Lately I’ve been using British Airways Avios to redeem flights on Cathay Pacific. I think it’s a great redemption value when you use the cash+avios option, because you can essentially buy Avios at USD 1.1 cents each, which is very cheap.
Take a look at this sample below:
Normal redemption one way in economy from HKG – JFK is 35,000 Avios + $170 USD in taxes and fuel surcharge. However, if I use the Avios + Cash option, I can use only 10,500 and pay $445 USD instead, essentially buying the other 24,5000 Avios for $275 only. ($275 / 24 500 = 0.0112244897959184) or 1.1 cents US each Avios.
Do keep in mind I’ve found flights to North America the cheapest. I tried a route from Bali to HKG and it was almost 3 cents an Avios, so be sure to do the calculations before you book. Also, I think if you fly another airline or class (business or first class,) the price is also different. It’s a bit random I must say.
Sticking with the New York example, tickets regularly are around $1200 USD, if not more during holidays and peak travel periods, so I can usually save a few hundred dollars buy using this option. There are some pros and cons to this:
- Cancellations and changes to award tickets using BA Avios are only $40 USD…very cheap and affordable for the flexibility. (The main reason I use award tickets.) If you wanted to change a ticket on Cathay it’ll usually cost you at least $100 USD and most tickets are not refundable.
- You book a bunch of destinations and open jaws using one-way awards. (One-ways are charged 1/2 of the roundtrip)
- You will not accrue miles or status flying on award tickets. However, many of Cathay’s discounted economy tickets don’t accrue Asia Miles anyway.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a way to book awards using British Airways Avios without using too many, or want to buy Avios at a cheap price, this is a good way to go.