You are currently viewing 12 good uses of Avios points

This is not yet our ultimate guide on the Avios program, but we’ll give you a solid intro and also look at 12 good uses for Avios points. Avios points are not well known, but they can be very valuable and even an alternative to Aeroplan points for many specific flights. And they’re very easy to earn in Canada as you’ll see in the upcoming guide.

So we’re going to look at 12 good uses of Avios points, often called program sweet spots, to give you some real-world examples. That’s until we have more content, tips, and guides on all the major rewards programs — including Avios — very soon.

(You can also join our live travel rewards Q&A this Wednesday at 9:30 PM Eastern time or our free webinar for beginners on August 9th!)

 

Basics of Avios points

Among the incredible offers right now, some of the most valuable cards allow you to earn Amex points and RBC points (which can be transferred to Avios points at a rate of 1 for 1) or HSBC points (which can be transferred at a rate of 2.5 for 1).

Best credit cards for Avios points WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Avios
points
American Express Cobalt Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $500/mo for 12 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $900
Card Fee: $156
60,000 pts
+ 5X the points
best card in Canada
Platinum Card from American Express
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1910
Card Fee: $699
114,000 pts
+ unlimited lounges
and $200 travel credit
ends September 20th
HSBC World Elite Mastercard (non-QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos. (see QC offer)
Rewards: ≈ $639
Card Fee: $0 $149
39,200 pts
+ no FX fees
and $100 travel credit
ends October 31st
RBC British Airways Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $840
Card Fee: $165
56,000 pts
+ wider acceptance
than Amex
ends September 30th
American Express Gold Rewards Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1165
Card Fee: $250
71,000 pts
+ 4 lounge passes
and $100 travel credit
ends September 20th
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.
Best credit cards for Avios points
American Express Cobalt® Card American Express Cobalt Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $500/mo for 12 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $900
Card Fee: $156
Avios points: 60,000 pts + 5X the points
best card in Canada
Platinum Card® from American Express Platinum Card from American Express
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends September 20th
Rewards: ≈ $1910
Card Fee: $699
Avios points: 114,000 pts + unlimited lounges
and $200 travel credit
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® HSBC World Elite Mastercard (non-QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos. (see QC offer)
WELCOME BONUS
ends October 31st
Rewards: ≈ $639
Card Fee: $0 $149
Avios points: 39,200 pts + no FX fees
and $100 travel credit
RBC® British Airways Visa Infinite RBC British Airways Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends September 30th
Rewards: ≈ $840
Card Fee: $165
Avios points: 56,000 pts + wider acceptance
than Amex
American Express® Gold Rewards Card American Express Gold Rewards Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends September 20th
Rewards: ≈ $1165
Card Fee: $250
Avios points: 71,000 pts + 4 lounge passes
and $100 travel credit
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.

 

How to use Avios points

The details of how the program works are after these 12 good uses of Avios.

In short, you should know that Avios points are much more restrictive than Aeroplan points. Each flight segment is charged individually, so Avios points are best for direct flights.

Seat availability is usually more limited with Avios compared to Aeroplan. The rules are really more complex, there are lots of exceptions to pricing rules and there are even partners to avoid because of surcharges (whereas Aeroplan is simple, has no pricing exceptions and no surcharges for all partners — plus it has many more partners obviously).

But since they are variable value points, they can still be very interesting in specific cases!

 

12 examples of good uses of Avios points

We have examples of good uses of Avios points from Canada and examples of good uses of Avios points worldwide because these points can be very valuable to travel around once you get to your destination (e.g. with a cheap flight deal) for avid travelers who want to travel more (and see more places).

They are less interesting for those who don’t live in major centers (worldwide uses are still relevant, just not those from Canada). Because the Avios program doesn’t have a partner based in Canada, so to depart from Canada, you need an airport where American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flies (like Montréal).

You can mix and match all these examples as you wish, since airline points like Avios really are fully customizable! 

 

Good Avios use #1: Medium-distance flights from Canada

  • Price (one-way): 11,000 points
  • Distance: 1,152-2,000 miles
  • Examples:
    • Toronto–Miami
    • Montréal–Miami
    • Montréal–Dallas
    • Vancouver–Phoenix
    • Calgary–Phoenix
Miami Beach (photo credit: Tuan Nguyen)

 

There’s nothing like going to Miami for a long weekend to save your weeks off for real travel. I love that place, as you probably tell from my 29 trips there, and it’s a very popular destination for Canadians. I visited Dallas for the first time in 2021 thanks to this sweet spot and it was a great experience.

These are direct flights on American Airlines.

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $450
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $80
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $370
  • Amount of Avios points: 22,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 1.7¢

 

Good Avios use #2: Short-distance flights from many Canadian cities

  • Price (one-way): 9,000 points
  • Distance: 0-1,150 miles
  • Examples:
    • Ottawa–Washington
    • Toronto–New York City
    • Montréal–Chicago
    • Vancouver–Seattle
Washington, D.C. (photo credit: Riddy)

 

Some very interesting American cities are accessible by direct flights for even fewer points. It’s perfect for long weekends. Chicago has so much to see and do, Washington too (I recommend the cherry blossom festival), New York City is obviously a classic, and I also loved Philadelphia.

These are direct flights on American Airlines.

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $350
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $80
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $270
  • Amount of Avios points: 18,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 1.5¢

 

Good Avios use #3: Short-distance flights from Miami

  • Price (one-way): 9,000 points
  • Distance: 0-1,150 miles
  • Examples:
    • Miami–Costa Rica
    • Miami–Jamaica
    • Miami–Martinique
    • Miami–Aruba
Bonaire in 2019 (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

Since positioning flights to Miami are often extremely affordable in cash and flights to some of the islands or destinations in this area are often very expensive in cash, it can be interesting. And you can spend as much time as you want in Miami as well. You can also get a one-way ticket for 11,000 points to Caribbean destinations that are a little further away, like I did when I went to Bonaire.

These are direct flights on American Airlines.

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $500
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $100
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $400
  • Amount of Avios points: 18,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 2.2¢

 

Good Avios use #4: Montréal-Qatar flights

  • Price (one-way): 35,000 points
  • Distance: X miles
  • Examples:
    • Montréal–Doha
Qatar (photo credit: Shashi Ghosh)

 

Thanks to the fact that Qatar Airways joined Avios, this direct flight to this Gulf country is a new interesting sweet spot, because going to this corner of the world is often very expensive with cash. 

These are direct flights on Qatar Airways.

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $1,300
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $200
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $1,100
  • Amount of Avios points: 70,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 1.6¢

 

Good Avios use #5: Montréal-Qatar flights in one of the best business classes

  • Price (one-way): 70,000 points
  • Distance: X miles
  • Examples:
    • Montréal–Doha

 

If you prefer luxury, many points fans say Qatar Airways’ Qsuite is one of the best business class products in the entire world, if not the best. You can try it for 70,000 Avios points instead of paying literally thousands of dollars (or just ≈ 15,000 more points to go anywhere other than Qatar). We’ll soon share several easy ways to earn the massive points stash required, as well as more tips for business class travel.

These are direct flights on Qatar Airways.

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $8,000
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $300
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $7,700
  • Amount of Avios points: 140,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 5.5¢

 

Good Avios use #6: Toronto-Dublin flights

  • Price (one-way): 13,000 points
  • Distance: X miles
  • Examples:
    • Toronto–Dublin
Ireland (photo credit: Aldo De La Paz)

 

Historically, going to Ireland from Toronto has been the best Avios sweet spot for Canadians. Taxes are a bit higher, but it’s still often a great use depending on the cash price. It may soon be possible from Montréal as well, if the Aer Lingus route announced before the pandemic ends up being launched. Otherwise, it may be worth positioning yourself in Toronto to take advantage of this.

These are direct flights on Aer Lingus.

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $700
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $300
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $400
  • Amount of Avios points: 26,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 1.5¢

 

Good Avios use #7: Toronto-Dublin flights in business class

  • Price (one-way): 25,000 points
  • Distance: X miles
  • Examples:
    • Toronto-Dublin
Business class (photo credit: Aer Lingus)

 

Same as above, except you can choose business class for about double the price, as is the case with most airline program redemptions. Airline reward programs are definitely the way to go if you want to travel in premium cabins (as I did for the first time on a long-distance flight last year, I’ll tell you all about that) but know that Aeroplan points are often better for business class flights.

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $2,000
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $300
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $1,700
  • Amount of Avios points: 50,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 3.4¢

 

Good Avios use #8: Short-distance flights within Europe

  • Price (one-way): 4,000 points
  • Distance: 0-650 miles
  • Examples:
    • Paris–Madrid
    • Dublin–Amsterdam
    • London–Nice
    • Madrid–Tangier
Spain (photo credit: Marco De Hevia)

 

If you’re visiting Spain — to take advantage of the free hotel nights deal or because it’s the most visited country in the world — you can move around. Same thing in the UK or Ireland. But be careful: you really need to make sure to compare the value with the many cheap cash fares easily available in Europe, often as low as 10 on ultra low-cost carriers (ULCCs).

These are direct flights on Iberia (Spain), British Airways (UK), or Aer Lingus (Ireland).

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $200
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $70
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $130
  • Amount of Avios points: 8,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 1.6¢

 

Good Avios use #9: Short-distance flights within Asia

  • Price (one-way): 6,000 points
  • Distance: 0-650 miles
  • Examples:
    • Tokyo–Osaka
    • Hong Kong–Taipei
    • Kuala Lumpur–Phnom Penh
    • Kuala Lumpur–Phuket
Japan (photo credit: Juliana Barquero)

 

Asia has cheap flights in cash, but not as cheap as in Europe usually. So this could be an interesting option. There are plenty of destinations to visit around these hubs. When more countries in that area reopen, flights to get there should become affordable again (we were often spotting Japan at $450 roundtrip before the pandemic).

These are direct flights on Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong), Japan Airlines (Japan), or Malaysia Airlines (Malaysia).

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $250
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $70
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $180
  • Amount of Avios points: 12,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 1.5¢

 

Good Avios use #10: Short-distance flights within Australia

  • Price (one-way): 6,000 points
  • Distance: 0-650 miles
  • Examples:
    • Sydney–Tasmania
    • Melbourne–Sydney
    • Adelaide–Brisbane
    • Gold Coast–Melbourne
Australia (photo credit: Jason H)

 

A bucket-list destination for many, Australia is big enough that you can fly between many cities to save travel time. Several destinations on this island look interesting.

These are direct flights on Qantas.

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $250
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $70
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $180
  • Amount of Avios points: 12,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 1.5¢

 

Good Avios use #11: Short-distance flights within Morocco

  • Price (one-way): 6,000 points
  • Distance: 0-650 miles
  • Examples:
    • Casablanca–Marrakech
    • Tangier–Barcelona
    • Casablanca–Canary Islands
    • Agadir–Casablanca
We also often find deals for Morocco at $450 and you can get 10 free hotel nights (photo credit: Paul Macallan)

 

It’s similar to good use #2 since Morocco and Spain are so close (the ferry took me about 30 minutes in 2019) but it gives you a few more options. We used to spot deals to Morocco for around $500 before the pandemic and it’s a great place for the free hotel nights deal with fancier hotels, like the 5-star one I went to in 2022 in Fès.

These are direct flights on Royal Air Maroc.

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $300
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $100
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $200
  • Amount of Avios points: 12,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 1.7¢

 

Good Avios use #12: Transatlantic flights to Madrid

  • Price (one-way): 17,000 points
  • Distance: 3,001-4,000 miles
  • Examples:
    • Boston–Madrid
    • New York City–Madrid
    • Chicago–Madrid
Madrid is a great stop on the way to the many hotels in Spain where you can get 15 nights for free (photo credit: Jorge Fernández Salas)

 

Just a reminder that if you create an Iberia Plus account, you’ll be able to transfer your points to that program and get other different sweet spots, which we’ll cover in the ultimate guide on Avios. This is one of them, if you don’t mind positioning yourself to these cities, it can be a great use of points to go to Spain.

These are direct flights on Iberia.

Example of Avios’ value (1 roundtrip):

  • Normal cash price for tickets: ≈ $700
  • Taxes to pay with Avios: ≈ $150
  • Savings with Avios: ≈ $550
  • Amount of Avios points: 34,000
  • Value per Avios point: ≈ 1.6¢

 

Bonus: Many other great places around the world

There are other potential sweet spots around the world, including in Sri Lanka (photo credit: Hendrik Cornelissen)

 

Don’t miss our upcoming guide to the Avios program for even more great redemptions as these are just a portion of all the possibilities, especially for many short-distance flights or for flights that are rarely discounted when paid for with cash.

 

Introduction to Avios

While you wait for that detailed guide about Avios, here are the highlights of the British Airways Avios rewards program.

Here are some basics first:

Here are the specifics:

  • The Avios program has 3 separate award charts to set prices
    • 1 for all oneworld partners
    • 1 for the 4 IAG airlines (British, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling)
    • 1 for multi-airline reward flights (round-the-world type)
  • Reward flight prices are distance-based only
    • Not region-based
    • Pricing charts are built around distance ranges
  • Each flight segment is charged separately with Avios
    • So it’s best for direct flights, not flights with stops
    • In other words, flights from partner airline hubs
  • Avios is one of the programs with the most exceptions
    • Some countries have slightly higher prices than the chart
    • Some partners have slightly higher prices than the chart
    • The IAG chart also has peak and off-peak versions
  • Avios sweet spots are mostly for shorter-distance flights
    • And flights that are expensive in cash, like all other similar programs
  • Our Flytrippers Valuation of Avios points is ≈ 1.5¢/pt
    • It depends on how well you use them
    • AKA it depends on the cash price
  • The program is officially called British Airways Executive Club
    • Avios is the name of the program’s currency
    • But everyone calls it the Avios program
  • Avios points can also be transferred to separate programs
    • This is very unique to Avios among airline program
    • We’ll cover this in the guide

Let’s look at some elements in greater detail.

 

Award charts

Avios are variable-value rewards because the cost in points for a flight is fixed by an award chart depending on the distance, no matter the cash price (as is the case with most airline rewards programs — and all good airline rewards programs).

Flights on British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling have their own award chart with slightly lower prices (those airlines all belong to IAG, British Airways’ parent company), with flights starting at just 4,000 points in Europe, one of the lowest prices in the entire world of travel rewards!

Also, the IAG chart adds another difficulty, with off-peak and peak pricing tiers instead of one price year-round with the 12 other oneworld airlines! We’re working on an easier-to-read master award chart to show the exceptions.

 

Program rules

The most important thing to know is that Avios charges for each flight leg separately (unlike Aeroplan, which charges based on the total distance) so it is much more valuable for direct routes.

Avios is usually not recommended for flights with a layover as the value is often not interesting at all. Stopovers are technically free since every segment is charged separately, but you end up paying more points than with other programs.

Those rules mean that Avios can be quite lucrative for short-distance flights to/from partner airline hub airports (and other “sweet spots” of the program) but not so much for long-distance flights, unless they’re expensive in cash of course. It’s also worth noting that Aeroplan is a much better program for those who want long-distance business class flights.

The Avios program is great for those who love to get a good flight deal to travel internationally and then want to move around with Avios points. And also for those who live in one of the 10 Canadian cities served by either American Airlines or Alaska Airlines (Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Québec City, Halifax, Victoria, Kelowna) who love weekend getaways to the US.

 

Partner airlines

As mentioned, Avios can be used for flights with British Airways, all other airlines in the oneworld alliance (American, Alaska, Iberia, Finnair, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, Qatar, S7 Airlines, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific, SriLankan, Qantas), and a few non-alliance partners like Aer Lingus and Vueling.

oneworld member airlines (image credit: oneworld)

 

So the worst use of British Airways Avios points is ironically on British Airways itself (just like the worst use of Air Canada Aeroplan points is often on Air Canada)! This is because British Airways charges expensive surcharges on its own flights and taxes are high for flights departing from London, especially long-distance flights and business class flights.

 

Transfers

Without getting too far into the details, Avios points also have the particularity of being transferrable to the Iberia Plus Avios program and the Qatar Privilege Club program, which despite sharing a similar name, have slightly different rules. This is very unusual; I told you Avios had more exceptions than other programs.

You shouldn’t transfer speculatively, but if you do eventually need to do so, your Iberia Plus Avios account needs to have been open for 90 days, so do that for free now just in case (and use LastPass for account security and management).

 

Want to get more content to maximize your Avios rewards?

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Summary

The Avios program is worth getting familiar with! Ask us anything about Avios today in the comments here!

What would you like to know about Avios? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Explore awesome destinations: travel inspiration

Learn pro tricks: travel tips

Discover free travel: travel rewards

 

Featured image: Miami, Florida (photo credit: Ashley Satanosky)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 64/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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