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British Airways Avios are some of the most useful miles out there because they are easy to earn, you can transfer in Marriott, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Amex Membership Rewards points, and because of their lucrative distance-based award chart.
Tip: British Airways Avios aren't great for long-haul flights on their own metal because of hefty fuel surcharges, but there are some work-arounds. See this page if you would like a professional to book your award.
Award Chart Changes
The unfortunate news is that British Airways recently announced that they will be making changes to their award chart! These changes go into effect on Feb. 2, 2016. That's not too far away. The announced changes are:
- 4,500 Avios economy one-way flights will be going to 7,500 Avios
- 9,000 Avios business one-way flights will be going to 15,000 Avios
- 18,000 Avios first class one-way flights will be going to 30,000 Avios
For starters, these updates are limited to flights “originating or terminating within the United States of America.” That means that you can still burn your Avios at the 4,500 rate on short-haul international flights (under 650 miles), like Dublin to London. This route is also only 4,000 Avios during off-peak season. Routing through Dublin is a great way to avoid the fees of flying straight in/out of London.
It definitely hurts to lose the option of booking a short flight (under 650 miles) for 4,500 Avios, but since these flights are so short in distance, it may make sense to spend cash, or use another distance/revenue-based loyalty program, like Southwest Rapid Rewards.
Also, all other economy awards are staying at the same price, and the British Airways chart has some gems. Some examples would be:
- LAX to HNL for 25,000 Avios round-trip
- Austin to Chicago for 15,000 Avios round-trip
- DFW to Costa Rica for 20,000 Avios round-trip
- Boston to Dublin for 25,000 Avios round-trip
One thing to consider is that the current 4,500 Avios flights (originating or terminating in the States) are going up to 7,500 Avios, which is still lower than what you would pay with all the standard US airlines. But there may be some routes that you want to book before Feb. 2, 2016, to maximize your miles (you don't have to travel by that time – just book by that time). Some routes examples are:
- Miami to Montego Bay
- JFK to Toronto
- Chicago to Washington DC
- Austin to Dallas
- LAX to SFO
- Charlotte to New Orleans
The other changes to the award chart are for premium cabin awards, but generally, it's not worth it to use Avios for business & first class on these short distance flights.
Tip: If you would like professional award booking help, check out our dedicated service.
The ability to book short hops for only 4,500 Avios was a really sweet deal, and it's hard to see that opportunity go. The good news is that flights not originating or terminating in the United States are not affected. Plus, there are still plenty of other resourceful ways to use your British Airways Avios.
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