Holiday getaway: Popular destinations you can use your Avios to fly to this Christmas

Apr 17, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Christmas can be one of the most popular, yet frustrating times of the year to travel. For cash tickets, you can expect sky-high prices to popular destinations, and if you’re using points and miles, you usually need almost a year in advance to snap up the best seats.

However, 2020 has proved to be a very different travel year. The coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on the aviation industry specifically, and many travellers are either cancelling or deferring travel right now and into the near future. The good news is that amongst all this doom and gloom, there’s arguably never been a better time to use points and miles than right now. With so many people cancelling or deferring advance travel during the coronavirus pandemic, availability using miles and points is largely excellent.

Related: 5 reasons why you should book Avios tickets today for Easter 2021

Of course, with uncertainty about the future, you want to ensure you have flexibility and options to change your plans. A big cash booking you choose to change will likely mean your money is tied up in a credit voucher or travel date change, as you may not be eligible for a refund. Using points and miles is different — you can always refund your redemption booking for a very small fee and receive your points and miles back as well as the fees, taxes and surcharges paid.

Related: Are UK airlines waiving cancellation or change fees for award bookings?

If you’re comfortable using points and miles to book redemption seats for Christmas, here is what is available right now. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what’s available — I’ve picked destinations that should be popular for travel at Christmas. For example, I figured Miami would be more popular than Saudi Arabia and Munich more popular than Bucharest. The availability on this list is, of course, subject to change and all dates are peak dates on the Avios calendar.

Related: The difference between British Airways’ Avios + Money and Avios Part-Payment

I searched from the Saturday before Christmas, 19 December, through to Tuesday 22 December for at least two Avios award seats in all classes (so you could use a British Airways Companion Voucher) if you wish.

In relation to the abbreviations:

I used the awesome Seatspy website to make all these searches quickly and easily.

Related: The easiest and quickest way to find British Airways and Virgin Atlantic award seats just got even better

In This Post

Here is the availability using Avios this Christmas.

Europe

  • Barcelona (BCN): Saturday 19 December ET/CE; Sunday 20 December ET; Monday 21 December ET/CE; Tuesday 22 December ET/CE
  • Budapest (BUD): 20 December ET; 21 December ET/CE; 22 December ET/CE
  • Cologne (CGN): 19 December ET/CE; 20 December ET/CE; 21 December ET/CE
  • Florence (FLR): 19 December ET; 21 December ET/CE; 22 December CE
  • Istanbul (IST): 21 December CE; 22 December CE
  • Lisbon (LIS): 21 December CE; 22 December CE
  • Munich (MUC): 19 December CE; 20 December ET/CE; 21 December ET/CE; 22 December ET/CE
  • Nice (NCE): 19 December ET/CE; 21 December ET/CE; 22 December ET/CE
  • Rome (FCO): 19 December CE; 20 December ET; 21 December ET/CE; 22 December ET
  • Vienna (VIE): 19 December ET/CE; 21 December CE; 22 December ET/CE
Rathausplatz Christmas Market by the Town Hall in Vienna. (Photo by Danita Delimont/Getty Images)
Rathausplatz Christmas Market by the Town Hall in Vienna. (Photo by Danita Delimont/Getty Images)

North America

  • Austin (AUS): 19 December WT/F; 20 December CW; 21 December CW; 22 December CW
  • Baltimore (BNA): 21 December CW; 22 December CW
  • Boston (BOS): 19 December WTP/CW; 20 December WTP/CW; 21 December WTP/CW/F; 22 December WT/WTP/CW/F
  • Chicago (ORD): 20 December CW; 21 December CW
  • Houston (IAH): 21 December WTP/CW
  • Los Angeles (LAX): 21 December F; 22 December WTP; 22 December CW
  • Miami (MIA): 22 December CW
  • Montreal (YUL): 21 December WTP/CW; 22 December WTP; 22 December CW
  • New Orleans (MSY): 22 December CW
  • New York (JFK): 19 December CW; 20 December WT/CW/F; 21 December CW/F; 22 December CW
  • Philadelphia (PHL): 19 December WT/CW; 20 December CW/F; 21 December WTP/CW; 22 December WT/CW/F
  • San Francisco (SFO): 21 December WTP/CW; 22 December WTP; 22 December CW
  • San Jose (SAN): 21 December WTP/CW; 22 December CW
  • Toronto (YYZ): 21 December CW
  • Washington (IAD): 21 December WTP/CW; 22 December CW
Photo courtesy of St. Regis Bal Harbour
(Photo courtesy of St. Regis Bal Harbour)

Caribbean

  • St Lucia (UVF): 19 December WTP
  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ): 20 December WTP

Middle East

  • Amman (AMM): 19 December CW; 21 December CW
  • Bahrain (BAH): 19 December WT/F; 20 December CW; 21 December F
  • Cairo (CAI): 19 December CW
  • Doha (DOH): 20 December CW; 22 December CW
  • Dubai (DXB): 20 December CW
  • Tel Aviv (TLV): 20 December CW
Camels in the Negev Desert. (Photo by James Ballard/Unsplash)
Camels in the Negev Desert. (Photo by James Ballard/Unsplash)

Asia

  • Seoul (ICN): 19 December CW; 20 December WTP/CW; 21 December WTP/CW; 22 December WTP; 22 December CW
  • Shanghai (PVG): 19 December CW; 20 December CW; 21 December WTP/CW; 22 December WTP; 22 December CW
  • Tokyo (TYO): 21 December CW; 22 December CW

South America

  • Rio de Janeiro (GIG): 22 December CW
  • Santiago (SCL): 21 December CW; 22 December WTP/CW
(Photo by Alex Robinson/ robertharding/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Robinson/ robertharding/Getty Images)

Related: 5 Christmas getaways that families will love

Bottom line

This is an excellent amount of Avios availability considering we are already halfway through April. If you’re ever frustrated by the lack of availability to use your Avios around Christmas time, see if anything on this list gets you in the Christmas mood.

Of course, there’s still a lot of uncertainty with travel right now but given the flexibility of changing and refunding Avios redemption bookings, it is a low-risk way to lock in some tentative Christmas plans right now.

Featured image by Gettys Images

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.