Where can I fly with Avios from UK regional airports? (Avios Redemption University, Lesson 10)

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What flights can you book with Avios if you live in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham or anywhere outside London?

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.

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.

NOTE:  Obviously, with almost flights now suspended due to coronavirus, these lists are not currently accurate.  We have based it on lists we compiled last year, plus the 2020 BA CityFlyer leisure routes schedule, which is the best we could do.  There is no guarantee that all of these routes return when flying restarts.  

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.  In 2019, British Airways dropped its weekend routes from Birmingham and Bristol.  American Airlines dropped out of Glasgow and stopped the New York flight from Edinburgh.

The major gain in the last couple of years was Cardiff, which launched its Doha flight with Qatar Airways.  In 2020, Manchester gains a Royal Air Maroc service to Casablanca as the airline has now joined the oneworld alliance.

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.

Avios flights from Aberdeen Airport:

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Avios flights from Birmingham Airport:

Qatar Airways to Doha

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork, Shannon

Vueling to Barcelona

Avios flights from Bristol Airport:

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork

Avios flights from Cardiff Airport:

Qatar to Doha

Vueling to Alicante, Majorca, Malaga, Rome, Barcelona

Avios flights from Edinburgh Airport:

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

British Airways CityFlyer weekend routes to Palma, Florence (seasonal)

Avios flights from Exeter Airport:

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Avios flights from Glasgow Airport:

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork

British Airways CityFlyer weekend routes to Palma (seasonal)

Vueling to Barcelona

Avios flights from Leeds Bradford Airport:

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Avios flights from Manchester Airport:

American Airlines to Philadelphia

Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong

Qatar Airways to Doha

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork

British Airways (SUN-AIR) to Billund

British Airways CityFlyer weekend routes to Alicante, Florence, Ibiza, Malaga, Mykonos, Nice, Palma, Salzburg, Chambery (seasonal)

Finnair to Helsinki

Iberia Express to Madrid

Royal Air Maroc to Casablanca

Vueling to Barcelona

Avios flights from Newcastle Airport:

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Avios flights from Newquay Airport:

Aer Lingus to Dublin, Cork

Avios flights from Southampton Airport:

Aer Lingus to Dublin

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.

Want to learn more about how to maximise your Avios redemptions?

You can see the full list of all 15 articles in the ‘Avios Redemption University’ series here.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. Unfortunately it looks like the Aer Lingus flights from Belfast to Faro and Malaga were axed last year.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-49665919

  2. Steve R says:

    As someone who lives on the M62 corridor with the exception RFS flights during the summer hols & then you have to drive to LGW, Avios are a complete waste with London Airways

    • Avios are great for redeeming on Qatar, Cathay Pacific and JAL, particularly for intra-Asia routes. I also fancy a Sri Lankan trip at some point. Can’t think of any other reason for them though.

    • As someone on the M65 corridor, we’ve made good use of the RFS flights from MAN since they started. They also run from LHR though it’s such a faff going there we only use it now for long haul with no direct service from the north, and J/F redemptions.

  3. Jonathan says:

    You appear to have missed the places like Jersey, Guernsey and The Isle of Man

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