Interesting New Avios Redemption Option Announced!

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Oneworld (the airline alliance that British Airways is a member of) announced yesterday that the first of its new ‘Oneworld Connect’ partners is Fiji Airways.

‘Connect’ membership is essentially a watered down version of full membership of the alliance and works in the following way:

“Each oneworld connect partner will need to have a minimum of three oneworld members as its sponsors to be initiated into the programme.  The initial oneworld sponsors of Fiji Airways will be all four of oneworld’s original founding members – American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas…

neworld connect partners will provide select alliance benefits to frequent flyers from any oneworld member airline travelling on their flights, with a more extensive range of benefits offered with their oneworld sponsors.

Customers with Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby status in any oneworld member airline’s frequent flyer programme will be able to use priority check-in desks, where available.  Also, customers with Emerald or Sapphire status will be offered priority boarding.

The additional benefits offered by oneworld connect partners to customers from their oneworld sponsors and vice versa include:

  • Through check-in of passengers and their baggage for journeys including connections between a connect carrier and any of its oneworld sponsors.
  • The ability to earn and redeem frequent flyer rewards, and earn frequent flyer status points, for eligible flights.  (For customers from oneworld connect airlines, these benefits depend on the oneworld connect partner offering a frequent flyer programme.
  • Access to select lounges at key airports for First or Business Class passengers or those with eligible top-tier frequent flyer status.”

Why does this matter?

Being able to receive status perks when flying with Fiji Airways is a nice little extra for British Airways Executive Club elite members (if a bit niche!), but I think the real benefit here is the opportunity for everyone to redeem Avios on Fiji Airways flights.

Fiji Airways, “serves 21 destinations in 13 states and territories, including oneworld hubs Sydney, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and, from next month, Tokyo… Its inclusion in oneworld will add seven territories – its Fiji home and the neighbouring South Pacific states of Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Western Samoa – and nine destinations to the oneworld map, strengthening oneworld’s position as the leading alliance serving the South Pacific”.

The Pacific islands are fascinating destinations, but can be difficult and/or expensive to travel to. Being able to redeem Avios could (potentially!) lead to some great deals, if you fancy a bit of island hopping.

No date has been set yet for when it will be possible to book Fiji Airways flights using Avios, but hopefully it won’t be too long. One big question is what level of ‘surcharges’ BA will charge on these redemptions, but I doubt we’ll get any information on that until the award availability goes live.

Bottom line

It’s always good to see more options for redeeming Avios – and for many people the South Pacific really is a dream destination, so this is a very welcome development.

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