UPDATE: Given the change to Avios, I have created a New Best Use of British Airways Miles page. From a high-level, the best use is now short-haul trips.
Many of you may have a lot of American Airlines and British Airways miles given the big bonuses they had in the last year. Their redemption options are very similar but there are differences that I talked about in the British Airways post. So what are some of the best uses of British Airways miles over American Airlines? (Note: All redemption costs below assume you’re traveling from the U.S. unless otherwise noted.)
- Hawaii during peak season (April – August) - British Airways charges 17,500 miles each way. American Airlines ups their redemption cost to 22,500 miles each way for peak season.
- Bermuda - BA only charges 25,000 round-trip to Bermuda. American charges 35,000.
- International Stopovers – If you travel to international locations either just on British Airways, British Airways and 1 partner, or just 1 partner, you can use the standard redemption chart (i.e. not the oneworld award chart) while still doing unlimited stopovers. I talked about this in a previous post. While traveling to Europe on BA may cost you a lot in fueling charges, going to other locations (such as South America) may not.
- Domestic Stopovers - BA allows unlimited stopovers. I talked about how you can use this to your advantage on international flights. But you can also use this to your advantage on domestic flights. Let’s say you wanted to make a tour of the U.S. You could travel Boston to Chicago (stopover) to LA one way. And then on the return, you could go LA to Denver (stopover) to Boston. You can add in many stopovers within reason and you should keep the flow of your flights in one direction (don’t zigzag across the country). You will need to call to book a trip with stopovers (800) 452-1201.
This is not meant to be an extensive list of how you can use your British Airways miles. It is meant to give you some of the differences between British Airways and American Airline redemption. You can still use some of the techniques I talked about in the American Airline redemption series with your British Airways miles.
Any American Airlines MileSAAver flight can be booked using British Airways miles. If you have more than one connection or are incorporating stopovers into your trip, you will need to call British Airways to book the flights. I have found that it’s best to do your research before calling. You should know the flight numbers you want before you call. I booked our first trip to Hawaii using BA miles. When I called them to book the flights, the customer service representative told me that there were none available. I asked her if I could give her the flight numbers one by one. She said yes. After I told her all of the flight numbers and dates, she was surprised that the trip was available. You can do your research using the search engines I talked about yesterday.
Feel free to comment on the post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.