Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How many Avios do you need for flights on British Airways partner airlines? (Part 2)

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Yesterday we took a look at Avios pricing when you fly with British Airways partner airlines, primarily other members of the oneworld airline alliance.

This means flights on 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.

Shockingly, there are now SIX Avios redemption charts:

  • off-peak flights on British Airways and Aer Lingus
  • peak day flights on British Airways and Aer Lingus
  • off-peak flights on Iberia (pricing differ from BA)
  • peak flights on Iberia (pricing differ from BA)
  • partner flights, as we featured yesterday
  • multi-partner award flights, which we are looking at today

I suppose I should be grateful that the complexity of the scheme effectively keeps me and the rest of the team in work, but it would be good if it could be a little bit simpler ……

What is the Avios multi-partner award chart?

95% of British Airways Avios collectors do not know that British Airways has the chart I am about to show you.

Importantly, this chart is the best one to use if you planning an Avios trip to Australia or New Zealand (for 2022, probably!) because it allows you to combine flights from different oneworld partners.

The only snag is that you can’t use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

The chart below is for economy travel.  Multiply by two for business class and by three for first class.

OneWorld Avios redemption chart

You can see the original by clicking here to ba.com and scrolling down to click on ‘Partner Airlines’ and then ‘Avios costs for booking on two or more oneworld airlines’. 

When would I use the multi-partner Avios chart?

This is the reward chart that British Airways uses to price redemptions which include two or more oneworld partner airlines, EXCLUDING British Airways.

(For clarity, you CAN include British Airways flights in your booking but there must also be two flights on the itinerary from different oneworld partner airlines.)

If, for example, you flew from London to Amman on Royal Jordanian and then caught a Qatar Airways flight to Doha, it would be priced using the chart above.

Importantly, this reward chart did NOT change when British Airways increased the redemption costs for partner airlines in 2019.

Take a moment to note what I just wrote.  Whilst a standard Avios redemption in Business Class on BA costs 3x an economy redemption, using the multi-partner chart only costs 2x.  This makes the multi-partner chart very good value for Business or First Class Avios tickets.

How to use this chart to get to Australasia

If you use oneworld partner airlines to get to Australasia, you have (or will have, once normal services resume) a lot of options.

You have Finnair, which flies to many key cities in Asia.  Cathay Pacific can get you into Hong Kong and then down to Australasia.  Japan Airlines can do the same via Tokyo.  Qatar Airways can do the same via Doha.  Malaysia Airlines can do the same via Kuala Lumpur.  And, of course, there is Qantas too.

You will struggle to find a way of not finding business class availability when you have all these airlines to choose from.

Here is a real example from a Head for Points reader which was sent to us:

  • Heathrow to Tokyo Haneda (Japan Airlines)  5,957 miles
  • 3 day stopover
  • Tokyo Narita to Brisbane (Qantas)  4,426 miles
  • Holiday
  • Cairns to Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific)  3,451 miles
  • 3 day stopover
  • Hong Kong to Manchester (Cathay Pacific)  5,988 miles

(The easiest way to get distances is via the gcmap.com website. You need to enter airport codes into the box, eg HKG-MAN, and click ‘Distance’.)

Because this involves three non-BA oneworld airlines it prices off the multi-partner chart above.  As he was travelling 19,822 miles, the total cost in Business Class was 200,000 Avios plus under £600 of taxes.

This is a far better deal than 300,000 Avios (peak day) plus £700 of taxes if you booked London to Sydney on British Airways in Club World – and you won’t be doing that anyway, because availability on BA has historically been non-existent beyond the guaranteed two Club World seats per flight.

The itinerary above is actually a very simplistic way of using the multi-partner chart.  If it wasn’t for the fact that this itinerary is so close to the 20,000 mile threshold, you could have added in a number of domestic flights on Qantas or Japan Airlines.

What else can you do with the multi-partner reward chart?

Here is an example of a round-the-world routing using the multi-partner chart.

London – Delhi – Hong Kong – Tokyo – Los Angeles – New York – London is just under 20,000 miles.  This would be 200,000 Avios in Business Class for the whole trip.

It is worth noting that I have never seen a firm list of the rules for booking multi-partner reward tickets.  Most BA call centre agents will never have booked one.

In theory you are limited to eight sectors with just one overland sector (ie where the next flight departs from a different city) although I know people who have got away with this.

There is some confusion over how multi-class bookings are priced. The rule APPEARS to be that it is based on the longest flight so if that leg is in Economy and the other flights are in First, you are only charged Economy mileage. This happened to a friend of mine recently ….. but there are accounts of cases where it was charged based on the highest sector in the entire booking, however short. Caveat emptor.

In theory you can book a segment in economy – and the rest of the itinerary in business – and upgrade that segment later for free if availability in business appears

In theory, there appear to be no rules on backtracking although this may be down to badly trained agents.  One example I saw was basically multiple holidays from London to somewhere, back to back, to get to eight sectors!  If the agent allows it you could book, say, London to Qatar and home, London to Hong Kong and home, London to Tokyo and home, London to Kuala Lumpur and home as one booking – as long as you are using at least two oneworld carriers – and save a huge number of Avios on booking four holidays separately!

In truth, no-one seems clear. So few people book from this chart that we don’t have enough evidence to go on.  The ‘eight flights maximum’ rule does seem to be firm – but that still gives you a huge amount of flexibility to put together a great trip.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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 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 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 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 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.

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

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 10,500 Avios.

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

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 sign-up 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.

Comments (29)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Ming The Merciless says:

    In theory you can book a segment in economy – and the rest of the itinerary in business – and upgrade that segment later for free if availability in business appears

    I’m assuming the £35 change fee would apply?!

  • Louie says:

    You make it sound so easy! In my experience, booking one of these is the quickest way to a nervous breakdown.

    Firstly whatever you propose will be referred to the fares team and you have to keep ringing back (meaning hours on hold) to see whether anybody has looked at it yet. Then whoever has looked at it will find some reason you hadn’t thought of to knock it back, simply because they refuse to publish their fare rules (not that there appear to be any). Back to square one. Rinse and repeat. If you do ever get something you and they are happy with, bear in mind that you’ll have to go through this process again should you wish to make any changes. And the next BA person who looks at it will have a different interpretation of the rules and will calculate the taxes etc totally differently (it’ll be impossible to check or challenge the taxes etc unless a very simple itinerary). If you are really lucky, they’ll then delete existing segments of your (ticketed) trip that they deem to break the rules without telling you, probably breaking the law and potentially leaving you stranded if you don’t realise. All personal experience on one multi-partner award. So not for the faint hearted.

    Also if you are close to going over the top of your mileage allowance, don’t use GCMap – as BA don’t. Check using BA’s Avios earning mileage calculator as the differences between that and GCMap can be quite large (and initially scuppered my plans as GCMap made it under 20k miles but BA made it more). For example, NRT to HEL is 4,877 per GCM and 5,229 per BA.

    • Nick G says:

      That’s my brief experience as well I gave up well before you did! I never understand how BA can suddenly ‘change’ their mileages to suit them and get away with it. Surely it’s pretty clear it either is or isn’t a specified mileage?!

      • Polly says:

        Similar to aer lingus moving Boston a few years ago.. simple amazing geography

    • Alan says:

      Eek – sadly that sounds much more like the BA experience we have come to expect! I had a slightly similar experience of this with SQ booking a multi-carrier award – got there in the end and a significant saving in miles but ended up having to drop one sector and buy a cash ticket separately as they just wouldn’t price it up.

      • Nik says:

        I guess everyone’s mileage varies, but when I did mine, described in comment below, it couldn’t have been smoother. Also the agent openly told me he was looking through GCmap to check what Avios bracket it was going to come under. So he told me the Avios required but fare was sent off to the fares team. Give it a day or two rather than hours to save disappointment and it’ll definitely have been done by then. You don’t need to worry as the seats have been reserved already for you at the point the agent sends it off to fares (a booking reference would have also been created at that point). Read my comment for a more positive experience to this. But the key is that you do the legwork beforehand 🙂

        • Louie says:

          I can assure you I had done the legwork – many hours of it – beforehand.

          Re GCMap – the agent might have used it as a short cut to estimate the miles required but I can assure you that BA’s system does not. Once the fares department had looked at my itinerary and decided that it didn’t after all total less than 20k miles, the agent broke down each of the flight distances. Not one agreed with with the GCMap figures I had been relying on; every one I later agreed with the Avios mileage earning calculator. As I said, if you know this, it saves you wasting time accidentally miscalculating and getting a nasty shock.

  • Liz says:

    Do you have to book the first leg by phone (or online) then ring back when each additional leg is available – ie days and weeks later….. so you don’t lose the availability of the earlier legs.

    • Nik says:

      You could but only if that one sector hasn’t been ticketed as then you’d incur a change fee every time you change it and add sectors. My advice is that you first decide where you want to go, then decide what routing you’d fancy, calculate the miles on GCmap after which you individually look up each sector for availability on ba.com. Note down all the flights you wish with dates and numbers. Call BA and piece it together. The legwork has to be done by you prior to the BA call to ensure a smooth experience from there. Read my comment below for more 🙂

  • Duncan Orr says:

    Presumably this is impossible to book online without using Agents?

    • Alan says:

      Absolutely! Given even simple open jaws or changes to bookings with connections in London can’t be done online there’s zero chance of them ever coding this!

    • Rob says:

      The online system can handle it but clearly it is impossible to do complex itineries. However if you all you want is, say, a one-way to Australia doing Cathay Frankfurt – HK and then Qantas HK – Sydney then ba.com may well throw this up and price it correctly.

  • Mikeact says:

    We’ve done it twice….a shorter combination to to US, and a longer route to AUS/NZ, both Business.
    But it is definitely not for the feint hearted or those of a nervous disposition, and in my case, a wife who worries about anything and everything!
    Having worked out the itinerary, you need to lock yourself away in a quiet room. I call BA on my mobile with ear phones. In addition my PC is powered up with gcmap and also my tablet to hand with an XL itinerary. Then, plain paper and a couple of pens, because one will run out !
    Importantly, a separate sheet with a back up plan as you may well have a disagreement…..politely, when trying to book. And of course, the seats you saw were available may be taken.
    Now the big challenge….calling up and hoping you get an agent who knows what you are talking about….if not, politely ask if you could transfer to another agent. First time I was lucky..second time..Pain !
    Going down to AUS the agent had to reroute us due to ‘seats gone’ on one segment . No big deal except it screwed us for a short break in AMS as the mileage was longer.
    We didn’t have any problems with cancellations or changes while away, but then, they weren’t of our making, more the airlines with problems. And by missing a day or so can screw up your Airbnb or B&B booking along the way…all part of the fun !
    So, it is definitely worth while….but you must start somewhere outside of the UK if you’re in to saving money. A short RFS will get you there, and our last segments home delivered us direct back to Heathrow.
    A great use of Avios, particularly using the sweet spots referred to yesterday.
    Anyone thinking of doing it…the Best of British!

  • Nik says:

    I actually had very good fortune with the multi-carrier booking when me and my partner went to Aus last year in March. I had to call 3 times, but only because of availability issues and changes in our own plan regarding dates, but each time the BA agents were clued up. It does have to be sent off to the fares team after the agent reserves all your seats, but usually call back after 24 – 48 hours and the fare is all calculated for you ready to pay.

    Outbound: WAW – DOH – SYD
    Inbound: MEL – PER – SIN – DOH – CPH – LHR

    We booked out of WAW as it was reduced the taxes quite a bit than departing from LHR. Also doing the above itinerary from anywhere more Northern or Western Europe was tipping it over the 20,000 mile mark. 200,000 Avios each and just shy of £500 taxes/fees + cost of LHR – WAW one-way each. Fantastic journey and great value!

    NB: Itinerary above was a mixture of QR, QF, BA.

    It does require your own research individually searching each sector and noting down the flights you would like and ensuring that you’re spacing the connections that are within minimum connection times. If you’ve done your homework and have your dates/flights written down, it really shouldn’t be anywhere near a nervous breakdown, in fact, you’ll be feeling great at the value you’ve achieved! 😀

    Happy to be emailed if anyone wants any extra advice/tips – coolnikhit28 (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Bagoly says:

    “include two or more oneworld partner airlines, EXCLUDING British Airways.”

    When I read this, it seemed different than I remembered.
    Looking closely I think there is no change, but the wording above is easily read to imply that none of the flights cna be on BA.
    Trying to avoid being overly prolix is a challenge.
    Perhaps “include two or more oneworld airlines other than BA (so three or more airlines if one leg is on BA)”

    • Rob says:

      Fair point, will tweak.

    • Nik says:

      You are allowed to have BA. However BA can only be used AFTER your itinerary has used 2 other non-BA Oneworld carriers. For example in my itinerary above I was able to use BA for the CPH – LHR sector and still qualify for this multi-partner chart because I had QR and QF within my itinerary. So no, it can’t be BA + one other carrier but it can be 2 or more non-BA Oneworld carriers and then BA on top of that. 🙂

  • s says:

    Having lost a good few weeks of time to this futile ‘hack’, I’d echo some of the sentiment above that this one is not for the faint hearted, nor those who place any value on their time.

    A lot of the anecdotes referred to here are from a time prior to a recent IT change which has made getting these itineraries ticketed all but impossible (quoting is fine, ticketing is a different matter). I have heard of the odd ones that managed to get through the fares team and ticketed but even then, I’ve heard of someone having a random 160k avios deducted from their household account a few months later to ‘adjust’ a fare difference!

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