How to Maximize British Airways Avios Across the Oneworld Alliance

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Wondering what to do with the big stash of Avios? Or wondering how you can better make use of the Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards transfers to British Airways for travel across the Oneworld Alliance?

Avios are the shared mileage currency of British Airways and Iberian Airlines–but you can use them for far more than travel on these two European carriers, and you can take advantage of their distance award chart for short flights. Here’s four ways that we like to maximize using Avios for free travel awards

Four Ways to Maximize Travel with Avios

1. Travel across Oneworld Alliance

Many people automatically discount the use of British Airways miles for award flights due to the fact that most of their international flights transit via Heathrow and carry hefty surcharges. Why spend 50,000 miles on a flight if you also have to pay $400 for taxes? The secret–use Avios to book flights that are operated by partner airlines within the Oneworld Alliance. Oneworld has 18 carriers to choose from including American Airlines, Japan Airlines, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, Australian-based Qantas, and Middle-Eastern-based Qatar. You can great redemptions with Avios without high surcharges with the best deals being flights that don’t cross the Atlantic.

2. Discounted Short Distance Fares

Avios is a distance-based rewards program. That means that the number of miles you pay for a flight is based on the actual distance flown rather than paying a set number of miles for a flight within a region, or between two different regions.  If you only need to fly a short distance between San Francisco and Los Angeles, why should you pay the same number of miles  as it would cost to fly to Los Angeles from New York? With the Avios distance-based award chart you don’t have to. With award tickets starting at 4,000-4,500 Avios in economy or 7,750-9,000 Avios in business class for any flight less than 651 miles you’d be able to book 22 flights with that 100,000 point bonus. And remember, you can cover a lot of ground in 650 miles in Europe.

3. Think Beyond Britain

Logically, we’re drawn to think of using British Airways points from Britain, but these short distance award rules also apply to partner flights and are great redemption for other parts of the world. Need to get around Asia? Use them for short flights to/from Hong Kong or Tokyo on Cathay Pacific of Japan Airlines. Domestic flights in Australia? Sydney to Melbourne is just 443 flight miles. You can even use them on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines for domestic flights within the U.S. with rates starting at 7,500 Avios for the shortest flights.

Even if you don’t fly British Airways often (or ever) and don’t have an Executive Club account, it’s still advantageous to take advantage of these short distance awards using points transferred from a flexible rewards program. Create a British Airways mileage account, transfer 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points you’ve earned from your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to Avios, and then use these points to book a flight through British Airways with American or even Alaska Airlines!

4. Family Pooling

Another hidden gem of the Avios program is that British Airways is one of the few airlines that allows pooling of miles between family members at the same address with no charges for sharing or gifting points. If you’re a family who travels a lot on Oneworld this benefit will stretch your miles further.