The Best Ways to Redeem Avios in the Americas The Best Ways to Redeem Avios in the Americas

The Best Ways to Redeem Avios in the Americas

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Travelers often think of the Avios program as a preferred program for award travel to, from, and throughout Europe. As the frequent flyer program currency of multiple European airlines, it is clear why travelers might view the Avios program as a go-to program for European award travel.

However, you can use Avios on numerous partner airlines to travel virtually anywhere. For example, you can redeem Avios for flights throughout the Americas — including domestic flights in the United States. Here are some of the best ways to redeem your Avios for travel throughout the Americas.

You can redeem Avios for domestic travel throughout the United States, including to or from Miami, FL.

What Are Avios?

Several airline loyalty programs use “Avios” as their airline mileage currency. Most notably, Avios is the currency used by British Airways Executive Club. However, four other airlines also utilize Avios in their loyalty programs. The most recent addition to this list is Qatar Airways which made Avios the official currency of its Privilege Club loyalty program.

The full list of airlines that currently use Avios as the currency for their loyalty program are:

  • British Airways
  • Iberia
  • Aer Lingus
  • Qatar Airways
  • Vueling

You earn Avios whenever you credit travel on any of these five airline loyalty programs listed above. Similarly, you can redeem Avios through these programs just as you would points or miles in other programs.

Best of all, you can transfer Avios between British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Qatar Airways. The airlines each have their own award charts and often charge different taxes and fees for the same award.

In this post, assume we're discussing British Airways or Iberia Avios — which use the same award chart for American- and Alaska-operated flights within North America — unless we expressly state otherwise.

Related: The Basics of The British Airways Avios Program

How Avios Award Rates Are Calculated

Avios award redemption rates are calculated based on scheduled flight distance. Determining how many Avios you'll need for your flights is simple. This is in contract to the dynamic award pricing found in other programs, like American Airlines AAdvantage.

As a result of Avios redemptions being pegged to flight distance, calculating multi-stop or connecting itineraries is straightforward. You'll redeem Avios based on the length of each flight segment.

Avios awards in the Americas

The Avios award chart features zones determined by the distance of a given flight. The Avios award chart has nine zones ranging from flights up to 650 miles (Zone 1) to flights greater than 7,001 miles (Zone 9). On flights operating within North America, Zones 1 features special award pricing.

For flights up to 650 miles operating entirely within North America, economy awards cost 7,500 Avios and business class awards cost 15,000 Avios one-way. On flights up to 1,151 miles in North America, economy awards cost 9,000 Avios and business class awards cost 16,500 Avios one-way.

Example Avios Award Pricing in the Americas

Here's an example of calculating the cost of a one-way award from St. Louis, MO, to San Francisco, CA, with a stop in Chicago-O'Hare.

In determining the number of Avios required, you will need to know the distance between St. Louis and Chicago and Chicago and San Francisco. When determining the distance between two airports, I recommend using a tool like Great Circle Mapper.

  • St. Louis-Lambert International Airport (STL) to Chicago-O'Hare (ORD): 258 miles
  • Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO): 1,846 miles

Once you know the distance between each airport, you can price each leg of the itinerary.

  • St. Louis (STL) to Chicago (ORD): Zone 1 Business Class 15,000 Avios
  • Chicago (ORD) to San Francisco (SFO): Zone 3 Business Class 22,000 Avios
  • Total Avios Required: 37,000 Avios
Calculating how many Avios you'll need for an itinerary is straightforward, thanks to the program's distance-based award pricing.

Avios Partner Award Charts

Unlike the American Airlines AAdvantage program, the Avios program does not utilize dynamic award pricing. This means that the number of Avios required for a flight will not change due to other factors like demand and current cash fares. The price you see in the award chart is the price you pay.

For the purpose of this post, only partner award charts are included below. British Airways operates a handful of inter-Caribbean flights between British territories. However, the majority of Avios redemptions for travel throughout the Americas are for flights operated by one of British Airways' partner airlines.

Currently, there are just two partner airlines on which you can redeem Avios in the Americas: Alaska Airlines and American Airlines.

To streamline award travel calculations, you can utilize the Avios award charts below:

Avios Partner Award Chart for Flights Operating within North America

Distance/ZoneEconomyPremium Economy (on select flights to Hawaii/Alaska)Business (Domestic First)First (On 3-Cabin Flights)
Up to 650 miles (Zone 1)7,500N/A15,000N/A
Up to 1,151 miles (Zones 2)9,000N/A16,500N/A
1,152 to 2,000 miles (Zone 3)11,000N/A22,000N/A
2,001 to 3,000 miles (Zone 4)13,00025,25038,75051,500
3,001 to 4,000 miles (Zone 5)20,75041,25062,000N/A

Avios Partner Award Chart for All Other Flights

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

Related: British Airways Visa Signature® Card Review

Some of The Best Ways to Use Avios for Travel in the Americas

The past few times I booked a flight using Avios, I did so to avoid insane last-minute cash fares. Personally, this is my favorite way to maximize the value of my Avios. While it may not be a flashy or fun way to use Avios, it is a practical way to save money and maximize the value of your Avios.

However, there are a number of other ways to redeem your Avios for flights throughout the Americas. In this section, we'll consider some of my favorite ways to maximize Avios for travel within the Americas.

Fly Between Mainland U.S. and Hawaii

There are a few ways to approach Avios award redemptions for flights between the mainland United States to Hawaii. The key, of course, is to maximize the value of your Avios by taking advantage of the program's distance-based award pricing.

If your travels do not begin in one of the cities from which American Airlines operates flights to Hawaii, I recommend looking for AAdvantage economy web specials for any connecting flights within the mainland United States. You can find AAdvantage economy web specials starting at just 5,000 miles while Avios award redemptions start at 7,500 Avios on flights within the United States.

Fly from the mainland to Hawaii from 13,000 Avios one-way.

The key is to make the distance-based award pricing work in your favor. When redeeming Avios for flights from the mainland United States to Hawaii, you will have three American Airlines hubs from which you can choose to depart (Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Dallas). Here are the distances between each hub and Honolulu:

  • Los Angeles to Honolulu: 2,556 miles
  • Phoenix to Honolulu: 2,917 miles
  • Dallas-Fort Worth to Honolulu: 3,784 miles

To get the best value from your Avios, I recommend trying to connect through Los Angeles or Phoenix. Both cities are less than 3,001 miles from Honolulu putting these flights in Zone 4 on the Avios partner award chart. Dallas to Honolulu however, is a Zone 5 award flight. Zone 4 economy awards are 13,000 Avios while Zone 5 economy awards are 20,750 Avios.

Here's an example of redeeming Avios for a flight from the mainland United States to Hawaii:

Redeem just 13,000 Avios for a one-way economy flight from the mainland United States to Hawaii.

Save Money on Last Minute Domestic Flights

The closer to a flight's departure time, the more you can expect to pay for a flight. This is almost always the case when it comes to cash fares. Luckily, you can sometimes avoid expensive cash fares by redeeming Avios.

For example, at the time of writing, a flight from New York-LaGuardia (LGA) to Washington National (DCA) departing in just three days costs $419 one-way in economy.

$419 for an hour-long flight in coach is hard to swallow. Luckily, you can redeem Avios to avoid these pricey last-minute fares. (Image via Google Flights)

That same flight is also available for just 7,500 Avios.

This is not a rarity either. There are plenty of instances where you can book expensive domestic flights for just 7,500 Avios. Keep in mind, however, that Avios award availability varies by route with some domestic routes having little to no award availability.

That same $419 flight between New York City and Washington D.C. is available for just 7,500 Avios.

Fly Across The Country in American Airlines Flagship Business (or First Class)

If you can find AAdvantage web specials for one of American Airlines' premium transcontinental flights, you can score Flagship First for as few as 32,500 American miles one-way. However, this is somewhat of a rarity with Flagship First on these premium transcontinental flights often reaching 130,000 miles one-way.

As a reminder, you can find a list of American Airlines' premium transcontinental flights on the American Airlines Flagship First Dining website. Eligible routes currently include three-class non-stop flights between:

  • New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX)
  • JFK and San Francisco (SFO)
  • JFK and Orange County (SNA) on the A321T
  • LAX and Boston (BOS) on the A321T
  • LAX and Miami (MIA) on the Boeing 777-300
American Airlines Flagship First Dining (Image courtesy of American Airlines)

These routes are unique for a variety of reasons. However, one often overlooked element of these routes is lounge access for travelers booked in premium cabins.

On these routes, travelers booked in first class will have access to both the Flagship Lounge and Flagship First Dining room. Travelers booked in business class will have access to the Flagship Lounge and may be able to pay an additional fee to access the Flagship First Dining room.

All of these routes fall in Zone 4 on the Avios award chart. As such, business class awards are priced at 38,750 Avios and first class awards are priced at 51,500 Avios one-way.

Book American Airlines Flagship First Class on select transcontinental routes for just 51,500 Avios.

Fly to South America in Business (or First Class)

Once upon a time, LATAM was a member of the Oneworld alliance. This made redeeming Avios for flights to and throughout South America much easier.

Now, you can only travel to South America on flights operated by American Airlines. You can travel to the northern half of South America (i.e. Bogota, Guayaquil) for 22,000 Avios in business class. Flights to destinations in the southern half of the continent (i.e. Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires) are available for 77,250 Avios in business class.

Economy class award travel from the United States to South America runs from 11,000 Avios to 25,750 Avios one-way. First class is available on select flights between New York and Miami to Sao Paulo. On these flights, first-class awards are priced at 103,000 Avios one-way.

Travel in American Airlines first class between the United States and South America for 103,000 Avios one-way. (Image by JT Genter / AwardWallet)

Visit Cancun and Other Top Destinations Throughout Mexico

Mexico's resort cities are popular destinations for U.S.-based travelers looking for a beach getaway. You can redeem Avios for flights to popular resort cities across the country starting at 7,500 Avios one-way.

Here are some popular routes operated by American Airlines and how many Avios you will need to book each flight:

  • Miami to Cozumel (557 miles): 7,500 in economy, 15,000 in business
  • Dallas to Cancun (1,028 miles): 9,000 in economy, 16,500 in business
  • Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta (1,218 miles): 11,000 in economy, 22,000 in business
  • New York to San Jose del Cabo (2,408 miles): 13,000 in economy, 38,750 in business

The majority of flights from the United States to popular vacation cities in Mexico fall under Zone 1 or Zone 3 with a few more routes falling under Zone 3. This makes redeeming Avios for flights from the United States to Mexico a great way to maximize the value of your Avios.

Travel from the United States to top resort cities throughout Mexico from 7,500 Avios one-way. (Image courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos)

How To Book Award Travel Using Avios

AwardWallet has covered the Avios award travel booking process at length. Check out our post on how to search and book flights with British Airways Avios for all the details. Redeeming Avios is a relatively simple process but takes some time as a result of the rather dated search tool.

There must be MileSAAver award availability bookable through American AAdvantage for you to book an American-operated award with Avios. So, you won't see every American flight that you could book with American miles when you search for Avios redemptions.

How to Earn More Avios

As mentioned earlier, you can transfer Avios between the programs that use Avios as their loyalty currency. So, you can earn more Avios by transferring credit card rewards as follows:

You can also earn Avios through airline credit cards including the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, Iberia Visa Signature® Card, and Aer Lingus 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

The Bottom Line

Redeeming Avios for flights throughout the Americas is an often overlooked use of this versatile frequent flyer program currency. Redeeming Avios for last-minute domestic flights has let me avoid outrageous cash fares on multiple occasions.

Thanks to the Avios program's straightforward and consistent distance-based award chart, booking partner awards for flights throughout the Americas is a great way to maximize the value of your Avios.

Have you ever used Avios on flights throughout the Americas? What's your favorite way to redeem Avios?

5 / 5 - (6 votes)
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  • Using your great advice I booked a last minute flight for my niece using Avios for an American Airlines flight from Hartford, CT (BDL) to Kauai, HI using a lot less miles than if booked using Advantage miles. I flew the same flight using my AAdvantage miles since I booked my flight earlier using a super saver flight. Thank you Award Miles.

  • How do I search for MileSAAver award availability on so that I can then call BA? When I do an award search, all it shows me are he number of miles, so I am missing something in formulating the search.


    • Unfortunately, AA has removed all ways to find MileSAAver award availability through its website. You can get an idea if a flight might have saver space if it costs 12,500 AA miles (or 7,500 AA miles for nonstop flights under 500) or less. But unfortunately that’s not always true.