British Airways Avios Hack: Using a “Direct” flight to save miles!

British Airways Avios are a very handy mileage currency to have. With short flights starting at 4,500 miles one way there are some good great deals to be had. This is especially true for USA domestic flights on American Airlines and US Airways.

The catch with Avios is that when you have a layover each separate flight segment prices separately. For example if you were to redeem Avios to fly Chicago to Atlanta with a layover in Charlotte the Avios points price would normally be 9,000 Avios in economy or 27,000 Avios in First. This is the sum of 2 separate flights (ORD-CLT and CLT-ATL) at 4500 or 13,500 each. Having a connection pushes up your cost in terms of how many points you need to redeem for the flights. In case you are afraid or simply hate flying, click on this useful reference and read how you can make your flight experience better.

In some cases you can find flights that are marketed as “Direct” (not nonstop!) and both segments have the same flight number. If this is the case British Airways will consider this 1 single flight and price it accordingly. Using the above example US Airways shows Flight 745 as ORD-ATL. When you look at award availability on the AA website you see it as 2 flights with the same flight number. If you look at the same flights through British Airways’ award search you see it as 1 flight and it prices as 1 flight in terms of how many miles are required to redeem.

Here are some screen grabs to prove the above point:


AA Award US Flight 745


BA Award US Flight 745

As you can see above redeeming Avios for the flight is a better deal since it would cost 13,500 points instead of 25,000 AA miles for First Class. If economy were available for this flight it would be an even better deal at only 4500 Avios one way!

Both flight segments have the same flight number. You can save Avios points on this booking as shown above. There are quite a few flights offered by both American Airlines and US Airways that fall under this flight numbering scheme. This is good to keep an eye out for when you are looking to redeem your Avios to save some points! A quick check of the flight numbers as shown on the example above is and indicator that it will cost less to book those connecting flights versus others that have 2 different flight numbers.