The British Airways award chart can be expensive to some destinations. I'm in North America. Flying US to Africa is 180k in business and a whopping 270k in First. Australia is an expensive destination. But there are some awards that are downright cheap. And doubly so when you realize that BA has a very generous stopover policy. They have one-way awards for half the cost of roundtrip. And they allow stopovers on one-way as long as it follows most-direct routing. And one-way awards are usually the way to go (even though change fees are higher if you need to change both directions or you need to cancel/redeposit, still the fees are reasonable for general members, I only looked at the US program but US$70 per person). I gotta love Cathay Pacific awards, 100k roundtrip North America to Asia for business and 150k for first class. Free stopover in Hong Kong. And Cathay availability is just awesome, especially from Toronto but also from San Francisco and the new Chicago flight coming online is pretty good. I also love LAN awards from the US to South America. 80k roundtrip in business class, you can do even San Francisco to South America to Easter Island with a stopover each way. American's award availability is really great to South America, too. Of course you need to avoid combining partners. Fly BA and one partner or just on one partner, or else the really expensive distance-based award chart applies... BA fuel surcharges are noxious of course, especially to North American folks who aren't used to them. But the surcharges are less on partners than on BA itself. BA's website is 'ok' for some redemptions, usuaully you have to call, and I've never been charged the call center fee. If prompted, I just say the website wouldn't book what I needed. Which is usually true, which is why I'm calling. Availability is generally excellent, at least compared to most other programs. And for US-Europe there are so many darned options. And since BA partners with American Airlines and Alaska you can almost always find something you need, just not online. Incredible availability on routes like London - Philadelphia/Phoenix/Houston/Las Vegas. Then grab a partner airline to your actual destination. What's more there's currently a 40% bonus on transfers from the US American Express Membership Rewards program, and transfers from Amex to BA are instant. Usually I call and get BA to set up the award and then once the seats are secured I go to the Amex Membership Rewards website to initiate the transfer online. Chase has a British Airways Visa signup bonus here in the US, 50k miles ain't bad. Plus the card earns 1.25 miles per dollar spent, no foreign currency transaction fees, and $30k in spend earns a free companion award ticket (on BA metal, and fuel surcharges and taxes do apply to the companion). I admit, as a US-based guy, I have an appreciation for the program.