New information has been added to the article.

There are a lot of things that aren't good about British Airways. Its in flight product leaves a lot to be desired. It's hard to find good value with an award ticket that goes to London.

You can fly for next to nothing in some of the world's most expensive markets with a distance based award chart. It's important to know how to use it in order to get maximum value.

We will look closely at how this works so you can redeem British Airways flights.

Earning Avios

British Airways Avios are among the easiest airline miles to earn. LUKAS WUNDERLICH/SHUTTERSTOCK

You have to earn them to use them.

Thanks to the partnership with British Airways, it's easy to earnAvios. You can transfer points from Marriott to British Airways at a 3:1 ratio or you can transfer points from Chase to British Airways at a 1: ratio.

You can use these transfer partnerships to convert earnings from cards like the Capital One Venture X rewards credit card intoAvios.

Revenue flights on American Airlines can be credited to the program. If you earn miles based on distance flown and not ticket cost, you might be able to get a cheaper long-haul ticket. You can transfer flights between airlines.

British Airways has a co branded credit card in the US. You can earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening, and another 25,000 after you spend $20,000 in the first 12 months of account opening.

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These are the best ways to redeem.

The basics


British Airways uses a distance-based formula to calculate the number of Avios you need to redeem. If you want to maximize value on this chart type, you need to take a different approach than most airlines use.

Cash fares are usually expensive on British Airways routes. Great Circle Mapper can be used to calculate the distance to each flight you want to take.

Compared to other programs, British Airways' sweet spots are vastly different. Rather than finding countries or entire continents you can find individual city pairs that are close enough to avoid bumping into the next tier.

Sweet spot Sunday: US to Ireland from thousands of flights.

Award charts

Let's take a closer look at the award charts in the program. The one used for flights on British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus is the one we will begin with.

Zone (distance in miles)Economy off-peakEconomy peakPremium economy off-peakPremium economy peakPremium economy off-peakPremium economy peakPremium economy off-peakPremium economy peak
Zone 1 (1 to 650)4,750.5,250.8,500.9,750.
Zone 2 (651 to 1,151)7,250.8,250.13,000.15,750.
Zone 3 (1,152 to 2,000)10,000.12,500.17,750.20,750.
Zone 4 (2,001 to 3,000)10,000.12,500.20,000.25,000.31,250.37,500.42,500.50,000.
Zone 5 (3,001 to 4,000)13,000.20,000.26,000.40,000.50,000.60,000.68,000.80,000.
Zone 6 (4,001 to 5,500)16,250.25,000.32,500.50,000.62,500.75,000.85,000.100,000.
Zone 7 (5,501 to 6,500)19,500.30,000.39,000.60,000.75,000.90,000.102,000.120,000.
Zone 8 (6,501 to 7,000)22,750.35,000.45,500.70,000.87,500.105,000.119,000.140,000.
Zone 9 (7,001 and up)32,500.50,000.65,000.100,000.125,000.150,000.170,000.200,000.

Peak and off-peak prices are different. Peak dates are found during the summer, school holidays and other popular holidays. Pricing is off-peak during the fall and winter.

There are flights operated by a single partner airline. Here is what the single partner award chart looks like now.

Zone No. (distance in miles)EconomyPremium economyBusinessFirst
Zone 1** (1 to 650)6,000.9,000.12,500.24,000.
Zone 2 (651 to 1,151)9,000.12,500.16,500.33,000.
Zone 3 (1,152 to 2,000)11,000.16,500.22,000.44,000.
Zone 4 (2,001 to 3,000)13,000.25,250.38,750.51,500.
Zone 5 (3,001 to 4,000)20,750.41,250.62,000.82,500.
Zone 6 (4,001 to 5,500)25,750.51,500.77,250.103,000.
Zone 7 (5,501 to 6,500)31,000.62,000.92,750.123,750.
Zone 8 (6,501 to 7,000)36,250.72,250.108,250.144,250.
Zone 9 (7,001 and up)51,500.103,000.154,500.206,000.

Economy awards are 7,500 each way for flights from or within North America.

The good news is that British Airways is still a good option for booking these short-haul flights.

There was an increase in the number ofAvios required for awards on the airlines. There was an increase in the number of flights for the airline.

Zone 2 flights in business class were the most unfortunate of the devaluations. Pricing changed here.

  • Zone 1 now costs 7,500 Avios in economy (up from 6,000) and 16,000 Avios in business (up from 12,500).
  • Zone 2 now costs 10,000 Avios in economy (up from 9,000) and 25,000 Avios in business (up from 16,500).
  • Zone 3 now costs 11,000 Avios in economy (unchanged) and 25,000 Avios in business (up from 22,000).

On Japan Airlines, there was a change in the business class. The changes are listed here.

  • Zone 1 now costs 7,500 Avios in economy (up from 6,000) and 12,500 Avios in business (unchanged).
  • Zone 2 now costs 10,000 Avios in economy (up from 9,000) and 24,000 Avios in business (up from 16,500).
  • Zone 3 now costs 11,000 Avios in economy (unchanged) and 24,000 Avios in business (up from 22,000).

Some changes were made for travel on the airline. Zone 2 is home to the most first class flights.

  • Zone 1 now costs 7,000 Avios in economy (up from 6,000), 12,500 Avios in business (unchanged) and 21,000 Avios in first (down from 24,000).
  • Zone 2 now costs 10,000 Avios in economy (up from 9,000), 24,000 Avios in business (up from 16,500) and 39,000 Avios in first (up from 33,000).

Oneworld award flights are not related to book this.

Pricing applies to all flights in an itinerary. Across the entire trip, the distance isn't cumulative. You will want to stick to nonstop routes whenever possible because British Airways prices every segment separately.

For example, if you wanted to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Philadelphia, you would need 9000 Avios. If you could only find award availability on a connecting flight through Charlotte, you would fly just 89 more miles but would pay more.

The pricing is explained here.

  • Fort Lauderdale to Charlotte: Covers 632 miles (7,500 Avios).
  • Charlotte to Philadelphia: Covers 449 miles (7,500 Avios).
  • Total cost: 15,000 Avios.

The best value is usually found from nonstop flights. Now that you know how the British Airways award charts work, it is time to maximize them.

Which airlines can I use?

Redeeming inside the US

You can use Avios to book cheap U.S. domestic flights. MARKUS MAINKA/SHUTTERSTOCK

British Airways prices flights in North America differently than in other countries. Zone 1 flights that cover 650 miles or less usually require 4,000 to 4,500 Avios for economy on British Airways, Aer Lingus and most other partners.

British Airways has nonstop economy flights within North America. Zone 2 flights use the same prices as other partner airlines. If you can find saver level award space with American Airlines, you can still get solid value.

Short flights

You should be able to fly out of almost any American Airlines hub with Zone 1 and Zone 2 economy flights. It's possible to estimate the distance between two airports using

In the economy, New York to Miami or Chicago to Dallas can be done for less than a thousand dollars per person.

Domestic lie-flat business class

It was great news for British Airways fans when AA made a change to their fare classes that had no effect on the AAdvantage program.

The airline changed how its domestic first class seats are labeled. Adding in the fact that American frequently flies internationally configured, wide-body jets on domestic routes and some interesting options begin to appear.

Use Avios to grab a business-class seat on American Airlines’ 777-200 domestic flights. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

The daily frequencies between New York and Miami are often operated by the same company. One of American's best international business class product is on this plane. The larger business class cabin on the 777 gives you a better chance of finding award space, and you can book that flight in business class for only 16,500Avios.

Four cabins, one flight: American Airlines will be flying from New York to Miami in a plane.

West coast to Hawaii

It doesn't mean you can't have a tropical vacation. Hawaii is close enough to several West coast cities that you can book economy awards for only a small amount of money.

Hawaiian destinations are served by American Airlines from its Los Angeles and Phoenix hub. Alaska flies to multiple Hawaiian airports from San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon.

Redeeming outside the US

You can use your Avios to book flights elsewhere in the world too. JIMMOYHT/SHUTTERSTOCK

British Airways has flights all over the world. Some of the best British Airways redemptions can be found from international travel.

4,500-Avios awards

Travel within Europe or Asia can be done with these low priced awards. If you want to find a Oneworld hub airport, you should look for it in Madrid or Tokyo. You can get to Lisbon, Portugal, Casablanca, Morocco, Algiers, Algeria, or Nice, France, for only 4,500 Avios.

There are some anomalies that are very close to entering a new zone. A flight from Madrid to Paris Orly Airport takes 609 miles. This should be included in Zone 1 so it can be booked. The award is sold by British Airways at 7,000Avios.

Air Lingus sweet spots

Peak and off-peak pricing is included in the British Airways award chart. As a result, certain flights between the East coast and Dublin or Shannon, Ireland, become incredibly attractive, with transatlantic economy awards starting at just 13,000Avios. The cities that can take advantage of this deal are listed here.

OriginDestinationFlight milesStandard rate (economy round-trip)
Hartford, ConnecticutDublin.3,078.26,000.
New YorkShannon.3,095.26,000.
New YorkDublin.3,179.26,000.
Washington, D.C.Dublin.3,404.26,000.
San FranciscoDublin.5,098.41,500.
Los AngelesDublin.5,181.41,500.

British Airways moved Boston-Dublin to Zone 5 in 2016 even though it covered 2,993 miles of flying.

A nonstop flight from multiple U.S. cities to Ireland is a great deal. You need to call British Airways to redeem their award on Aer Lingus flights.

The Aer Lingus business class on the A321neo was reviewed.

Multi-city trips

British Airways charges seperately for each segment on redemptions. Even if your final destination is the same, you still need more stops. You can book an unlimited number of stops on your award tickets with this pricing approach.

This asian adventure is an example.


You can catch a flight from Tokyo to Taiwan. Before you board a flight to Hong Kong, make sure to explore the city. You can visit the city before your next flight to Thailand. You get a Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur.

There is a price comparison between British Airways and American Airlines.

FlightDistance in milesBritish Airways costAmerican Airlines cost
Tokyo to Taipei1,356.11,000 Avios.20,000 miles.
Taipei to Hong Kong501.7,500 Avios.17,500 miles.
Hong Kong to Bangkok1,049.10,000 Avios.17,500 miles.
Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur754.9,000 Avios.17,500 miles.
TOTAL3,661 miles traveled.37,500 British Airways Avios.72,500 AAdvantage miles.

You can see that booking these flights through British Airways can save you tens of thousands of miles. If you were to fly directly from Tokyo Narita to your final destination of Kuala Lumpur, you would only have to pay 20,750 Avios. You would have to pay more to make the three stops, but you could also enjoy as long of a stop as you wanted.

You can build a trip through other regions if you have enough Oneworld hubs. It's a good idea to steer clear of airports like London's Heathrow Airport, which can add hundreds of dollars in taxes to your trip.

There is a complete guide to opening jaws on award tickets.

Multicarrier awards exception

There is an award chart that only applies to award tickets with two or more Oneworld airlines. The multi carrier reward flights use cumulative distance to determine how manyAvios you need

If you want to book a round-the-world ticket, there are times when you should use this. You can find a full guide to the British Airways multi carrier award chart on the website.

British Airways is important to you.

Bottom line

When people think of British Airways, they think of their loyalty program, but that's not true.

Under the chart, long-haul flights are costing more. British Airways adds large surcharges to those flights.

The Executive Club is best for partner awards. You can maximize your British Airways chart without spending a lot of cash by using the above tips.

The additional reporting was done by Ehsan.