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When most travelers consider British Airways, it's for flights to London or onward to Europe. However, the British Airways Executive Club may offer more unique booking opportunities than any other airline frequent-flyer program. In this post, we'll show you how to find and book awards with Avios points, explain the British Airways award chart, and highlight the best British Airways partners.
The good news is that you've got more options than ever for booking award flights on British Airways' website. When Alaska Airlines joined Oneworld, British Airways added the option to book Alaska awards on its website. That adds Alaska to a long list of British Airways partners that you can book online—including American Airlines, Qatar Airways, and many more.
This post is pretty detailed. If you're looking for a quick introduction to the loyalty program, check out our guide to British Airways Avios.
- How to Make a British Airways Award Booking
- British Airways Award Pricing
- Use Avios Points for Maximum Value
- Other Perks of the British Airways Executive Club Loyalty Program
- Earning British Airways Avios
How to Make a British Airways Award Booking
Perhaps the easiest way to search for and book an award flight with Avios is through the British Airways website. If you haven't already, start by enrolling in the British Airways Executive Club program. Once you've enrolled in the Executive Club program, follow these step-by-step instructions to search for award flight availability:
1. Start by navigating to the British Airways homepage and hovering your cursor over “Book“.
2. Scroll down and click on “Book a flight with Avios.”
3. At this point, if you haven't already signed into your Executive Club account, British Airways will prompt you to do so.
4. After logging in, you're directed to a menu to fill out all the pertinent information of the itinerary you desire. This includes the departure and arrival airports, the date, class of service, and the number of passengers. In this example, I've searched for a one-way flight from Sydney (SYD) to Auckland (AKL) for one person in business class.
5. When the next page loads, it'll display the award availability for your search criteria. If you see an itinerary that you like, simply select it to view the price quote at the bottom of the screen.
In this case, there's availability on British Airways' Oneworld partner Qantas for 22,000 Avios and $125. If everything looks good, scroll down and click “Continue“. On the next pages, follow the steps to enter your payment information and complete your booking.
Hidden Award Availability
Unfortunately, you can't search or book all British Airways partner flights on British Airways' website.
For example, Aer Lingus award availability isn't shown online. Instead, you can find Aer Lingus award space on Aer Lingus' website, then call British Airways at 1-800-452-1201 to book. If the representative tries to charge a fee for calling in, politely ask for the fee to be waived, since you can't book the award online. While calling is a hassle, this often pays off. In this Aer Lingus example, British Airways tends to charge fewer taxes and fees for Aer Lingus flights than Aer Lingus itself!
Also, remember that whenever searching for partner award availability, every partner should have access to the same awards. For example, Aer Lingus also partners with United Airlines in addition to British Airways. So, if you find award availability for an Aer Lingus-operated flight through United, that same flight should also be available for Avios redemption with British Airways. Just call British Airways and provide the flight information. Hopefully, the agent will see the same availability and quote you a price.
British Airways Award Pricing
Executive Club uses three different Avios award charts to determine the number of points you'll need for an award booking.
Similar to Delta, United, and several other frequent-flyer programs, Executive Club no longer publishes an official British Airways award chart for its own flights or an Avios award chart for booking with British Airways partners. However, we've reconstructed the prices based on the last publically available data and recent itineraries booked by AwardWallet members.
Related: See how AwardWallet uses award bookings to estimate airline point values
The British Airways Award Chart
The British Airways award chart applies to itineraries operated exclusively by British Airways:
For long-term fans of British Airways, these prices may look a bit different than what you remember. That's because, in March 2021, British Airways devalued award rates on short-haul flights. Now, awards in the first 3 distance tiers cost 750 Avios more than before:
|Flight distance (miles)||Economy (Off-Peak)||Economy (Peak)||Business (Off-Peak)||Business (Peak)|
|1-650||4,750 (+750)||5,250 (+750)||8,500 (+750)||9,750 (+750)|
|651-1,151||7,250 (+750)||8,250 (+750)||13,500 (+750)||15,750 (+750)|
|1,152-2,000||9,250 (+750)||10,750 (+750)||17,750 (+750)||20,750 (+750)|
Depending on your travel dates, you may see either the off-peak or peak award prices for your trip. A full calendar used to be available to see which dates qualified for the lower, off-peak pricing, but British Airways no longer publishes a calendar. To check off-peak dates, you need to complete an award search and click on “Show peak and off-peak periods” for British Airways or Ibera above the search results.
Generally, peak dates are from early July through early September, mid-December through early January, and late March through mid-April.
Avios Chart for British Airways Partners
If your itinerary includes one or more flights operated by British Airways partners, the number of Avios you'll need will be based on the British Airways Partners award chart below. Unlike the pricing for Iberia and British Airways award flights, this chart doesn't have peak or off-peak rates.
For whatever reason, Executive Club doesn't apply the first distance zone for flights within North America. Instead, partner flights under 650 miles within North America price at:
- 7,500 Avios in economy
- 15,000 Avios in business class / domestic first class
How to Use the British Airways Award Chart
British Airways calculates the award prices shown in the two charts above differently from other distance-based frequent-flyer programs. To use the British Airways award chart, you need to find the distance flown (in miles) for each individual flight segment on the itinerary.
Find that distance band in the award chart and write down the number of Avios required. Repeat the process for each flight on your itinerary and add up the costs in Avios to get the total price. You can find more details in our guide to frequent-flyer pricing.
Now, the easiest way to determine the award price for any given itinerary is to simply do an award search. Alternatively, you could utilize a third-party award calculator (like this one) to at least get a ballpark figure of how many Avios you'll need.
Multi-Carrier Reward Flights
Interestingly, there is also another, lesser-known award chart for British Airways: the Multi-Carrier Reward Flights chart. It kicks in when flying two or more Oneworld airlines (besides British Airways) on the same itinerary. Unlike the previous two Avios award charts, these prices are still available on the Executive Club website—at least for now.
This award chart holds some interesting value for business class flights on partner airlines, as it was left untouched amid the 2015 Executive Club revamp. While business class is now typically 3x economy award rates, on this chart it is only 2x economy rates.
The Avios amount for reward flights in premium economy will be 1.5 times the Avios amount shown; for business class it will be 2 times, and for first class it will be 3 times. Taxes, fees and carrier charges increase on a sliding scale from economy up to first class.
At the time of publication, no pricing information was available on the British Airways website for the first and last distance tiers. We've estimated the Avios requirements based on what Executive Club has published in the past. Taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed charges will vary by itinerary. The values included in the table are presented on the Executive Club website as the maximum cost (i.e. up to $362.10).
The method for calculating the total price with this Avios award chart is different (and fortunately more straightforward) than the other two charts. To find the cost of a multi-carrier award, you just need to find the total distance for the whole itinerary and look up the price. With this chart, you don't need to find a price for each flight segment.
Use Avios Points for Maximum Value
Now that you know how to search and book Avios award flights, let's go over a few examples on how to maximize your redemption value.
Fly to Hawaii using Avios on Oneworld Partners American or Alaska
One of our favorite sweet spots in the Executive Club award chart is flying from the West Coast of the U.S. to Hawaii. You can get one-way economy awards to Hawaii on British Airways partners Alaska or Amerian for as little as 13,000 Avios plus minimal taxes per person. It's still one of the best points and miles redemptions for flights to Hawaii.
Executive Club members also recently gained the option to book Alaska awards on British Airways website. Before April 2021, members needed to call British Airways to price out and book these Alaska award flights. Remember, now that Alaska is a member of Oneworld, you'll need to use the multi-carrier award chart if your itinerary includes segments operated by both Alaska and American Airlines.
Boston to Dublin in Aer Lingus Economy for 13,000 Avios
This route causes a lot of confusion in the award redemption world. Although Boston and Dublin are just under 3,000 miles in distance, British Airways has decided to treat this route as a 3,000+ mile route — making it a Zone 5 redemption. Still, it's an excellent award sweet spot costing just:
- 13,000 + taxes off-peak one-way in economy
- 50,000 + taxes off-peak one-way in business
- 20,000 + taxes peak one-way in economy
- 60,000 + taxes peak one-way in business
Mexico or the Caribbean for 7,500 in economy or 15,000 in business
Depending on your departure location, you can fly economy to Mexico or the Caribbean from as little as 7,500 Avios plus taxes and fees. Or, you can get there in business class for as little as 15,000 Avios plus taxes and fees.
Short Distance Flights Outside the of the U.S.
Since British Airways Avios awards are distance-based, you can really spread out your Avios with short-distance flights. The shortest flights start at 4,500 Avios and can be redeemed for any flight under 650 miles outside of the US. Short hops in Africa, South America, Africa, Europe, South Pacific, and Asia are all possibilities.
Just watch out for high taxes and fees on some routes and compare the total cost with cash prices to make sure you're getting a good deal.
Other Perks of the British Airways Executive Club Loyalty Program
Aside from the award pricing, British Airways also offers several unique and customer-friendly features for Avios awards:
- No Close-In Booking Fee — British Airways awards are great for last-minute flights, as they don't impose any close-in booking fee. While cash close-in booking fees have been eliminated by most airlines, both United and Delta now charge higher award rates for awards booked close to departure. So, it's nice that British Airways doesn't!
- Pool Your Avios — British Airways allows members to combine and redeem Avios with friends or family easily via household accounts.
- Flexible Cancellation Policy — If you need to cancel your Avios award, you can do so up until 24 hours before departure for up to a $55 fee. However, there's a nice catch. If the taxes that you paid on the award are less than this fee, British Airways just keeps that amount. So, if the taxes and fees are just $5.60 on an award, you only have to “pay” that $5.60 to get your Avios refunded. That's a small price to pay for flexibility!
Earning British Airways Avios
Executive Club members can earn Avios in many ways—the most obvious of which involves booking cash flights on British Airways or one of its Oneworld partners.
However, there are even better options for boosting your Avios balance. For instance, you can accrue miles by making purchases with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card.
- Earn 100,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL within your first 12 months from account opening, thereafter earn 3 Avios.
- Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel within your first 12 months from account opening, thereafter earn 2 Avios. Plus earn 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- 10% off British Airways flights starting in the US when you book through the website provided in your welcome materials.
- Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you'll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
- Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
- Simply tap to pay with your contactless British Airways Visa Signature Card. Just look for the contactless symbol at checkout. It's fast, easy and secure!
- 3X Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL
- 2X Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations
- 1X Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases
Or even better, you can simply transfer miles from elsewhere. That's because you can transfer points from several major award currencies to the British Airways Executive Club—including Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards!
Despite high fuel surcharges on Briths Airways flights, British Airways Avios still offer plenty of value. This is especially true given that they can be used for flights on lots of different airlines around the world.
If you're looking to pick up more Avios, check out the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. Or, even better, consider applying for a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. Both cards currently feature sky-high welcome bonuses, stellar earning rates, and points that transfer 1:1 to British Airways Avios.
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