I was looking at some intra-Europe flights for my seven-week loop next summer. I had the brilliant idea that maybe I should oneworld-hub hop.
Munich to Berlin (airberlin)
Berlin to Oslo (airberlin)
Oslo to Helsinki (Finnair)
That would be all new cities for me and all direct flights. I priced out the Avios awards. Berlin to Oslo was 4,500 Avios and $45. That’s a bad deal, since the same revenue flights are only $63. Booking the award would value the Avios at about 1/3 of a cent each.
Oslo to Helsinki is even worse. Avios awards are 4,500 Avios and $77.50.
That means the cash component of the Avios award is more than a normal cash ticket.
Avios are not completely useless within Europe. Perhaps surprisingly to people used to transatlantic surcharges, the value play inside of Europe is to fly on British Airways metal or Iberia metal.
British Airways collects a low flat fee of $22.50 on its “Reward Flight Saver” intra-Europe awards on BA and IB metal.
BA.com explains Reward Flight Saver flights like this:
They don’t usually work out to a great value–domestic US flights are better–but they are certainly better than airberlin and Finnair awards within Europe. For instance, London to Athens goes for 10k Avios and $22.50.
That means this redemption gets 1.18 cents per Avios according to the MileValue Calculator. This is not a redemption I would personally make unless I were really looking to conserve cash since I value Avios at 1.7 cents.
Here’s a similar example on Iberia metal from Madrid to Paris. The Avios award costs 7,500 Avios and $22.50.
Intra-Europe Avios redemptions on Finnair and airberlin get close to zero value from your Avios and sometimes negative value because of the dastardly surcharges. Surcharges are capped on Iberia and BA flights, so those awards can get 1 cent per Avios in value–maybe a bit more.
If you’re cash strapped, look for awards on BA and IB metal, but your best bet is to hold onto your Avios for more lucrative redemptions like domestic US, intra-Australia, or intra-South Africa among many options.