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While RBC markets the Avion cards more towards “any seat, anytime” type redemptions, they also have a sync up with British Airways, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines that allow 1:1 transfer. In my expert advice, these transfers will generally get the most value out of your Avion points- especially if you are redeeming for first or business class.
On top of this, British Airways is offering a stunning 50% bonus on transferred Avion points until January 31, 2011. British Airways is a pretty solid program, allowing for one-way redemptions on all Oneworld carriers. So for you Canadian residents, this means you can get from Canada to Europe in business class for only 66,000 Avion points. If you still don’t realize that this is an amazing deal, think of it this way- under their “any seat, any time” travel awards, 66,000 points will get you to Europe in coach,with a max ticket price of $1,300. If you transfer to BA, those 66,000 miles will equal 100,000, which will get you business class to Europe (and you can even build in stopovers in London at no extra charge). So go see Paris and stopover in London for a couple days- all for a cool 66,000 Avion points. I just pulled up British Airways Toronto (YYZ) – London (LHR) for random dates in February and I consistently got a fare of $4,961.17 CAD.
If you really want to splurge, I love British Airways First Class (I even got to sit behind Madonna last time I flew it!), especially their new first class seat which they are in the process of installing across their international fleet. First class Canada to Europe is 150,000 miles, or 100,000 Avion points with this promotion. I pulled up the same flight I listed above (YYZ-LHR) and it came to $12, 809.17 CAD- all for 100,000 Avion points- a remarkable value no matter how you slice it.
I will caution that you need to make sure there is award space available before you transfer your miles and even then, there is a chance the awards can disappear by the time your Avion points transfer into your British Airways account. However, there is such a huge value to be had, its well worth the risk in my opinion. To check BA award availability, sign in here with your Executive Club account. If you want to be 100% sure you are making the right decision, you can engage my professional award booking services and I’ll do all the dirty work for you and walk you through the process.
As I mentioned in another post this week, some things I like about the British Airways and the Executive Club program:
1) One way awards, even on Oneworld partners
2) The ability to redeem for miles and cash. I only had 110,000 BA miles, but I use them and roughly $1,000 for a roundtrip first class ticket from US to Europe, which normally costs 150,000 miles
3) They are a very upgrade-centric airline and make it pretty simple to use miles to get into the next class of service- or two.
4) Their new first class product is excellent as I reported here. Seriously, I didn’t want to get off the plane.
5) Nice lounges, including Terraces for Club World and The Concorde Room for first class. You get access even when flying on an award ticket.
6) Pretty good overall award availability- especially for First class
Some things I dislike: Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
1) Very high fuel surcharges- be prepared to pay $400+ for business and first class awards
2) A pretty crappy online award booking tool, which almost makes it impossible to see partner awards. (If you don’t feel like dealing with it, you can pay me to book your award for you and get the most out of your points)
3) Pretty insane amount of miles needed for long-haul travel. 420,000 miles from the US to Australia in first class if flying BA, 240,000 on partners (vs 145,000 using American miles).
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.