Savvy Ways to Stretch 100,000 British Airways Avios Points (From Just ONE Credit Card!)
Now that the huge 100,000 British Airways Avios points offer on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card has returned, many readers are considering the card but are concerned about the large tiered minimum spending requirement.
You’ll have to spend a total of $20,000 in purchases in the first year to unlock the full 100,000-point bonus. That’s a lot of money, but if you know the best ways to redeem British Airways Avios points for the most value, it’s definitely worth it!
We’ll share the top sweet spots with British Airways Avios points, and help you decide if this deal is a good fit for your travel plans.
Chase British Airways 100,000-Point Offer
The 100,000 British Airways Avios point bonus on the Chase British Airways card is back!
The usual sign-up bonus is 50,000 British Airways Avios points after meeting minimum spending requirements. So this is double the normal offer! But you’ll have to spend a lot on the card to get the full bonus:
Here’s what you’ll earn:
- 50,000 British Airways Avios points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account
- 25,000 more British Airways Avios points when you spend $10,000 total on purchases in the first year of opening your account
- 25,000 more British Airways Avios points when you spend $20,000 total on purchases in the first year of opening your account
So you’ll need to put $20,000 in spending on your card during the first year to earn all 100,000 British Airways Avios points.
If you unlock the full bonus, you’ve got tons of options for making the most of your points. Here are some of our favorites!
1. Fly Round-Trip From 7 US Cities to Europe for 26,000 British Airways Avios Points
British Airways partner Aer Lingus offers one of the cheapest ways to get between the US and Europe with points and miles.
You can fly from the following cities to Ireland for as little as 26,000 British Airways Avios Points round trip:
- New York City (JFK)
- Washington, DC (Dulles)
And if you’re coming from the West Coast or Florida, you can fly from these cities to Ireland starting at 32,500 British Airways Avios points round-trip:
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
There are taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges on Aer Lingus, but they’re not terribly expensive – expect to pay ~$200 to $250 round-trip, per person, which is much less than you’d have to pay using British Airways Avios points for a flight on British Airways!
Similar tickets using American Airlines miles, Alaska Airlines miles, Delta miles, or United Airlines miles usually start at 30,000 to 35,000 points each way, or 60,00 to 70,000 points round-trip. So using British Airways Avios points to fly Aer Lingus is a great deal!
These prices are for coach tickets at off-peak times – which is about two-thirds of the year. You can see Aer Lingus’ peak and off-peak award dates here.
2. Fly Round-Trip from the West Coast to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines for Just 25,000 British Airways Avios Points
You can use British Airways Avios points to book flights to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines. And because Alaska Airlines officially completed its merger with Virgin America in April 2018, that means you have even more flights available to book with your British Airways Avios points!
You can fly to Hawaii from these West Coast cities for just 25,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip:
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
- San Jose
- San Francisco
3. Transfer Points From British Airways to Iberia for Short Round-Trip Flights or Trips With Connecting Flights
For example, a round-trip flight from New York to Madrid costs nearly $200 less in fees when booked with Iberia Avios points than it does when booking the same flight with British Airways Avios points.
You’ll also save points when using Iberia Avios points to book a short round-trip flight in North America (less than 600 miles each way) or when booking round-trip flights with connections – because the award chart for Iberia Avios Points is based on the total distance you travel, not the distance of each individual flight segment.
4. Short Flights in the US, Canada, and Mexico from 15,000 British Airways Avios Points Round-Trip
Flights in North America on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines can be a great deal using British Airways Avios Points. That’s because any flight under 1,150 miles costs 15,000 British Airways Avios round trip!
Here’s just a few examples of where this can be a great deal:
- Short flights in the Northeast on American Airlines, like Washington, DC, to New York or Boston, or New York to Toronto or Montreal
- Flights to Miami (an American Airlines hub) from lots of cities including Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, New York, and Washington, DC
- Flights all over the West Coast on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines, like Los Angeles to Seattle, Portland to Phoenix, or San Francisco to Las Vegas
- Flights to the Caribbean from the East Coast (like New York to Bermuda)
- Los Angeles to Vancouver, British Columbia or San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
- Fly between Chicago and all over the Midwest, South, and East Coast
Longer flights will cost you a bit more, but can still be a great deal. Here are flights you can book for 20,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip:
- Los Angeles to Guadalajara, Monterrey, or Mexico City
- Chicago to almost anywhere West Coast (Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and more)
- Seattle or Portland to Alaska (Anchorage, Fairbanks, or Juneau)
Most domestic flights should only cost ~$11 in taxes round-trip, but flights to Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean may be a bit more expensive. And unlike most US airline programs, there are no close-in booking fees when using British Airways Avios points less than 3 weeks before your trip, which can save you a lot of money if you like to plan last-minute getaways!
5. Fly to Tokyo, Japan From Los Angeles or San Francisco From 50,000 British Airways Avios Points Round-Trip
Although British Airways Avios points aren’t always a great deal for flights to Asia, flying from the West Coast to Tokyo is an exception. Japan Airlines and American Airlines both fly to Tokyo (Haneda and Narita airports) from Los Angeles and San Francisco, and you can book those flights for just 50,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip in coach. You should only have to pay ~$70 in taxes and fees round-trip – there’s no fuel surcharges on these flights.
Those exact same flights would cost you 70,000 American Airlines miles, or 65,000 to 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles!
6. Fly Around Russia on S7 Airlines With No Fuel Surcharges
S7 Airlines is the largest airline in Russia, with 147 destinations in 34 countries (including most of Europe and large parts of Asia). Russia’s a big place, so some flights are on the more expensive end in terms of number of British Airways Avios points required, but there are also some very cheap flights – for example, flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg only costs 9,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip!
And a flight from Berlin to Moscow requires 15,000 British Airways Avios points round trip – for comparison, booking the same route on another airline with Delta or United Airlines miles would cost 25,000 miles round trip.
To make this an even better deal, S7 Airlines has no fuel surcharges. You should only have to pay taxes and fees. For Russian domestic flights, this is less than $10! The Berlin to Moscow flight mentioned earlier would cost ~$55 round-trip because of the German departure taxes.
7. Explore Southeast Asia on Malaysian Airlines or SriLankan Airlines
Malaysian Airlines and SriLankan Airlines both offer some great opportunities to explore Southeast Asia using British Airways Avios points. You can fly from Kuala Lumpur all over West Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, and Vietnam for just 9,000 Avios points round-trip, or visit East Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar for 15,000 Avios points round-trip!
From Sri Lanka, 9,000 Avios points will get you from Colombo to the Maldives – it’s often easy to find relatively inexpensive tickets to Colombo, so this can be a great way to reach this island paradise! You can also travel from Colombo to anywhere in South India for this price.
8. Domestic Flights in Japan for 9,000 British Airways Avios Points Round-Trip (and Upgrade to Premium Economy for Less Than $10!)
Japan is a relatively compact country, so 9,000 British Airways Avios points can get you a round-trip flight almost anywhere! Taxes are very low on these flights – expect to pay less than $10 round trip. And to make things even better, domestic flights booked with British Airways Avios points are eligible for upgrades!
If Premium Economy seats (Japan Airlines calls them “Class J”) are available at check-in, you can secure one for just 1,000 Japanese yen – less than $10! And if your flight has available First Class seats, those cost 8,000 Japanese yen (~$75).
9. Travel Around East Asia on Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines
Cathay Pacific (based in Hong Kong) and Japan Airlines both have a lot of short flights between countries in East Asia. These flights can be very expensive with cash, but they’re very cheap when using British Airways Avios points.
9,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip:
- Hong Kong to Taiwan, Vietnam, or southern China
- Tokyo, Japan to Busan, South Korea (or Osaka to Seoul)
15,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip:
- Taipei, Taiwan to South Korea or southern Japan
- Tokyo, Japan to Seoul, South Korea; Vladivostok, Russia; or Shanghai, China
- Osaka, Japan to Taipei, Taiwan Seoul, South Korea; or Sapporo, Japan
For comparison, round-trip flights from Taipei to Seoul usually cost $200 to $300 round trip; Hong Kong to Taipei on Cathay Pacific is usually $250; and Tokyo to Shanghai often costs upwards of $300. And if you’re visiting several countries, one-way tickets can be even more expensive! So using British Airways Avios points can save you a big chunk of cash.
10. Fly from New York, Dallas, or Miami to South America on American Airlines or LATAM Airlines
British Airways Avios points can save you a lot of miles when booking travel to South America from American Airlines hubs like New York, Dallas, and Miami. Here are a few examples:
- New York to Venezuela for 25,000 Avios points round-trip
- Miami to Colombia, Venezuela, or Ecuador for 20,000 Avios points round-trip
- Dallas to Sao Paulo, Santiago, or Buenos Aires for 50,000 Avios points round-trip
For some of these routes, using American Airlines miles for the exact same flights would cost more than twice as many miles! So using British Airways Avios points for these tickets is a great deal. And you won’t have to pay much in taxes and fees – for example, Dallas to Santiago would cost ~$50 round-trip.
You can also book flights to South America from Los Angeles, though for those routes using British Airways Avios points is usually more expensive than United Airlines miles. But it can still be an option if cash prices are high and United Airlines doesn’t have available award seats, or you don’t have United Airlines miles.
11. Short Flights on Comair in Southern Africa From 8,000 British Airways Avios Points Round-Trip
Comair is a South African airline (based in Johannesburg) that operates flights for British Airways within South Africa and to Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Most Comair flights cover short distances, which means you can book tickets for a very small number of British Airways Avios points – a great way to explore if southern Africa is on your bucket list!
Almost all of its routes are under 650 miles, which means you can book them for just 8,000 British Airways Avios points on off-peak dates (and 9,000 on peak dates). Their flights to Cape Town and Windhoek are slightly more expensive at 13,500 points round-trip off-peak, and their longest route (Johannesburg to Mauritius) would cost 17,000 points round-trip off-peak. Flights within Africa tend to be on the expensive side, so even these longer flights can be a good deal. Just make sure you compare cash prices before you book!
You can get very good deals on short-haul flights within North America or around Asia. Or consider redeeming British Airways Avios points for otherwise typically expensive flights within Africa or to South America.
What’s your favorite way to use British Airways Avios points?