How to lower taxes and fees on British Airways award tickets.

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BA releases a ton of seats, but they comes with hefty fees – let’s lower them.

One of the most consistent ways of getting between the US and Europe is via British Airways, but I bet you’ll never forget that first time you went to do it. HOLY $&*! those are some high fees. You’re hit with them regardless of the award currency you’re ultimately redeeming, but a reader, KGV, tipped me off to a way that you can actually cut those fees down. How? Don’t use AA miles. Don’t use British Airways own Avios. Instead…use Asia Miles.

Let’s take a look at pricing out a British Airways business class:

You can use the trick on any class of ticket…including the feature image of BA first class.

a plane with seats and a person walking

Here is a look at a one way ticket from Los Angeles to London using American’s Aadvantage miles. A whopping $581.40 in . Good Grief!

a screenshot of a computer

However…check out the same flight using Asia Miles. $311

Far from nothing, but it’s a savings of $270. Yes, you’re spending more miles

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If you’re looking to book flights between 2501 and 5000 miles…the price drops to just 45k miles one way, or 80k roundtrip. Great Sweet Spot

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How do you get Asia Miles?

These three programs are the easiest.

  • SPG:
    • every 20k points = 25k Asia Miles
  • American Express
    • 1:1 ( normally takes a few days)
  • Citi Bank
    • 1:1

If you’re looking for more than a one way ticket, you may be interested in the Multi-Carrier Award. Not only will you reduce the number of miles it takes you’ll also lower your overall taxes and fees. Check out our post on Multi-Carrier award tix.




Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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  • Rufuss C. Kingston March 20, 2018

    Has anyone noticed that if you depart HKG for Europe on BA there is no real penalty tax using AVIOS, just normal fees. Must be like Brazil, don’t allow BS surcharges….

  • MilesMath March 20, 2018

    I think the miles differential will look much better vs BA or AA if you price out Asia Miles to Europe from the East Coast. Also, returning from another point in Europe via a connection in LHR will significantly reduce the taxes and fees on the return segment.

    • Miles March 20, 2018

      Good points – i wanted to show the “worst case” I’ll add in the short mileage for reference

  • Michael March 20, 2018

    Wait, 57,500 AA miles + $581 fees vs. 70,000 Asia miles + $311

    What’s the real savings here?

    12,500 AA miles vs $270

    • Miles March 20, 2018

      Michael – comes down on what you value. Few things to consider. AA routinely sells for under 2 cents, or <$250. Asia is still cheaper. The big one...It's 1 one way pricing...if you fly roundtrip you'll still save taxes on the US-UK leg, but it'll price at 120k roundtrip ( 115k if you include AA as a return partner so then it's the same price as AA)...Plus, more people have amex and UR than strictly AA, so the ability to redeem is far greater because of transfer access.

      • Michael March 20, 2018

        Yes, not trying to bust your chops, just that the title was how to save on British Airways fees.

        You start the article w/ “a whopping $581.40 in . Good Grief!” So I was expecting some type of savings off of that.

        But the savings of $270 at a cost of 12,500 Asia miles doesn’t save much.

        If Asia miles are worth 1.5 cpm, then 12,500 Asia miles are worth $187.50.

        So your $270 savings is more closer to a savings of $82.50

        So if taxes at $581 makes you go “Good Grief!” then was does taxes at $500 make you say?

        • Miles March 20, 2018

          My goal was just to show people that there are other options when specifically redeeming for BA flights. I could calculate for all the other US departures that qualify for the 45k sweet spot on Asia miles which would add on more savings of $187.50 with your valuation savings plus reduced yq in most situations…or could have done roundtrip from those destinations at 80k saving 35k miles over AA and really clickbaited the title, either way pretty sure you’re saving money, just wanted to show potential value

          • Michael March 21, 2018

            Yeah, like I said – wasn’t trying to bust your chops. I understand what you’re saying. It’s alternative ways to fly BA. The title really did get me to click expecting something more, that’s all. Keep up the good work! This was not a criticism, just an honest reaction.

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