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On many US-based mileage programs, you’re going to be charged 30,000 miles each way for flights between US and Europe. Even with low-cost carrier competition driving down cash prices, airlines have stubbornly kept their award rates unchanged.

But, now there’s a short reprieve. Now through June 17, you can book British Airways economy awards to/from London for 50% fewer Avios. On some routes and dates, this drops the price to just 6,500 Avios each way between the US and London. And, if you don’t currently have Avios, you can easily obtain them by transferring points (1:1) from Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and SPG Starpoints.

Here are the basics of the deal:

  • Airline: British Airways-operated flights
  • Routes: London Heathrow (LHR) or London Gatwick (LGW) “to over 90 destinations”
  • Cabin: Only for “World Traveller” economy
  • Book by: June 17, 2018
  • Travel dates: September 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019
  • Transfer points: American Express Membership Rewards (1:1), Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1), Starwood Preferred Guest (1:1 with bonus for transferring 20,000 points)
  • No registration or promotion code. The discount is automatically applied.

What’s the catch? British Airways’ infamous fuel surcharges, which start at $178 each way:

Here’s some options to consider at 6,500 Avios each way:

  • Boston (BOS)-London: 6,500 Avios + $178
  • Chicago (ORD)-London: 6,500 Avios + $178
  • New York Kennedy (JFK)-London: 6,500 Avios + $178
  • Newark (EWR)-London: 6,500 Avios + $178
  • Philadelphia (PHL)-London: 6,500 Avios + $178
  • Washington Dulles (IAD)-London: 6,500 Avios + $178

And for 8,125 Avios each way:

  • Atlanta (ATL)-London: 8,125 Avios + $178
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)-London: 8,125 Avios + $174
  • Los Angeles (LAX)-London: 8,125 Avios + $178
  • Nashville (BNA)-London: 8,125 Avios + $178
  • San Francisco (SFO)-London: 8,125 Avios + $178

You don’t have to stop in London, but British Airways prices award flights by segment. So, you’ll have to pay for another award flight to continue onward into mainland Europe. For example, you can fly from the US to Berlin Tegel (TXL) for 10,500 Avios:

Who Is This Deal Good For?

This deal can be great for those looking for a cheap one-way to/from Europe in combination with another award. Perhaps you’re able to book a lie-flat business class award for the red-eye to Europe but don’t mind flying economy back from London.

But, this deal can be especially good for routes where British Airways isn’t able to (or doesn’t) charge as high of fuel surcharges. For example, you can fly between London and Hong Kong for just 9,750 Avios and $41.

Since British Airways Avios are charged per flight leg, you might as well build your own multi-stop trip. For example, you can fly from the US Northeast (Boston, Chicago, NYC, Philadelphia, Washington DC) to London, stop and visit London for as long as you want, then fly to Seychelles for a total cost of just 14,625 Avios:

Or, if you want to take the long way from Hong Kong (HKG) back to the US, you can book Hong Kong-London-NYC from 16,250 Avios and $234 one-way:

And if you book a route — such as Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Washington DC — that operates using a British Airways A380, make sure to select an upper-deck seat.

British Airways A380 upper deck window seats featured storage compartments between the seat and the window. Photo by Katie Genter.
British Airways A380 upper deck window seats featured storage compartments between the seat and the window. Photo by Katie Genter.

So, while high surcharges keep this deal from being too incredible for most travelers, there’s definitely some sweet spots that can be utilized before the deal ends on June 17.

Know before you go.

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