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British Airways Avios Reward Flights: Sweet Spots and Travel Hacks

British Airways Embraer 190

British Airways Executive Club is the frequent flyer program of British Airways and a oneworld frequent flyer favourite. There are many easy ways to earn Avios with lots of earning partners in the US, UK, Australia and globally, from credit cards to online shopping partners to plain-old flying. There are also many Avios redemption options with British Airways, oneworld partners and many auxiliary partners (including wine). British Airways Executive Club also offers great perks for their frequent flyer elite statuses, however for more information on that, check out my other article here. Below, I will focus on maximising the value you get from using Avios, and giving you insider tips and travel hacks for the highest value British Airways Avios redemptions opportunities.

Redemption Value

Redemption value is the value of each Avios, for a particular redemption. It varies between redemption options, depending on the following input factors:

  • Cash Price of Redemption (USD or GBP or EUR)
  • Number of Avios Required
  • Cash Co-payment Required (USD or GBP or EUR)

For British Airways flight redemptions, they will give you 6 cash co-payment options, with different redemption values.

Input each option into Forward of the Wing’s Redemption Value Calculator, to maximise the redemption value of your British Airways Executive Club Avios.

Generally, I try to look for options greater than 1.5c/1.1p per Avios, as a rough guide. You can use this method to compare different Avios redemptions across British Airways routes, days (peak vs. off-peak), methods (using companion vouchers etc.) and different oneworld partner redemptions too. This is especially handy if you have flexibility around your holiday travel plans.

British Airways A320 Wingtip

British Airways Executive Club: Insider Tips, Tricks and Travel Hacks

So, here’s what you’ve been waiting for. The best travel hacks with British Airways Avios:

British Airways Reward Flight Saver

Reward Flight Saver is a British Airways flight redemption program, which is now available on all British Airways operated flights. The Avios prices of reward flights is based on the distance band between the origin and destination, and cabin class.

Normally, a cash-copayment covers airport taxes and fees, which are not able to be paid with Avios. With Rewards Flight Saver flights, British Airways gives you 6 cash co-payment options with Avios subsidising airport fees and taxes. For some flights (such as within the UK and Europe), this means your cash co-payment can be as low as £0.50 (60c) per person. Redemption Values do vary massively across the 6 cash-copayment options, so use Forward of the Wing’s Redemption Value Calculator to check which option has the highest Redemption Value for your precious Avios.

Rewards Flight Saver is now available across all short-haul and long-haul destinations in the British Airways network. Note this does exclude codeshare or connecting flights with British Airways partners. In which case, you will only see one cash co-payment option.

Insider Tip: Reward Flight Saver

The travel hacks here are expensive short-haul destinations within Europe such as London to Paris, Berlin or Barcelona, last-minute British Airways flights where it can get pricey, and British school holiday or peak summer flights.

Florence, Italy
Take the family to Florence in the August School Holidays with British Airways’ Avios Only Flights.

Avios-only flights

It is worth mentioning this new update to the British Airways Executive Club program. British Airways have recently announced (and expanded) a series of flights to select destinations and on certain dates with full Avios availability, ensuring plenty of availability in all cabin classes for Avios redemptions.

These are especially great for families travelling together as it can often be difficult to find four or more Avios seats available on the same flight, in the same cabin, let alone return flight options.

British Airways pioneered this new Avios redemption option with flights to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in November 2023, and has recently added Geneva (February and March 2024) to take advantage of peak ski season and school holidays. Barcelona and Nice are available for Easter Holidays (April) 2024. Avios-only Flights to Palma, Ibiza, Corfu, Faro and Florence have also been added for peak summer August 2024 as well. There will be more routes and availability to come, so best to keep an eye on your emails from the British Airways Executive Club.

British Airways Club Europe Seat
British Airways Club Europe

Cabin Upgrades

If you have an upcoming British Airways operated flight, check the same flight in the “Book with Avios” function. If there is Avios flight redemption space available in the next cabin up (not available for all flights), within “Manage Your Booking”, you may be given the choice to upgrade with cash or Avios. You may also see cash upgrades available when there is no Avios availability.

Cash Cabin Upgrades

Cash upgrades can sometimes provide a discount to buying the same fare outright. However, I have also seen it more expensive. Best to compare to the cash fare, as you may also be able to “change your flight” to a Club Europe or Club World fare for less, especially if there is a current British Airways sale on.

Avios Cabin Upgrades

Avios cabin upgrades can allow you to upgrade your existing British Airways booking to the next cabin up when there is Avios availability for the particular flight you are travelling on. Sometimes the difference between Economy and Premium Economy, Club Europe, Club World or First can be hundreds or thousands of pounds (or dollars). If you do have a bank of Avios to use, Cabin Upgrades can be a high Redemption Value opportunity to make the most of your hard earned Avios.

Avios upgrades are based on the fixed Avios redemption amount of:

Next cabin up Avios required – current cabin Avios required

My Recent Experience of an Avios Club Europe Upgrade

I was lucky in 2022 to score a Club Europe upgrade to Split using this method, when British Airways was still flying out of LHR T3. This could be the ultimate travel hack for British Airways Silver, Gold and Club Europe or Club World flyers, as you have access to a plethora of oneworld Sapphire business class lounges, perfect for a lounge hop. This includes the Qantas Lounge, Cathay Pacific Lounge, British Airways T3 Lounge, and American Airlines Admirals Lounge. Also, as I booked early, the economy cash fare was not too expensive, and the Avios upgrade was essentially free. Because of this, the redemption value of this flight was high compared to alternative redemption opportunities.

British Airways Club Suite 777

Premium Cabins

Travelling in Business Class or First Class is an unobtainable dream for many, as the cash fares are usually extortionate. Using the “Rewards Flight Finder” tool on the British Airways website to find Avios flight redemption availability on different routes is a great way to find availability, and then book premium economy, Business Class or First Class travel with Avios, for less.

Often, these opportunities represent great value Avios redemptions because the cash fare is generally high versus the fixed number of Avios. This means the redemption value per Avios is high too.


In 2023, there seems to be plenty of availability transatlantic between New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston and London and limited availability to the Far East and Australia (due to fewer flights), but best to check the Rewards Flight Finder for current availability. New Avios award flight availability is released 355 days out. However this early availability can get snapped up fast on popular routes, with a limited number of flights.

Avios redemption rates are distance-based. The sweet spots for experiencing British Airways Club World or First for less include Kuwait, Dubai, Doha, and New York to/from London where these destinations are on the cusp of the distance bands. Avios redemptions are also great in Club Europe where Avios redemption values can be much better than Economy redemptions. If you have a limited number of British Airways Avios available, check out Forward of the Wing’s Guide to the best Avios Redemptions under 25,000 Avios for some more travel hacks.

Cathay Pacific 777 waiting for takeoff at Hong Kong International Airport

oneworld Partners

With British Airways Executive Club, you can redeem Avios on other oneworld partner airlines for greater route availability than British Airways offers alone.

This is especially great for Middle East, Far East and Australia routes where British Airways flies fewer flights, Oceania and Asia to North America flights, and domestic US flights. Additionally, some partners have lower redemption amount sweet spots to take advantage of when booked through British Airways.

For example, you can experience QSuite (Skytrax World’s Best Business Class) on Qatar Airways from London to Australia for only 90,000 Avios one-way, which is a bargain and less than the amount required by British Airways for their own flights to Sydney (which seldom have Avios availability unfortunately).

Because Avios redemptions are distance-based, there are sweet spots available on expensive short-haul routes. This includes certain domestic US routes with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines (Hawaii is a great redemption) and trans-Tasman routes (with Qantas) where there are good-value Avios redemptions to be found, especially in premium cabins. Within Europe, besides the British Airways flight network, Iberia and Finnair have some great short-haul Avios flight redemption opportunities. Within Asia, there can also be some good redemption value opportunities with Cathay Pacific, JAL, Sri Lankan Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.

Japan Airlines 787

British Airways Round-the-World Tickets / Multi-Carrier Award Tickets

With British Airways Avios, you can redeem from just 100,000 Avios (in economy) plus taxes and airport fees for a multi-carrier award ticket to travel around the world, utilising both British Airways and oneworld alliance partner airline routes. The minimum multi-carrier award ticket to make it fully around the world starts from just 200,000 Avios for Business Class (2x Economy) and 300,000 Avios for First Class (3x Economy). First Class is becoming less and less available these days, as more airlines step up their business class offering instead, so might not be available on all flight routes you intend to fly. So I think the sweet spot here is the Business Class option. British Airways multi-carrier award tickets are priced by total distance flown, not by the flight distance of each flight segment.

British Airways Multi-Carrier Award Ticket pricing is based on the following distance bands:

Total DistanceAvios Required for Economy (+ airport fees and taxes)
0-1,500 Miles30,000
1,500-4,000 Miles35,000
4,001-9,000 Miles60,000
9,001-10,000 Miles70,000
10,001-14,000 Miles90,000
14,001-20,000 Miles100,000
20,001-25,000 Miles120,000
25,001-35,000 Miles140,000
35,001-50,000 Miles160,000
Multiple the Avios required by 2x for Business Class and by 3x for First Class.

For shorter multi-carrier award tickets, it often makes sense just to pay cash or book separate one-way award tickets as the total flight costs tend to be low or require fewer Avios. Multi-carrier award tickets just tend to work out more expensive for shorter hops. Thats why I think a round the world ticket is the perfect use for multi-carrier award tickets, to maximise redemption value. Multi-carrier award tickets come with the added benefit that you don’t actually have to go fully around the world. You can go one-way via Asia, Europe or Australia, and return the same way. Unlike typical Round the World tickets.

Multi-carrier Award Ticket Conditions

For the multi-carrier award ticket, all flight routes must have Avios redemption availability, and you must book over the phone with British Airways to redeem. Therefore, this redemption takes some serious planning and playing around with the “Book with Avios” function on the British Airways website.

With a multi-carrier award ticket, you do have less conditions and more flexibility than a traditional round-the-world airfare such as the oneworld Explorer or Global Explorer.

However, you still must meet the following conditions for a British Airways multi-carrier ticket:

  • You must travel on at least two other oneworld partner airlines besides British Airways
  • Maximum of 8 flight segments
  • Maximum of 12 months in trip duration
  • Maximum of one open-jaw
  • You must follow a logical sequence (at the discretion of British Airways)

Insider Tip: Mixing Cabin Classes

The beauty of a oneworld Explorer multi-carrier ticket booked through British Airways is whether you choose an Economy, Business or First Class ticket, it only has to be the cabin on the longest sector – possibly one of the best travel hacks of all.

You can book a Business Class Round-the-World ticket, fly Business Class for the longest sector, and fly First Class for all other sectors (if there is route and British Airways Avios flight redemption availability).

For retirees, gap year backpackers or honeymooners, a multi-carrier award ticket can be a great redemption option as long as you are flexible with destinations, timings and have time to plan your route in advance.

British Airways Plane Wingtip on Final Approach

Open-jaw Avios Redemptions

Sometimes there isn’t Avios redemption availability for return flights to a specific destination, or you want to make a one-way roadtrip out of your trip (looking at you Pacific Coast Highway Cali-sun loving readers).

Well, the good news is you can book open-jaw routes with Avios and even use your American Express Premium or Premium Plus 2-4-1 companion voucher.

The rule is that the distance between the outbound destination airport and the inbound departure airport must be shorter than either of the two one-way flights. That means that not only can the landing destination and return flight origin be different airports, but also the final destination and origin airport can also be different locations too.

Currently, with British Airways still flying less flights to the Far East and Australia than pre-pandemic, availability is scarce, especially on the London-Singapore-Sydney route. This route has the brand-new Club Suites in Business Class, but there are other routes too and will continue to be as British Airways retrofits their aircraft.

With an open-jaw route, you need to check one-way availability through the British Airways website for both routes in the cabin you want with suitable dates, then call the British Airways call center to book.

An example of how you could use this is if there is one-way Avios availability showing from Singapore to London, and London to Tokyo. You could then pay for a cash repositioning flight from your home to Singapore and from Tokyo to Singapore or home, and you would see three cities instead of one. This is a great way to make the most of companion or cabin upgrade vouchers, when availability is severely limited.

British Airways Embraer 190 parked on the apron at London City Airport


With so many travel hacks to redeem Avios for, British Airways Executive Club is a great frequent flyer program to seriously consider if it will benefit you. The frequent flyer elite status benefits are great and recognised worldwide as part of the oneworld alliance, Avios are easy to earn and redeem, and British Airways have a great soft and hard product with a route network that stretches globally. Whilst it might not be best for trans-Pacific, trans-Tasman or Asia-based frequent flyers (although there are oneworld partners including Qantas, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines that do cover these routes), those frequent flyers who do often fly through London could see serious benefit from using the British Airways Executive Club as their primary oneworld frequent flyer account. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can sign up here.