I’m in the midst of helping some family members spend some of their Avios on an anniversary trip (and now that I think of it, I have my own anniversary trip to start thinking about planning too!). All my aunt told me was that she wanted to go somewhere warm, cheap, and direct from any of the 3 NYC airports.
Rather than continue with countless email chains with single-sentence replies such as, “Does Cancun work?”, “How about Barcelona?”, “Miami?”, I decided to make it easier for them to see what their award possibilities were all together.
Of course, these destinations are contingent on availability, and as I mentioned in my previous post about using Avios over AAdvantage miles, it’s best to search for Avios availability on aa.com. The rule of thumb here is if there is sAAver space on aa.com, then it that same flight(s) can be booked using Avios.
British Airways Avios are extremely valuable when you can fly short, direct, economy flights on partners that don’t collect fuel surcharges. Awards start at 4,500 Avios and $2.50 one way within the United States, which no other type of miles can match.
And even better, British Airways Avios are extremely easy to collect. The fastest way to earn Avios is with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card (Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening).
Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, and SPG points all transfer to British Airways Avios. I passed along a targeted 100K American Express Platinum offer to my aunt, so that she can get started with a nice chunk of Membership Rewards points that she could transfer to Avios as needed.
As for Ultimate Rewards, right now you can earn 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months on the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
I’ve listed all destinations and their Avios price for a one way economy award from each of New York’s three major airports. For business class, double the Avios price. For first class, triple it.
For surcharge info, you can price out the award on ba.com or check this post on milevalue. Or you can just remember that there are no fuel surcharges on flights within the western hemisphere or on airberlin or Aer Lingus flights (PS – don’t fly economy on airberlin if you’re tall – it was tight for me and I’m 5’1″!).
7,500 Avios band: Miami, Chicago (ORD), Charlotte, Philadelphia
10,000 Avios band: Dallas/Fort Worth
12,500 Avios band: Phoenix, Seattle
20,000 Avios band: Paris (ORY), London (LHR)
50,000 Avios band: Hong Kong
7,500 Avios band: Chicago, Miami, West Palm Beach, Fayetteville (AR), Little Rock, Louisville, Nashville, St. Louis, Traverse City (MI), Charlottesville (VA), Columbus (OH), Dayton, Detroit, Greensboro, Knoxville, Montreal, Norfolk, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Roanoke, Toronto–Pearson, Wilmington (NC), Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington (DCA), Pittsburgh, Boston
10,000 Avios band: Dallas/Fort Worth, Eagle/Vail (CO)
7,500 Avios band: Bermuda, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Indianapolis, Nashville, Charlotte, Boston, Washington DC (DCA), Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus (OH), Montreal, Norfolk (VA), Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Toronto
10,000 Avios band: Antigua, Austin, Cancun, Dallas, Port-au-Prince, St. Thomas, San Juan (SJU), Eagle/Vail (CO), Punta Cana, St. Kitts, St. Maarten
12,500 Avios band: Phoenix, Vancouver, Guayaquil, Caracas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, San Jose (CR)
20,000 Avios band: Dublin, Shannon, Berlin, Dusseldorf, London (LHR, LCY), Madrid, Lima, Paris (CDG, ORY), Barcelona, Manchester (MAN), Milan (MXP), Zurich
25,000 Avios band: Helsinki, Santiago (SCL), Rio de Janeiro (GIG), Sao Paulo (GRU), Buenos Aires (EZE), Rome
30,000 Avios band: Amman
35,000 Avios band: Doha, Tokyo (NRT)
50,000 Avios band: Hong Kong, Sydney
What destinations would you recommend? I have used Avios countless times on last-minute trips to Montreal, Chicago, and Miami, just to name a few. At first I was leaning towards suggesting a few relaxing days in Bermuda, but then I heard it’s well… dead there. Thoughts?