BA's change to Avios and the changes in redemption came as a shock in 2011 but have brought some great values. Especially using BA's partner Alaska Airlines here on the West Coast
I just redeemed 9,000 Avios +$5 for a Roundtrip SJC-LAX next week.
I need to be there for a conference and flights for my schedule were a hefty $413. The Executive Club call center agent even waived the booking fee as Alaska is not integrated into the online booking engine.
9,000 Avios came from 6,300 American Express Membership Rewards points with the 30% bonus from last year. So it's about 6.5 cents per MR point in Economy -lovely!
Avios are also great value for flights to Hawaii on Alaska. You can only book into the low award bucket at Alaska which can be rare over the summer months but it does exist. BA wants 25,000 Avios for the return. No fuel surcharges. That's just 17,500 MR per ticket with the regular bonus. Alaska flies to almost all Hawaiian islands from all 3 Bay Area airports directly.