Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How many Avios do you need for flights on British Airways partner airlines? (Part 1)

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18 months ago, British Airways brought in a new pricing chart for Avios bookings on partner airlines. As we have barely mentioned it since, I thought we’d take another look.

This is a two-part article. Tomorrow I want to look at the multi-partner award chart. This is used to price flights which involve two airlines other than British Airways and which can be outstanding value.

How many Avios do you need for flights on British Airways partner airlines?

How much are Avios flights on partner airlines?

Annoyingly, British Airways does not publish a chart of partner Avios pricing. That said, it doesn’t publish a chart for its own flights either! The chart below was put together via manually looking up different flights.

As a reminder, this chart applies only to flights booked with British Airways partners Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines.

Remember that:

  • this is one-way pricing
  • BA charges by leg, so for connecting flights you need to price each leg separately and
  • ‘taxes and charges’ are due on top
  • you can’t use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher on partner airlines
Reward flight prices on BA partner airlines (plus taxes, fees and carrier charges)
Zone Distance Economy Premium Economy Business Class First Class
1* 1—650 miles 6,000 9,000 12,500 24,000
2 651—1,150 miles 9,000 12,500 16,500 33,000
3 1,150—2,000 miles 11,000 16,500 22,000 44,000
4 2,001—3,000 miles 13,000 25,750 38,750 51,500
5 3,001—4,000 miles 20,750 41,250 61,000 82,500
6 4,001—5,500 miles 25,750 51,500 77,250 103,000
7 5,501—6,500 miles 31,000 62,000 92,750 123,750
8 6,501—7,000 miles 36,250 72,250 108,250 144,250
9 7,001+ miles 51,500 103,000 154,500 206,000
* zone 1 does not apply to internal flights in North America
North America 1—650miles 7,500 15,000 30,000

In the 2019 changes, shorter routes went up more than longer routes.  An Economy flight on the shortest sector (0-650 miles) became 30% more expensive.  A First Class ticket on the longest routes (7,001+ miles) only increased by 3%.

British Airways has disabled the online reward flight price calculator. The best way of working out how much a flight will be, without doing dummy bookings on, is to look up the distance using the Great Circle Mapper tool at Search by airport codes, eg LHR-LAX.

The old 2x, 3x, 4x system no longer applies

With partner airlines, British Airways has moved away from a multiplication system for Premium Economy, Business and First Class Avios redemptions.

Previously, First Class was always four times the Economy fare, and Business Class 2-3 times depending on the mileage.

Since the 2019 changes, the multipliers vary and often run to multiple decimal places. On average, it became fractionally cheaper (as a multiple of economy pricing) in premium cabins.

There was been no change to short domestic flights under 650 miles in the United States. These remain at 7,500 Avios in Economy, 15,000 in Business and 18,000 in First. You can read more about why short domestic USA flights are priced separately here.

How many Avios do you need for flights on British Airways partner airlines?

There is no off-peak pricing with partner airlines

As you can see from the table above, there is no off-peak pricing. Every day is a peak day with partners.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you get a bad deal

Whilst you may think that this leads to poor deals, this is not necessarily true. We have written before about how you can exploit the mileage chart above to your advantage.

Frankfurt to Doha, for example, is 2,853 miles. This means that a one-way business class ticket on Qatar Airways uses Zone 4 pricing of 38,750 Avios. Using British Airways from Heathrow to Doha costs 60,000 Avios on peak dates or 50,000 Avios off-peak. You can make a big saving by buying a cheap flight to Frankfurt for cash – and that’s before you factor in a big saving in taxes and charges.

Can I use fewer Avios and pay more cash instead?

Yes, with virtually all partners you have the option of using fewer Avios and more cash.

A business class one-way flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok on Cathay Pacific, for example, is 16,500 miles (as per the chart above) plus £33 of taxes. You can reduce this to as few as 8,800 as long as you don’t mind paying £103 in cash as well.

What you cannot do is use more Avios and less cash. There is no ’50p’ or ‘£1’ option as you now see with many British Airways redemptions. As these are generally poor value anyway, it is not a great loss.

Tomorrow we will take a look at the multi partner pricing chart which can offer great deals.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 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 and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 (9)

  • Vicky says:

    I will never understand why the airlines make this so complicated and so difficult to understand and compare

  • Duck Ling says:

    “As a reminder, this chart applies only to flights booked with British Airways partners Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines.”

    Does this apply to Aer Lingus also? Thx

  • Mikeact says:

    Once again, it would be advantageous to promote a ‘Sweet Spot’ on going article, as there are numerous ways to lower both costs and Avios, but not necessarily travel time…..and probably not for those of a nervous disposition.

  • Ben says:

    Also Rob it’s worth noting you can’t use a 241 redemption voucher on partner airlines

  • Mike says:

    Side tracking a little…what tends to be the best ‘value’ from LHR-SIN or SIN-LHR? I’m thinking using IST as a midpoint where it’s 49k on Singapore Airlines between SIN-IST. Any alternatives to this?

    • GB74 says:

      I think via IST on the way out as you suggest. Returning I’d do SIN-HKG-LHR – the HKG-LHR on VS in Biz is £30 taxes and 57500 Flying Club miles (22500 now with an upgrade voucher from their credit card). Done both as a means of getting to/from Asia the last 3 yrs. Availability is pretty good.

    • Rob says:

      That’s the best one that springs to mind.

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