Upcoming Avios Devaluation Alert

This Tuesday, British Avios will undergo a small, but unfortunate, devaluation.

Currently flights 650 miles or less only require 4,500 British Avios each way. So at 9,000 miles roundtrip you can get some excellent flight on American, Alaska airlines and TAM. Some great and common short-hauls from American and Alaska hubs include:

  • NYC-Washington D.C.
  • NYC-Toronto
  • Chicago-Washington
  • Chicago-Atlanta
  • Los Angeles-Salt Lake City
  • Seattle-Vancouver

After February 2, flights that are 1 – 650 miles will now go to a higher tier, and all flights between 1 – 1,151 will require 7,500 miles. This will only affect flights in North America.

One that I’ve taken advantage of in the past, New York to Washington D.C. can price out to a costly roundtrip using cash, often at $150 a ticket.

Others like NYC-Toronto can be even more expensive:

9,000 Avios vs. $200+? I'll use the miles!
9,000 Avios vs. $200+? I’ll use the miles!


So how do you determine, in the next two days, if something is less than 650 miles? There’s an awesome tool, the Great Circle Mapper where you plug in the airport codes like: “JFK-BOS”–New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Boston Logan International, and you’ll get the distance in miles flown:

jfk-bos short haul

Transferring to Avios

As a reminder, you can transfer Avios from Chase Ultimate Rewards 1000:1000. Transfers are instant. Starwood also transfers at 1000:1000, except when you transfer 20,000 points (you’ll receive a 5,000 point bonus).

AMEX transfer to Avios at a funky rate of 250 Membership Rewards to 200 Avios. So for 9,000 Avios you’d need 11,250 Membership Rewards:

mr to avios

Conservatively, if your flight would cost more than $150, this transfer would still benefit you.

Should you book prematurely? YES.

Avios has a really great cancellation policy, so book the awards even if you’re not sure that you’ll take the trip. When you cancel an Avios booking you pay $55 OR, you can cancel and just loose the taxes ($5.60). Much better.

Bottom Line

Avios represent an incredible option for short-hauls. It’s too bad that travelers are loosing this option. After Tuesday these flights will cost 15,000 round-trip. Is that worth it? It depends. Probably less so. In my experience, places like D.C. and Toronto can be costly even from Chicago or New York.


-The Miner