Top 5 Best Frequent Flyer Programs for International Travel

October 21, 2014 by

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1. British Airways

Frequent Flyer Programs International Travel British Airways sleeper seat

When you’re setting off on a Hawaiian adventure or hopping across Europe, flying British Airways helps you get exceptional awards. Since British Airways Avios are distance-based, longer flights cost less than competing airlines and pricey short flights are discounted. That means you can fly from LAX or SFO to Hawaii for 25,000 Avios or one-way from New York to Toronto for 4,500 Avios. On competing airlines, it would cost at least 10,000 more miles (sometimes 15,000 and above) to fly to Hawaii and about $500 to $600 to fly from NYC to Toronto.

Frequent Flyer Programs International Travel British Airways sleeper seat regular

If you’re hoping to save by flying across the ocean to explore new countries, British Airways can help get you there for 20,000 Avios in economy or 60,000 Avios in first class. Although these prices are for one-way tickets from NYC to London, you’re saving quite a lot of expense on your wallet by using Avios and most other airlines would charge a lot more for economy flights than 20,000 miles. This also gives you the ability to fly into London and fly out of another country, which is great for first-time European travelers. British Airways flies out of all major European airports so if you want to fly back from Paris or Madrid, the cost is still only 20,00 Avios. That means your entire European vacation would cost 40,000 Avios round trip, far cheaper than many other airlines. You can also transfer AMEX points to British Airways to fly from Boston to Dublin in Business class for only 50,000 Avios. A lie-flat bed and exceptional service for 50,000 points? Sign me up. By flying British Airways, you’re saving miles and dollars, which means you can fly for free more often or upgrade.

Frequent Flyer Programs International Travel British Airways cabin

A few other great aspects of British Airways are their upgrade potential from economy to business class and the ease of collecting points. In many cases, British Airways only requires about 20,000 Avios to jump seating classes. So instead of sitting next to two other people sharing an armrest for seven hours or more or spending over $1,000 per ticket, you can enjoy the comforts of business or first class with a lie-flat bed or extra large seat. Especially if you’re going to be sitting on the plane for that long, it’s worth the extra 20k points to sleep or relax in comfort. Avios are also simple to collect. Many time the British Airways Visa offers up 50-100,000 Avios just for signing up for the card. You have to spend $1,000 in the first three months but you ear 1.25 Avios per dollar on regular purchase and 2.5 Avios per dollar on British Airways purchases. There are also no foreign transaction fees so you can take the card with you anywhere without hassle. Transfer partners for the card include AMEX, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood (SPG Points).

One last important item: Avios are also the point program of choice of Iberia so you can save by flying that airline to certain destinations.

Frequent Flyer Programs International Travel British Airways first class food

British Airways is the top choice not only because it works well for international travel but for domestic trips as well. You can get the most out of your travel miles when flying internationally and take advantage of British Airways Avios for short trips. Even if you’re just flying to major airports in Canada, Avios save you dollars on expensive tickets. Additionally, you earn Avios fast for more free flights around Europe, which leaves more money for travel trinkets and dinners at excellent local restaurants.

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