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Is up to 100,000 British Airways points worth an application?

by on Wed April 19, 2017 • No Comment
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British Airways

This British Airways Visa from Chase launched an offer for up to 100,000 bonus points earlier this month.

It’s not the simplest offer, but if you value Avios or want to put the effort into figuring them out, this is a deal that tends to come around less than once a year.

Here are the details:

Earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year of account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios.

Earn a further 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios.

Breaking it down, you have three options to earn a bonus:

  • 50,000 points: Spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. This is good if you just want to quickly fill your account with some Avios.
  • Up to 75,000 points: Spend $3,000 in the first 3 months to earn 50,000 points, plus another $7,000 within your first year of opening your account for another 25,000 points. This is good if you like Avios, and want to get the most leverage from your spending.
  • Up to 100,000 points: Spend $3,000 in the first 3 months to earn 50,000 points, plus another $17,000 within your first year of opening your account to earn 25,000 + 25,000 points. This is good if you’re shooting for the $30,000 in spending in a calendar year to earn the Travel Together Ticket, which lets you bring a companion along on any single British Airways award you book with your points, plus the taxes and fees for both of you. Otherwise you’re probably better off with the 75,000 point threshold.

Is this a good deal?

The card offers 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases, so it’s a pretty basic card from an everyday earning standpoint.

There’s a $95 annual fee upfront, but the spending requirements to hit the bonus get high.

The first threshold – $3k for 50k points, is pretty reasonable. It’s not a huge bonus, but a decent deal if you are okay with the quirks of Avios.

The second threshold – $10k in spending for up to 75k points total, is a lot, but not a stretch because you have a full year to go past $3k and reach the $10k in spending, so you don’t have to be a big spender to meet the requirements. This is the best deal if you like Avios and want to stock up.

The third threshold – $20k in spending for up to 100k points total is a big ask unless you’re really game for earning the Travel Together Ticket or fly British Airways a lot, and use Avios as your primary mileage program.

What can you do with the points?

Avios charges for award flights based on the distance you fly, and it also charges separately for each flight segment. So, connecting flights will get charged like you bought each flight separately.

british-airways-avios-award-chart

Flights on British Airways cost a different number of points based on whether you’re flying on a peak or off peak day. Peak days are generally in July and August, and some of the other major holiday periods, but over half the year is considered off peak.

Flights on partners are charged at the peak price all year round, and the prices and distances you see in the chart above are for each flight segment, one way.

baclubworld

Discount business class with the travel together ticket

When you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year (we’re already almost half way through this one), you can earn a Travel Together Ticket that lets you bring a companion along on a British Airways award flight. You just pay the taxes and fees, and only pay the points for one person.

Of course, there are catches to this…

  • It’s only good on roundtrip tickets that start and end in the U.S. on British Airways flights. No partners allowed.
  • Taxes and surcharges are steep. You’re looking at around $700 or more in Economy and over $1,100 in Business Class per person.

But it can be a good deal you’re trying to get to London in Business Class on a nonstop flight.

If you’re flying from New York on what BA calls an ‘off peak’ day you can get two tickets for 100,000 Avios total roundtrip using the Travel Together benefit.

jfklhr

Over half of the days in the year are considered ‘off peak’ so it’s not terribly restrictive unless you’re trying to fly during July or August.

Add on around $2,500 in surcharges for two people, and you’re looking at 50,000 Avios plus $1,250 in surcharges per person for a roundtrip Business Class ticket.

Considering a Business Class ticket in cash often costs $2,500 – $6,000, you’re getting really good leverage from your points with the Travel Together deal.

Basically, your 100,000 points are saving $1,400 – $5,000 per person, getting you 2 – 10 cents per point in value.

Of course, there are ways to get Business Class tickets without big surcharges using other point programs, but if you’ve already exhausted bonus opportunities with Amex or the Chase Sapphire cards, it’s a good way to get Transatlantic Business Class for two people with one introductory bonus offer.

You could also upgrade a Premium Economy ticket to Business Class without the Travel Together ticket.

From New York to London you’ll pay 40,000 – 48,000 Avios roundtrip per person for the upgrade, about the same number of points as using the travel together ticket.

If you’re flexible, some Premium Economy fares are just around $1,100, which is great, though you’ll pay around $600 more in surcharges for the Business Class upgrade, for a total of around $1,700, so it’s not quite as cheap as using the Travel Together option.

bapremiumeconomy

10 or more flights on American or Alaska

British Airways Avios can be used to book flights on its partners, including American and Alaska Airlines.

They charge for rewards based on the distance you fly. And any flight in North America that’s 1,150 miles or shorter costs just 7,500 Avios.

So you can get up to 10 or more flights with 75,000 – 100,000 Avios.

In theory, any flight that’s available at the ‘MileSAAver’ level on American Airlines is bookable with Avios.

Here, all the dates listed as 12,500 miles on the AA.com website are possible for a New York to Orlando trip with Avios.

nycmco

But you’ll want to double check the award is actually available with Avios by searching on the British Airways site.

When you book with Avios, you’ll pay 7,500 Avios, rather than the 12,500 miles American charges because the flight is under 1,151 miles in distance.

jfkmcoeconomy

If you live near Dallas or LA, you can get to Los Cabos for 7,500 Avios as well.

laxsjdavios

Just beware that if a connection is involved, you’ll get charged extras points because Avios charges for a trip by looking at the distance of each flight, and charging for each flight separately.

And again, while in the past nearly all AA flights that were available as MileSAAver awards on the American website were bookable with Avios, there’s been some inconsistency on that front lately.

hawaiisunset

3 – 4 tickets to Hawaii

Alaska Airlines operates lots of flights from the West Coast to Hawaii, and they’re bookable with Avios if Alaska makes award space available.

Since most of these flights fall in the 2,001 – 3,000 mile distance band Avios uses, you’ll pay just 12,500 points each way, which is a great savings over the 22,500 or more miles American, Delta, and United charge for flights to Hawaii.

While Alaska flights don’t show up when you search on the British Airways site, you can use the AlaskaAir.com site to look for space.

Flights to Hawaii on Alaska that show up for 17,500 miles are bookable with British Airways Avios, and those that show as nonstop will get you the low Avios price of 12,500 points.

oakogg

If you live in California, there’s probably an airport near you with nonstop Alaska flights to Hawaii, and this can save you $700 or more per person, getting you almost $3,000 in value out of the full 100,000 points.

parissunset

20+ tickets in Europe

Avios are a great way to get around Europe using London as your base, with flights as low as 4,000 points one way.

Unlike flights across the Atlantic, Avios flights within Europe don’t have big surcharges.

You’ll often pay less than $30 in taxes and fees on an award flight.

Here’s a flight from London to Amsterdam for 4,000 points plus $27.50.

lhrams

And here’s one to Madrid for 6,500 points.

lhrmad

While there are a lot of cheap cash fares within Europe on carriers like Ryanair and Vueling, flights with Avios tend to be at more convenient times and out of major airports.

Flying at a time that works for you could cost you $200 or more in cash, making 6,500 Avios plus $27.5o a great use of points.

lhrmadbacash

Who should get this?

Avios can be challening to use if you’re not patient and proactive.

If you’ve already taken advantage of more widely useful cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Starwood Preferred Guest American Express, then this is something to consider if you find the awards we described above useful.

Or, if you simply go back and forth to London a lot, and want a reasonable price for upgrades, more Avios are always going to be useful, and when the bonus is big it’s a good time to try.

 

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee

Yes

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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