There is a chart for redeeming Avios that not many people are aware of. It’s not that useful for simple point to point itineraries but if you fancy doing a multi-centre holiday, around the world or New Zealand/Australia this is a trick worth knowing. If you use 2 or more oneworld partner airlines for your redemption, a different number of miles applies. The chart shown below can be found on BA here. The chart shows the amount of Avios needed in economy for journeys in the distance bands indicated. The Avios amount for reward flights in premium economy is 1.5 times the Avios amount shown; for business class 2 times, and for first class, it will be 3 times.
These can often work out better value for Avios redemptions than booking directly just on BA or with one connecting airline. This is because when Avios were devalued in 2015, BA didn’t change this chart.
For those not familiar with multi-carrier award planning, the flight connections website can be useful for working out an itinerary as you can filter by alliance. To measure the distance the great circle mapper tool is also useful. You need to enter each leg separately. When using the great circle tool you can type in the names or codes of the airports as one list which is nice and simple. It will then work out the distance between each point and the total.
The rules for the chart are:
- You must use at least two OneWorld carriers
- You are limited to a maximum of 8 flight segments
- 1 open-jaw connection is allowed (flying into one airport but back out of a different one)
The price you pay for your flight will be either:
- full Avios plus taxes, fees and carrier charges or
- Avios & Money plus taxes, fees and carrier charges.
The price will depend on the total distance of all the segments of your journey, irrespective of whether it’s one way or return. As an example 20,001–25,000 is 120,000 Avios and up to $ 919.87 (£660) taxes, fees and carrier charges for economy.
The Oneworld member airlines are:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian
- S7 Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
So how do you book these? Unfortunately, you do need to call BA to book, it can’t be done online. Be aware that it may take some time to make the booking and not all agents will be familiar with this type of booking, so allow plenty of time. There are plenty of reports of conflicting advice being given by BA agents, so don’t expect it to be simple. Given the savings, it’s still worthwhile persevering. I would also recommend looking at Seat Spy for American airlines or Award Nexus or Expert Flyer for other airlines to get suggestions of availability before calling BA as it will save a lot of time. Expert Flyer is a very useful tool as you can use to find availability of a particular booking class of travel such as those needed for a gold upgrade award or GGL joker, see seat maps, not just what seats BA will allow you to select, and see how busy a flight is in each cabin.
Let’s have a look at a couple of itineraries to see what the difference is compared to British Airways in terms of Avios.
London – Doha – Hong Kong – Sydney – Auckland – Kuala Lumpur – London (Qatar, Cathay, Qantas, Malaysia 22,413 miles)
- Avios needed using standard redemption in business class – 375,000
- Avios needed using multi-carrier in Club World – 240,000
Round the world
London – Hong Kong – Sydney – Honolulu – Los Angeles – London (Cathay, Qantas, American 23,650 miles)
- Avios needed using standard redemption in business class 350,500
- Avios needed using multi-carrier in Club World – 240,000
In both of these examples, the savings can be enormous. Both routes are well under the 25,000 miles limit for the Avios group so you could add in an extra stopover or two – up to 8 segments in total.
Have you ever used multi-carrier awards to book a ticket with Avios? How easy was it? Let me know in the comments below or on social media.
Please excuse my ignorance, in respect of the 1 open jaw connection, would the following routing be classified as an open-jaw? GRU>SCL>MAD>LHR open jaw connection PVG>TOK>JFK>GRU
Or does the open-jaw connection have to be from the same country or region?
The main rule about open jaw is that the distance between the origin and the initial destination or the return point and origin must not be shorter than the distance between the arrival airport and departure airport. So you will need to measure the distances as both are similar distances in your example. Great circle mapper can do it in line
Were your examples for 2 passengers, the RTW ex. was 23,650 miles and the chart show 120000 Avios for that distance. Am I missing something?
Hi Glenn. It’s because they are business class so require 2x the miles shown. Each class has a different multiple shown higher up in the post.
Do you need Avios availability for each of the legs, or is the Avios effectively a way of purchasing a OneWorld RTW ticket and so availability of individual legs is the same as if you bought the ticket using Cash?
Hi Mark. Yes, you still need to have the Avios availability for each leg but it saves you a lot of Avios by booking this way. It is a cheaper way of bookng a RTW ticket with Avios but obviously paying cash is a lot easier in terms of getting the dates you want.
Do you have to start and finish in the same location? (and does that count as one open jaw).
For example: CDG-HKG-DPS-PER-NRT-HNL-LAX, PHL-LHR
No you don’t have to start and end in the same location as far as I am aware but best to check with BA as the rules are complicated.
You need a lot of patience pulling it together, and a back up plan while on the phone to BA in case the seats have gone. And you can use BA outside of your two or more chosen partners. Be aware of connection times if trying to get to Aus for example. Delays, cancellations are part and parcel of travelling…. dependant on the carrier, you may or may not be lucky to get transferred. But, if you suffer from stress, high blood pressure or nervousness, think again ! And if you want to change your ticket en route, just try calling BA for help……it is not easy on this type of ticket, trust me. The first obstacle is to talk to someone who knows . Would I do it again ? Absolutely, we started in Turkey…got Qatar down to Durban, with enough mileage left over to get over to the US. Two significant runs at just under 20000 miles each, total 400k Avios for Business all the way, and pushed up to First for one leg. But, the whole lot has to be booked in one go, I couldn’t add on the US at a later date to use up the 20k mileage.)
I live in the UK and collect Avios. I booked three separate flights on-line because the BA person on the phone said one flight wasn’t available. Yes this was on-line. Miami to Antigua, Antigua to Tobago and Trinidad to Miami. I travel with my two children so it cost a lot of Avios points. I have seen the ANA round the world being better value. Is there anyway of finding out if I can get those points in the UK please?
If you mean can you earn ANA points in the UK, Virgin Atlantic is an easy way to earn ANA points although redemption availability is usually poor in my experience.
This is one of the best hiding in plain side secrets. I was able book a return AKL-LHR business class ticket for 240,000 Avios + £366.92 – saving over 60,000 Avios and £600, plus the HKG – LHR is in Cathay First Class!
All of this info is both extremely valuable and helpful!
Thanks so much for compiling it……
Can I ask if it is possible to fly into such places as BKK or HAN or SGN using this formula?
Reason I ask is that non are ‘home’ of any of the One world airlines but are places would like to visit.
Yes you could fly on Cathay for example via HKG to any of those. Or fly Qatar who usually fly to all of those. Just need to make sure you are doing the two ow non BA airlines. Lots of combinations you could do.
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