5 Unusual British Airways Redemption Routes You Might Not Have Heard Of

May 18, 2019

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British Airways has a huge route network. And to some of its destinations, it also has huge numbers of frequencies. But there are some destinations more exotic and unusual than Frankfurt (FRA) or Toronto (YYZ) that you might never have heard of.

Here’s some inspiration for your next Avios redemption.

Mahé, Seychelles

There are sunny island breaks like Sardinia(OLB) and Majorca (PMI), and then there are jaw-dropping, bucket-list destinations like the Seychelles (SEZ). Located off the East Coast of Africa, British Airways flies there nonstop from London Heathrow (LHR) as the only direct service between the two airports. The nonstop flight operates twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays using a four-class Boeing 787-9. An Avios redemption on this route will cost the following, one-way per person, off-peak:

  • 16,250 (World Traveller — economy)
  • 32,500 (World Traveller Plus — premium economy)
  • 62.500 (Club World — business)
  • 85,000 (First)

Hot tip: This is a very popular and very premium British Airways route, so if you’re looking to redeem your Avios in a premium cabin, you are best to look for availability as soon as the seats are loaded, 355 days in advance.

(Photo by Kathleen Kristiansen/The Points Guy)

Osaka, Japan

Tokyo may have been on your radar for some time, but if you’re struggling with Avios availability to Japan’s biggest and most popular city, why not consider Osaka? This city is a great destination in itself, with fantastic food, culture and attractions.

British Airways now flies from London Heathrow to Osaka (KIX) four times weekly using a three-class Boeing 787-8. The redemption rates are as follows:

  • 19,500 (World Traveller)
  • 39,000 (World Traveller Plus)
  • 75,000 (Club World)

Hot tip: English is not as widely spoken in Osaka as in Tokyo. So learning some basic Japanese phrases will help enormously, although the Japanese people will likely be welcoming and friendly regardless of your language abilities.

Takoyaki in Osaka! (Photo by Agathe Marty / Unsplash)
(Photo by Agathe Marty/Unsplash)

Zakynthos, Greece

Greece’s hotspots like Mykonos (JMK) and Santorini (JTR) are super popular in summer, but can also be super expensive — and super crowded.

Consider the island of Zakynthos (ZTH) for having everything to offer that makes the Greek islands such a great destination. Oh yeah, and there’s this view:

So beautiful, it might merit some instability. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
(Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

BA flies to Zakynthos twice weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) using an Airbus A320 aircraft. The redemption rates are as follows:

  • 8,500 (EuroTraveller)
  • 17,000 (Club Europe)

Hot Tip: It’s not recommended to drink tap water in Greece, so make sure you stay hydrated by taking enough bottled water with you.

Bahrain to Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Okay, so Saudi Arabia is unlikely to be high on your holiday wish list, but this route is possibly the most unusual British Airways route anywhere.

This is what is called a ‘Fifth Freedom Route’, where the flight does not depart or arrive in the United Kingdom. Commencing 1 December 2019, this flight will operate a continuation of the existing flight from London Heathrow (LHR) to Bahrain (BAH) daily using a four-class Boeing 777-200.

The most unusual part of this BAH to Dammam (DMM) flight? It is a distance of just 54 miles, so will be one of the shortest British Airways flights. While blocked at 50 minutes it is unlikely the seatbelt sign will be turned off for the flight.

British Airways is not allowing Avios (or cash) bookings for just the BAH to DMM leg, but this can be booked as part of the LHR to BAH (to DMM) flight, as it has a single flight number for the entire journey, for the following Avios amounts:

  • 13,000 (World Traveller)
  • 26,000 (World Traveller Plus)
  • 50,000 (Club World)
  • 68,000 (First)
A picture taken on February 11, 2018 shows the main entrance of the Ritz Carlton hotel in the Saudi capital Riyadh following its reopening for business. (Photo cby FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

Hot Tip: Saudi Arabia has announced either visa-free entry or visa on arrival entry for foreigners by the end of 2019, but ensure you check entry requirements well before booking a flight.

Caribbean Fifth Freedom Routes

British Airways flies to various destinations around the Caribbean. Some of these are direct from London (LGW), while others are a continuation of an existing flight from a nearby island (similar to the Bahrain to Dammam example above). This allows BA to serve two destinations that might not have sufficient demand for a long-haul flight on their own.

These short hops between islands can be booked as separate flights using cash or Avios and they are an amazing and largely unknown deal for a few reasons:

  • Avios availability is usually amazing on these routes, as many passengers get off at the first island, leaving plenty of seats available for the short hop to the second island.
  • The aircraft used are fitted with long-haul seats, meaning you could score a fully flat bed for a one-hour flight.
  • Island hopping in the Caribbean can be very expensive (and time-consuming if transferring via the US), so these Fifth Freedom Flights can be a very cost-effective way to do so.
  • It allows you to experience more than one island per Caribbean holiday.

The current Fifth Freedom routes in the Caribbean are as follows, mostly using three- or four-class Boeing 777-200 aircraft (flights operate in both directions):

  • Antigua (ANU) to St. Kitts (SKB), Tobago (TOB) and Turks & Caicos (PLS)
  • Grand Cayman (GCM) to Nassau (NAS)
  • St. Lucia (UVF) to Grenada (GND) and Port of Spain (POS)

The great news is these flights can be booked as Reward Flight Savers with low Avios and fixed fees and taxes, making them amazing value as follows for one-way off-peak redemptions:

  • 4,000 (World Traveller)
  • 5,750 (World Traveller Plus)
  • 7,750 (Club World)

The ANU to PLS flight is longer in distance, so would be priced as follows:

  • 6,500 (World Traveller)
  • 9,500 (World Traveller Plus)
  • 12,750 (Club World)
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort. (Photo courtesy of Westin)
(Photo courtesy of Westin)

Hot Tip: Most of these Fifth Freedom Flights do not operate daily, so if you plan on island hopping you may need to be flexible.

Featured image by Pola Damonte/ Getty Images

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