP comment section.

      • Shoestring says:

        sure but I think the point is: you can use the same Avios more efficiently to get to the Maldives rather than flying BA

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