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What do Aeroplan and BA Avios have in common? Egregiously high fuel surcharges, imposed by primary airlines of the program. And just like Aeroplan, BA Avios too has its partners and routes that can be utilized to avoid the fuel surcharges. Below, I will list the airlines that you can fly with BA Avios to avoid fuel surcharges completely or at least to ‘acceptable’ levels.
BA Avios – Airline partners with no fuel surcharges
- American Airlines (except US-EU segments – fly Aer Lingus, Iberia for transatlantic routes)
- Malaysia Airlines (no fuel surcharges within Asia, minimal otherwise)
- Aer Lingus
Airline partners with minimal fuel surcharges
- Sri Lankan
Other tips to avoid fuel surcharges with BA Avios
- Often fuel surcharges on round trip are more than two one-way segments
Example: JFK-LHR roundtrip (AA) in economy, comes with a hefty $755.38 in taxes.
But the same trip booked as two one way segments brings the total taxes down to $628.71
- Avoid flying out of London (LHR)
Continuing with our example above, note that the one-way segment from LHR-JFK was a whopping $425.31. Avoid LHR and the taxes come down to $207.78!!
Essentially, you can fly JFK-LHR and DUB-JFK on AA Economy for 40K Avios+411.18. But we can do even better, read on..
- Convert BA Avios to Iberia Avios (identical award charts to BA, no fuel surcharges):
Idea here is to fly Iberia using Iberia Avios. US Gateways: Boston, Chicago, LA, Miami
- Fly (depart) out of countries/cities that regulate or ban fuel surcharges – Australia, Brazil, HK, Japan (depart/arrive), South Korea.
Ricky of Prince of Travel covers this topic in greater detail. Same principles apply across all programs.
- Book Aer Lingus flights to DUB for transatlantic segment. 26000 Avios (+no fuel surcharge) for round-trip in economy, East-Coast to Europe!
Aer Lingus flights do not show on BA search, but you can use United search tool and call BA to book. Aer Lingus flights to North America are as shown below (Montreal and Minneapolis starting 2019);
Now I know. How do I plan?
BA Avios certainly does not make it easy with multiple award charts and redemption rates – Lets start with the current rates (2018) for redemption flights, as per this FlyerTalk thread;
Head hurt yet? Don’t worry, Seth’s (Wandering Aramean) awesome BA Avios Award tools to the rescue! The Avios Calculator will help you navigate the multiple award charts (shown above) with a simple search that lays out the points required and the direct/stop-over routes. The Award Search tool on the other hand is a wonderful map display of the cheapest routes based on city selected, a great way to learn BA Avios’ distance based program.
BA Avios is a strong partner to most credit cards that allow airline transfers, thus, are easy to collect. Although the program is challenging to understand, there are several ways to leverage the oddities – with a distance based award chart, BA Avios are best utilized for Intra-Asia and Intra-EU flights. Hope the tips and tricks discussed above can come handy next time you engage in planning a trip, using BA Avios.
Share your own BA Avios tips and tricks with a comment below.
Title Image Source: British Airways
Great post, Anshul. I’m an Avios newbie, figuring its best value is for short hops within a continent or region in conjunction with a destination or stopovers on Aeroplan redemptions. Your post opens up other possibilities to consider. It seems that Avios isn’t on many people’s radar which is a shame given how easy it is to earn Avios miles in Canada. I just love the 30% bonus promotions from RBC Avion and AMEX’s Membership Rewards. Plus, I just made my first Avios redemption for a couple of business class flights within Australia. They weren’t bookable online, and unlike Aeroplan, the BA contact centre automatically waived the booking fee. Thanks for your post Anshul.
Thanks Anne! Am glad you found the post helpful. Australia definitely suppresses fuel surcharges which makes it a great country to use Avios in – enjoy your trip 🙂
RBC Avion and Amex bonuses on Avios conversions are the best way to maximize..
Excellent post! I’m often at a loss on how and when to best utilize BA and IB Avios, this information will help.
Cheers buddy, glad you found it helpful!