Most of the airlines would charge 12.5k miles for one-way travel within the Continental USA at saver level in coach. Thus a round trip travel would come at 25k miles. This would be a good redemption if you plan to fly from east coast to west coast or vice-verse. But what about a short distance travel of let's say from LAX-SFO or DFW-IAH? You would still have to spend 25k miles for this trip unless you have "British Airways Avios" at your rescue. Here is why you should consider using British Airways Avios for these trips.
1. British Airways do not charge any surcharge for flights originating and ending within United States (including Hawaii).
2. The award chart for British Airways is distance based starting at only 4500 Avios for distance of 1-650 miles. Thus for LAX-SFO or DFW-IAH you would only pay 4.5k Avios miles as oppose to 12.5k miles on American Airlines. You can calculate the Avios needed by using this link.
3. British Airways is One-World Alliance member and thus you can redeem the reward on any of the One-World Alliance member or any other British Airways partner airlines. Thus in the U.S.A. you can redeem Avios on American Airlines as well as Alaska Airlines when there is an award available at saver level with them.
4. There is no close-in charges for booking ticket within the 21 days window of flying, thus it is useful for booking last minute flights as well.
Additionally below are other benefits which are "by-mistake" I suppose and could end up any time:
1. When you cancel the award ticket online the cancellation fee is less of the taxes you paid or $40 fee. Thus for your award travel if you paid only $5 as taxes, that is what you will lose when you cancel the award and the Avios will return back to your account.
2. You get priority boarding on American Airlines for any award booked using British Avios.
Although there are few "cons" below which you want to look out for:
1. British Airways Avios are charged segment based. Thus if there is no direct flight from SFO to LAS on any of the partner airlines and you have to fly SFO-LAX-LAS you will need to pay 9k Avios each way as these are considered two separate segments.
2. As the distance increases the cost of award ticket would go up and thus could be a bad redemption. For e.g. east coast to west coast travel might cost much higher Avios compared to 12.5k American Airlines or Alaska Airlines miles
3. Not all the partner (e.g. Alaska Airlines) and One-World Alliance member flights are bookable online, and so you will need to shell out $25 per passenger per award telephone booking fee as well as deal with their bad telephone booking staff and the long hold time which is often associated with the telephone booking.
4. The reward can only be booked for One-World and partner airlines if they are available at saver level only.
But overall as stated if you are looking for short distance flights or flight to take on short notice and if the seats are available on saver level, there is no better value than using the British Airways Avios. Also if you have got excited about Avios and want to start collecting them, there is an awesome offer going on for British Airways Credit Card from Chase which currently offers 50k bonus avios after $1k spend on the card for $95 annual fee and would be something you might be interested in.
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