Reader Kevin wants to travel from Washington, DC to Toronto sometime this Summer. He’s new to the miles and points game, but his trip provides us with a great opportunity to dive into the great new award flights available using British Airways Avios thanks to US Air’s entry into the Oneworld alliance.
A Quick Review Of Avios
Avios are a tremendous tool for certain flights. While most programs base award flight costs on your origin and destination regions or on the cash cost of a ticket, Avios redemption costs are based on distance. That means short flights – or flights that are just under one of the program’s higher distance thresholds – can often be a very good value using Avios.
Here’s a look at the Avios award chart:
As you can see, flights under 650 miles are a particularly outstanding value using Avios, at just 4,500 Avios each way in Economy.
Avios redemptions are calculated on a per segment basis, which means that flights with connections cost double or more versus non-stop routes on these short trips.
For example, a direct flight from Washington, DC to Toronto is 359 miles, or well within the distance limits for a 4,500 Avios redemption. However, if this flight had to connect in New York, we’d be looking at a total of 9,000 Avios each way: 4,500 from Washington to New York and 4,500 from New York to Toronto.
Avios Possibilities On US Air
Once US Air officially shifted to the Oneworld alliance, it became possible to book flights on the airline using Avios.
Thankfully, Kevin’s airport of choice, Washington-Reagan, happens to be a US Air hub. A few weeks ago, as part of the airline’s ongoing merger with American, US Air switched from Star Alliance to the Oneworld alliance. That made it possible not only for flights on US Air to be booked with American miles, but also with the frequent flyer programs of other Oneworld airlines, including British Airways.
US Air offers direct flights to Toronto from their hub in Washington, so this is a great opportunity for a redemption at 4,500 Avios each way.
Sure enough, if we check on the British Airways Avios Calculator, it confirms the rate for this trip:
Where else might we be able to go using Avios on US Air? It’s best to focus on the airline’s hubs, since other routes are liable to require a connection.
Washington – Reagan
This map draws a circle with a 650 mile radius around US Air’s hub in Washington: