Recently, US Airways joined the OneWorld Alliance as a progression in its merger with American Airlines. What this means is that now US Air flights can now be booked with British Airways’ Avios points. Avios points can be transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) and American Express Membership Rewards (MR). The BA award chart is distance based and naturally there are some sweet spots. Not coincidentally, Avios points are my favorite way to book short haul awards which start at 4,500 points.
Avios Award Chart
The chart continues for distances greater than 5,000 miles but for the purposes of this post, I have omitted it. One thing to note about Avios is that it is per segment. For example, if you wanted to go from LAX-PHX-FLG (Flagstaff), it would cost you 4,500 x 2 for a total of 9,000 – instead of 4,500 since LAX-FLG is less than 650 miles.
US Airways has hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. The maps below show airports accessible by those hubs. Airports that are green are that are just above and the airports that are red are just below the distance thresholds. The lighter color is within 650 miles and the next darker shading is within 1151 miles. This is not to say the red airports are bad, but that you’ll be spending considerably more points to fly to those airports than a nearby green airport – for example, FLL instead of MIA from Charlotte.
To keep the maps as clear as possible, I left out airports that are not just above or below 650 or 1151 miles away from the hub.
Charlotte has some great destinations for 4,500. Chicago is within 650 miles whereas Milwaukee is just above it. Same thing for Gulfport-Biloxi, MS compared to Baton Rouge or New Orleans, and Ft Lauderdale instead of Miami. For 7,000 Avios, you could even make it to Cancun, Cozumel or Turks and Caicos.
While Philadelphia doesn’t have some of the “alternate” airports that Charlotte does, one thing I find interesting is that you could make it to Savannah, GA or Charleston, SC for 4,500 whereas Atlanta would cost 7,000.
Phoenix is another place where there are intering alternatives – most noticeably the California Bay Area. Oakland and San Jose are perfect alternatives to SFO. Personally, I prefer Oakland as it is still very easy to get to San Francisco but does not suffer from the weather delays that plagues SFO.
I’m not necessarily saying these places are bad places to go (quite the contrary), but you wouldn’t get as much distance per Avios. I have also not done any fare analysis with this, so you should do your own due diligence when planning your flights.
Business Class to Europe
From the East Coast there are several destinations that are within 4,000 miles which means you could potentially fly to Europe in business class for just 40,000 Avios. While US Air doesn’t necessarily have the service that European carriers offer, the hard product in their Envoy (Business) class on the A330 is quite good. There are some gems to be had here, especially from the East Coast to multiple destinations in Western Europe.