Complete Guide to Avios: British Airways, Qatar, Iberia, and Aer Lingus

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“Avios” is the name of the points currency shared by several airline frequent flyer programs: British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Qatar Airways. Points earned through one of those programs can be moved around to any of the others. For example, if you have Aer Lingus Avios, you can move those points to your British Airways or Iberia accounts. That provides quite a bit of flexibility, but also creates some complexity as well.

Each of these Avios programs have slightly different rules and pricing for booking awards. In some cases British Airways (BA) is the best choice. Other times, it might be Iberia or Qatar. In this article, we’ll talk about how best to use Avios, pitfalls to be aware of and the relative strengths and weakness of each member program.

In March 2024, Finnair also adopted Avios as its award currency. However, it’s not yet possible to transfer between the other four Avios programs and Finnair. Because of this, it isn’t included in this guide. We’ll update accordingly once that changes.

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Table of Contents

How to register with each Avios program

You can’t earn or spend Avios until you’ve signed up to be a member with the loyalty programs that use Avios as their reward currency. Registration is free, and some deals require having had an account open for a certain amount of time before you can participate, so it’s a good idea to sign up for all four programs just in case.

Important: Make sure that all of your personal information is identical within each program: use the exact same name, email address, phone number, and home address. This will make it easier to freely move points around later.

Registration links:

After registering, I recommend keeping track of each program with a free tool called AwardWallet.  Click here for details.

How to Earn Avios

Earn Avios via credit cards

One of the easiest and quickest way to earn Avios is through credit card welcome offers.  Below are the current cards that earn Avios directly:

Card Offer and Details
85K Avios ⓘ Affiliate
Earn 85K Avios after $5K spend in 3 months
$95 Annual Fee
This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).
Recent better offer: Expired 7/4/22: 100K after $5K spend
FM Mini Review: Good choice for a nice intro bonus. Unless you intend to go for the big spend bonus, though, I don't see it as a compelling card to keep past the first year.
Earning rate: 3X British Airways. Iberia, Aer Lingus, and LEVEL ✦ 2X hotel accommodations booked directly with the hotel ✦ 1X elsewhere
Base: 1X (1.09%)
Travel: 2X (2.18%)
Brand: 3X (3.27%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your Aer Lingus Visa card, you’ll earn an economy class companion ticket good for 1 year.
Noteworthy perks: Priority Boarding on Aer Lingus flights departing from and returning to the US from Ireland ✦ No foreign transaction fees.
85K Avios ⓘ Affiliate
Earn 85K Avios after $5K spend in 3 months
$95 Annual Fee
This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).
Recent better offer: Expired 7/4/22: 100K after $5K spend
FM Mini Review: Good choice for a nice intro bonus. Unless you fly Iberia often or intend to go for the big spend bonus, though, I don't see it as a compelling card to keep past the first year.
Earning rate: 3X British Airways. Iberia, Aer Lingus, and LEVEL ✦ 2X hotel accommodations booked directly with the hotel ✦ 1X elsewhere
Base: 1X (1.09%)
Travel: 2X (2.18%)
Brand: 3X (3.27%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your Iberia Visa card, you’ll earn a discount voucher good for $1,000 to use toward two tickets on the same flight
Noteworthy perks: 10% off on Iberia flights when you use your Iberia Visa to purchase at iberia.com/Chase10 ✦ No foreign transaction fees
85K Avios ⓘ Affiliate
Earn 85K Avios after $5K spend in 3 months
$95 Annual Fee
This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).
Recent better offer: Expired 7/4/22: 100K after $5K spend
FM Mini Review: Good choice for a nice intro bonus. Award rebate makes the card a keeper if you frequently book awards from the US to Europe.
Earning rate: 3X British Airways. Iberia, Aer Lingus, and LEVEL ✦ 2X hotel accommodations booked directly with the hotel ✦ 1X elsewhere
Base: 1X (1.09%)
Travel: 2X (2.18%)
Brand: 3X (3.27%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together companion Ticket good for two years.
Noteworthy perks: Up to $600 per year in award fee rebates ✦ 10% off BA flights originating in the US. ✦ No foreign transaction fees

Earn Avios via transfer partners

Each program below transfers to Avios on a 1:1 basis (click the links to see our full guides):

In some cases, a transferable currency might only directly transfer to one Avios program. For instance, Citi ThankYou Rewards can only be transferred to Qatar Airways, but once you’ve done that, you can then move the Avios to your British Airways, Iberia, or Aer Lingus account.

Marriott Bonvoy transfers to to Avios at a rate of 60,000 Marriott points to 25,000 Avios and is the only hotel points currency whose transfer ratio makes it worth considering. See here for more details.

Transfer Bonuses to Avios

The programs listed above will occasionally offer bonuses when you transfer points to Avios. Any current transfer bonuses will appear here:

Transfer FromTransfer Bonus DetailsEnd Date
Citi ThankYou Rewards30% transfer bonus from Citi ThankYou Rewards to Qatar Privilege Club Avios

45443

05/31/24

Earn Avios via shopping portals

British Airways offers a shopping portal designed for US customers: www.shopping.ba.com.  When you plan to buy something online anyway, you can start your shopping at this portal, then click through to the store where you want to shop. You’ll then earn extra rewards in addition to those earned with your credit card.

a screenshot of a website

Iberia and Aer Lingus also offer shopping portals, but they’re more geared towards European customers.

Earn Avios via travel

Paid Flights

When booking paid flights on British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, Qatar Airways or on any of their partners (such as American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, etc.), you can earn Avios by entering your British Airways Executive Club number (or Iberia/Qatar/Aer Lingus number) into the reservation. Keep in mind that, in some instances, you’ll might be able to obtain more valuable earnings by crediting your flight to another program. If you know the class you’re planning to book, a great way to decide where to credit your miles is via wheretocredit.com.

Paid Hotels

a screenshot of a hotel

A number of websites offer bonus miles when you book hotels through their sites.  However, sometimes they’ll charge more than other options, so always compare prices before booking. Here are some sites that offer British Airways Avios as an earning option:

British Airways Avios also partners with Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, and Airbnb. This allows you to earn Avios on paid bookings with those programs. More details can be found here.

When do Avios expire?

All Avios now expire after 36 months, but any activity that earns or spends Avios resets the clock, as does transferring points from a bank currency like Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards. Transferring from one Avios program to another does not reset the clock.

a seat with a monitor and a pillow on the side of the seat
British Airways business class

How to Redeem Avios

Each Avios program is distance-based. This means that they will charge more points for longer flights and, unlike zone-based programs, they won’t charge more for crossing borders. For example, a short flight from the US to Mexico costs the same price in Avios as a flight of the equal distance that’s entirely within the US of(although taxes and fees may be different).

In general, Avios are great for booking short-distance flights on oneworld member airlines (or other partners), but sometimes aren’t as appealing for long hauls. Each Avios program has its own award charts and award booking rules, although the charts for partner awards have gradually become much more standardized. Aer Lingus has the same award chart as British Airways, but with fewer partner airlines. As a result, only British Airways, Iberia and Qatar are covered below.

Avios award cancellation policies

Aer Lingus AerClub

Changes or cancellations on an award are allowed up to 24 hours before departure for a €42.50 fee by contacting Aer Lingus.

British Airways

For accounts that are registered in the US, there is a fee to change or cancel an award ticket that is equal to the total taxes and fees or $55, whichever is less. That fee goes up by $25 if it’s done via a call center.

Iberia Plus

For travel on Iberia, you can change or cancel an award up to 24 hours before departure for a €25 fee. Within 24 hours, awards can’t be changed or cancelled for a refund. Partner awards are non-refundable.

Qatar Airways

You can change or cancel an award up to 24 hours before departure by paying a $25 fee. Between 3 and 24 hours of departure, that fee goes up to $100. Within 3 hours of departure, there is no refund for changes or cancellations.

Avios Award Charts

When booking an award on British Airways or Iberia-operated flights, the number of Avios required depends on which airline you want to fly. Whether you book the award from your BA account or your Iberia account, the number of required Avios will be the same.  Strangely, the taxes and fees often vary between the two, so it makes sense to look up award prices on both websites in order to find the cheapest option.

British Airways is notorious for the high surcharges that it imposes on its award flights. In addition to the charts listed below, it has now implemented an additional redemption option called “Reward Flight Saver.” This effectively allows you to pay additional Avios in exchange for lower fees. It can sometimes be a much better deal than paying those fees directly in cash.

Award chart for travel on British Airways, Iberia or Qatar

The British Airways (BA) and Iberia (IB) award charts for travel on their own metal are similar but not identical. Both offer peak and off-peak pricing based on the date flown.

Here is the award chart for British Airways:

Distance (in miles) Economy Off-Peak/Peak Premium Economy Off-Peak/Peak Business Off-Peak/Peak First Class Off-Peak/Peak
1-650  4,000 / 4,500 5,750 / 6,750 7,750 / 9,000 15,500 / 18,000
651-1150 6,500 / 7,500 9,500 / 11,250 12,750 / 15,000 25,500 / 30,000
1151-2000 8,500 / 10,000 12,750 / 15,000 17,000 / 20,000 34,000 / 40,000
2001-3000 10,000 / 12,500 20,000 / 25,000 31,250 / 37,500 42,500 / 50,000
3001-4000 13,000 / 20,000 26,000 / 40,000 50,000 / 60,000 68,000 / 80,000
4001-5500 16,250 / 25,000 32,500 / 50,000 62,500 / 75,000 85,000 / 100,000
5501-6500 19,500 / 30,000 39,000 / 60,000 75,000 / 90,000 102,000 / 120,000
6501-7000 22,750 / 35,000 45,000 / 75,000 87,500 / 105,000 119,000 / 140,000
7001+ 32,500 / 50,000 65,000 / 100,000 125,000 / 150,000 170,000 / 200,000

Here is Iberia’s award chart (which also applies to Vueling flights):

Distance (in miles) Economy Off-Peak/Peak Premium Economy Off-Peak/Peak Business Off-Peak/Peak
1-650  4,500 / 5,000 9,000 / 10,000
651-1150 7,500 / 8,250 15,000 / 16,500
1151-2000 10,000/ 11,000 20,000 / 22,000
2001-3000 11,000 / 12,500 21,250 / 31,250
3001-4000 17,000 / 20,000 25,500 / 35,000 34,000 / 50,000
4001-5500 21,250 / 25,000 31,750 / 43,750 42,500 / 62,500
5501-6500 25,500 / 30,000 38,250 / 52,500 51,000 / 75,000
6501-7000 29,750 / 35,000 44,250 / 61,250 59,500 / 87,500
7001+ 42,500 / 50,000 63,750 / 87,500 85,000 / 125,000

As you can see above, during off-peak dates, it is almost always a bit cheaper to fly BA economy vs. Iberia economy.  However, to fly business class, BA is only cheaper for short flights whereas Iberia is much cheaper for long flights. Peak dates follow a similar pattern, but the award price differences are more modest.

Qatar Airways doesn’t publish a chart for its own flights, instead offering an online calculator tool, which allows you to search the amount of Avios that are required for various redemptions. Even though there’s no published chart, Qatar still prices its awards by geographic zone and utilizes peak and off-peak pricing. All cities in the US and Canada belong to the same zone. In general, a saver flight between Doha and North America cost 35,000-47,500 in economy, 70,000-94,500K in business and 105,000-142,000 in First Class (depending on whether the pricing is peak or off-peak).

Award chart for travel on a single Avios partner

If you intend to fly another airlines using British Airways, Iberia or Qatar Avios, then the following chart is in effect for most partners:

Distance (in miles) Economy Class Premium Economy Business Class First Class
0-650 6,000 9,000 12,500 24,000
651-1151 9,000 12,500 16,500 33,000
1152-2000 11,000 16,500 22,000 44,000
2001-3000 13,000 25,750 38,750 51,500
3001-4000 20,750 41,250 62,000 82,500
4001-5500 25,750 51,500 77,250 103,000
5501-6500 31,000 62,000 92,750 123,750
6501-7000 36,250 72,250 108,250 144,250
7001+ 51,500 103,000 154,500 206,000

Not all partner airlines follow this chart completely and there are numerous exceptions, as outlined below.

British Airways

Starting in 2021, British Airways began introducing slightly different pricing for flights in certain zones on specific partner airlines. The following partners are affected in the listed zones:

American Airlines and Alaska Airlines (inter-North America flights only)

  • Zone 1 (0-650 miles): 8,250 economy / 16,500 business
  • Zone 2 (651-1151 miles flown): 11,000 economy / 20,500 business
  • Zone 3 (1151-2000 miles flown): 14,500 economy / 29,000 business
  • Zone 4 (2001-3000 miles flown): 16,000 economy / 42,000 business

Cathay Pacific

  • Zone 1 (0-650 miles): 7,500 economy / 16,000 business
  • Zone 2 (651-1151 miles flown): 10,000 economy / 25,000 business
  • Zone 3 (1152-2000 miles flown): 11,000 economy / 25,000 business

Japan Airlines

  • Zone 1 (0-650 miles): 7,500 economy / 12,500 business
  • Zone 2 (651-1151 miles flown): 10,000 economy / 24,000 business
  • Zone 3 (1152-2000 miles flown): 11,000 economy / 24,000 business

Qatar Airways

  • Zone 1 (0-650 miles): 7,000 economy / 16,000 business / 21,000 first
  • Zone 2 (651-1151 miles flown): 10,000 economy / 24,000 business / 39,000 first
Iberia

For years, Iberia had a different award chart for each partner that they had (and still posts a separate chart for each one). That said, most are identical now, and follow the same pricing as BA for single partners.

The only redemption partner that still has a different award chart is LEVEL, Iberia’s low-cost carrier. Those awards are priced based on the following tiers:

Off-Peak LEVEL awards

  • Zone 6 (4001-5500 miles): 21,250 economy / 31,750 premium economy
  • Zone 7 (5501-6500 miles flown): 25,500 economy / 38,250 premium economy
  • Zone 8 (6501-7000 miles flown): 29,750 economy / 44,250 premium economy

Peak LEVEL awards

  • Zone 6 (4001-5500 miles): 25,000 economy / 43,750 premium economy
  • Zone 7 (5501-6500 miles flown): 30,000 economy / 52,500 premium economy
  • Zone 8 (6501-7000 miles flown): 35,000 economy / 61,250 premium economy
Qatar Airways

Qatar uses the same partner award chart as BA. Unlike BA, it still uses Zone 1 pricing for AA and Alaska inter-North American awards. Qatar only allows partner awards with a single partner airline, doesn’t allow stopovers, but will permit open-jaws.

Qatar also has a partnership with JetBlue, and this can be a surprisingly good use of Avios.

a seat with two monitors on it

Award chart for travel on multiple British Airways partners

Unlike Iberia and Qatar, BA will allow award bookings with multiple partners and it can be a appealing sweet spot for Avios. That said, it’s a complex award to book and, if you plan to fly multiple BA partners on a single award, yet another chart comes into play:

Distance (in miles) Economy Class Premium Economy Business Class First Class
0-650 30,000 45,000 60,000 90,000
1501-4000 35,000 52,500 70,000 105,000
4001-9000 60,000 90,000 120,000 180,000
9001-10000 70,000 105,000 140,000 210,000
10001-14000 90,000 135,000 180,000 270,000
14001-20000 100,000 150,000 200,000 300,000
20001-25000 120,000 180,000 240,000 360,000
25001-35000 140,000 210,000 280,000 420,000
35001-50000 160,000 240,000 320,000 480,000
Rules for booking a multi-partner award with British Airways
  • Currently, multi-carrier awards must be booked over the phone
  • There is a maximum of eight flight segments and seven stopovers
  • Travel must be completed within twelve months
  • One open-jaw is allowed
  • Your route must follow whatever BA considers to be a “logical” sequence
  • You can only use oneworld partners
  • You have to include at least two oneworld airlines besides British Airways
  • The Avios price of your trip is based on the cumulative distance of your flight segments, as opposed to pricing each segment individually (like a normal BA award).

How to book flights via British Airways Executive Club

To book flights online with BA Avios, you must log into your British Airways Executive Club account (at BA.com), then hover over the “Book” menu item and click “Book a flight with Avios.”

a screenshot of a flight

This will bring you to a dialog box that lets you input your desired airports, dates, class of service, etc.

a screenshot of a computer

How to book flights via Iberia Plus

Iberia shows an option to book with Avios directly on their home screen. Fill out your flight details and make sure to click “Pay with Avios.” You will have to log in before you can go further.

a screenshot of a travel website

How to book flights via Aer Lingus AerClub

Aer Lingus AerClub now offers the ability to directly book award flights online, with an easy award search tool:

Keep in mind that this will only reveal Aer Lingus, BA, and Iberia flights.  If you want to book other partners, you must use BA.com.

How to book flights with Qatar Privilege Club

With Qatar Airways Privilege Club, you need to log in at the Qatar Airways website. Once logged in, you should see a box to tick that says “Book an award flight” under the home page flight search tool.

Sometimes that box inexplicably disappears. If you can’t see it, you can try searching through the Qatar Airways app as awards can also be searched for and booked there.

Finding and booking JetBlue seats with Qatar Avios

See this handy video about how to book JetBlue award tickets with Qatar Airways Privilege Club for more about the mechanics of finding awards. Most partners should show up online.

Using Avios for flight upgrades

If you pay cash for a British Airways flight, it may be possible to upgrade to the next level of service with Avios. For example, you can use Avios to upgrade from economy to premium economy, from premium economy to business or from business to first class.

The only paid British Airways flights that are not upgradeable in this way are the discount economy fares Q, O and G. All other fare classes are upgradeable as long as an award is available in the next level of service.

The cost for an upgrade is the difference in price between the awards. For example, if you want to upgrade from premium economy to business class, you can look up the cost of a business class award and an economy award. The upgrade cost will be the difference between those two.

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Avios Sweet Spots

Best Uses of Avios for economy class travel

Domestic US from 6K one way on JetBlue

  • The short story: Qatar Airways Privilege Club offers distance-based award pricing on JetBlue, which can be a decent value for economy class in some instances.
  • Miles required: From 8.5K for the shortest domestic flights to 25K in economy class on transcontinental flights.
  • How to find awards: You search for space via QatarAirways.com, but to see a calendar of availability, you'll need to find "P" class space for business class awards. You can find this via a paid tool like ExpertFlyer or with advanced routing codes via ITA Matrix.
  • How to book awards: Book online at QatarAirways.com
  • Change and cancellation fees: $25 more than 24 hours in advance / $100 Between 3-24 hours in advance / Nonrefundable within 3 hours or after departure
  • Key warnings: The Qatar Airways website sometimes can not find major airports. We hope this is a temporary glitch.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Citi. Also transfer to BA and then to Qatar with: Bilt, Capital One, Chase, Wells Fargo

North America to Europe from 13K one-way

  • The short story: You can use British Airways, Iberia or Aer Lingus Avios to fly on those airlines for low mileage prices on nonstop routes.
  • How to find awards: Search for British Airways available space at britishairways.com for Aer Lingus at United.com, Avios.com or using the award search tool. For Iberia, use the Advanced Avios tool. It's always best to search before transferring.
  • How to book awards: Book British Airways flights online at britishairways.com or over the phone at 800-452-1201. You can book Aer Lingus over the phone with British Airways, use Avios.com or use this award search tool.
  • Key warnings: Note that it may be worth checking all 3 booking options (Avios.com, BritishAirways.com, and Iberia.com) to determine your best deal, though keep in mind that things like cancellation policies differ (note that Iberia offers no changes or refunds at all on most partner flights whereas British Airways offers cheap cancellation). Aer Lingus and British Airways charge for each segment separately, so multi-segment trips can get expensive quickly (Iberia charges based on cumulative distance each way, which can be cheaper on connecting itineraries).
  • Transfer fromAmexBiltCapital OneChaseWells Fargo. Also transfer to Qatar and then to BA with: Citi.

Hawaii for 16K from the west coast

  • The short story: British Airways offers a distance-based award chart, so flights from the West Coast of the USA on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines can be a great value with Avios.
  • Miles required: 16K miles each way plus $5.60 for economy-class segments between west coast cities and Hawaii.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at britishairways.com for AA or aa.com for Alaska flights.
  • How to book awards: Book American flights online at britishaiways.com or Alaska flights over the phone at 800-452-1201.
  • Key warnings: British Airways charges for each segment separately, so multi-segment trips can get expensive quickly. Furthermore, the British Airways site sometimes shows phantom award space for AA (see: Phantom menace: an award search time suck). You may want to double-check Qantas.com for availability before transferring to British Aiways Executive Club for American flights.
  • Transfer fromAmexBiltCapital OneChaseWells Fargo. Also transfer to Qatar and then to BA with: Citi.

South America from 17K one-way via Iberia

  • The short story: Iberia Plus offers a distance-based award chart that matches British Airways. However, since they don't allow changes or cancellations on American Airlines awards, you're probably better off booking via British Airways
  • Miles required: From 11K miles each way depending on distance. No fuel surcharges on American Airlines. See our Avios Complete Guide for a full award chart.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at iberia.com. Use the Advanced Avios Search tool.
  • How to book awards: Book online at iberia.com. Use the Advanced Avios Search tool.
  • Key warnings: Most Iberia partner bookings, including those on American Airlines, are completely nonrefundable and can not be changed. Because of that policy and the fact that Iberia's chart for American Airlines flights now matches the British Airways chart for the same flights, you're probably better off booking via BA. Only book AA flights with Iberia if plans are certain.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Bilt, Chase, Wells Fargo. Also transfer to BA and then to Iberia with: Capital One, Citi

Best Uses of Avios for first and business class travel

South America from 22K one-way via British Airways

  • The short story: British Airways has excellent award pricing for shorter distance American Airlines award flights, whereas you're better off booking with another program for longer flights or if you need connections (since British Airways prices each segment separately). Keep in mind that while LATAM has left oneworld, their flights should still be bookable with Avios.
  • Miles required: From 22K miles (Miami to Bogota falls in this distance band) to 92,750 miles (Los Angeles to Buenos Aires is in this distance band) each way in business class. The best deals will be from Miami to Northern South America for 22K or 38,750 miles one way depending on distance (and assuming direct flights). See the full award chart here at One Mile at a Time. No fuel surcharges on American Airlines.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at BritishAirways.com
  • How to book awards: Book online at BritishAirways.com
  • Key warnings: Note that British Airways periodically stops showing American Airlines award availability. When this happens, phone agents are generally unable to book the space either and your best bet is to keep searching or book through another partner.
  • Transfer fromAmex, BiltCapital One, ChaseWells Fargo. Also transfer to Qatar and then to BA with: Citi.

Europe from 34K one-way via Iberia

  • The short story: Iberia charges as few as 34K miles one-way in business class on its own flights from New York, Boston, Chicago, or DC to Madrid during off-peak season. Sometimes they run a winter travel promotion for even less.
  • Miles required: Varies by distance. Best deal are the cities above to Madrid: 34K during off-peak dates or 50K during peak dates on Iberia metal. Fuel surcharges are very mild (Around $175 in total taxes & fees round trip. If booking one-way, surcharges are higher leaving Europe than flying to Europe.)
  • How to find awards: Search Iberia.com using the Advanced Avios Search Tool
  • How to book awards: Book at Iberia.com after using the Advanced Avios Search Tool.
  • Key warnings: Iberia's website can be challenging to navigate and availability can be challenging to find. There are some surcharges, but at under a hundred bucks from the US to Europe, they are much milder than when using British Airways Avios. Note that Iberia's award chart is distance-based, so itineraries with connections will require more miles. Note also that sometimes connecting itineraries will have availability even when the nonstop legs between the US and Spain are not available on their own.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Bilt, Chase, Wells Fargo. Also transfer to BA and then to Iberia with: Capital One, Citi

Domestic US Transcontinental JetBlue Mint class for 38,750 Avios one-way

  • The short story: Qatar Airways Privilege Club offers distance-based award pricing on JetBlue, which can be an OK value for Mint class in situations where cash prices are high.
  • Miles required: 74K for a transcontinental Mint class award.
  • How to find awards: You search for space via QatarAirways.com, but to see a calendar of availability, you'll need to find "I" class space for business class awards. You can find this via a paid tool like ExpertFlyer or with advanced routing codes via ITA Matrix. See more detail in this post.
  • How to book awards: Book online at QatarAirways.com
  • Change and cancellation fees: $25 more than 24 hours in advance / $100 Between 3-24 hours in advance / Nonrefundable within 3 hours or after departure
  • Key warnings: The Qatar Airways website sometimes can not find major airports. We hope this is a temporary glitch.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Citi. Also transfer to BA and then to Qatar with: Bilt, Capital One, Chase, Wells Fargo

North America to Europe from 78,000 Avios one-way on JetBlue

  • The short story: Qatar Airways Privilege Club offers reasonable award pricing on JetBlue, which can be a great way to book Mint (business) class to Europe.
  • Miles required: 78K each way. Taxes & fees departing the US are $10.10.
  • How to find awards: You can search for space via QatarAirways.com, but it is easier to start by finding "I" class space for business class awards. You can find this via a paid tool like ExpertFlyer or with advanced routing codes via ITA Matrix. See the video instructions in this post for detailed instructions about how to find and book space.
  • How to book awards: Book on QatarAirways.com
  • Change and cancellation fees: $25 to change or cancel more than 24 hours in advance, $100 between 3-24hrs in advance, nonrefundable within 3 hours of departure. See more in this post.
  • Key warnings: Note that Qatar only charges mandatory taxes ($10.10 departing the US and between ~$40-$100 departing Europe) with no additional carrier-imposed surcharges on JetBlue awards.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Citi. Also transfer to BA and then to Qatar with: Bilt, Capital One, Chase, Wells Fargo

Fly Qatar Airways to Doha for 70K one-way

  • The short story: British Airways normally offers a distance-based award chart, in what is an exception they charge 70K Avios each way for business class between the US and Doha on Qatar Airways (these flights do not follow the distance band).
  • Miles required: 70K miles each way in business class between the US and Doha. Taxes and fees add around $250 round trip.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at britishairways.com. It's always best to search before transferring.
  • How to book awards: Book American flights online at britishaiways.com or over the phone at 1 800 452 1201.
  • Change and cancellation fees: $55
  • Key warnings: British Airways charges for each segment separately, so multi-segment trips can get expensive quickly. Taxes & fees also increase substantially with further segments on Qatar.
  • Transfer fromAmex, BiltCapital One, ChaseWells Fargo. Also transfer to Qatar and then to BA with: Citi.

Oceania / Multiple Carrier tickets (build-your-own-round-the-world)

  • The short story: British Airways offers an award chart for travel on a single partner and a lesser-known chart for travel on two partners. That second chart could save you some Avios if you were to mix AA and Qantas for example.
  • Miles required: From around 200K "round trip" in business class from most US cities (can vary based on distance). See the mixed partner chart along with an excellent explanation for how to leverage it here. In short, you could turn this into a multi-stop, multi-carrier journey and the number of miles required will vary some but be less than booking separately via British Airways
  • How to find awards: Search for available space on each segment separately at britishairways.com.
  • How to book awards: Book over the phone at 1 800 452 1201. According to Head for Points, there isn’t a clear methodology for pricing mixed-cabin awards. I suspect some agents may be less well versed in this mixed chart.
  • Key warnings: This secondary chart would save miles over the single-carrier chart, which would price a one-way to Australia at 154K one-way assuming a single carrier and single segment (add more for additional segments). However, as this is a lesser-known chart, some agents may not be well versed in using it. Be prepared to hang up and call again. Furthermore, the British Airways site sometimes shows phantom award space for AA (see: Phantom menace: an award search time suck). You may want to double-check Qantas.com for availability before transferring to British Airways Executive Club for American flights.
  • Transfer fromAmex, BiltCapital One, ChaseWells Fargo. Also transfer to Qatar and then to BA with: Citi.

a seat in a plane

Managing Avios

How to combine Avios across programs (e.g. move points from Iberia to BA)

Avios can be freely moved across BA, Iberia, Qatar and Aer Lingus.  To do so, you must have an account with each program.

It’s very important to ensure that all of your personal information (name, email, birth date, address, phone number) is exactly the same with each program.

If you want to move points to/from Iberia, note these additional requirements:

  • You cannot move points to/from Iberia within 90 days of joining the Iberia Plus program.  So, this is a good reason to enroll in Iberia Plus now, even if you don’t have any immediate need for it.
  • Your Iberia account must have had some activity within the past 36 months (points earned or redeemed). An easy option is to transfer 1,000 points from Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • If moving points from Iberia to British Airways, your British Airways account cannot be a household account (but you may be able to get around this by transferring points first to Aer Lingus and then to British Airways).

Interestingly, you may be able to book Qatar Airways flights using Avios in your British Airways Executive Club account without even moving them to Qatar Privilege Club. More detail can be found here: Finding Qatar availability and booking it without moving Avios.

How to share Avios with others

The best way to share Avios with others is via a Household Account, which allows to pool together Avios that were previously held previously in separate accounts. Full details about Household Accounts can be found on BA’s website here.

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Clare

I read in so many places that it’s possible to transfer BA Avios to other Avios partners airlines. The articles even tell you how.

I’ve been trying to transfer from BA to Aer Lingus following these guidelines to no avail.

This is what I understood::

“Avios” is the name of the points currency shared by several airline frequent flyer programs: British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Qatar Airways. Points earned through one of those programs can be moved around to any of the others”

I contacted BA and This is the reply I received :

“You can combine your Avios from your Avios Travel Rewards Programme, Iberia Plus or Executive Club accounts all in one place – you just need to choose which one.

I’m sorry to confirm that you’re unable to transfer miles to or from any other airline’s scheme”

So which is true?

Can we or can we not use avios accrued with one airline to book flights/upgrade on another that uses avios for reward flights?

Greg The Frequent Miler

The BA contact was incorrect. It is absolutely possible to move Avios from BA to Aer Lingus. After logging into your BA account, find the “Combine you Avios” screen (https://www.britishairways.com/travel/combine-avios/execclub/_gf/en_us). You’ll see an option to combine with “Iberia Plus and AerClub”. AerClub = Air Lingus

Clare shepherd

Thankyou so much for your reply. That sequence didn’t work for me, maybe the link was broken. Yet the BA contact said not possible . Aer lingus however were excellent and transferred the miles for me. Am so happy to have booked my preferred flights.

Erax

Good luck on transferring avios from Iberia to BA. I have tried for over a year! Their site keeps saying that it’s currently unavailable. Additionally, you can’t contact them over the phone. The only way of communication is by sending an inquiry and wait until they get back to you (usually a week), which is useless anyway because they still redirect you to use the same site for the transfer. Any suggestions are welcome please

John

I have the exact same problem, but in trying to move BA to Iberia! Site has been saying “currently unavailable” over a few months. (Name on both accounts match exactly, and both are over a year old.).

Tim/FMT, any ideas?

Neil

Avios in general does not work with Iberia and anyone else, either way. It’s a great program I would use often, but can only use it with BA bookings. Iberia agents on twitter are somewhat helpful, and past 3 months Ive had 75 tweets – none of which can resolve the transferability issue – my only hope is to have them pull BA Avios to Iberia throughout their IT folks which would take days, but feasible if the award is still available. This is not the panacea it’s reported to be.

Nick Reyes

I’m not sure why some people are having an issue with that. I can log in to the BA transfer page and it shows my linked Iberia and Qatar accounts. I didn’t actually try to move Avios just now, but it seems like I can move forward through the process without issue (and I’ve done it in all directions in the past. Well, at least BA to IB and IB to BA and BA to QR. I’m not sure that I’ve gone QR to anyone else as I just used those with QR. Nonetheless, I’ve been able to do it.

Neil

It works for some but Iberia agents recognize it is a problem with no answer. In 3 months, I’ve sent copies of passport, drivers license, and BA exec club membership profile screenshot in an attempt to verify all personal details exactly match. All to no avail.

Nick Reyes

I don’t know if you can edit your name, but I know that a common problem with these things is that if you signed up for one of the accounts on a mobile device, mobile devices love to add a space after you swipe a name. I wonder if maybe your first or last name on one side or the other (or one of the address fields, etc) has an inadvertent space that’s making it not match.

Neil

I’d like to think there is a mismatch to explain this but after the months of tweeting to try to reconcile, all of which is in their hands, I’m stuck. My Iberia+ profile does not allow me to do any edits, as in name, address, zip code, anything, so I am at their mercy. My other choice is to cancel my membership and try and start over but I’m reluctant with 2 Iberia trips already scheduled.

Neil

I’ll let you know how this eventually resolves, if ever. I know it’s a concern among others having the same problem. Right after I return from my 40 day 40 Europe trip on points and miles!

Alex

I have Iberia and British accounts that I have not used for redemption or accumulation for over 36 months with 0 (zero) miles in both. Do I need to do anything special before transferring miles to either of those from AmEx or Chase to prevent those from immediately disappearing due to prolonged account inactivity?

Also, have substantial number miles in Qatar account. Do I need to do anything special before transferring those miles to Iberia or British accounts from Qatar account to prevent those from immediately disappearing due to prolonged account inactivity over 36 months?

The reason I am asking is because before I saw some reports of miles disappearing immediately upon the transfer due to prolonged inactivity.

Grant

I have a Finnair flight I want to book with Finnair Avios. It’s currently 7,500 Alaska Airlines miles and 10K+ with BA. Curious what the rate will be once its possible to book with Finnair Avios.

Clueless

Is it possible to book any other place other than Dublin as a single itinerary using aerlingus avios online booking? Whenever I try to book anything from an us airport the only place I can enter is Dublin as the destination airport outside US. Am I doing something wrong?

Brent

I do have a question about Finnair Avios that maybe someone will know. Finnair’s own flights run on both a region and a segment logic, but it is unclear if its partner award charts are the same. They don’t make it clear on the website. And I have seen some mixed awards (JFK-MAD on IB; MAD-HEL on AY) that price out like a direct on their website, if I recall correctly from poking around last month.

The reason I ask is that the AA and AS award charts for domestic flights is quite favorable (though you have to call to book them — nothing online). If you can find a direct AA transcon route with saver availability, the chart can be really good. But if they allowed connecting domestic itineraries (similar to Turkish and United), that Finnair chart for AA becomes potentially outstanding (even if calling will be some work). Anyway, it has been a month since the change, and I’m not sure if anyone has tried to do this. If it was searchable, I would just look. But my interest is more academic than need based right now.

Lee

If you are looking for AA non-stop transcon award inventory, it is almost never available via partners. Unless it is an oh-dark-thirty flight. Best of luck.

Brent

Fair enough. That’s one reason it might be nice to get connecting inventory. Rather than JFK-PHX, it would be nice if they also did LGA-DFW-PHX for 11k + fees. Inventory might be better. I’ve just seen no data points on anyone trying to call, and I haven’t had the need to do so yet. Anyway, if nobody yet knows, that is fine.

Lee

Among its primary competitors, BA is the only airline that does not offer a path to tier status via credit card spending (or any other means). Major detractor.