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Best ways to redeem British Airways Avios

Redeeming reward flights is tricky – but gets you the best value

Summary

You’ll get the most value out of your Avios when you redeem them for reward flights – though the process is a bit tricky.

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#British Airways Avios are not known for being the most valuable rewards currency, but fortunately, they are still fairly flexible. Executive Club members have a wide variety of redemption options other than reward flights. From hotel stays to unique experiences in your travel destinations, Avios can be used to fund an entire trip.

The downside is that Avios cannot be redeemed for a cash value. Also, redemption options other than reward flights typically eke less value out of your rewards.

British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card

British Airways Visa Signature Card

Why should you get this card?

For frequent flyers of British Airways, the British Airways Visa Signature offers generous rewards, including 4X miles on the first $30,000 in purchases for the first year and Travel Together Ticket each year you spend $30,000.

Read full review

Other things to know:

  • Earn 4 Avios per dollar on all purchases in your first year (up to $30,000) for up to 120,000 Avios
  • After the first year, earn 3 Avios per dollar on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios per dollar on other purchases
  • Earn the Travel Together Ticket every year you spend $30,000. This allows you to bring a companion on a reward flight for just the taxes and fees.
  • No foreign transaction fee

British Airways Avios redemption options

Redemption optionAvios value (cents)
Reward flights1.4
Avios & Money2.1
In-flight food purchases0.9
Hotel stays0.6
Car rentals0.6
Experiences0.95

Using Avios for reward flights

British Airways reward flights are notoriously difficult to redeem and often impose steep taxes and fees. However, Executive Club members willing to do a little hunting for a good deal can get quite a bit of value out of their Avios by redeeming this way. For example, business and first-class fares tend to stretch rewards a bit further.

Fare classAverage mile value (cents)
Economy1.4
Premium Economy2.1
Business/First Class2.2

British Airways prices rewards flights based on distance, so you can also get a better deal by using your Avios for shorter trips that are typically more expensive.

Combining Avios and money

While it is true that finding a good deal for your Avios can be difficult, British Airways part payment option shines. Whether you are booking a reward flight or just hoping to take some of the cost off of normal travel, British Airways offers several payment options to combine your Avios with money. In addition, these combinations tend to stretch the value of your Avios – averaging 2.1 cents per Avios.

In-flight food purchases

When you are traveling on a British Airways flight, you can also use your Avios to pay for a snack on the way. That way, you can cover the entire cost of your trip with rewards. Avios used for in-flight purchases have less value than when redeemed for a reward flight but are one of the most lucrative options for users looking to spend them on something other than travel.

Hotel stays

Redeeming Avios for hotel stays is far less lucrative than opting for a reward flight, but it can still be a good option for Executive Club members hoping to take a trip entirely on rewards. British Airways has its own booking platform for hotel stays, car rentals and experiences in your destination. Plus, each booking includes several payment options combining Avios and money – in case you can’t cover the whole stay with rewards.

Car rentals

Like with hotel stays, car rentals don’t typically get the best value out of your Avios. On average, we estimate Avios are only worth about 0.6 cents per Avios when redeemed this way. However, European car rentals tend to be a better deal, and you can occasionally find special discounts. When you choose to use your Avios for a car rental, just be sure to compare the British Airways price to the rental company’s website to ensure you are getting a good price.

Experiences

Using your Avios for experiences is the most lucrative option outside of reward flights. Wherever you are traveling, British Airways lets you use your rewards to book tours, museum tickets and all sorts of other unique opportunities that can complete your vacation. On average, Avios are worth about 0.95 cents per Avios when redeemed for an experience – but we were able to find even better deals with a little digging.

Bottom line

There are several pretty valuable ways to redeem your Avios, but the best value is absolutely a reward flight. If you regularly fly first or business class, you can stretch your Avios even further by redeeming this way. If you are looking for another way to use your rewards, experiences and in-flight food purchases are also pretty lucrative.

See related:What are British Airways Avios worth?, Best ways to earn British Airways Avios, British Airways elite status, Booking a flight with British Airways Avios, British Airways shopping portal guide

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In Products

Booking a flight with British Airways Avios

Booking a flight with British Airways Avios can be complicated and fees can be high, but Executive Club members who don’t mind doing some digging can find a great deal.

Published: April 29, 2019

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: October 16th, 2019
Business
15.18%
Airline
17.11%
Cash Back
17.25%
Reward
17.13%
Student
17.29%

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