With the loss of the beautiful 4,500 Avios for short-haul flights in the US on American and Alaskan, I know many travelers have neglected Avios for their short-haul needs. However, the truth is that there is still tremendous value that can be had with Avios in economy even!
Mixing Cash and Avios Gave Me 12 Cents Per Point – In Economy
While British Airways wants to (according to reports) move to more of a revenue-based redemption model in the next year or so, their current distance-based model still presents some incredible opportunities for points redemptions.
The Flight – Qatar Airways from Athens to Doha
I needed a flight from Athens to Doha to catch my QSuites flight coming up. Of course, there is only one airline that flies that route non-stop – Qatar Airways. As a result, they charge quite an amount – $722 for a one way flight in economy. This is a 4.5 hour flight so that is quite a steep price to pay.
Of course, I did not plan on paying for it. 🙂 American Airlines would charge 20,000 miles for that flight (plus taxes and fees) or British Airways would charge 10,000 Avios for it (plus $152 in taxes and fees).
I went with the British Airways Avios but I did not want to pay the full 10,000 Avios either. I only ever transfer Avios over when I need a redemption and I value the other partners from Amex and Chase more than Avios so did not want to move that many over.
Mixing Cash and Avios
That is one of the beautiful parts about redeeming Avios. You can mix cash with Avios to pay less in Avios and that could help give more value for the Avios you spend. So, I went with the minimum of 4,000 Avios and paid $227 instead (paying $75 more but saving 6,000 Avios at a result).
If I had paid the 10,000 Avios and $152 in taxes and fees, I would have received a value of 5.7 cents per Avios. Not bad but not as good as I could get it.
If I went half-way, I could have paid 7,500 Avios and $192 in taxes and fees for a value of 7 cents per Avios. Getting better but still not there.
So, I went to the lowest amount – 4,000 Avios and $227 in taxes and fees. That gave my Avios a value of 12 cents per Avios! Not bad at all!
See Before You Transfer
The best part is you can see all of this before you have to transfer any points to Avios so you can check to see what kind of value you can get. For me, using only 4,000 Avios and paying just $75 more to save 6,000 Avios was completely worth it! It was essentially letting me “buy” the Avios I needed for just 1.25 cents each – and getting some great value out of the Avios I already had!
While there are not that many ways to get huge value like that out of Avios in the US anymore, when you are traveling abroad, do not forget to give Avios a try – especially in economy! They can work exceptionally well when crossing between regions when partners like AA would charge based on those regions instead of the distance.
Next time you go to book an Avios award, do the math to see what kind of value you could get if you pay a little bit more in fees! It could save you some of your valuable transferrable points for other redemptions down the road!
All in all, I am quite happy with my Avios redemption and glad I could mix cash and Avios to make it happen!
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock