Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What is the best value Avios flight per mile?

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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)

  • joseph jordan says:

    yes, its useless without the taxes. London to New York 100K avios + £660 , Dub-LHR-JFK 100K + £217

    Dial in booking AA flights one-way from USA and you get even better value again.

    The core premise of sticking to BA flights starting in London and ignoring fees results in the article not even attempting to answer the question it poses.

    • cinereus says:

      +1

    • Genghis says:

      “Value” is v subjective. At least need to build in the cost of the flight to DUB in your example, perhaps a hotel for the night before if it’s outside your risk tolerance, build in the cost of your time and effort (e.g. schlepping to DUB with two kids just isn’t happening for most) etc.

      • Doug M says:

        Exactly. I’m a big fan of Ex-EU, but it’s not something realistic with kids, not within everyone’s acceptance of time/difficulty, and silly if you don’t understand the risk and additional costs.

      • cinereus says:

        But no approximation of value can be made when you only have half the data.

      • Howard says:

        Not sure if this makes sense, but could you not just say that my opportunity cost of avios is 0.8p (what i’d get if i transfered to nectar) and therefore my flight to New York has “cost” me 100,000*0.008 = £800 + £660 in tax = £1,460.

        If i would not be willing to pay £1,460 for a flight to new york i shouldn’t be collecting avios (would need to do maths to see if other destinations/travel classes work out more favorable).

        • Lou says:

          You’ve also missed the Avoid you’d get if you bought the biz class tickets for cash, say in advance or in a sale, which you could convert also to nectar…

          • Lou says:

            Just for fun, just did a look, if you book in advance, you can pick up biz class return from London for circa £1450 cash, and you also get 10374 – 17290 depending on status, plus you can knock off £50 for 5600, so in effect, the £1450 cash fare is costing approx £1310-1360, plus you get tier points. It’s a very fickle calculation… Unless you get loads of avios for free…

      • joseph jordan says:

        Genghis, bit myopic, you’re assuming a starting point in the UK. The article was about the best value per mile flown. Not about the best value per mile flown from the uk. May as well say rule out starting in the US as you have to get from the uk to US.

        In my case Dub is a 2 hr drive.

        • Doug M says:

          Are you sure of your numbers, doesn’t a connection cost additional Avios? I did a test DUB-LHR-JFK return and got 130K Avios and £323 fees. The number of Avios could be reduced, but at significant extra cash cost.

        • Genghis says:

          Fair point. I was assuming you’re at least GB based given HfP’s demographics. But point remains and is even more reinforced that value is subjective. You’re only two hours drive from DUB so that works great for you. I don’t. Your best value is different from my best value. So doing a full analysis of everything clearly doesn’t work.

          • joseph jordan says:

            The title wasn’t about a particular persons value, otherwise each person would have a different answer. It was about the best value avios per mile. EI/IB are generally going to come out best absolute value.

            Agree with other poster that I overlooked the connection avios, but for example DUB-JFK return on EI direct is 100K plus £211, versus the same avios plus £660-ish LHR-JFK return. Objectively the EI routine is more value per avios.

  • Russ says:

    Kuwait’s a good destination for links to the more usual travel destinations in the ME. It’s also a very good use of avios for redemptions in first.

    Also anyone who wants to try the Qatar First seat for a cheap slug of avios can get it on the quick hour’ish flight down to Qatar, but, if your imagining a quiet ride you’re in for a bit of a culture shock 🙂

  • Mikeact says:

    I think we all recognize the shortcomings without charges shown, but at least it’s a good snapshot of Avios requirements, if only to compare with other Avios redemptions of other carriers.

  • NeedyExStudent says:

    isn’t Cape Town 150k, not 125k ?

    (pretty sure its 75k each way….)

  • George1976 says:

    Isn’t it better to go somewhere you actually want to go rather than look for “value”?

    • Rhys says:

      ….which is exactly what we say in the article 🙂 however, Cape Town is a place that many people like to go to AND it tops the value list!

      • George1976 says:

        Fair enough 👍

      • Mikeact says:

        Definitely one of our top destinations…never tire of it, including the coast line up to Kosi Bay eg.
        Dubai? No thankyou, when there are far more interesting places to visit around the world.

    • Russ says:

      Well the thing is George1976 is that some people go abroad on holiday once or twice a year on flights with no stops whereas others are off every weekend all over Europe when two, three or more stops are incurred. Those who fly frequently have a different mindset to normal holiday travelers and see aircraft as buses. We’re down for the Maldives over Christmas and getting there via LHR-FRA-KWI-DOH-MCT-MLE. It’s on a mixture of miles, cash and hotel points. The thing is if the Maldives stops travelers from entering then one can always get ones points back and have the holiday at the penultimate landing i.e. in our case Muscat and The Busan Palace. If you just have one flight and that flight gets cancelled then your entire holiday’s gone. There’s your value.

  • AJA says:

    My best ever use of Avios was using them to upgrade a return flight ie both directions from LHR to Rio from WTP to Club in 2017. I only paid £571 + 72k Avios. And I got the Club Tier Points (a fluke) and a chunk of Avios back plus the double Avios for using the BAPP.

  • Andrew porwol says:

    I’m off to Gibraltar next week and if you see the cash prices this is definitely a good value redemption! Good value is going somewhere you want to go, comparing the Avios needed vs the cash cost of the cabin you would be prepared to pay and then any upgrade is a nice benefit of collecting Avios.

  • Mikeact says:

    I might even suggest that the multi carrier Avios option is by far a better value option…..well, it has been for us, twice now…..despite the frustrations of trying to book.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.