Avios are the currency of the British Airways Executive Club that can be useful in different ways. Since Avios pricing is distance-based, they’re super-useful on non-stop shorthaul flights as the shortest flights cost only 7500 Avios. Since each leg of a flight is priced separately, the more connections required, the more Avios required. For this reason, and the fact that on international flights BA passes along the fuel surcharges, they’re not as useful for international flights. There are exceptions to this general rule however: BA’s booking window opens up a couple of weeks before American’s does, giving those with Avios first crack at award seats on certain carriers. For example, I was able to use Avios to book a first class seat on a Qantas flight to Australia before it was available to AA members. I had to pay the fuel surcharges but since premium cabin seats are so scarce on Qantas, I thought it was worth the cash required to obtain that seat.
Normally you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points to Avios at the rate of 250 MRs to 200 Avios. But from now through October 10, 2016 you’ll earn a 50% bonus when transferring MRs to Avios. So transfer 250 MRs and get 300 Avios. To make the transfer, log into your Amex account and indicate the number of MR points you want to transfer. The website will show you how many Avios you’ll receive.
All transfers are final so if you’re transferring for a specific flight, be sure there is award space available. If you’re planning to use the Avios on a BA partner flight you’ll need to be sure the available award space is at the saver (cheapest) level.