Finding Cheap British Airways Award Flights — OneWorld Flights Under 10k Points
Finding cheap British Airways award flights is possible if you understand the rules and the award charts. This article will look at the rules, the points required, finding the flights, and also how to earn British Airways Avios. This will also open their numerous partners in the OneWorld alliance.
How to Accrue British Airways Avios
Before we discuss how to redeem British Airways Avios for award flights under 10,000 miles, we should discuss how to earn these Avios. There are several options, because British Airways has its own credit card and is a transfer partner for Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards.
Here are several cards that will earn you either Avios directly or points that are transferable to Avios:
- American Express Gold Card – Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards after spending $4,000 within 3 months. The card earns an amazing 4X on U.S. Supermarkets up to $25,000 per year. It also earns 4X at restaurants worldwide. Learn More
- American Express Green Card – Newly refreshed card with 3X earning on travel and restaurants. It is possible to get a higher offer via referral and some are targeted for a 45,000 point offer.
- British Airways Visa Signature Card – This card often has a 100,000 Avios welcome offer, which I value at around $1,200. The $20,000 spend requirement is high, though. But you’ll potentially have enough for multiple vacations. Learn More
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months of card membership. The $95 annual fee is NOT waived. It earns 2x on travel and dining and you can transfer points to partners such as British Airways at a 1 to 1 rate. Learn More
- Ink Business Preferred – Earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months of card membership. It comes with a $95 annual fee and the points transfer to British Airways at a 1 to 1 rate. Learn More
British Airways Award Rules
British Airways’ Executive Club uses a distance-based chart for its award bookings. Look at the distance, then check the class of service, and then check whether this is a peak or off-peak time. The general rule is that “peak” is for popular vacation times: holidays, Spring Break, summer holidays, etc.
Chart 1 – British, Iberia & Aer Lingus
Flights operated by British Airways, Iberia & Aer Lingus have their own chart. Here are all of the categories that are under 10,000 points.
(distance in miles)
Chart 2 – All Other Parnters
Partner flights operated by a single carrier but not the 3 mentioned above will use chart 2. Here are the options needing less than 10,000 miles.
(distance in miles)
|Zone 1 but in the USA
Per Segment Pricing
It’s important to remember that British Airways’ Executive Club charges miles per flight. If you fly from City A to City B, the chart is easy. If you fly from A to B then to C, you have to count the miles for both parts separately, count the points for each, then add them together. This gets even more complicated if your flights aren’t on the same airline, losing value quickly, so stick to just 1 airline when possible. Let’s check some examples.
Example 1: Direct flight to Barcelona
You want to visit Spain using your Avios and want to find cheap British Airways award flights. You could fly to Barcelona, Spain (BCN) from London Heathrow airport (LHR) using your Avios. That’s 713 miles, so you need 6,500 miles for economy in the off-peak times.
Example 2: Connecting flights to Santander
What if you wanted to visit Santander on Spain’s north coast? In terms of straight line distance, it’s a little closer to London than Barcelona. However, there aren’t direct flights from London. You’ll have to add the miles separately from the flight to Madrid and then the flight from Madrid to Santander. The miles required jumped from 6,500 to 11,000 — a jump of 40%.
Examples of Cheap British Airways Award Flights
Now that we’ve got Avios and understand the award charts, where can we go? Two obvious answers that jump out are city hopping through numerous combinations in Europe or Southeast Asia. Here are some examples of flights we can take. They’ll start from least points to most.
In theory, these exist. Can I really find them? Yep.
Several routes in the Caribbean offer one-way award flights for 4,000 Avios between islands, using British Airways Fifth Freedom flights.
- Antigua to Saint Kitts
- Antigua to Tobago
- Nassau, Bahamas to Grand Cayman (pictured above)
- Saint Lucia to Grenada
- Saint Lucia to Port of Spain, Trinidad
- Madrid, Spain to Casablanca, Morocco on Iberia
- Amman, Jordan to Cairo, Egypt on Royal Jordanian
- Hong Kong to Taipei, Taiwan on Cathay Pacific
- Seoul, South Korea to Vladivostok, Russia on S7
Domestic short-haul flights within or to/from the US have a base price of 7,500 Avios. It’s still possible to find cheap British Airways award flights on decent routes here. Along with flights within the U.S. that are short distances, there are these interesting options:
- Miami to Cancun, Mexico
- Miami to San Jose, Costa Rica
- New York City to Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal, Canada
- Bangkok, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Malaysia Airlines
- Amman, Jordan to Doha, Qatar on Royal Jordanian or Qatar Airways
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Montevideo, Uruguay on LATAM
- All of the Caribbean flights listed above but in business class lie-flat seats!
Here’s a hidden gem: Johannesburg, South Africa to Mauritius for 10,000 Avios + $65 in taxes. I took this flight and then soaked up the sun in Mauritius back in July 2018.
I hope this article got the wheels spinning and helps people understand how to maximize the British Airways Executive Club for best uses of Avios. It’s possible to find cheap British Airways award flights that are a good value. While I wouldn’t use them for long-distance flights, there are some hidden gems on shorter flights. With these examples, you should be able to find some others and possibly explore places you hadn’t thought of, like island hopping in the Caribbean or visiting Mauritius for some amazing beaches and fantastic wildlife. If you’ve made a great redemption for less than 10,000 Avios, let me know!