It’s a whole new ball game now that British Airways has switched to Avios. Many blogger are poo-pooing the changes. And I totally get it for the type of travel they were used to using British Airways miles. Many of them travel business or first class overseas. I don’t fall into that camp. I used British Airways miles on American Airlines domestically. As I mentioned this morning, I’m actually pleased with some of the changes. I believe the best use for British Airways miles is to use them for short-haul domestic flights.
The number of Avios needed for an award ticket is now based on the distance of the trip. Below is a chart that shows how many Avios you’ll need based on the distance traveled (chart courtesy of http://awardguru.wordpress.com; not for flights on British Airways or Iberia). If you have more than one segment to your trip, you have to calculate each segment and then add up the number of Avios needed for each segment to get your total. For example, let’s say you want to fly from Boston to Chicago, but you couldn’t find a direct flight. Let’s say, your flight had a connection in New York. You have to calculate the distance from Boston to New York – 160 miles. You would need 4500 Avios for that segment. Then you have to calculate the distance from New York to Chicago – 637 miles. You would need another 4500 miles for that segment. So all in for one-way, you would need 9,000 Avios. And if you took the same route back, the entire trip would be 18,000 Avios.
You can quickly see that living near an American Airlines hub is going to help you out tremendously. I live driving distance from the New York airports. It would make sense for me to fly out of my home airport because it would likely tack on an extra 9,000 Avios required per round-trip.
I did dream of taking a business class trip to the South Pacific. The old British Airways program would have been great for that (especially because of stopovers). So I am sad that those trips are no longer as good of a deal using British Airways miles. However, it means we need to find new ways to use the miles.