British Airways Avios used to be the best option for short haul flights, however it is not possible any more in North America. You now need a minimum of 7,500 Avios for short haul flights in North America.
Now, there is a new option available for short haul flights (less than 5000 miles) in Star alliance network. The frequent flyer program is probably the least expected. It is Air India Flying Returns.
If you are traveling from/to a United Airlines hub (Newark, Denver, Houston, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, SFO), you just need 5,000 Air India Flying Return miles + $5.60+ INR 1,000 (14.70 USD approximately)
You can find the all the routes and destinations in this link. These awards have to booked through the Air India call center .
Here is the new distance based award chart from Air India. You could also get a free stopover if you are booking awards in distance greater than 500 miles.
How to earn Flying Return Miles?
If you are in USA, it may be hard to earn Air India flying return miles due to the fact that Air India is not a transfer partner with any program. The easiest way would be to credit your paid star alliance tickets to
If you are in India, you have a few options available to earn the Flying Return miles with Credit cards along with the option to transfer rewards from Citi , HDFC etc..
Air India Flying Returns offers one of the best redemption for short haul flight on United Airlines in USA. You just need 5,000 Air India Flying Return miles + $5.60 + INR 1,000 on select segments in USA operated by United Airlines.
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Editorial Note: Opinions, analysis and any calculations shown are authors alone. Information in this post is not reviewed, approved and endorsed by any airlines, frequent flyer programs or financial institutions