Mixing Cash and Avios Gave Me 12 Cents Per Point - In Economy - Running with Miles
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Mixing Cash and Avios Gave Me 12 Cents Per Point – In Economy

Written by Charlie

There is still a lot of value that can be had with Avios redemption – even in economy! Check how I got 12 cents per Avios by mixing cash and Avios for an economy ticket!

Advertiser Disclosure

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.

mix cash and avios

The flight cost – $722 for 4.5 hours of economy!

Award Options

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).

mix cash and avios

The cost for mixing cash and Avios

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 AviosNot bad at all!

mix cash and avios

Getting 12 cents per Avios for an economy redemption is great!

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!

Takeaway

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

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

3 Comments

  • great post, have saved a fortune with the “mixed” pricing a few times. shame this doesn’t work for domestic US awards

  • Part pay with Avios is the best way to get “cheap and affordable” flights when paid trips are EXPENSIVE. However, I disagree with your way of calculating the value of 1 Avios point.

    To begin with, you wouldn´t have paid the initial USD722. So even though there´s a “theoretical” value, the pragmatic value should be calculated on the price you where willing to pay for that particular flight, probably somewhere between USD250-400, thus reducing the value. In real terms, the Avios value is probably somewhere 2-4 cents.

    • This argument has been around for years and really does not work for a situation like this (mostly works for business class tickets anyway).
      Let me break it down: While you may be right about the cost of the ticket, the only other ticket that would have worked in that timeframe did cost $400 and had a layover. Because it would have made the connections too tight, it wasn’t a real option.
      But, if it was, you would still need to add about another $100 on to that price for the convenience of a non-stop. So, now we would be looking at a value of 6.8 cents per Avios – if it were that simple.
      But it isn’t that simple when you have the option of scaling the use of Avios and making up for it with cash. If I had used the full 10,000 Avios and $152, I would have received a straight value of 5.7 cents per Avios. By choosing to pay more with cash and use fewer Avios, it means I received an extra 6.8 cents per Avios. That means I received at least 6.8 cents per Avios in value based on what I used vs what I could have used.
      And because it is so complicated to pinpoint, that is why it is easier in situations like this to pin the value at something fixed – like the actual ticket price.
      Now, if you want to talk about trying to assign value to miles for a $12,000 first class ticket, I am sure we could agree on that! 🙂

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