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 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.
- 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|
|* zone 1 does not apply to internal flights in North America|
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 ba.com, is to look up the distance using the Great Circle Mapper tool at gcmap.com. 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.
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 from UK credit cards (June 2023)
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 with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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 10,500 Avios.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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.
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.