Double Duty Daddy

My Favorite Airline Miles


There are a few tricks within the Points and Miles Travel community that I like to keep on the hush hush, simply because if I shared it with too many people, well, it could jeopardize the continuity of it. But I see too many people book American Airlines awards without having a clue about the gem that is, British Airways Avios.

Let me explain. British Airways and American Airlines are part of the same alliance, Oneworld. You can book American Airlines flights with British Airways Avios and spend significantly less of your hard earned miles. American Express and Chase are transfer partners of British Airways so if you have a credit card that accrues Amex Membership Reward points or Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer the amount of points you need to British Airways and then you can book flights through the BA site. You would just need to sign up for a free British Airways Executive Club membership here so you can transfer your points and turn them into BA Avios.

Why would you want to do that, you ask? Well, BA has a distance-based award chart, that means that they charge you a given amount of miles based on the distance you are flying. That’s different then say, AA, where a domestic flight within the US will start at a fixed 25,000 AA miles. That same flight with Avios may cost you as little as 9,000 miles roundtrip and you’ll still get to fly the same AA aircraft/route. Confused yet?

Check out this chart:


Let me give you a real life example. In February 2016, I want to take Steph and the twins to the Hyatt Ziva Montego Bay in Jamaica, an all-inclusive resort for the weekend. Flights to Montego Bay from Miami per person are pricing out at $388+tax per person and for a family of four, it comes out to $1552! I’m not paying that. With AA miles, it’s pricing out at 35,000 AA miles per person and for a family of four, it comes out to 140,000 AA miles! I’m not paying that either. So how am I getting to Jamaica on the cheap? Avios!

Because British Airways operates a distance-based chart and MIA-MBJ is less than 650 miles (see chart) I pay 4,500 one-way or 9,000 ROUNDTRIP per person for the regular “blue class” fare which is your average coach seat. Taxes and fees for 4 people come out to $465. Now do the math:  36,000 Avios + $465 in taxes/fees versus paying $1500+ cash or using 140,000 AA miles for a family of four, using Avios is a MUCH better option, don’t you agree? From Miami alone, you can get to Cancun, Punta Cana, Nassau, Turks & Caicos, Cayman Islands for 4,500 OW, that’s ONLY 9,000 miles roundtrip! Those same routes using AA miles would cost you 3-4x more than with Avios. The beauty of Avios is they can be used to book any AA or partner flight around the world, in mostly any continent, but I strategically only use them for short-distanced international flights because once the flights get longer in distance, the ‘dirt cheap’ value of Avios becomes convoluted (and expensive) for me.

Check out The Points Guy’s post on how you can use Avios to get to the Caribbean from NYC, Miami and Dallas. Remember, Avios offer an incredible value when flying on short-distanced, usually expensive flights and you can even use them to travel within Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

Any questions?

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  1. Victoria Mollinedo August 26, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Never knew about Avios. Thanks so much for sharing your secret!!

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