At British Airways, the reward currency or miles are called Avios. These are earned when flying based on distance with bonuses for travel class and Executive Club level. There are also a whole host of partners which also earn Avios.
This is all pretty standard fare when it comes to frequent flyer programmes. What is often not obvious is how to maximise the value of your points when making an award booking.
Head To Australia
As I come from Australia, I often use my British Airways Avios to make bookings with Qantas. Both airlines are part of the oneworld alliance. You can redeem your miles on other airlines in the alliance.
Flights are quite expensive within in Australia. Some of this is due to the distances involved and some is due to the lack of competition in the industry there. The country also experienced no recession in the 2009-2012 period and continued prosperity resulted in higher prices.
How Much Do You Save Using Avios?
Flights from Sydney to Brisbane in business class cost A$1,600 return on the Qantas web site. This is scheduled as 1 hour and 30 minutes total, with about an hour of that in the air. In other currency, this translates to €1,099, US$1,250 or £975. Using Avios, this is A$225 and 10,000 miles. This is a A$1,375 saving which is an excellent use of 10,000 miles.
How about economy class? Flying Brisbane to Longreach costs A$565 return for a 2 hour regional flight. Using Avios, this is $75 and 9,000 miles. There is a sliding scale where you can use less miles and pay more cash. On the business class flight I paid the maximum to use the least miles. I did the reverse on the economy class flight.
It is generally known among frequent flyers that the other good use of British Airways Avios is for flight upgrades. Upgrading from World Traveller Plus to Club World or Club World to First Class are the two best ways to get the best value. This is because you still earn miles on the original fare you paid for.
Using miles for EuroTraveller or World Traveller is generally not good value as the taxes can come up to almost as much as paying for the flight in the normal manner. It all depends on how much you value your miles. If you have lots you may be more inclined to use them more freely than someone with only a few.
Using your miles is a very personal thing and everyone has their own particular use for them. I only use mine on flights and never for anything else you can redeem for. As you can see, I think the best use is to reduce high priced flights to something virtually negligible and well within my means.
What do you use your miles for? Is there a best use at your airline similar to the above? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions so please feel free to comment below.
Featured image by Adrian Pingstone. Qantas image via ausbt.com.au and BA image via British Airways.