Holiday getaway: Popular destinations you can use your Avios to fly to this Christmas
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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.
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.
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.
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:
- ET means Euro Traveller economy,
- CE means Club Europe business class,
- WT means World Traveller economy,
- WTP means World Traveller Plus premium economy,
- CW means Club World business class and
- F means First class.
I used the awesome Seatspy website to make all these searches quickly and easily.
Here is the availability using Avios this Christmas.
- 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
- 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
- St Lucia (UVF): 19 December WTP
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ): 20 December WTP
- 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
- 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
- Rio de Janeiro (GIG): 22 December CW
- Santiago (SCL): 21 December CW; 22 December WTP/CW
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
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