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Unlock True Value in Short-Haul Flights With British Airways Avios

Unlock True Value in Short-Haul Flights With British Airways Avios

Based in NYC? Think Bermuda, Charleston, Montreal.

Based in LA? Think Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle.

Based in Chicago? Think Atlanta, Austin, New Orleans.

These are all cities that you can visit for 7,500 British Airways Avios or less. You see, with BA’s distance-based award chart, short-haul flights (that are perfect for weekend getaways) can be had for pennies.


How it Works

British Airways doesn’t publish an award chart but for short-haul flights within the US that are 1,151 miles or less, you’ll pay 7,500 Avios one way. If you are using Avios to fly short-haul outside of the US, you can take advantage of BA’s Zone 1 pricing which costs 4,500 Avios for any flight between 1 and 650 miles.

In order to book flights using Avios, you’ll need to find space on BA or a fellow Oneworld partner such as American Airlines. To best find award space, I’d suggest using Qantas‘ or British Airways‘ websites to search.

Once you find open seats, go to to book.

Earning Avios

The best part about Avios is that there are many ways to earn ’em. Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards both transfer 1:1 to Avios. Marriott/SPG points transfer 3:1 with a 15,000 mile bonus for every 60,000 you transfer, and if you’re a Diner’s Club cardholder, you can transfer Club Rewards 1:1.

The Best Value

I want to fly from New York to Charleston for a nice weekend away. American operates a non-stop flight from LaGuardia (LGA) to Charleston (CHS) on weekends at a cost of 12,500 AA miles one way…

Using BA, I can fly this same flight for 7,500 Avios…As you can see, the value proposition to use Avios is strong. If you’re weighing your points earning strategy and want to fly short-haul flights, it probably makes more sense to earn Avios as opposed to AA miles.

A word about connections

Connections are where you can get screwed if you don’t tread carefully. Since Avios are a distance-based currency, BA prices each leg of the trip as its own — no matter if it’s a connection or not.

For example, if you fly from New York JFK to Charleston, you’d have to connect in Charlotte. Since that is technically two legs, your cost will be 15,000 Avios as opposed to 7,500 for the non-stop.

On the contrary, American will still price you at 12,500 AA miles so if you have to connect, AA may be the best way to go.

International flights

International short-haul flights are a great use of Avios.

In London and want to check out Berlin? Easy — it’ll only cost 4,500 Avios and $27.

This is because, as I mentioned above, if you’re traveling outside of the US, BA unlocks the Zone 1 pricing which is 4,500 Avios for flights 650 miles or less.

Do you like using Avios? If yes, what are some creative ways you’ve used them? If no, why not?

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