How to Search and Book British Airways Avios Award Flights How to Search and Book British Airways Avios Award Flights

How to Search and Book British Airways Avios Award Flights

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When most travelers consider British Airways, it's for flights to the United Kingdom or somewhere in Europe. However, the British Airways Executive Club program offers unique booking opportunities to destinations across the globe on dozens of partner airlines. 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. In 2021, Alaska Airlines formally joined the oneworld Alliance adding even more options when redeeming Avios for flights within the Americas. 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 basics of the British Airways Avios program.

Note: Avios is the currency used by three other airlines: Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Qatar Airways. However, to avoid overcomplicating things, this post only covers searching for and booking Avios awards through British Airways.

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, you'll need to enroll in the British Airways Executive Club program. You must be logged in to your Executive Club account to see Avios award availability and rates. Once you've enrolled in the Executive Club program, follow these step-by-step instructions to search for award flight availability:

Step 1: Open British Airways homepage

Navigate to the British Airways homepage and hover your cursor over “Book.”

The first step to begin searching for British Airways Avios awards is to visit the British Airways homepage and hover over Book.
To start searching for British Airways Avios awards, head over to the British Airways homepage and hover over “Book.”

Step 2: Select Book With Avios

Once the navigation bar loads, click on “Book a flight with Avios.”

Next, click on Book a flight with Avios
Once the menu bar expands, scroll down and click on “Book a flight with Avios.”

Step 3: Log Into Your Account

If you haven't already, you will need to sign in to your Executive Club account. If you aren't logged in, a prompt will appear on-screen.

You will need to be logged in to your Executive Club account to search for and to book Avios awards
If you aren't already logged in, you will need to do so to access the Avios booking portal.

Step 4: Fill in Flight Information

Once you've logged in, you will be directed to a menu that requires you to fill out all the relevant information to complete your search. This includes the departure and arrival airports, the date of travel, class of service, the number of passengers, and whether or not you want to book a round-trip or one-way flight.

In this example, we're booking a one-way flight from St. Louis, Missouri (STL) to Austin, Texas (AUS) on November 5, 2022, for 1 passenger in business class (sold as “first class” by American Airlines).

The fourth step is to fill out all relevant fields required to search for your desired flights.
You will need to fill out all pertinent information required to find your desired Avios award flight options.

Step 5: Select Your Flight

The next screen displays all available awards based on your search criteria from step 4. If you find availability and see an itinerary that you like, simply select it to view the price quote which will appear at the bottom of the screen.

Here is an overview of the flights with Avios award availability for the desired departure date:

The next screen will display all available flights based on the search criteria provided.
Here are all the available flights based on my search criteria. Connecting flights are listed below any available nonstops.

Selecting one of the boxes on the right side of the flight result list will open a box at the bottom of the screen. This box will show the rate including any applicable taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed surcharges:

The box at the bottom of the screen shows the price and any applicable taxes and fees.
This one-way flight in economy is available for 9,000 Avios and $5.60 in taxes and fees.

In this case, there's availability on British Airways' oneworld partner, American Airlines, for 9,000 Avios and $5.60 in taxes and fees. 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.

Just like that, you have booked an Avios award ticket! Be sure to take note of your confirmation number. Occasionally, multiple confirmation numbers will be displayed when booking with a partner airline. Both confirmation numbers are important for future access to your award booking.

Hidden Award Availability

Unfortunately, you can't search or book all British Airways partners on British Airways' website.

For example, Aer Lingus award availability isn't shown when booking on British Airways' website. Instead, you can find Aer Lingus award space on Aer Lingus' website. You can transfer Avios to Aer Lingus and book via the Aer Lingus website. However, an easier solution is to 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!

See our post on how to avoid carrier-imposed surcharges when redeeming Avios to learn more about this workaround.

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

The British Airways Executive Club features three different Avios award charts to determine the number of Avios 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 partner award flights. However, we've reconstructed the Avios award charts 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. If you are booking a connecting flight that features a flight operated by a partner airline, you will also need to consult the Avios partner award flight chart.

Zone (Distance)Economy (Off-Peak)Economy (Peak)Premium Economy (Off-Peak)Premium Economy (Peak)Business (Off-Peak)Business (Peak)First Class (Off-Peak)First Class (Peak)
Zone 1 (up to 650 miles)4,7505,250Not OfferedNot Offered8,5009,750Not OfferedNot Offered
Zone 2 (651 to 1,151 miles)7,2508,250Not OfferedNot Offered13,00015,750Not OfferedNot Offered
Zone 3 (1,152 to 2,000 miles)10,00012,500Not OfferedNot Offered17,75020,750Not OfferedNot Offered
Zone 4 (2,001 to 3,000 miles)10,00012,50020,00025,00031,25037,50042,50050,000
Zone 5 (3,001 to 4,000 miles)13,00020,00026,00040,00050,00060,00068,00080,000
Zone 6 (4,001 to 5,500 miles)16,25025,00032,50050,00062,50075,00085,000100,000
Zone 7 (5,501 to 6,500 miles)19,50030,00039,00060,00075,00090,000102,000120,000
Zone 8 (6,501 to 7,000 miles)22,75035,00045,50070,00087,500105,000119,000140,000
Zone 9 (7,001+ miles)32,50050,00065,000100,000125,000150,000170,000200,000

For long-term British Airways frequent flyers, 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)
1-6504,750 (+750)5,250 (+750)8,500 (+750)9,750 (+750)
651-1,1517,250 (+750)8,250 (+750)13,500 (+750)15,750 (+750)
1,152-2,0009,250 (+750)10,750 (+750)17,750 (+750)20,750 (+750)

Note that British Airways now offers a range of Avios pricing options for each award flight. Some options let you drop the out-of-pocket cost to $1 while others only require a few Avios.

British Airways Avios pricing options

You can decide for yourself which is the best option. However, the best value is generally found when you select the award pricing we've listed in the above chart. In the example above, the best value is found at 4,750 Avios and $31 in taxes and fees.

Peak vs. Off-Peak Pricing

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.

Avios partner airline, Aer Lingus, continues to publish an off-peak pricing calendar. However, this calendar does not necessarily reflect off-peak pricing for all Avios partners like British Airways. Nevertheless, it's a good tool to have as a reference.

Aer Lingus Aer Club Avios Award Calendar for Peak/Off-Peak Pricing in 2023:

Aer Lingus Off-Peak and Peak Avios Award Travel Calendar 2023 through June

Aer Lingus Off-Peak and Peak Avios Award Travel Calendar 2023 through December

To check off-peak dates for British Airways Avios award travel, you need to complete an award search. You'll see off-peak dates labeled as such:


You can see up to a month of peak vs. off-peak pricing by clicking “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 partner award chart below. Unlike the pricing for Iberia and British Airways award flights, this chart doesn't have peak or off-peak rates.

Avios Partner Award Chart (Revised October 2022)

Distance/ZoneEconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
Up to 650 miles (Zone 1)6,0009,00012,50024,000
651 to 1,151 miles (Zone 2)9,00012,50016,50033,000
1,152 to 2,000 miles (Zone 3)11,00016,50022,00044,000
2,001 to 3,000 miles (Zone 4)13,00025,25038,75051,500
3,001 to 4,000 miles (Zone 5)20,75041,25062,00082,500
4,001 to 5,500 miles (Zone 6)25,75051,50077,250103,000
5,501 to 6,500 miles (Zone 7)31,00062,00092,750123,750
6,501 to 7,000 miles (Zone 8)36,25072,250108,250144,250
7,001+ miles (Zone 9)51,500103,000154,500206,000

Note that in August 2021, British Airways raised award redemption rates on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. So, these awards are going to price at different rates than the chart above:

Post-Devaluation Avios Award Chart (Cathay Pacific)

Flight distance (miles)EconomyBusiness
1-6507,500 (increase of 1,500)16,000 (increase of 4,500)
651-1,15110,000 (increase of 1,000)25,000 (increase of 9,500)
1,152-2,00011,000 (no change)25,000 (increase of 3,000)

Post-Devaluation Avios Award Chart (Japan Airlines)

Flight distance (miles)EconomyBusiness
1-6507,500 (increase of 1,500)12,500 (no change)
651-1,15110,000 (increase of 1,000)24,000 (increase of 8,500)
1,152-2,00011,000 (no change)24,000 (increase of 2,000)

Also, 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 award pricing 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.

Once you have determined the flight distance of your desired flight, find the corresponding zone in the charts above. When building a multi-stop itinerary, be sure to take note of how many Avios are required for each flight. 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.

Tip: Use a tool like Great Circle Mapper to determine the distance between two airports. You can access Great Circle Mapper by clicking this link.

The easiest way to determine the award price for any given itinerary is to 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.

Miles in ItineraryEconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirstAdditional Fees
up to 1,500 miles30,00045,00060,00090,000Up to $110.58
1,501 to 4,000 miles35,00052,50070,000105,000Up to $293.28
4,001 to 9,000 miles60,00090,000120,000180,000Up to $711.56
9,001 to 10,000 miles70,000105,000140,000210,000Up to $853.53
10,001 to 14,000 miles90,000135,000180,000270,000Up to $981.58
14,001 to 20,000 miles100,000150,000200,000300,000Up to $985.18
20,001 to 25,000 miles120,000180,000240,000360,000Up to $634.17
25,001 to 35,000 miles140,000210,000280,000420,000Up to $150.58
35,001 to 50,000 milesPricing Not AvailablePricing Not AvailablePricing Not AvailablePricing Not AvailablePricing Not Available

At the time of publication, no pricing information was available on the British Airways website for the last distance tier. For the last distance tier, we can estimate that an economy award would cost at least 160,000 Avios. If this is correct, then premium cabin pricing will look something like this:

  • Premium Economy (1.5x economy): 240,000 Avios
  • Business Class (2x economy): 320,000 Avios
  • First Class (3x economy): 480,000 Avios

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 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 for Maximum Value

Now that you know how to search and book Avios award flights, let's go over a few examples of how to maximize your redemption value.

Fly to Hawaii using Avios on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines

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 and just $5,60 in taxes and fees. It's still one of the best points and miles redemptions for flights to Hawaii.

Redeem Avios surcharge-free for flights from the Mainland US to Hawaii from 13k one-way on British Airways partners
Redeem Avios surcharge-free for flights from the Mainland US to Hawaii from just 13,000 Avios one-way. (Image via British Airways)

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 Airlines 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
British Airways partners award availability on Aer Lingus
Fly from the United States to Ireland on Aer Lingus for just 13,000 Avios one-way.

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.

Fly from Miami to Cozumel on British Airways partners American Airlines or Alaska
Fly from the US to top destinations in Mexico from just 7,500 Avios.

Short-Haul Flights Outside the of the U.S.

British Airways Avios awards are distance-based. That means you can really stretch your Avios with short-haul flights. The shortest flights (under 650 miles outside the U.S.) cost as few as 4,500 Avios. Short hops in Africa, South America, Africa, Europe, South Pacific, and Asia on British Airways partners are all possibilities.

Just watch out for high taxes and fees on some routes. Make sure to compare the total cost with cash prices to make sure you're getting a good deal.

Avios award redemption for domestic travel within Australia on British Airways partners
Fly throughout Australia from 6,000 Avios one-way.

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:

If you need to cancel within 24 hours, you aren't necessarily out of luck. You may be able to change your flight to avoid losing your Avios.

Earning British Airways Avios

British Airways Executive Club members can earn Avios in many ways—the most obvious of which involves booking cash flights on British Airways, other airlines that utilize Avios in their frequent flyer program, or Oneworld Alliance 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.

British Airways Visa Signature® Card
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
  • Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
  • Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL.
  • Earn 2 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel. 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!
  • Member FDIC
  • 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

Currently, new cardholders can earn 75,000 bonus Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Or even better, you can transfer miles or points from other programs. You can transfer points from several major award currencies to the British Airways Executive Club—including Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards! See all of your transfer options and transfer times here.

You can also transfer Avios between other programs that utilize the Avios currency at a 1:1 ratio. For example, if you have some Avios in your Qatar Airways account, you can transfer these instantly, at no cost, and at a 1:1 ratio to your British Airways Executive Club account.

Related: How To Avoid Carrier-Imposed Fuel Surcharges When Redeeming Avios


Despite high fuel surcharges on British Airways flights, British Airways Avios still offer plenty of value. This is especially true given that they can be used for flights on dozens of partner airlines across the globe.

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 feature great welcome bonuses, stellar earning rates, and points that transfer 1:1 to British Airways Avios.

What is your favorite Avios redemption?

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  • I try to save some of your articles as pdf’s, but they massive overprint and become illegible.
    This doesn’t seem to happen with any of the other sites I visit.
    I keep meaning to say something and today I thought I would

    Don’t know if there’s anything you can do, but when you consider some sort of change or upgrade consider a program that would allow for a legible pdf or printed version.


    • Thanks for being a reader, Paul. I’ve passed this along to our product team to see if that’s a feature that they can add. You can also drop them a note here:

    • Quick turnaround in Google Chrome:
      – Select the whole article
      – Right click + Print
      – Printer: Save as PDF
      – Pages: All
      – Layout: Portrait
      – Paper size: A0 (ie. the biggest paper option you have)
      – 1 page x sheet
      – Margins: minimum
      – Scale: default

      – Options:
      . unclick headers & footers
      . unclick background images
      . click “Selection Only”

  • Philip Denman says:

    This is a helpful pool of information for those of us that particularly need to use BA – regarding fees – I have a feeling that eventually they will go the way of United and Delta but for now the no close-in booking fee is a big plus especially as, in the current pandemic, it has become very hard to plan ahead and bookings need to be made at short notice.

  • Emily Davidson says:

    I’ve always had such trouble with BA which is a shame because I have a lot of OneWorld points and they just make it so hard

  • Susan Johnson says:

    A great guide to BA Avios, thank you. Is it possible to use Avios for booking a BA Holiday (hotel and flight package), distinct from making separate flight and accmmodation bookings?
    The BA holiday package (cash sale) is cheaper than buying an Avios funded flight + paying for the hotel in cash.

    • I’m not sure if this is possible for BA Holiday packages. It may be worth calling Exec Club to see if it can be done by phone. I don’t think the website will let you combine a hotel / flight and pay Avios (rather than separate bookings)

  • The article says it it is easy to pool Avios with family and friends via Household accounts, but this is limited to those who live at the same address as you rather than any family or friends.

  • If you’re having a hard time finding and booking flights using Avios, try using them to book hotel nights instead. I’ve had some good luck doing this and found it’s a useful option for using Avios.

  • Thanks a lot for the article, I have a lot of Avios sitting around and never found a way to spend them.

    • Avios easy to collect, more difficult to find flights. I have used an alert system called Reward Flight Finder a few times. Found me several flights. You pay a small prescription, set an alert, & it checks constantly for available seats. Good for premium seats but set alerts at least 6 months ahead if you can.

  • Very valuable and useful article. Especially after the changes made by British Airways for the redemption.

  • I’m hoping that Aer Lingus’ new transatlantic routes direct from MAN come with reasonable taxes and fees when using Avios. If that’s the case, then it’s probably a game changer for me.

  • Edward Nokes says:

    Does anyone know a way to run multiple flight searches at once on BA, eg. in multiple browser tabs, under firefox? I usually want to horse-race a couple of options (eg. avios vs cash) and the most recent search keeps invalidating the earlier searches.

    • You’ll likley only be able to do 2 searches per browser, one regular and one in a private/incognito window. Beyond that, you’ll have to run different browsers to circumvent that issue, eg Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi, etc. And, don’t forget you can right click over the clock in the lower right corner of the taskbar and then choose to stack your windows, view them side by side, etc. to help see everything.

  • Avios are quite the two edged sword – just terrible for flying to Europe on BA with the exorbitant and ridiculous fuel surcharges and potentially marvelous for shot hop flights and non-stop domestic flights on AA and now AK. The Hawaii flights from the West Coast look tempting as well if you can find availability.

  • Avios can be a great deal if you know how to work it

  • BA was / is a pioneer in household pool accounts.

    • Definitely a useful feature, to be able to get a BA credit card per adult and pool the bonuses. Then there’s the Aer Lingus and Iberia cards each too…

  • Wish I had seen some of the negative comments below before applying for the British Avios card — I too have never found any award flights available to where I want to go. 100K+ Avios sitting for years …

    • JT Genter says:

      Oh wow! That’s definitely not been my experience. I feel like I can’t get enough Avios. I’ve used them for everything from lie-flat business class seats between Dallas and Miami (currently 16,500 Avios) to short economy hops between Hong Kong and Taipei (currently 6,000 Avios) to transferring Avios to Iberia to book transatlantic business class awards for just 34,000 Avios.

  • Alaska joining Oneworld was good news as mentioned in the article it means that Alaska flights can be booked online with Avios. It is a shame that BA Executive Club don’t allow online booking for Aer Lingus, especially as they are both owned by the same company, International Airlines Group (IAG),

  • Arjun Biswas says:

    I moved to London from the US recently and have a large number of BA avios. Generally speaking, I find them useful only for short haul flights within Europe from their London hub. Anywhere outside the continent and the taxes and fees kill you. Its a shame that the avios are more useful when you’re booking a flight outside the UK, but notfrom their hub. Go figure!

    • I agree, if flying from London the only value is in domestic or European flights using reward flight saver, as the taxes and charges for long haul are very high. They have recently started a long haul flight saver for economy/coach on some routes e.g. London to New York one way for 30000 avios plus £50. It isn’t great value though.

  • Bhikhu Shah says:

    I usually find BA award flights have been good value in the past.

  • Really nice step by step guide. A must bookmark.

  • Laura Smith says:

    The point towards the end of Patrick’s article about BA Executive Club keeping substantial fees and taxes if you cancel premium reward bookings isn’t right. There is a limit to the cancellation fee (see and any extra fees and taxes originally paid will be refunded as well as the Avios.

  • Sydney Pham says:

    Hi, I only see you mentioned about flights out of the Midwest, is this deal still work if I can find an SAAver from Dallas, TX on and call BA to book? Or is it considered long haul trip? Thanks

  • So, if someone is having a hard time finding flights, what other ways can you use the BA Avios points to benefit us once we book a flight? Can we use them to upgrade?

    I guess I should really go back and read all the perks but I’ve been so frustrated that I’ve given up on my 200,00+ points.

    • You can upgrade most paid fares using Avios, but it uses the same award space as a regular award: if it’s not available for full redemption with points, it’s not available to upgrade into either.

      Otherwise, you can use Avios to pay for advance seat selection, but it’s not the best value.

      I tend to book my longhaul awards a year in advance so as to get the exact dates I want. If that doesn’t work for you, then maybe using on shorthaul partners would be better?

  • I have found numerous sAAver flights available on American Airlines and NONE of them are ever available on BA, regardless of the date. The British Airways credit card was a complete waste of money.

  • I read somewhere you couldn’t do that.. but then I caught it on here to do exactly that.. so I’ll be making the call!! Thanks!!

  • Can anyone offer any advice on booking with BA. I have searched dozens of routes… probably around 50… from LA, San Diego, Seattle, and Chicago. I either get a screen that says there is not availability for that day and check other days. (Of which I get the same message)

    Or I get an error message.


    British Airways does not have traffic rights to operate directly between these two cities.”

    I find American Airlines flights with MilesAASavers between them and yet they don’t come up on BA.

    I’d love to just give these points away their booking on is useless for me.

  • Marielle says:

    As of Saturday May 20th – I can confirm the advice here is definitely wrong, at least if one has no status on BA. I can find all sorts of award flights on American’s site for SFO – SAV or HHH, round trips or one way segments. I broke down all segments and search BA’s site for economy awards, nothing at all not even in random non-summer months in the future either (And their search engine is TERRIBLE, only stating no flights for each segment and date, no calendar, no ease of use) I called the BA, was on hold for 20 minutes, and was told that in no uncertain terms that AA’s award availability does NOT mean that BA can book them, and they only get certain seats from AA, and that this is not a new policy. Award Wallet needs to update your information.

    • Not sure what the representative said to you, but American sAAver award space is bookable by British Airways and all of American’s partners.

      The key is that it must be sAAver space, and not AAnytime award space. The lack of space you’re finding on lines up with the lack of sAAver space on

      The information provided here is accurate — I’ve just done a few searches myself and there is a lack of sAAver space from SFO to SAV and HHH, which is why you cannot book it with BA. Please search again and share your results; I’d be interested to see if you’re seeing sAAver space or AAnytime space?

      • Marielle says:

        I stand corrected. Thanks for the clarification, I had not paid enough attention to the sAAver vs. AAnytime designations, partially because of the way the calendar color coding changes depending on the original search (vs. consistently mapping to which kind of award space). In general the experience leads me to have less hope for using my Membership Rewards for American short haul flights, since I tend not to be able to plan as far out in the future as some can, but certainly can see how using AA for finding the correct flights allows the BA site to be much less frustrating. Thanks for answering!

  • Frequent Flyer says:

    I have 520,000 Avios points (all from flying BA) and have been trying to use them for five years with absolutely no success (there simply are never any award flights available to where I want to go). I don’t have any of these issues with Delta Skymiles or United MilagePlus. The program might be ok for you if you’re happy to pick your destinations and timing based on a limited number of options determined by BA but I found it to be totally useless if you want to go where and when you want to travel, even if you try to book 8-10 weeks in advance. I have stopped flying BA altogether because I simply get no benefits whatsoever out of their program.

  • HI
    Trying to Fly Edinburgh to Denver on Oct 10. BA has flights but no availability with AVIOS currently. The reservations rep said they likely will open more Aviios seats and to keep checking. Is this true that more will open? If so is there a good way to know when this happens? Thanks!

    • Award Wallet says:

      There’s no way to guarantee award availability, but since your flight is a few months away there is a good chance. You can keep checking manually, or set up a notification on seat expert.

  • I have NEVER been able to find a flight on the BA site. never.

  • Ellen Gross says:

    I am trying to book a multi-city trip to South Africa with my avios – but when I do, I don’t want business class for each leg of the flight. For example, we don’t mind going economy from San Diego to London but want Club for London to Johannesburg and again from Cape Town to London. How would you recommend doing this? Also, I seem to recall that BA will help you book Avios reward trips for a fee ($120/pp) but I haven’t been able to find that on the BA website. However, I have seen that Award Wallet will do any reward booking for $150/pp. Do you recommend for a multi-city and also to get the most out of the Avios? Thanks!

  • Avios are essentially worthless. I have over 100,000 and every time I try to use them, either with BA or one of their partners, nothing is ever available. And when I call BA to try to book with a partner, (American) I am told I need to go back to back to the “partner” site and book there. So I don’t know who writes this stuff but they need a reality check–I’ll bet they never tried to book with avios.

    • Does BA pay you to write this? As I noted, Avios are essentially worthless, but if someone is naïve enough to pay you $150 to book their flight, they get what they deserve. Perhaps if you charged $25, you’d get a lot more business.

    • Award Wallet says:

      Award availability can be tricky, but I’ve booked several flights with no issue.

  • Rick in San Diego says:

    The thing I don’t like about flying to Europe using points is the almost certain need to fly through Heathrow in London. I just tried to book two tickets to Rome next year. Good seats were available on Premium Economy (yay!), but the cost in taxes and fees was over $1,000. So much for a free ticket.

  • Do unused Avios expire after a year with card inactivity (as Southwest points do – of course the fix for Southwest is to make a small purchase with your Rapid Reward card before the end of yearly-anniversary date when card opened), or, are Avios credits non-expiring as the Chase Saphire points are.

    • Award Wallet says:

      Avios expire 36 months if there’s no activity, but it’s easy to show activity. All you have to do is receive 1 Avios by charging something on your BA Visa, or transfer in Ultimate Rewards, SPG, or MR points.

  • How do you book on United? I don’t
    see them as a Oneworld Partner with
    British Airways

    • Award Wallet says:

      You don’t book on or with United – you just check their website for Aer Lingus award availability, and then you call British Airways to book.

  • British Air requires 3 times as many miles to fly from New York to Sydney as its partner American Airlines. I’ve never seen the awards you mention at the levels you indicate.

    • Award Wallet says:

      British Airways Avios are great for short haul flights, but not ideal for long haul flights because of their fuel surcharges.

  • I got my last bonus in January of 2014. (The 3rd of 3 bonuses, like offered now)
    It says I qualify if I have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.
    Does this mean I don’t qualify?

    • Award Wallet says:

      Unfortunately, you wouldn’t be eligible, since it hasn’t been 24 months yet.

      • Turns out they only count that first bonus against you. The subsequent bonuses after that initial 50K bonus do not extend the 24 month waiting time.

  • Please verify the 12,500 OW award on Aer Lingus BOS to DUB. I cannot find such an award. Only a 30K saver award comes up on United.

    • Award Wallet says:

      Yes, 12,500 is the correct price for the one-way award. You don’t book on United or go off their award prices – you just look for availability on the United website, and then call British Airways to make your booking.

  • It is impossible to use BA miles for any flights domestic or international. We have been trying for years. Signing up for the British Airways credit card was a big mistake!

  • Beware,
    In theory, this is all great………..but I have tried for over four years to use my over 190,000 AVIOS points with little luck. Searching often for flights from Seattle to London have been pretty useless in any cabin other than Economy. And trying to use one of the two companion vouchers I have receiveed, has been impossible. The award seats never seem to be available.
    I wish I had not chosen the BA VISA but had chosen a rewards program that doesn’t limit my selection so much.

  • I can never find any flights available on their site, even when the site is working, which isn’t often.

  • British Airways charges a lot of taxes and fees when you use Avios on their airline. If flying to Europe it is much better to use Avios on American Airline.

  • TheBigEasyTraveler says:

    Great intro post for new comers and to refresh the minds of others not so new

  • Wow! This is a hugely useful post. I had already signed up for the BA card and was wondering exactly how I could best benefit from the Avios. This post breaks it down nicely. Thanks so much!

  • THANK YOU for writing this article! Exactly what I need. I was so disappointed when I received my BA 50,000 mile card and tried to book a flight from the U.S. to Greece earlier this year because of the sad lack of choices in flights and the very high prices that didn’t fit in with my mileage available, even when topping up the total with transferring miles from my Sapphire card. The system was very confusing to navigate as well. So I ended up not using the BA miles at all yet. Now I know how to max them out on shorter flights and other destinations and even better, how to navigate the system. I really appreciate how clearly you wrote and all the options you listed, and look forward to my next adventure.

  • AL STANZIONE says:

    i appreciate your post.

  • Alex Abernathy says:

    Great tip for this card and great blog for getting the most out of it. Thanks, AwardWallet!

  • Is it possible to book the preferred economy seats when you are redeeming the Avios miles? (Even if you have to pay the extra fee?)