Best use for 500K Avios and companion pass?

Discussion in 'British Airways | Executive Club' started by MaryDarling, Apr 6, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. MaryDarling

    MaryDarling Silver Member

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    Thanks to the 100K point sign up, some Amex bonus transfers and household spend, my partner and I find ourselves with half a million Avios and a companion pass. We're trying to determine how to make the best use of them.

    We would like to visit Australia, Europe (get there by plane, explore by train), Asia (Shanghai, Hong Kong, Thailand) and South America (Argentina and Uruguay), and had been thinking to take two months to do a RTW trip. I'm not clear, though, if Avios can be used for a OneWorld RTW ticket. Also, I don't know if a companion pass can be used for such a ticket, or if it can only be used for a more traditional out and back type flght. Any insight on that would be greatly appreciated!

    If there is a better way to use the miles (individual trips, or beginning a trip outside the US, for example) I'm wide open for suggestions. We'd like to fly business or first, and we can handle the fact that there will be some fuel surcharges -- though avoiding them would be nice. We'll also have about 300K USAirways points, and about 150K American points, if we need to use them, too.

    So, any ideas of how to start thinking about this would be great -- I'm a bit overwhelmed by the idea, but want to be sure and get the best use from these points as possible!
     
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  2. bhoy

    bhoy Silver Member

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    I am far from experienced on this subject, having only started actively accumulating miles last year, but I did earn a BA companion pass and have been looking into it's uses myself. I know you can only fly on BA metal with the pass, which means everything goes via London, if I am not mistaken. When I have done test bookings to check on taxes, It usually only gives me the option to do a layover in London. From what I've seen, you cannot use your pass to cover multiple stopovers on BA. I am sure with all the other miles you have in other programs you'll be able to work out a very nice trip though. I am sure others on this board will come along and give you great advice.
     
  3. TheBeerHunter
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    TheBeerHunter Silver Member

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    The companion passes that I have accrued using the Chase BA card, US based, require that you start the trip in the US. So, that limits your choices a bit: it means you have to connect in LHR, since another requirement is that it be on BA metal, and it means it's going to be expensive to do much of what you wrote about without spending a bunch of points. Bsurcharges are going to be unavoiodable. But, it sounds like you have a bunch of Avios so if you are willing to spend them, you can go most everywhere BA flies at least in business if not first class. I suggest looking at The Wandering Armenean's Avios points calculator so you can figure out how many points each of these would cost you, if seats were available. Look at availability, and try to narrow down the places you want to go. And note the expiration date of your cert, so you don't let it expire!
     
  4. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    By no means am I the expert on using Avios miles but the advantage I find to their program in their distance based redemptions. Thus, to me, I would rather save Avios miles to use for expensive short distance trips than for something more long distance which you can use your AA &/or US miles for.

    Being based out of LAX, Hawaii, Vancouver & NRT are pretty good values which are enticing me to get the Chase BA card myself.
     
  5. MaryDarling

    MaryDarling Silver Member

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    I know short-haul trips are the best use of Avios, but our goal of seeing the world, combined with the fact that the bulk of our miles are BA and we've earned a companion certificate, means longer-haul has to be considered.

    I have to keep reminding myself that, at some point, the goal is the trip, not getting the absolute highest return on the points. I find myself hoarding points rather than using them, which totally defeats the purpose!
     
  6. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    Given different seasons in the locations you are looking at I would do as separate trips to max visit (i've done OW to AUS/NZ, OW to South America and Star booked to JNB) however that said you could look to map out a mix of tickets for one trip. I would suggest Heathrow Pro app to see all flights to/from LHR. BA pass has to originate in US and be same itinerary so I would look at flying as far as you can w/the pass (call to ask thats how i ended up in Perth instead of just SYD when i asked about my OW trip) and work from there. For example, fly BA JFK to Venice or IST hop a cruise (sometimes cheaper than rail/hotel/food) around Med and/or train around Europe. You could then do a star alliance award from germany or switzerland to Asia or Australia which returns back to LHR for the BA trip home. Timing of awards is tricky but since you can hold Star award for 3days that helps. if you don't want to use companion ticket I think you can create your own RTW trip mixing it up
    Suggest look at using the tools as mentioned above for points/availability as well as trip reports
    You have a plethora of choice (I'm jealous having just cleared out my Star and SPG accounts) it's up to you as to what's priority and timing in order to start the research and then have a plan B ready
     
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