British Airways Fifth Freedom Flights Bookable With Avios

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Update 2/2/15: Reader Luke alerted me to a whole slew of Caribbean flights I was missing from this list, so now they are added!

Thought this was really cool.

British Airways has 15 city pairs with Fifth Freedom flights:

  • Abu Dhabi-Muscat
  • Bahrain-Doha 
  • Colombo-Male
  • Johannesburg-Harare
  • Johannesburg-Livingstone
  • Johannesburg-Mauritius 
  • Johannesburg-Victoria Falls
  • Johannesburg-Windhoek
  • Antigua – Saint Kitts
  • Antigua – Tobago
  • Antigua – San Juan
  • Nassau – Grand Cayman
  • Nassau – Providenciales
  • Saint Lucia – Grenada
  • Singapore-Sydney

The good news is that most of them are bookable using Avios, and could provide a springboard to expand award bookings, or to take advantage of open jaws, or as a trip unto itself.

Bookable with Avios

It looks like BA operates a daily flight from AUH-MCT and there is availability on every single flight for every fare class.

Screenshot 2015-01-31 23.06.18

AUH-MCT open award availability

Screenshot 2015-01-31 23.06.53

All fare classes are open, but economy is just 4,500 Avios

Ditto for BAH-DOH, and you can even use Avios to book on all of Qatar’s flights as well.

BAH-DOH on BA

BAH-DOH on BA…

Screenshot 2015-01-31 23.12.14

…or your choice of 7 flights on Qatar Airways, for 4,500 Avios

Great space on CMB-MLE, either on British Airways or partner SriLankan Airlines. Again, just 4,500 Avios.

Screenshot 2015-01-31 23.15.07

Taxes are $27.50 on BA’s flight, and wide open availability

Screenshot 2015-01-31 23.15.26

Your choice of departure times, in case you’d like to build in a stopover in Colombo. Higher taxes, but more flexibility

A great way to get to Male. Could possibly be a good workaround if you’re having trouble finding award space to Male on Cathay Pacific and don’t have very flexible dates.

Next up, a whole host of flights taking off from Johannesburg. I really like this bit, because you could use Aeroplan or Flying Blue or United’s MilagePlus to get yourself to JNB, then use Avios to get to other parts of Africa on the cheap.

Take a side trip to Zimbabwe

Take a side trip to Zimbabwe

Zambia is also open, on Comair

Zambia is also open, also on Comair

4,500 Avios beats $191

4,500 Avios vs. $191

Screenshot 2015-01-31 23.30.07

JNB-MRU was more finicky, and it’s also 10,000 Avios + $44 in taxes

Screenshot 2015-01-31 23.30.17

Or $291

I’m really interested in the JNB-MRU flight to use as a further springboard to visit the French island of Reunion, which is a neighboring island also off the coast of Madagascar. For some reason, I am obsessed with visiting Reunion. IT WILL HAPPEN.

There is actually decent award availability on the ORY-RUN flight with Delta SkyMiles or Air France’s Flying Blue, so this JNB-MRU is simply another workaround in case you want to visit two places instead of one, or if you don’t want to mess with SkyTeam to get down to Africa for whatever reason.

JNB-MRU - and there's ol' Reunion!

JNB-MRU – and there’s ol’ Reunion!

JNB-VFA wasn’t quite as wide open, but was hitting 6 days a week for availability, so still really decent.

Again with 4,500 Avios + $44.

Screenshot 2015-01-31 23.38.15

 

 

Now we head to the Caribbean! This would be so perfect for a winter getaway, and availability is amazing for a few of these routes. Antigua is the launch point for many of these fifth freedoms:

Island hop from Antigua (ANU) to St. Kitts for 4,500 Avios and ~$28

Island hop from Antigua (ANU) to St. Kitts (SKB) for 4,500 Avios and ~$28

Ditto for Trinidad and Tobago (TAB)

Ditto for Trinidad and Tobago (TAB)

Screenshot 2015-02-02 11.09.01

Better than $229 for a flight a little over an hour – you’re getting 5 cents per dollar in value with this redemption

I couldn’t find any award availability from Antigua to San Juan, PR… but it IS showing up as a valid route.

Contrast that with Nassau (NAS) to Grand Cayman (GCM), where there is availability for every single flight. This is the ideal situation for Avios redemptions… as flights are nearly ~$500. But nope, again with the 4,500 Avios and ~$28.

NAS-GCM, every fare class

NAS-GCM, every fare class

Wide open availability

Wide open availability

On an otherwise price-prohibitive route

On an otherwise price-prohibitive route

Ditto for NAS-Providenciales (PLS).

They only have one flight per week it looks like, on Sundays, for both routes. But they’re both pricing out at ~$500 retail or 4,500 Avios, your choice. 😉

NAS-

NAS-PLS

Lastly, there is Saint Lucia (UVF) to Grenada (GND) which flies on Wednesdays and Sundays – and availability is wide open for every flight and every fare class.

UVF-GND

UVF-GND

These routes are a great, great way to maximize Avios and see more islands in the Caribbean. I’m tempted myself just looking at them on a cold day in the Northeast. But alas, I’ve always had dilemmas about the Caribbean islands.

And a sad trombone

Lastly, the city pair I was most interested in.

The one that could’ve possibly pulled me back into the Travel Together ticket (in conjunction with an award from originated in the US).

The one Fifth Freedom flight, if readily available as a mileage award, that would’ve been a game changer. But alas, it’s crap for availability – in business class, that is.

SIN-SYD (and vice versa) is hopeless.

Wah

Wah

For business class, I couldn’t find one single date in all of 2015 in either direction. But that would’ve really opened up a lot of RTW trip options…

However, in economy class, I was easily able to find availability on the SIN-SYD flight on both British Airways and Qantas for non-stops and Malaysia Airlines for connecting flights. It wasn’t wide open, but it was there. I had to massage the calendar a bit but it did eventually work.

The same is true for SYD-SIN. However, the flights are 20,000 Avios plus ~$171 in taxes, and I was able to find plenty of flights for around $300 each way, so I’d probably just pay for this particular route. In business class though, if there was availability, man… that would be so cool.

How to maximize this

For one, this opens up more Oneworld options. As with all British Airways bookings, here’s what comes to mind for getting some use out of this:

  • Positioning flights for award bookings with other alliances. Fly into Doha to take a Qatar flight
  • Side trips, or to exploit open jaw awards
  • Save money when routes are more expensive in the summer
  • Open up alternate routes when you have fixed dates
  • Comine alliances. Fly into JNB with South African, continue onward with British Airways, for example
  • Combine trips as two one-ways with two (or more) different mileage currencies

Bottom line

Anyway, thought this was really cool. Fifth freedom flights in general. The ones here are concentrated on the Middle East and Southern Africa, the latter of which can be a bit harder to get to on points and miles.

I’d love to visit Male one day, as well as South Africa and the island of Reunion, and very well might fly into JNB and onward from there.

I’d also love to visit Muscat – I’ve heard it’s gorgeous, and might very well fly back to Doha to experience Qatar Airways, which might pull me out of comfort zone again.

I really like that most of these are just 4,500 Avios and are not affected by the increases to mileage awards coming in April. I also just really like to find new ways to use Avios for short-haul flights.

It got me thinking and dreaming about new places in the world, and that is never a bad thing. Never ever.

Has anyone taken any of these fifth freedom flights? Are there any other cool uses I might’ve missed?

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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  1. Sorry I don’t want to be a smart*ss but ComAir flights aren’t fifth freedom since they are neither BA or they don’t continue to a 3rd country… To be a fifth , BA55 or 57 should be the one continuing.The only 5th from JNB I believe is QR’s service to Maputo

    • Comair is a part of British Airways – it’s a franchisee, but also has its own brand that it operates on the side, kinda like airberlin has Niki… or at least that’s my understanding.

      I don’t think BA operates the Maputo flight any more, do they?

  2. Recently flew BA from MCT-AUH. It was a quick one-hour flight in a 77W, and we boarded by bus and then stairs. Late night flight, though comfortable and a treat to fly a widebody such a short distance. Oman is a great and beautiful country, underrated in my opinion.

    • Correct! I was thinking I could do a really long series of one-ways NYC-SYD or something like that… but I think I’m gonna give up on the Travel Together ticket altogether at this point… unless they reduce their surcharges significantly.

  3. Yeah and they are eligible for RFS prices

    Antigua – Saint Kitts
    Antigua – Tobago
    Antigua – Punta Cana
    Antigua – San Juan
    Nassau – Grand Cayman
    Nassau – Providenciales
    Saint Lucia – Grenada

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