Last Chance To Book 4,500 Avios Awards Within North America

British Airways has a distance based award chart, which usually works out quite favorably for shorthaul awards, and doesn’t work out quite as favorably for awards spanning further distances.


The program has proven awesome for many in North America, given that British Airways charges the following amounts for shorthaul travel on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines:

  • 4,500 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 1-650 miles
  • 7,500 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 651-1,151 miles
  • 10,000 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 1,152-2,000 miles

This has meant you can fly routes like New York to Toronto or Seattle to Vancouver for just 4,500 Avios one-way, which is a fantastic value.


As I first reported last October, British Airways is devaluing this award in a very specific way for members traveling to or from the United States.

As of 10:00AM GMT on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, British Airways is adjusting award costs for shorthaul awards to/from the United States. Specifically, for flights of 650 miles or less, the cost is changing as follows:

  • From 4,500 Avios to 7,500 Avios in economy
  • From 9,000 Avios to 15,000 Avios in business
  • From 18,000 Avios to 30,000 Avios in first

For a couple more days, redeem as few as 4,500 Avios for travel on Alaska Airlines

This means that British Airways is merging the first two “tiers” for awards to/from the United States, so that flights covering 1-1,151 miles will all cost the same.

So if you’ve been eying any shorthaul bookings, you’ll want to book them in the next couple of days. Keep in mind that you can book travel for dates after February 2, 2016. You can even change awards after February 2, though you’ll be subjected to the standard change fee on Avios awards, which is $55.


If you do need to cancel such an award, keep in mind that there’s a workaround to pay less. If you cancel and redeposit an Avios ticket, you can either choose to pay the $55 cancellation fee, or otherwise can choose to simply forfeit the taxes and get the Avios refunded. Since domestic awards have taxes of $5.60, you could book a ticket for 4,500 Avios plus $5.60, and then if you needed to cancel you’d simply forfeit the $5.60 in order to get the 4,500 Avios back.

Bottom line

The last full day to book awards for 4,500 Avios to/from the US is Monday, so you’ll want to book by then if you want to take advantage of this deal. While it’s a big devaluation for sure, personally it won’t impact me too much. Most of the shorthaul awards I booked using Avios were for travel between 651 and 1,151 miles, and those awards will continue to cost 7,500 Avios.

Are you booking any last minute awards to/from the US for 4,500 Avios?


  1. booked 4 one-way Cho-ord in the last week. I fly this route about once a month and round trips have been pushing closing to $400 the last 6 months. Definitely gonna miss this redemption. 11 one way tix from the BA cc sign-up bonus at $150-200 one way = at least $1650.

  2. How do you add your AAdvantage number to the avios-booked flight after it is booked? I found my reservation on with the BA record locator but the field to change my FF program and # is grayed out.

  3. @ Dave
    When you are checking out on the avios site, be sure to delete the executive club number from the passenger information page before you get to the payment screen. This will allow you to add your AA number on the AA site and stuff like status and precheck should automatically update. If it’s currently grayed out on AA and pre-populated with your avios number I believe you can only change it at check in.

  4. Thanks for the reminder.

    Alaska AIrlines cannot be booked online. It requires a $25 phone booking fee on top of the taxes. They used to never waive the phone booking fee for myself, but I am not a blogger. Some people have claimed that they asked and had them remove the phone booking fee.

  5. I’ve never found those to suit me in the US. For example, I need to fly LAX-SFo. No available returns. Can fly one way revenue, one way award, but the one way fare is way more than the round trip fare.

    On the other hand, it’s great for flying within Europe. LHR-many cities will still be 4500.

  6. Terrible change for Toronto, as Toronto doesn’t have any Avios routes between 651 and 1151 miles. No “tiers” merging for Torontonians.

  7. what are the rules/costs (in points) associated with booking Alaska flights? asking bc I’d love to be able to book a roundtrip flight from ATL-PDX. is this being affected by this devaluation?

  8. And thus: any flight in AA “First” now costs a minimum of 30,000 Avios PER SEGMENT , vs. 25,000 AA miles for any one way domestic flight with one or more connections of any distance.

  9. How do I book a flight from New York to ATL using Avios. The BA site gives the following message. I know AA flies this route.

    British Airways does not have traffic rights to operate directly between these two cities.

  10. @ Sicce — Are you searching on the award page? It seems like you’re searching on their page for paid tickets?

  11. Booking a phantom AA nonstop CLT-FPO for 4500 Avios through the BA site before the devaluation, then calling AA later to change to CLT-MIA-FPO when availability opens for desired date, should work without incurring a change fee right?

  12. double checking on cancel fees…. *most* blogs report just being charged the taxes fee when canceling,and the points go back(looking to book on alaska air using avios) but some talk about $55 charges,etc. I need flexibility at this point, and I don;t plan to cancel, but if I do,I am looking for reassurance about their policies

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