Avios To The Rescue! How One Credit Card Bonus Earned Us Over $2,000 In Airfare.

A few days ago, I was able to book several hotel stays for 40% off, thanks to an amazing sale through USAA.  I booked trips fast and furiously, with the intention of sitting down and researching each trip more thoroughly after the dust had settled.  When a deal like that comes along, it’s always best to act as quickly as you can, because you never know how long the deal will last.  Since the stays were fully cancelable, I felt comfortable booking several on speculation.

One of the trips I booked was a 5-night stay at an all-inclusive luxury resort in Mexico.  This particular resort is not part of any hotel chain, so I knew we would never be able to stay there on points.  The rack rate for the large suite I booked was just under $1,000/night, but thanks to the sale, I got it for just under $300/night.  All of my research confirmed that the resort would be a great choice for our family, so I decided to start looking at flights from San Francisco to Puerto Vallarta.

Gulp!  I couldn’t find a flight for under $450 round trip.  All of a sudden my deal wasn’t so hot anymore.  I pulled up my Award Wallet account to check my balances.  The only options I had for direct flights (sorta important when you are flying with kids) were on United or Alaska.  I would need 170,000 miles for the Alaska flights, or a whopping 210,000 United miles!!  No thank you!  I stared at my award balances for awhile until a lightbulb went off: Avios!!

Josh has 100,000 British Airways Avios in his account from a lucrative sign-up bonus offer from last year.  (The bonus has since changed, but it is still very lucrative).  Since Avios are a distance-based award, I knew that the amount of Avios we would need per flight would be fairly reasonable.  Sure enough, I entered our departure airport (SFO) and our arrival airport (PVR) into the Avios calculator, and here is what came back:

avios rule!


Bingo!  Our 4 round-trip flights would cost 80,000 Avios (plus approximately $200 in taxes).  A steal!  The chart above displays $0 in taxes and fees, because British Airways does not fly to Mexico.  However, British Airways is a codeshare partner with Alaska, so I know I can book this flight.  I just can’t do it right now because I need to go to sleep.

Tomorrow’s post: how to use Avios to book on Alaska Airlines.

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