Open-jaw: The Secret Way To Get An Avios Redemption

When we’re looking for an Avios redemption, we find most of the online tools are great for searching availability to our preferred destinations. Availability can be tight on a lot of routes. We don’t, however, give up when we can’t find a return flight or the class of travel we want. Instead, we start looking at the options to book an open-jaw Avios redemption.

What is an Open-jaw?

It’s a surprisingly simple travel concept that has been made to sound like a frightening dental procedure. Is it any wonder few of us know about it? An open-jaw is where you fly out to one airport, then return from a different airport. You do the travel between the arrival airport and the one you fly home from. One-way car hire, internal flights, trains or buses are the way most people do it.

Driving holidays in the USA are perfect open-jaw redemptions!

For example, you might fly to San Francisco, but fly back from Las Vegas. After a few days seeing the sights in San Francisco, you could pick-up a car hire and do the 6-hour drive to Las Vegas.

How about doing a fly-drive in Florida, where you fly into Orlando and out of Miami? It’s possible with an open-jaw.

We flew into Lima and out of Sao Paulo

We tried an open-jaw Avios redemption for the first time in 2017, when wanted to visit Peru and Bolivia. While we could find an outbound Club World flight, we couldn’t find any availability on the return leg. We decided to check where else BA flew in South America. Santiago, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo all came up as options. We checked one-way availability from these 4 cities London on the date we needed. Two Club World seats were available to book, so we’d found our route home. The next step was to find a way to book London to Lima and then São Paulo to London on a single trip itinerary.

What are the rules?

The rules on open-jaw are very relaxed. In short, the distance between the two destination airports must less than the distance to fly back home.

London to Lima is 10,147 km. Lima to São Paulo is 3,451 km. São Paulo to London is 9,496 km. As Lima and São Paulo are closer to each other than they are to London, it’s a valid open-jaw redemption.

The distance between Lima and São Paulo is less than the distance to London, so it’s a valid open-jaw!

The total Avios is calculated by adding the Avios price of the outbound and inbound flights together.

How to book BA open-jaw redemptions

Open-jaw Avios redemptions cannot be booked on the BA website or in the app. We had to call BA Executive Club customer services. They were able to quickly build the exact itinerary we wanted and book it for us. Because it was impossible to make the booking online, BA waived the usual €15 booking fee.

If you’re looking for an open-jaw, use BA’s reward flight finder or to find availability for the outbound and inbound flights. Remember, you can mix cabin classes too, so you could fly out in premium economy and back in business. Once you’ve found the flights, pick up the phone and ask BA to do the rest.

Can 2-for-1 companion vouchers be used for open-jaw bookings?

The great news is companion vouchers can be used on open-jaw redemptions. Just remember to tell the customer service agent you want to use the companion voucher when you call to book.

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