This series in some ways was an attempt to prove that Avios points don’t suck, unless you suck at using them. Of course, it depends on where you live as to how awesome they actually are. But most places are one segment away from an AA hub, and thus can position themselves for a great, cheap route. Certain places are better for certain routes, because living in Boston is a stone’s throw away from Dublin, I’d be making that trip for the weekends. Plus it helps to live in hub cities – MIA, LAX, DFW, etc…
But if you take the time to find the routes that are closest to 2,999 flown miles (but not more), you can really save Avios and see more. That’s the point of this series. Here is a summary, a “best of” and some awesome tools for anyone with Avios!
- Using Stopovers to Save Avios to South America
- Using Stopovers to Save Avios Across the Pacific
- Using Stopovers to Save Avios to Europe
- Using Stopovers to Save Avios to India
The Better Avios Redemption Calculator
I recently learned of a tool (created by Wandering Aramean?) that calculates the best route for you, found here. This simply calculates all the different routes for you to find the cheapest one. This tool is great and I wish I had seen it before I started writing this (as it would have saved some time). However, it’s not quite complete. Almost though, and so it’s still worth using before every flight.
The problem is that it doesn’t show multiple connections. Also, when I search ATL – TXL, it seems to not show routing through JFK/LGA, which is the cheapest. But these are minor details now that Aer Lingus is loaded!
It’s still awesome because it shows almost everything and it does it for you instantly. So first of all British Airways’ reward calculator sucks, and if you let it route for you… you’re just going to get routed through London every time and get screwed. If you check this better Award Calculator, you’re going to see all the options. Heck, sometimes there are multiple ways to route all better than the BA default route. And sometimes you’re chosen one isn’t available. This will at least show you all the routing options. In the end, it’s the best tool we have, and if you can think of a route using one of the other tools, check it as well.
For most routes this tool will save you a lot of time. I even like that it shows more expensive routes, as the point may be to see more and you may notice a desired destination for slightly more.
The OneWorld Map is another great tool just to find routes and then take them back to a great circle mapper and map out the distance. Again I’m looking for optimal value around 2,999 in air miles but you might see some other great options and more desirable destinations to stopover.
Of course, then you need to take it back and find availability by searching BritishAirways.com (although it’s not 100% accurate, it shows most airlines and can give you an idea).
Here is a good deal found in each post.
The Hawaiian way to Sydney for 37,500 instead of 50,000.
- LAX – HNL = 12,500
- HNL – SYD = 25,000
Instead of going from Miami to Santiago (or Buenos Aires) direct for 25,000 Avios, try taking a stopover in Equador. Either GYE or OIU (despite the high airport taxes).
- MIA – UIO = 10,000
- UIO – SCL = 12,500
The best deal here has to be Boston to Dublin for 12,500 Avios. You can actually take advantage of this even if you don’t live in Boston. For example, from Seattle it would normally cost 32,500 Avios to route through NYC but instead;
- SEA – BOS = 12,500
- BOS – DUB = 12,500
This actually continues on in a number of ways as you can then fly Aer Lingus (which is based out of Dublin) to different places in Europe, like Moscow and Helsinki, to save Avios for your final destination.
From Vancouver it’s cheaper to route through Hong Kong to get to India. Plus I’d rather fly Cathay than JAL, if even to avoid fuel surcharges and sea urchins for lunch.
- YVR – HKG = 30,000
- HKG – BOM = 12,500
I will say that sometimes the best route is not the one that saves 2,500 Avios but sometimes it’s the one with cheaper fuel surcharges. That’s why I did a series on Airlines to Avoid Fuel Surcharges with Avios. That may actually be the more important series especially paired with the Better Avios Calculator.
Round the World with Avios?
I’m actually tempted to create a “round the world” ticket with Avios based on the 100,000 Avios Visa that comes out every once in a while. My aim is to spend my way to the companion pass and all the bonuses thus giving 130,000 Avios. I’m still planning/mulling it over but I’m thinking about a trip like this:
BOS – DUB – AMM – DEL – KUL – PER – SYD – HNL – SEA – BOS = 125,000 Avios
I’ve also thought about switching it to go from DUB to KUL this way: DUB – SVO – DXB / AUH – CMB – MLE – KUL
But I could redeem miles with another program to get to JNB and do JNB – MRU – KUL, but the point would be to do it all on Avios…
All that for 125,000 Avios in economy is a steal. While it’s a lot of flying it would be broken up into bearable short flights. For 125k I’d see 8 countries and Hawaii. Plus it would cross Europe, the Middle East, Asia (both Central and SE) and Australia. Am I a mad man or is this trip in the realm of sanity? It’s hard to know anymore. Either way, you will probably be seeing more about this in the future when I actually have time to go on a trip this long. It would also have to be really well timed or too long to avoid winter in both Dublin and Sydney (I don’t like the cold).
But right now there is actually a 50,000 point Amex Gold Card. 50,000 points for $5,000 of spending. Plus, there is also a 35% bonus for transferring to British Airways right now. This could be about 75,000 Avios- enough to see to do the Boston to Dublin route, roundtrip, 3 times.