Avios is one of the best mile currencies for short-haul redemptions (LAN was also, but given that the SPG transfer ratio devalued it’s not so great of an option anymore), especially for transborders which are prohibitively expensive. Just look at the fare for the next month with a paid fare:
I mean, that’s $200 for a 50 minute flight! That’s
almost as expensive as a paid first class ticket! Okay, now I kid am playing with you. So it should be a great deal with Avios, with one ticket at 4,500 points, which should yield over 4 cents in value, right?
Well, I don’t think so. Let’s look at the breakdown of an award ticket – taxes and fees are $49.60.
That’s right – $49 dollars in taxes for an award ticket!
I could get a car and drive down, but I don’t really want to do that since I lose three hours of “working” time. So I went and took Amtrak.
That’s right! The entire ticket is cheaper than the taxes and fees on the flight.
Keep in mind I’m not saying that Avios is not useful. In fact, in most cases, it is hugely useful as you use the fewest amount of miles and which gives a great rate of return. For example, the other way (SEA/PDX-YVR) is only 4,500 miles and $2.50. It is the airport taxes that are undermining the value of this redemption. Just remember that Avios is not the end all, and this is the same with all currencies. Make sure you are looking for the best redemption at all times, even considering paid and other options.
I found Amtrak Cascades very nice and there was wifi too! Trip report coming soon. 🙂