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What is the best value Avios flight per mile?

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What is the best value Avios redemption per mile flown?  Or, put another way, what’s the furthest you can fly for the fewest Avios?

With travel slowly starting to open up – although I’ll be the first to say that you won’t be heading to a lot of places listed below in a hurry – I thought it was worth having another look at where you get the best value.

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.

What is the best value Avios flight per mile?

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’.

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.

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.

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.

What is the best value Avios flight per mile?

BA won’t be flying all the routes below for some time – if ever

The list below was produced in early 2020.  It is NOT reflective of the route network today.

British Airways has said that some of these routes will not return post-covid.  However, we have not removed those destinations from the list.

There are two reasons for this:

I don’t seriously believe that British Airways is willing to permanently abandon cities such as Seoul and Abu Dhabi – especially as it may have spare capacity if other parts of the world remain closed

whilst BA has announced some route cancellations, I am sure that more will follow

Here is the ‘best Avios redemption per mile flown’ chart, based on BA’s route map at the start of 2020.  Thanks to Andrew for his help with this.

DestinationAvios for CW
return off-peak
Miles flown
(each way)
Avios needed
per mile flown
Cape Town125,0006,01010.40
Abuja62,5002,96010.56
Durban125,0005,90310.59
Jeddah62,5002,94510.61
Kuwait62,5002,90010.78
Moscow34,0001,56010.90
Johannesburg125,0005,63511.09
Mexico City125,0005,53011.30
San Diego125,0005,47011.43
Los Angeles125,0005,45511.46
San Jose (CR)125,0005,42511.52
San Francisco125,0005,36011.66
San Jose (CA)125,0005,36011.66
Sydney250,00010,66511.72
Male125,0005,29511.80
Phoenix125,0005,25511.89
Lima150,0006,30511.90
Las Vegas125,0005,23011.95
Tokyo150,0006,22012.06
Santiago175,0007,24912.07
Chennai125,0005,11512.22
Grand Cayman125,0005,08512.29
Seychelles (Mahe)125,0005,07612.31
Beijing125,0005,06512.34
Mauritius150,0006,05512.39
Bangalore125,0005,00012.50
Hong Kong150,0005,96512.57
Cancun125,0004,96512.59
Chicago100,0003,95512.64
Bangkok150,0005,93012.65
Buenos Aires175,0006,91512.65
Osaka150,0005,90912.69
Austin125,0004,91012.73
Sao Paulo150,0005,89012.73
Singapore175,0006,75512.95
Turks and Caicos125,0004,82012.97
Houston125,0004,82012.97
Hyderabad125,0004,79513.03
Rio de Janeiro150,0005,74513.05
Seattle125,0004,78513.06
Shanghai150,0005,72013.11
Dallas125,0004,74513.17
Seoul150,0005,65013.27
Vancouver125,0004,70513.28
Islamabad100,0003,75013.33
Kuala Lumpur175,0006,55513.35
Kingston125,0004,68013.35
Pittsburgh100,0003,71513.46
New Orleans125,0004,61713.54
Washington DC100,0003,67513.61
Amman62,5002,29013.65
Muscat100,0003,66013.66
Baltimore100,0003,62513.79
Tobago125,0004,49513.90
Mumbai125,0004,46514.00
Port of Spain125,0004,45514.03
Miami125,0004,43514.09
Philadelphia100,0003,54514.10
Toronto100,0003,54514.10
Tel Aviv62,5002,21514.11
Tampa125,0004,42514.12
Cairo62,5002,19514.24
Grenada125,0004,36014.33
Orlando125,0004,35514.35
Calgary125,0004,35514.35
Beirut62,5002,16514.43
Nassau125,0004,33014.43
New York100,0003,45014.49
Bermuda100,0003,44014.53
Punta Cana125,0004,29014.57
Abu Dhabi100,0003,42514.60
Dubai100,0003,40514.68
Nairobi125,0004,25014.71
St Lucia125,0004,22014.81
Atlanta125,0004,20014.88
Bridgetown125,0004,19514.90
Nashville125,0004,17614.97
New Delhi125,0004,16515.01
St Kitts125,0004,14015.10
Boston100,0003,26015.34
Charleston125,0004,07515.34
Antigua125,0004,07515.34
Montreal100,0003,24015.43
Doha100,0003,24015.43
Accra100,0003,17015.77
Bahrain100,0003,15015.87
Dammam100,0003,12416.00
Lagos100,0003,11516.05
Riyadh100,0003,06516.31

Comments (73)

  • John says:

    Need to add in the taxes and charges for a proper analysis…

    • ARIFF says:

      Exactly this

    • James says:

      +1

    • Lou says:

      +1 they really distort what is going to “cost” you

      • Rob says:

        The taxes are roughly the same, give or take. £550 return in Club World covers 80% of that list.

    • Marcelo C says:

      Agree. And on economy. 🙂

    • cinereus says:

      Yes. Absolutely pointless the way so many blogs only look at a fraction of the total cost (i.e. miles only). It also makes analysis more difficult as different people value miles differently.

      • Alex says:

        They might value them differently but how many it actually cost you is the point of this article. Rob cannot cater to everyone, valuing avios anywhere from 0.4p up to 0.8p base value and then more.

        Taxes I agree are important but is again factored by to many variables to include easily for every route, every class etc etc

        • cinereus says:

          Surely you include for each flight by just adding another column to the table?

          • meta says:

            You can’t add BA surcharges as they fluctuate from one day to the other. It’s never the same amount.

    • BS says:

      We should start calling them charges and taxes. They are usually that way around in scale.

  • Red Flyer says:

    Iberia probably a better use if looking at some routes to S America than BA if looking at £ for £ value.

  • Matthias says:

    That’s all very well but good luck finding any club seats to Cape Town, ever…

  • cinereus says:

    How can these be the best Avios redemptions when you’re only looking at BA? Surely Iberia does much better especially when you consider taxes and fees? Have you covered the Avios devaluations yet either?

    • Alex says:

      Devaluation is only on flights of <2000 miles which none of these are I believe so irrelevant.

      • cinereus says:

        I thought plenty of US and Latin American destinations had just been devalued?

        • Alex says:

          I assume you mean Iberia, in which case I did read this aswell…however when I went through to the final booking page on multiple destinations this morning. It was the same avios amount it should be. So not sure if a glitch on Iberia’s website the last few days, or for me…

          • Red Flyer says:

            Same for me – their avios booking was off for 24 hrs on Saturday and when back up yesterday avios to EZE was same as before.

  • TimM says:

    The heading is misleading. The article is restricted to business class, long-haul and only from London! Let’s have a proper analysis including all routes on which Avios can be redeemed, all classes and include representative taxes and fees at a suitable valuation. Anyone with time on their hands?

    • cinereus says:

      +1

    • Al says:

      I did this a few years ago. My conclusion: get to Japan with JAL from Helsinki. Fly around Asia Pacific with JAL, Qatar, and Cathay. Fly back with BA from Hong Kong. Plus: Cayman to Bahamas with BA. Plus AA flights to a lesser extent. If you rule out the BA Amex 2up. There used to be good examples from readers of HfP on how they applied their points – I recall someone going round the world but that also used American miles.

  • TravelSomeday says:

    Best value per point I’ve managed is Inverness to JFK. I booked it using the BA Amex 2-4-1 and during the 50% off sale last October. Cash cost today is £5,424 and I paid 50k + £1,038 therefore achieving 8.9p per Avios, now fingers crossed I actually get to travel…

    • Joe says:

      I’ve just rebooked Avios flights to Bermuda (booked in 50% off sale) which have been cancelled.
      50,000 return per person + £626pp, instead of £3,033 cash price for the new dates (Easter).

      I think I make that 4.8p per Avios (although I would never have paid the £3,000 cash price!)

      • TravelSomeday says:

        Sounds good, hoping I get to use them or they change the rules on being able to use them 365 after the ticketing date. Sounds like you got the same ‘value’ as me except I had the BA 2-4-1 on there as well. Likewise I said I wouldn’t book business class cash price flights, but I couldn’t resist the Virgin £999 ones to US west coast, time will tell whether they’ll be usable of not…

        • Joe says:

          I haven’t had any issues at all with the 365 day limit (on either booking) – but I might just have been lucky!

    • Du Ri says:

      Best value I think I have achieved is during 50% off sale and companion voucher.
      Flew ABZ- LHR- DXB in 1st Class Return for *50000Avios and £1207 fees and taxes in January.
      *Received 18000 back as Dubai went into UK Red list and BA rerouted with Gulf and BA via Bahrain.

  • Sarah says:

    I actually just booked a 2-4-1 redemption to Bahrain for Feb half term which is in the bottom 4 of this list. Given limited option on other routes (apart from US) and the voucher expiring in March 2022, I didn’t have much option. Although I will be happy to go somewhere I’ve never been before for a break.
    I’m not planning on cancelling but in case I need to can I check that my options are to pay £35 each and get money back or get a future travel voucher until 2023.
    If BA cancel, they mentioned a new ticket had to be in ticket validity ie a year from booking. Is that right? They also said had to be Avios availability but when I questioned that, they started to backtrack.

    • Mikeact says:

      Suggest you might want to move this to today’s Chat thread.

    • Alex says:

      Option 1: pay the £35pp fee to cancel and get evening back.
      Option 2: cancel for a FTV, must complete travel by 30th May 2023, this will tie up your avios,taxes and 241 voucher. Also no name changes so must go with same person.
      Option 3: if BA cancel on you, you can select ANY date, no need for avios availability, if they are selling cash tickets you can choose that day, off peak or peak! Technically you can book past 365 days from your original *Booking date!* however BA are often funny about it and need to do MCOL for this. However you’re in the right.

      • Andy L says:

        Re Option 3, I was told by BA that I could only book within a year of the booking date. So what (if any) is the actual limit? Have I forfeited all rights by accepting a refund since I was given false information?

        • Rob says:

          The limit is one year from the date you paid the taxes on your original booking – so if you booked in October 2020 to fly in May 2021, your deadline would be October 2021.

          This is unofficial BA policy, by the way, so you’d have no grounds for any sort of refund.

    • Amy carpenter says:

      I sorry I can’t help but I would also like the clarification you require as I’m in same boat. I’m needing to know if it’s £35 per flight, ie out and another £35 back. I hastily booked an outbound Male last week but think I regret it as the weather won’t be great end of April 22. Would rather cancel it now than book inbound and then cancel if it’s going to cost me £70 doing that rather than £35!

      • Alex says:

        It’s £35 per person, doesn’t matter if you cancel one-way or a return trip. So for 2 people it’ll cost you £70 either way. So no point booking the inbound

        • Louie says:

          Depends on whether the outbound and inbound are on the same tickets. If you use a 241 and book the return after booking the outbound and then phone up to get half your Avios back, you will still have separate tickets so it would be 2 x £35 per person.

        • Amy Carpenter says:

          Thank you, just realised my case is slightly different as I’m not using the voucher like the lady above and going it alone. But thank you very much for your help. Got over excited at my first redemption!

  • Jenny says:

    Is there a list which shows the taxes required (not airline ticket price) from UK (e.g. heathrow)

    For example I heard taxes from UK to Japan are low + from Hong Kong to UK

    • Alex says:

      A number of countries it will be cheaper because on the departure they don’t have certain taxes which you incur in the UK. Japan is a prime example which is often why people book 2 x one-way flights.

      Not sure of any list unfortunately, flyertalk might be a good bet for something like that.

      • John says:

        No other country has taxes on the level of the UK which are incurred on long-haul departing flights.

        The tax is £180 for any class other than economy to a country where the capital city is over 2000 miles from London, otherwise £26, and £82/£13 for economy.

        As for BA’s additional redemption charges and various airport charges, if you have 12 hours to spare every month you are welcome to compile a list yourself…

    • Genghis says:

      Japan to UK, perhaps?

      • meta says:

        There are only 2 such destinations that I know that BA flies to. Japan and Hong Kong.

        There used to be no surcharges for Brazil till 2017. Many airlines have continued till today with no surchages, but not BA. There used to be a difference on short-haul in some countries, but BA has down away with it too.

        • meta says:

          And yes as @Genghis said it’s only if you book one-way from Japan or Hong Kong to UK and not from UK!

          • John says:

            I simply use a programme which (unlike BAEC) doesn’t levy YQ/YR for the outbound. Then I book the inbound using Avios. Scored HND-LHR for 37.5k avois and like GBP 10 in fees during last year’s 50% off promo.

        • Lev441 says:

          Brazil still ok for low taxes/surcharges if booking via Avios.com

        • cinereus says:

          GRU and GIG too?

          • Rob says:

            These only kick in on tickets booked as 2 x one-ways anyway, so with a 241 it makes no difference.

          • Genghis says:

            @Rob. Relevant if you play some t-355 tricks.

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