Love those great value BA awards!

Discussion in 'British Airways | Executive Club' started by gleff, Feb 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    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.
     
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  2. Rambuster
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    Rambuster Silver Member

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    The problems I have with the BAEC is the lack of availabilty.
    It's next to impossible to get CW awards , even if you want to book months ahead.
    Most BA apologists will disagree and respond, "but you can fly from A to B on the xxth" but that doesn't make it any better.
     
  3. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Well, I've personally found great availability on BA for long-haul, compared to most airlines. It's the only carrier I can reliably find 5+ premium cabin seats on a single flight (though usually only specific routes). I do find F awards easier to get than business...

    Though there are some routes that are really tough, a bunch of Spain/Italy - LHR flights are hard, usually only the later flights are available not anything I can use to connect to morning or afternoon long-haul.
     
  4. Rambuster
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    Rambuster Silver Member

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    I recently tried to get a single CW seat from ANYWHERE in Europe to ANYWHERE in Asia.
    Not a single seat 12 months out. Surely that's taking the p!ss?
     
  5. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Well, they don't release seats on all routes when the schedules load.

    Never search for seats from anywhere other than LHR. Because the problem could well be the flight from Europe to London to connect.

    And of course the BA website is awful, I search point-to-point using the Qantas website (via the KVS tool) and it's much more effective.

    Nonetheless, these machinations point out to problems in and of themselves, I get that, but just saying that on the whole availability has been very very good in my experience.
     
  6. Rambuster
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    Rambuster Silver Member

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    I envy your availabilty luck !

    I am sitting on over 1 million BA miles and can't seem to use them.
    I am close to writing them off mentally.
     
  7. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    If it weren't against the rules I'd buy 'em from ya! [​IMG]
     
  8. noam
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    noam Silver Member

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    If only we had a place to discuss trading travel-related products. :)
     
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  9. Pegasus
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    Pegasus Gold Member

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    We redeemed for six (6) Biz tickets on LAN using BA miles last year to Buenos Aires at 80K miles each. One of the best redemptions I've ever done.
     
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  10. Globaliser
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    That's not been my experience, either.

    A few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was Club availability to Hong Kong several months in advance. (This is a route where, in the past, Club availability has usually only been put in very late in the booking cycle.) So I was able to MFU a long weekend trip for two.

    We've also been enjoying the copious Club award availability to JNB over the last couple of years. It's been very welcome.

    Going back to gleff's OP, it doesn't seem to mention what is possibly the best (mileage) value BA award there is: Miles for Upgrade from World Traveller Plus to Club. Given the amount earned on the underlying WT+ fare, these can end up being very cheap upgrades in mileage terms. Indeed, for some BA members on some routes, you can earn back more on the underlying fare than you spend on the upgrade.
     
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  11. Rules be damned, I WILL buy them off you.
     
  12. Petrus
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    Petrus Silver Member

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    Seriously, if you do have problems burning them/risk dropping them due to expiry I would be most grateful to assist in using them in. Lets continue over PM :)
     
  13. sagefemme52
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    sagefemme52 Silver Member

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    Any recent examples of this, that you have seen?
     
  14. TrueBlueFlyer
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    TrueBlueFlyer Silver Member

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    the North America to Asia route on partners was a very cool use for the 100k BA VISA card from Chase burn option

    I'm looking forward to my first trip on CX next month... I really wanted to try JAL on the way back but a steep monetary cost on the same route compared to using AA, I can't really justify it.
     
  15. totti
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    totti Silver Member

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    I experienced the same as Rambuster: It is very difficult to find award availability at all. But there is no doubt that BA has a great product and some very decent deals and if you can get availability it is pretty cool.
     

  16. Ummm.. I was serious too. BA miles are GOld to me.
    Cheap and easy redemptions.
     
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  17. cliburn
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    cliburn Gold Member

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    I just noticed Amex giving a 40% bonus on MR points to BA miles -- thinking of topping off my account (which started with the Chase 100k offer). This thread helps.
    What are people's view on the value of that transfer?
     
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  18. sagefemme52
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    sagefemme52 Silver Member

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    I think it is an excellent bonus, especially if you are topping off to use for an award. Otherwise, I would prefer to keep my MR points for either possible future bonus offers with their other partners, or to top off in any program (that they partner with) where I want to do an award redemption.
     
  19. buschoi
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    buschoi Gold Member

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    One may consider checking your desired routing with BA even though it is not the most direct-routing and sometimes you may be surprised. I just booked an award with 100K miles earned from the Chase credit card in late 2009. I booked J on CX from North America to Far East. BA allowed me to book YVR-HKG(stop)-NRT//HND-HKG(stop)-LAX. Taxes and fee were about $338. Going from North America to Tokyo via Hong Kong is apparently not the most direct-routing, but the routing flies with BA anyway. So you never know before you try. :)
     
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  20. FLYGVA

    FLYGVA Active Member

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    I am far away from beeing an expert, but in the past, I have looked a few times for awards and like other pointed out, have searched from LHR only. I was out of luck on either LHR to North America and to South East Asia. So I tend to agree with totti and Rambuster (maybe a German thing? [​IMG]).

    On the other hand, I would have been lucky (if I had looked before using LH or BD miles for an Intra Asia Award) for flight an JL as well as CX.
     
  21. ive had no problem redemming first class awards tickets. They have the most generous availabilty
     
  22. TuxTraveller
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    TuxTraveller Silver Member

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    You reckon that's BAEC's version of starnet blocking... only affects those based in Germanic countries [​IMG]

    I have to admit I've often found availability to be quite good when I want to MFU. I think particularly compared to other airlines then BAEC has for me had better availability. The continued increases in YQ and the APD does mean I have been mainly using my miles for MFU when I can and otherwise let them rack up.

    I've been thinking for sometime to do the Easter Island trip that gleff also mentioned, but it means going to the US first and starting from there.
     
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  23. aussieflyer
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    aussieflyer Silver Member

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    The ability to do multiple stopovers on a one way award is just awesome when you want to cover a country like Australia.
     
  24. LizzyDragon84
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    LizzyDragon84 Gold Member

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    I also love BA's US-South America awards. I booked 2 tickets going MIA-LIM(stop)-IPC(stop)-SCL-EZE(stop)-LIM-MIA in business for 160,000 and $300 in fees for both. I love how BA allows multiple stopovers and stopovers that aren't directly along the route to the destination.

    BA also had good award availability on LAN- most flights had 6+ seats open in business if I looked more then a month out.
     
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  25. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    I'm lucky enough to be able to use the Visa for my office and easily charge enough to get the two-for-one certificate. I'm very surprised to hear people talk about issues with availability. Now I admit I plan far ahead - right now I'm planning a cruise to the Baltics for July 2012! But got the card, got the bonus miles, hit the 30K level, transferred some AMEX points and easily booked FC NYC to Tel Aviv for May, And when I say easily, it was "which flights do you want!" Figure I will plan the flights for the cruise sometime in August.

    My sense was that the BA trade-off was great availability is the upside and fees were the downside. Are the people complaining trying to get tickets within a month or two?
     

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