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Now that you have collected a sizeable stash of Avios, you will naturally want to squeeze as much value as possible from them – here are 4 great value Avios redemptions that will help you do exactly that.
As a rule of thumb, you maximise the value of your Avios by redeeming for Business Class or First Class flights. For example, an Economy redemption ticket from London to New York on British Airways costs 40,000 Avios for the Return journey on a peak day, plus £301 in taxes and surcharges. This redemption option does not appeal to me, because you can buy a cash ticket for as little as £361 for the Return flight. A Business Class Return ticket from Madrid to New York on an Iberia plane, however, costs 68,000 Avios on an off-peak day plus ~£140 in taxes and surcharges. This is a much better deal in my opinion, because a Business Class ticket can typically cost more than £2,000 between Europe and the USA.
1. Redeem via Iberia to save cash on surcharges
Redeeming your Avios on Iberia via Iberia Plus will often save you a small fortune on surcharges.
For example, let’s assume you’d like to fly from Madrid to Buenos Aires in Business Class. Booking this award ticket via the British Airways Executive Club will cost you 150,000 Avios plus £468 (approx. 615€) in taxes and surcharges, whilst booking the exact same flight via Iberia Plus will cost you 150,000 Avios plus 237,44€ (approx. £181). In this example, redeeming via Iberia Plus thus saves you a whopping 377€.
If you are based in the UK or elsewhere in Europe, you’d have to get to Madrid first of course to take this flight. But you should be able to book a short-haul return flight to Madrid for less than 377€. And you’d be able to spend a few days in the Spanish capital on top!
If you are not yet a member of Iberia Plus, you should sign up now. Before you can transfer your Avios from the BA Executive Club over to Iberia Plus, you must have had your Iberia Plus account for at least 90 days and you must have had some account activity, such as crediting a hotel stay to Iberia Plus.
If you do not have any travel coming up which you could credit to Iberia Plus, consider doing some online shopping on the Iberia Plus eStore or with some of Iberia’s other shopping partners. Collecting Avios this way counts as account activity and will enable you to transfer Avios into and out of your Iberia Plus account, once you have had it for 90 days. You can also transfer SPG Starpoints or American Express Membership Rewards Points.
2. Redeem on Iberia to save Avios
Redeeming Avios via Iberia Plus is not only a smart way to save cash on surcharges; it could also save you a lot of Avios.
Business Class Return flights from Europe to New York cost 120,000 Avios on peak dates and 100,000 Avios on off-peak dates with British Airways (plus applicable taxes and surcharges). But an Iberia Business Class Return flight from Madrid to New York only costs 68,000 Avios on an off-peak date (plus applicable taxes and surcharges), which is much less than what BA asks for!
Again, you would have to go to Madrid first, but you will save a lot of Avios!
3. Fly from Berlin to Abu Dhabi Return for only 25,000 Avios (Economy) or 75,000 Avios (Business) plus £50 in taxes and surcharges
BA operates a distance-based flight award chart. The route Berlin – Abu Dhabi falls just short off the 3000-mile threshold and therefore requires fewer Avios than flights to Abu Dhabi from the UK for example. A Business Class Return redemption on Air Berlin will only cost you 75,000 Avios, or 25,000 Avios in Economy plus only £50 in taxes and surcharges. A BA Business Class redemption out of London, by contrast, costs 120,000 Avios on peak days or 100,000 on off-peak days plus a staggering £472 (approx. 620€) in taxes and surcharges.
4. Fly from Tokyo to Okinawa on Japan Airlines for only 15,000 Avios plus £3 (approx. 5€) in taxes and surcharges.
If you are looking for an Avios redemption option with minimal taxes, consider redeeming on JAL’s intra-Japanese routes. For example, you could fly all the way from Tokyo to Okinawa and back for only 15,000 Avios (economy class) plus £3 (approx. 5€) in taxes and surcharges.