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Avios, Some Good Ways To Use Those Miles.

I’ve  written here before about how British Airways has recently devalued their loyalty program by changing key benefits in the new Avios program to their favor, not their customers. This is all old news now and some of my friends out there who do what AwardsBooker does have found some ways around the devaluations. Here are just a few recently-published insider insights:

The first is to use your Avios miles for travel in the US and central America  on American Airlines. This is especially good value if you’re only going a short distance.  Every other awards program in the US charges 25,000 miles for a coach trip no matter how far you go.  So a trip on US Airways from Washington to Charlotte will cost you 25,000 miles and about $2.50 in taxes. Now if you used Avios for a similar trip, because they do it by distance, it would almost be half the miles and the same amount in taxes. Now this is not the way I prefer to use miles as I like to get the most bang for the buck but in international first and business class but for families out there that need to get children off to see grandma this can be a great value.

We’ve also found out that British Airways is partners with Aer Lingus and that the fuel surcharges on Aer Lingus’s flights are significantly less than flying BA. You can go from Boston to Shannon/Dublin for 25,000 in coach or 50,000 in business with about $120 in taxes and fees, much less then the $600 BA would charge you. Now to put this in perspective, it’s often very hard to find business class award seats during the summer months to Europe. Aer Lingus has pretty good availability with service from the US to Ireland . I’ve recommended this route to a relative recently who wants to take his wife away to Europe but only had 100,000 Avios miles. Using British Airways would be expensive in coach in both points and taxes.  He didn’t have enough for business class, even if you could find it, so he was stuck until we found this little gem of a deal.

If you’re lucky enough to live in Brazil, it seems that the regulations there don’t allow airlines to add fuel surcharges to ticket prices.  If your trip begins in Brazil, you’ll only need the Avios points and about $30 in taxes to fly British Airways or Iberia to Europe.  Start the same trip in Europe and you’ll be on the hook for more than $600 in taxes and fuel surcharges.   All we need now is for the credit card companies to start extending their generous sign up bonuses to consumers in South America.

These opportunities and loopholes come and go all the time.  Here at AwardsBooker.com we stay on top of them so you don’t have to.  Call or email us next time you’re using miles to book award travel. 

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