US Airways Flights Bookable Using British Airways Avios

US Airways is officially a OneWorld member airline as of today, March 31, 2014.

This is simultaneously exciting and sad. They have a heck of a premium cabin award chart for travel on partner airlines, so on one hand it’s sad that Dividend Miles are no longer redeemable on Star Alliance carriers, but on the other hand it’s exciting that US Airways Dividend Miles can now be used for travel on OneWorld.

US-Airways-OneWorld

Anyway, one of the awesome aspects of the transition to OneWorld actually has nothing to do with redeeming US Airways miles for travel on OneWorld flights, but rather with redeeming OneWorld miles for travel on US Airways flights.

Specifically, British Airways has one of the most lucrative award charts for shorthaul travel, given that it’s distance based. While they don’t formally publish a chart (instead they have a “calculator” on their website, the cost per award segment is as follows, depending on the distance you’re flying:

Distance in Air MilesAvios Cost in EconomyAvios Cost in BusinessAvios Cost in First
1-6504,5009,00013,500
651-11517,50015,00022,500
1152-200010,00020,00030,000
2001-300012,50025,00037,500
3001-400020,00040,00060,000
4001-550025,00050,00075,000
5501-650030,00060,00090,000
6501-700035,00070,000105,000
7001-100,00050,000100,000150,000

No fuel surcharges for transatlantic US Airways flights

British Airways charges just 20,000 Avios for one-way economy class or 40,000 Avios for a one-way business class ticket for a segment of 3,001-4,000 miles, which covers virtually all of US Airways’ transatlantic routes to Europe (since they’re all out of their Charlotte and Philadelphia hubs).

Considering that US Airways charges 60,000 miles for a round-trip in economy, or 100,000 in business class, and doesn’t offer a discount for one-way redemptions, this can be a spectacular value.

The catch with redeeming Avios is that they do impose fuel surcharges on award tickets, so if the operating airline imposes fuel surcharges on revenue tickets, so does British Airways.

US Airways doesn’t impose fuel surcharges on tickets, so they’ll be a great option for transatlantic travel using British Airways Avios. The only other transatlantic partners on which British Airways doesn’t impose fuel surcharges are Aer Lingus and Air Berlin.

Meanwhile redeeming Avios for travel on an American transatlantic flight would incur fuel surcharges. This can be a bit confusing, as American doesn’t levy fuel surcharges on AAdvantage award tickets, but there is a fuel surcharge component to their revenue fares.

For example, a one-way New York > Zurich flight would cost you 40,000 Avios plus $448 in taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges.

Avios-Fuel-Surcharges-American

And while I don’t find US Airways to have very good service internationally, they do have a really solid hard product, especially if you can get onto one of their A330 aircraft featuring the Envoy Suite.

US_Airways_Envoy_Class03
US Airways Envoy Suite

Avios for shorthaul redemptions are an amazing value

As I mentioned above, British Airways has a distance based award chart:

Distance in Air MilesAvios Cost in EconomyAvios Cost in BusinessAvios Cost in First
1-6504,5009,00013,500
651-11517,50015,00022,500
1152-200010,00020,00030,000
2001-300012,50025,00037,500
3001-400020,00040,00060,000
4001-550025,00050,00075,000
5501-650030,00060,00090,000
6501-700035,00070,000105,000
7001-100,00050,000100,000150,000

What’s especially lucrative is their award chart for flights under 1,151 miles.

British Airways charges just 4,500 Avios one-way for an award of less than 650 flown miles, while they charge 7,500 Avios for an award between 651 and 1,151 miles one-way.

Due to the location of US Airways’ hubs on both the east coast (Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Washington) and out west (Phoenix), this opens up a ton of award opportunities at a reasonable cost.

Below are a few maps showing the cities within 1,151 miles from the hubs. The lighter circle are the airports within 650 miles, while the darker circle are the airports within 1,151 miles.

Here’s the map for Washington Reagan/National:

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 12.23.52 PM
Avios Ranges From Washington Reagan/National

Here’s the map for Philadelphia:

PHL Avios Ranges
Avios Ranges From Philadelphia

Here’s the map for Charlotte:

CLT Avios Ranges
Avios Ranges From Charlotte

And here’s the map for Phoenix:

PHX Avios Ranges
Avios Ranges from Phoenix

As you can see, that’s an amazing number of destinations that can be reached for a reasonable number of Avios.

Still best off using aa.com to search for US Airways award space

While the British Airways award search tool is probably the most thorough in OneWorld, it’s also one of the most cumbersome to use.

In general I’d recommend using American’s website to search US Airways award space, since they’ll show a calendar view of availability, and you can search routes for a month at a time (you can search an entire year of availability on a route in just a couple of minutes).

Then once you’ve found space you can go to ba.com to book, as availability should be the same.

Still some glitches on ba.com with displaying US Airways space

US Airways’ transition to OneWorld is just happening today, so not surprisingly there are some glitches with the transition.

Not all US Airways award space is showing up on britishairways.com yet, in particular for transatlantic routes. That being said, I expect it to be fixed soon, and the space should be bookable via the call center, for what it’s worth.

Also, rather amusingly, ba.com shows the Royal Jordanian logo next to US Airways flights on the award search tool, which I’m sure they’ll fix soon as well.

US-Airways-Royal-Jordanian

Bottom line

While the thing I’m most excited about with US Airways’ transition to OneWorld is being able to redeem Dividend Miles for travel on OneWorld carriers, it’s also really exciting to be able to redeem British Airways Avios for travel on US Airways.

Not only does US Airways have so many “sweet spot” routes, but the lack of fuel surcharges on transatlantic routes makes them a great option for transatlantic Avios redemptions as well.

(Tip of the hat to The Flight Deal for compiling the original list of US Airways routes | Maps generated by Great Circle Mapper)

Comments

  1. Wouldn’t this preclude there has to be some kind of adjustment to the Avios awards soon…I can’t imagine this is sustainable, in light of the fact that there are so many very high price tickets on shorthaul flights on the east coast.

    What a great deal though, for me especially as a PHL based flyer.

  2. @ Nathan — For what it’s worth, domestic economy class award redemptions don’t cost partner airlines all that much, so I don’t necessarily think this will cause an adjustment to the British Airways award chart.

  3. Now if only US Air still had Vegas as a mini hub… it would have been nice to be able to visit Las Vegas from California anytime at the low price of 4500 Avios!

  4. Most importantly, what’s USAir’s milesAAver award availability? I was looking at several non-stop flights from CLT to various locations in 2014 and I was disappointing. In contrast, AAs it pretty good.

  5. @ ABC — Oddly US Airways has excellent domestic first class award availability, while economy class award availability can be a bit tougher to come by. It’s not, just not amazing.

  6. so Avios sees US Air domestic first class as real first, not biz, right? this means triple Avios, correct?
    thanks.

  7. @ Johnny — Their award pricing is cumulative and per segment, so you’d pay 9,000 Avios one-way for that (4,500 Avios per segment).

  8. a quick question…..How can I search for award seats on CX and JL by using US miles? by JAL website? or BA website? I did and I searched for the seats this late june and January, 2015? there’re no award seats at all? So, is there a website that can tell me the number of available seats? thank you

  9. This makes me so, so happy! I frequently fly from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh. Washington Reagan airport is so much more convenient, but US Airways has monopoly on this route and can charge sometimes $400+ roundtrip for a 30 minute flight. Sometimes trek all the way to Baltimore to get cheaper flights on Southwest Airlines between BWI-PIT. I just checked for some weekends in the upcoming months I’ll be visiting family, and flight availability is plentiful on BA’s website. And only 4500 Avios each way. This is definitely a win for me!

  10. Is it me or it’s not as a big of a deal as it seemed to be?

    Coach Saver award availability is terrible on US Airways which is probably even worse than freaking Delta and First class is 3 times more than Coach.

    How is this any good?

  11. My comment above was referring for domestic. Sorry, I did not check the international flights. I assumed a lot of people would be interested in redeeming Avios for short domestic flights

  12. @ Chris — Availability isn’t AMAZING, but it’s actually fairly good on most shorthaul flights in my experience. And I think transatlantic flights without fuel surcharges are a big win as well.

  13. Is PHL-LHR availability on US Air showing up on the British Airways website yet? I’m interested in flying LGA-PHL-LHR as a way to get around surcharges from NYC-LHR.

  14. How did you generate these maps? It looks like GCMap, but I can’t seem to figure out how to generate it. It would be great to use this tool to find uses of Avios from a particular airport (e.g. LHR) without going destination by destination.

  15. @ Tyler — I used gcmap.com and entered in the individual airport codes manually, but if you want to create the shaded “zones” you’d enter 649mi,1150mi@LHR.

  16. @ Anthony — In general I recommend using aa.com to search for US Airways award space first. I see some transatlantic US availability on BA’s website now, though not all.

  17. I really, really hope that after the merger US “first” (business) class will follow AA rules and will only cost double the miles.

    Anyway, I guess now I have to find an excuse to visit Phoenix and Charlotte (within 7,500 mi limit of Houston).

  18. How good is US Airways about releasing last minute availability, either domestic or international?

  19. Since BA’s award chart is segment-based, can economy and business segments be combined? e.g. YOW-PHL at 4,500 points in economy (it’s a CRJ anyway) then PHL-LHR at 40,000 points in business?

  20. @ CP@YOW — yes, with BA you can pick whatever class you want since it’s just a bunch of one-way point A to point B.

    In your case, they don’t have YOW-LHR loaded (yet?) so searching YOW_LHR will give an error message but if you can book it as separate flights; in case you are curious, here are the fees:

    YOW-PHL: 4,500 Avios + $66 (economy)
    +
    PHL-LHR: 20,00/30,000 Avios + $249 (economy/premium economy) or 40,000/60,000 + $434 (business/first)

    Hope this helps!

  21. @ Lucky — are there are issues with BA site not seeing AA availability for some routes? I’d priced out a ton of IAHDFW tickets previously but right now no availability for next month even though AA has 12.5K Saver every day. There are a few days when it tries to send me DFW-CLT-IAH on US… Weird!

    Hope they fix it soon since have to go through DFW for a lot of flights on OW 🙁

  22. @ Ming — They’re somewhat good but not amazing. I find they’re not all that active about their inventory management, so they don’t always release space even with lots of empty seats.

  23. @ Ivan Y — Hmmm, 99% of the time I find it’s accurate, but once in a while there’s a small discrepancy, which sounds like the case here.

  24. I found my ideal flight with US metal on AA.com but not BA.com. Any idea what to do other then calling in?

    I do want to use Avios but also want to avoid BA call center..

  25. 1)Is it a possibility that I could find something PHL-DUB on US using Avios?

    2)If I can find something from PHL-LHR, do I need to find something that is US Airways for the flight home to avoid fuel surcharges?

  26. @ MissChele — Yes, US Airways flies from Philadelphia to Dublin, and they charge 20,000 Avios each way in economy. You would need to fly US Airways, Aer Lingus, or Air Berlin to avoid the fuel surcharges if redeeming Avios.

  27. Chris is right and Lucky is wrong: US domestic coach award availability is poor. Look some more and you will see this. You can almost never find US award seats on any day remotely close to a holiday or other peak travel day. They never load any seats. Their transatlantic award availability tends to be equally poor. When US was in the Star Alliance, I joked (accurately, I believe) that Lufthansa has more award seats to Europe than US did even though LH had one flight and US had 20+ flights.

    Hopefully, when the airline systems merge, the combined airline has at least AA’s availability and not US’s. But I’m not terribly optimistic about that. In the meantime, US redemptions through Avios are theoretically fantastic and practically difficult.

  28. Trying to book WAS – AUA . I see lots of availability on AA.com, for Economy AAnytime. There is no availability for Economy MileSAAver.

    When I search BA.com, there is no availability, even if I break up the segments WAS-MIA, MIA-AUA.

    Does BA.com only show the Economy MileSAAver awards? Not regular Economy AAnytime Awards?

  29. Can I use Avios to fly USAirways from Phoenix to Newark (NJ)? if yes, all Phx/Newark flights or just certain flights?

  30. @ Lucky — actually, Ben, I think there’s something wrong with BA site (and not just IAH-DFW nonstop I informed you about).

    For example, if looking at just AA flights, AA site shows 2 nonstop and 4 one-stop DFW-LAX saver flights for 5/14/14 but BA site pulls up only 1 nonstop. On 5/15/14, AA site shows just 2 nonstops and BA shows 1 nonstop again (same AA2407 flight as on 5/14); same story for 5/16. Stranger still, for 5/17/14 AA site shows 1 nonstop and 3 one-stop flights but BA has 3 (!) nonstops and non one-stops.

    Any idea what could be going on here? I thought that before US merger, BA and AA systems were pretty much in sync with each other. Now, it’s hard to complain when BA shows more flights AA itself but as you can see from above, mostly that’s not the case.

  31. @Lucky I found flights on AA then went to BA and they say they don’t service the route. Will only show European destinations. Is there a trick? THANKS!

  32. This is what I got from the Executive Club at BA. As you can see, it says U.S. Airways will add 60 destinations. Not all, just 60!!

    Earn double Avios with US Airways
    Earn double Avios when you fly with US Airways, the newest member of the oneworld® alliance
    US Airways has recently joined the world’s leading quality global airline alliance oneworld®. To celebrate, Executive Club Members can now earn double Avios when you book a flight operated and marketed by US Airways and British Airways codeshare flights.
    US Airways will add 60 destinations to the oneworld map – most in its US home but also three in Canada and one in Mexico – along with its key hubs of Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington DC’s Reagan National, expanding oneworld’s presence across the USA, particularly throughout the East Coast and across the North Atlantic. The addition of US Airways represents the latest landmark in oneworld’s biggest membership expansion yet.
    Customers flying with the airline can now enjoy all the benefits oneworld® members offer, such as an extensive choice of flight connections and fares, the ability to earn and redeem Avios and an array of privileges and rewards. Book with US Airways and fly before 30 June 2014 to claim double Avios.

  33. @ Ivan Y — There do are unfortunately seem to be some sync issues between their systems. Don’t have an explanation, other than the fact that the space is bookable by phone. Very frustrating indeed.

  34. Tried to call in tonight for a booking – looks like they have limited hours again for US bookings. Any personal experience with this?

  35. @ Ryan — The hours never changed. You can, however, phone the UK or Singapore call center during their local business hours, which more or less means you can book tickets “around the clock” (though I’d suggest using Skype/Google Voice so it doesn’t get too expensive).

  36. Quick Question: I am trying to book CLT-BDL in august. On US Airways site, I see few days with saver availability (12.5K each way), but when I try to book the same on BA, I get zilch. Nothing shows up. Any clue why is this happening? Will calling BA.com resrvation desk help?

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