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How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

Bainbridge Island...
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How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

Hello!

I live in the United States and I've had a difficult time using them my points but it is clear that I have yet to learn the ins and out of how to maximize the points. The Europeans on this forum find them to be very useful for short-haul trips, and for upgrades, but in the US we are very limited on how the points can be used for Air travel.

I want to learn the tips and tricks from those who have been so successful in using Avios points so I thought I would post the following specific "hypothetical" scenarios:

If you lived in the United States and had 850,000 Avios points how would you use them? Go nuts and be crazy in your ideas. The more creative the better!!

Scenario 1. travel for pleasure and business in the United States between Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Denver and New York.

Scenario 2. travel for a family vacation with 2 young-children to the UK

Scenario 3. travel for a family vacation with 2 young children to Australia.

Thank you in advance! - I look forward to learning from your creative ideas!

London
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1. Re: How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

Seems to be a very specific number. Why not pick 1,000,000?

Do you happen to have 850,000?

Ayr, Scotland
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2. Re: How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

OP - I am so jealous! I am back down to 10k after spending another load ;-)

Spain
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for Travel Gadgets and Gear, New Brunswick, Almeria
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3. Re: How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

Just go where and when you want and enjoy.

Arlington, Virginia
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4. Re: How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

Honestly, I find the best redemption of Avios to be first class on transatlantic British Airways flights. IAD (Washington) to LHR for me is, on the priciest day, north of $18,000 roundtrip OR 120,000 Avios + $1000 in taxes and fees. That's a redemption value of $0.141667 per Avios when flights are really pricey, which is pretty good in my book.

With that said, perhaps that's because I see Avios as a "perk" for flying OneWorld (and using my BA card) a lot...rather than flying more AA/US economy (domestic) and BA Club World (international) flights, I save them and upgrade to first on the long flights. Granted, I would never pay $18k for a first class ticket (after all, $5k in business kills me).

I have found Avios a poor redemption in the US on short trips, but many experts (including The Points Guy) disagree. The one place I have found them a good redemption option is between PIT and ORD (9,000 Avios roundtrip on AA + $5 fees) on the new American Eagle regional jets.

forbes.com/sites/grantmartin/2013/07/31/amer…

But, to be honest, I only did that once. I'll keep using them on first class transcon flights to Europe.

Family vacation seems like a waste of Avios if you're traveling with kiddos and planning to fly either First or Club World....they don't appreciate the upgrade like you or I would ;-). Fine if you're abandoning them in the back of the craft (but, if you can't tell, I'm not a parent) or flying World Traveller.

Best,

AM13

Seattle, Washington
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for Seattle
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5. Re: How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

To avoid BA's extortionate fuel surcharges (included in "taxes and fees" when the real term is "profit") don't use them on BA routes anywhere, or on AA, Iberia or BA transatlantic flights. Instead, use them on premium cabin flights within North America, or between North America and Asia or South America. Of course you CAN redeem them on BA flights, but just understand that the relative value of your points is hugely reduced by the fuel surcharges added on top of the miles/Avios.

For example, take the train from Seattle up to Vancouver BC and fly to New York on Cathay Pacific's daily red-eye, in CX's amazing business class for 25,000 Avios and $73 in total taxes/fees, or fly in a first class suite for 37,500 Avios and the same $73. Or on AA's new 777-300 in business class suites to Brazil for 50,000 Avios and $20. (A one-way flight to London on BA in business class will also be 50,000 Avios, but the fuel surcharge will take the "extras" to $472.)

It's worth noting that there's a pending lawsuit in US District Court in New York in which members of the BAEC (BA frequent flyer program) assert that BA calling it a "fuel surcharge" has no basis in reality, since there is no proven relationship between BA's cost of fuel and the surcharge. BA has repeatedly tried to have the suit quashed, but has been overruled every time, most recently at the end of January.

Interesting read - lieffcabraser.com/Documents/Motion-to-Recons…

Bainbridge Island...
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6. Re: How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

ToTheIntrepidExp, It is not the amount of your Avios points it is how you use them, right?

helshaw2002: I am jealous because it is so much easier for europeans to use the points; I really am not complaining.

To arlingtonman13 and ibgardyloo: thank you to both of you. I appreciate the time you took to write the responses - both of which are helpful. Being in the US we have much different choices for hot to use the points to their most value. I very much want to travel back to the UK and take my first trip to Australia and New Zealand.

I know that it is a game of patience and persistance to learn the in's and out's and these are very useful replies.

thank you.

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

For trips to the UK the best use of Avios is for upgrades to paid tickets, specifically to upgrade from World Traveller Plus (premium economy) to Club (business.) In these cases the cost is basically just the additional Avios, as the fuel fines are already buried in the purchased (underlying) ticket price. IIRC it's 12,500 Avios one way to upgrade from any WT+ fare - even the cheapest bucket, "T" - to business class between the US and UK.

Coming back, not only are Avios good for upgrades, but if you start your trip in some other country and merely transit Heathrow, you'll save on the punishing UK air passenger duty (APD) a real tax that also hurts.

Note for you one downside is that there are a lot of frequent commuters in business class on SEA-LHR-SEA (some software company or the like) so getting upgrade space on the BA nonstops can be tricky. (Upgrades come from the same inventory as conventional award tickets.) I've found Vancouver to be easier in general for premium cabin redemptions and upgrades than Seattle, although it adds an obvious annoying feeder trip by car or train or whatever.

Edited: 02 April 2014, 03:37
Ayr, Scotland
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8. Re: How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

Since the OP has so many Avios, surely it would be better to use the points for a full redemption rather than paying for a ticket then upgrading?

The availibility of tickets which can be upgraded from WT+ to CW is the same that can be full Avios redemptions anyway. Would be different if the OP had less Avios but with so many, it makes since to use them and save money surely?

uk
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9. Re: How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

" Just go where and when you want and enjoy."

Not that easy when you want to book redemption flights or upgrades

Flexibility is the key , on Flyertalk there is a whole thread on using Avois points to their best use, it is free to join up so go and have a read there for tips as well.

http://www.flyertalk.com/

I to think if you have all those points a straight full redemption flight would be better idea as well, well that is what I would do.

I never realised it was so difficult for people in US to find redemption flights why is that?

Patience, research and flexibility are the keys to getting what you want, if you are ridged on dates and routes you will probably be disappointed.

Deb

Aberdeen, Scotland
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10. Re: How would you use 850,000 Avios points?

We used our Avios pionts (9,000 of them) last year to go business class between Sydney and Melbourne for only £8.40 in taxes/charges.

The last time we were in Australia we used our BA miles to fly internally and got our 4 (economy) flights for under £50 when if we'd been paying properly we'd have paid around £500.