PremierMiles Transfer: British Airways Avios


I slacked up a bit on the PremierMiles conversion series due to Vistara’s launch last week, and an otherwise busy calendar. But let’s get cracking once again.

One of the most interesting and useful points in the oneworld alliance are those of British Airways. A few years ago, they started calling them Avios, and this is the mileage currency used by British Airways as well as Iberia at the moment. Avios transfers frequently offer bonuses to credit card partners, at least once a year, but we haven’t seen any for 2015 at this point of time in India, yet.

British Airways operates flights on its own metal from 5 cities around India, but Avios can be used on just about any oneworld partner around the world. I enlist some of the uses of Avios that come to mind:

  • For booking tickets using Avios on British Airways or partners, you can search on the BA website and book tickets there itself. British Airways is notoriously famous for charging fuel surcharges (now carrier surcharges), and these will be tacked on to most tickets on the transatlantic routes. They do charge surcharges on carriers who don’t charge a fuel surcharge themselves as well on redemption tickets. I do find BA’s Club World and First product pretty reasonable, however, one needs to spend some more cash as the Air Passenger Duty payable to the UK exchequer. Do note, when booking on Air Lingus & Air Berlin, no fuel surcharges are payable.

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  • For upgrading on British Airways. For instance, booking in British Airways Premium Economy and upgrading to Club World only costs 12,500 Avios from India to UK. Not a bad use of these points at all.
  • Use for short distance travel on oneworld partners. The British Airways award chart is distance based, and that makes it interesting from a perspective of using it for short distance travel. For instance, for flights less than 600 miles in distance, such as New York and Washington D.C., an economy ticket can be just 4,500 Avios + 5 US Dollar as taxes/fees.
  • Use for flying Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific has great award availability from India, and the premium cabins are nice. However, the carrier charges are more in the range of US Dollars 150 than US Dollars 300 that BA charges on most carriers.

Of course, there are many more uses, but these are some that I can figure as the most common uses of British Airways miles.

My rating for British Airways Avios as a transfer partner is 3.75/5. I take away 1 for tacking on fuel surcharges to almost all award partners, and another 0.25 for the time and effort required to ticket a booking with a partner which is not online for BA.

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Comments

  1. While I am still trying to make up my mind, I visited the premiermiles website and realised that in order to book a ticket on jet airways I must transfer miles to jet account in any case since it cannot be done through the website.
    Which mean if I do not have a lot of miles on my account it may make sense to leave the miles in the premiermiles account itself in order to have a wider choice of airlines because once transferred I will be forced to keep transferring at a much lower rate later to be eligible for any redemption what so ever.
    Any suggestions?
    FYI citibank has refused to upgrade my card.

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