British Airways

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British Airways collects fuel surcharges on almost all award redemptions. People constantly complain to me that their recent “free ticket” cost $650 or $1,000 or more in “taxes.”

In fact, taxes make up a small share of the cash component of most British Airways awards. Instead British Airways is collecting fuel surcharges on almost all awards, making those awards very poor values.

But there are exceptions where taxes can be as low as $2.50 on an award with no fuel surcharges. And we only want to use our Avios on these exceptions.

When exactly does British Airways collect fuel surcharges on Avios awards and when does it not?

They collect fuel surcharges on any award flight that has fuel surcharges on the equivalent cash flight. How can you tell if the equivalent cash flight will have fuel surcharges? ITA Matrix.

ITA Matrix gives a breakdown of every dollar of the price of a ticket including fuel surcharges.

If I search for a flight from JFK to London on British Airways on ITA Matrix, and then select a specific flight, it will show breakdown of the ticket price, like this:

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Anything on the breakdown labeled as YQ or YR is a fuel surcharge.

The fuel surcharges you see in the price of a cash ticket will match the fuel surcharges you have to pay on your British Airways award (even if you’re not searching British Airways flights).

British Airways Does Not Collect Fuel Surcharges In the Following Instances

These are the only flights you can book with Avios without fuel surcharges.

  • American Airlines flights within the USA, Mexico, Canada, Caribbean, Central, and South America.
  • Alaska Airlines flights
  • All LATAM international flights
  • Some LATAM domestic flights
  • Aer Lingus and airberlin flights
  • British Airways flights within Europe
  • Qantas domestic flights
  • S7 flights

British Airways has two US-based partners: American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Awards on American Airlines can be booked online, but awards on Alaska need to be booked by calling 800-AIRWAYS. Both types of awards escape fuel surcharges.Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 8.36.10 PM

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Awards from the mainland to Hawaii–which is part of the United States, thank you very much–also have no fuel surcharges.Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 8.39.42 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-25 at 8.23.37 PM

Awards between the United States and the Americas and the Caribbean

Awards between the United States and Mexico, Canada, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and LATAM also have no fuel surcharges, just government taxes.Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 8.41.59 PM

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All LATAM Flights Except Some LATAM Domestic Flights

LATAM flies to Auckland, Sydney, Madrid, and Frankfurt from Santiago, Chile–all without fuel surcharges.

LATAM Peru flights have no fuel surcharges, like this one from Cuzco to Lima…

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But there are fuel surcharges on other LATAM affiliates like LATAM Argentina. See this post on intra-Argentina flights for more info.

All Flights on airberlin and Aer Lingus

You can get to Europe without fuel surcharges on airberlin and Aer Lingus flights. (OK technically Aer Lingus flights have fuel surcharges, but they are about $30, so I am putting them here.) airberlin flights are bookable online, but you have to call 800-AIRWAYS to book Aer Lingus flights.

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There are also no fuel surcharges collected on airberlin flights or Aer Lingus flights within Europe.

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Intra-Europe on British Airways

British Airways collects a flat fee on its own intra-European flights in lieu of taxes and fuel surcharges. The flat fee is fairly low–$27.50 from Berlin to London–and is often lower than taxes would be on the same route.Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 9.15.02 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-25 at 9.15.08 PMQantas Flights within Australia

British Airways collects fuel surcharges on Qantas long haul flights, like those between Los Angeles and Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane. But British Airways doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on domestic Qantas flights like Sydney to Melbourne.Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 9.21.35 PM

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I also just tried to test Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand, but ba.com couldn’t find the award space that aa.com did. Call in to test whether SYD-AKL has fuel surcharges imposed on Avios awards.

All S7 Flights

S7 is a Russian airlines based at DME airport in Moscow. Its domestic and international flights booked as awards with Avios have no fuel surcharges.

I could not find any award space flying S7 to show an example, however.

British Airways Does Collect Fuel Surcharges in the Following Instances

That means all other flights have fuel surcharges when booked with Avios including:

  • American Airlines flights to Europe and Asia
  • British Airways flights that go from Europe to any other continent
  • British Airways flights within South Africa
  • Cathay Pacific flights
  • Finnair flights
  • Iberia flights
  • JAL flights
  • LATAM Argentina flights
  • Malaysia Airlines flights
  • Qantas international flights flights
  • Qatar Airways flights
  • Royal Jordanian flights

To get an idea of the fuel surcharges on these flights, search them on ba.com.

Bonus

Brazil made fuel surcharges on award tickets illegal. Different airlines interpret that different ways, but most flights that originate in Brazil do not have fuel surcharges.

Double Bonus

Don’t forget that awards that originate in the UK are subject to the UK’s onerous Air Passenger Duty of about $200 on long haul economy flights and $300 on long haul flights in business or first class.

Here is a list of award taxes from major cities in europe, so you return from low tax countries (transiting through London is a lot cheaper, and skipping London is cheaper still.)

Triple Bonus

Your mostly fuel-surcharge-free oneworld miles of choice are American Airlines AAdvantage miles. American only collects fuel surcharges on British Airways and Iberia flights when you redeem AAdvantage miles.

Which card should I pay fuel surcharges with?

Pay your award taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges with the Citi Prestige® Card. The first $250 in award taxes, fuel surcharges, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the award taxes.

Bottom Line

Avios are ideal for short, direct, economy flights, especially between regions on award charts. I just wrote a post a couple days ago about how you can combine Avios redemptions with your preferred region-based miles to spend less miles overall and see more places all at the same time. Avios help compliment a diversified mile collection.

British Airways collects nasty fuel surcharges on a lot of awards, but as you can see exemplified above, there are many options with no fuel surcharges (and even more with low ones– mainly short, direct economy flights).

While I can not directly link to British Airways Visa Signature Card, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Update 6/30/2016: Alaska Airlines is changing the way you accrue redeemable Alaska miles when flying partner American Airlines for travel beginning August 1, 2016 to align with American Airlines’ changes to a revenue-based award earning structure. When I first published this post and crunched the numbers about which partner program was the most advantageous to credit miles to when flying American, Alaska Mileage Plan was among my top two choices. Due to the changes Alaska is making to their accrual rates, they are no longer a top contender. 

In light of the news that American Airlines is changing to a revenue-based award earning structure, and the fact that all three major US carriers now abide by a revenue-based award earning structure, I am wrote a series of posts about when and where you should diversify the award miles you earn through paying for airfare. This post is Part 1, and discusses when and to where you should diversify your award earning when flying paid tickets on American Airlines flights.

“When & Where You Should Diversify Revenue Ticket Miles” Series Index

As of August 1, American Airlines will award miles for revenue tickets based on two things: the ticket price less any government imposed taxes or fees, and the elite status you have with the airline.  

This is a big departure from the current system that awards miles based on the distance flown.

The new award earning structure will be worse for folks who fly far, cheap tickets and better for people who fly short, expensive tickets. That is, at least, if we’re talking about crediting miles to AAdvantage. But it is not obligatory to do that–you can enter your frequent flyer number with any American Airlines partner instead.

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In your mind, this fact should pose two questions.

  1. When should I choose to credit my award miles to American Airlines?
  2. If not American Airlines, then who?

I’m going to dive into both questions here to help equip you with the knowledge to make these decisions in the future.

Note that this post is specifically referencing the award miles earned from flying American Airlines flights. The amount of American Airlines miles earned for flying a oneworld alliance or other partner airline will be based on a percentage of the distance flown and the fare class. These rates have yet to be published, but should be available by July 15.

When Should I Choose to Credit my Award Miles to American Airlines?

The simple answer to this question: Not when you’re buying a cheap economy ticket, but maybe if you’re buying an expensive premium cabin ticket. American Airlines’ new revenue-based award earning system rewards those who generate more revenue for American Airlines, point blank. 

The more correct answer to this question is: when the math works out, and when you’re not chasing or trying to maintain status. Before I go any further, let me explain what I mean by the latter part of that sentence.

The value of status miles will factor into the decision too (in American’s case, they are called Elite Qualifying Miles, or EQM’s), if you’re trying to get or maintain American status. For example, even if an American Airlines Executive Platinum elite earns fewer redeemable American miles by crediting their butt in seat miles to American over Etihad, he might still prefer it to boost his Elite Qualifying Mile balance.

But if you’re not concerned with status, then all that should matter to you is the math.

 

The Math

To figure out how many American Airlines miles you’ll earn flying their planes, use the following equation:

Status multiplier x (ticket price – government-imposed taxes/fees) = award miles earned

The status multiplier depends on what tier elite status you might or might not have with the airline:

  • 5x– AAdvantage member
  • 7x – Gold
  • 8x – Platinum
  • 9x – Platinum Pro (will be introduced at some point in 2017)
  • 11x– Executive Platinum

We know the ticket price is how much aa.com tells us the flight costs.

But how can we isolate the government-imposed taxes and fees from that price? ITA Matrix. If you’re not familiar with ITA Matrix, here’s how to use it— it will show you the breakdown of a ticket by base fare, fuel surcharges, and government-imposed taxes and fees.

Look at this breakdown of a roundtrip American Airlines ticket between San Francisco and Zurich:

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 4.55.14 PM

This is a great example of the kind of cheap revenue ticket readers of this blog would buy, because it’s an example where you’re probably better off paying for the flight in cash rather than using miles that could be put towards higher value redemptions (since it’s only $414 for a roundtrip between the United States and Europe!)

The dollar amounts outlined in the red rectangle are the government-imposed taxes and fees (sum = $114.06). Fuel surcharges are always labeled as either YR and YQ (in this case YR). Fare 1 and 2 are the base fares in each direction on the roundtrip. 

Now we can plug in our equation.

5 x (414.06 – 114.06) = 1,500

So, assuming you are just normal AAdvantage member without status, you would earn 1,500 American Airlines miles for flying about 13,000 miles on an American Airlines plane.

Even if you are a Executive Platinum elite, you would only earn 3,300 American Airlines miles on this flight.

But let’s say you purchased a Business Class ticket on the same flight, which costs $7,059 (oh yea, now I remember why I collect miles!). Your equation would look like this:

5 x (7,059 – 114.06) = 34,725

Then you would certainly want to credit those miles to American Airlines, because you cannot beat that crediting to any other partner.  It is easy to see how this system rewards those that spend more. But I assume the majority of us will find ourselves with something closer to the first equation’s answer most of the time. 

Conclusion

When it comes time for you to make this decision, plug your own numbers in. If you get a number greater than 125% of the distance flown (if flying Business Class) or a number greater than 150% of the distance flown (if flying First Class), then stick with collecting American Airlines miles. Those percentages represent the maximum amount of miles you could get crediting to any partner (assuming you don’t have status with any of them.) 

Otherwise, read on to see your options for crediting to other partners. 

If Not American Airlines, Then Who?

Listed below are the award earning structures for some of American Airlines’ partners. Loyalty programs that generally lack valuable award redemption opportunities have been left out. What you earn for crediting miles to these airlines is represented by the percentages in the tables below. To figure out the total, you multiply the percentage by the distance flown.

Members of oneworld Alliance

British Airways 

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to British Airways Executive Club here.

Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to Asia Miles here.

Iberia

Iberia Avios doesn’t have a published earning structure online, but I would assume it’s somewhat like British Airways Avios. This FlyerTalk thread has a homemade earning chart, but beware it is from 2014 and appears to have some errors. Let us know in the comments if anyone is aware of a more accurate and recently published chart.

Japan Airlines (JAL)

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to Mileage Bank here.

Malaysia Airlines

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to Enrich here.

American Airlines’ Other Partners

Alaskan Airlines

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to Alaska Mileage Plan here.

Etihad Airways

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to Etihad Guest here.

Hawaiian Airlines

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to HawaiianMiles here.

Conclusion

Again, the following conclusion is not considering the incentive of status. If you’re aiming for or trying to maintain status with American or one of its partner airlines, than perhaps the elite qualifying miles earned from crediting to them matter more to you than redeemable miles.

That being said, the best alternative airline to credit miles to when flying American Airlines is Etihad. It offers the highest percentages of distance flown, ranging from 100% for even the lowest economy fares (which are the most common types people like you and I buy) and 150% for First Class. I will choose to credit the miles I earn flying cheap American Airlines revenue tickets to Etihad Guest in the future.

The other options listed above offer similar ranges of percentages for distance flown, but with lower tiers for discount economy tickets that range from 0 to 50%. So if you’re flying a discounted ticket, like the one from the example in this post that is categorized as fare class “O”, then definitely choose Alaska or Etihad.

If your fare class is not one associated with a discounted economy ticket, then it doesn’t matter. Any full price fare will earn something in the 100% to 150% of distance flown range depending on whether it is full fare economy or First Class. If this is the case, then it’s a matter of choosing which miles are more valuable for you when redeeming awards. Click here to read about the top 11 most valuable miles to me.

Best Card to Buy Airfare With

Your top choice for buying American Airlines’ tickets with should be the Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that applies to airfare. If you haven’t used the credit yet, buy the fare with your Prestige, and you will receive an offsetting credit on your next statement.

Even if you’ve already used your $250 credit for this year, the card offers 3x on all airfare purchases, which is a higher category bonus than what any of the American Airlines’ co-branded cards offer for buying their own plane tickets (2x).

See my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many components like its annual $250 Air Travel Credit, 40,000 point sign up bonus, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

Bottom Line

If you’re like me and only spend cash on the cheapest of airfares, then it is very likely you will not want to credit the miles you earn from flying American Airlines to AAdvantage anymore now that the airline has changed it’s award earning structure. If you haven’t started an account with Etihad’s frequent flyer program Etihad Guest, then do so today. Out of American Airlines’ partners, it is probably the most valuable program to funnel your miles into. 

If you want to jumpstart that Alaska miles collection, sign up for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. Earn 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 within the first three months of opening the account.

While I can not directly link to Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Let’s talk about how to use American Airlines miles for awards to Europe. This is not the best use of American Airlines miles because award space isn’t great, and American collects fuel surcharges on two partners to Europe. But there are routes with no fuel surcharges and good award space that you should know about.

I am updating and re-posting my series on redeeming American Airlines miles. Why now?

  1. To reflect current award prices
  2. To celebrate the increase of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®‘s sign-up bonus.

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® is offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months. You would earn at least 65,000 American Airlines miles for meeting that minimum spending requirement. The card offers a host of other benefits as well, including Admirals Club lounge membership and 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after $40,000 spent in purchases each calendar year. Read my review of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® here.

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If you find this guide to redeeming American Airlines miles to be useful and want to apply for the Citi® /AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®, please use my link. The commission is what allows me to dedicate the time to writing this series.

“Redeeming American Airlines Miles” Series Index

The Partners for Europe Awards

Here are the American Airlines partners with direct flights from North America to Europe:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Iberia
  • airberlin
  • Finnair

Award space on all the partners except Iberia is searchable on aa.com. Here’s how to search aa.com.

Award space on Iberia is searchable on ba.com. Here’s how to search ba.com.

Pricing

From North America to Europe, American Airlines charges:

  • 22,500 miles one way in economy from January 10 – March 14 and November 1 – December 14 (Off Peak dates)
  • 30,000 miles one way in economy the rest of the year
  • 57,500 miles one way in Business Class
  • 85,000 miles one way in First Class

These miles prices are the same whether you fly directly or with connections, so even your tiny home airport to Mykonos, Greece with a few connections and flying multiple partners costs the same number of miles.

These prices are very similar to what United and Delta charge for the same awards. However United and Delta do not have published Off Peak prices to Europe, so American does have the edge for those dates. Note that the Off Peak price to Europe applies on American Airlines planes as well as partners, which is unlike the rest of American’s Off Peak prices that only apply to flying American Airlines planes.

In addition to the miles, you pay government taxes on all awards. In addition to taxes, you pay fuel surcharges on American Airlines awards that fly British Airways and Iberia. The fuel surcharges on British Airways flights are humungous: over $400 each way.

Washington to London in British Airways First Class is 85,000 American Airlines miles + $442.
Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 6.21.59 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-22 at 6.22.18 PMWashington to Madrid roundtrip in British Airways First Class is 170,000 American Airlines miles + $1,020

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Because of the fuel surcharges, I won’t be mentioning British Airways flights again in this post, which is a bummer because it is the American Airlines partner offering the most award space to Europe.

Fuel surcharges on Iberia are much smaller, at under $100 each way.

Routes & Award Space

American Airlines has a decent route network to Europe from New York and Philadelphia.
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American also flies transatlantic flights from Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, and Raleigh.

Award Space on AA Flights

At the moment, the following routes have a very solid amount of Business Class award space open in early 2017:

  • Chicago and London
  • New York City and Barcelona
  • New York City and Paris
  • Paris and New York City
  • Barcelona and New York City

As award space varies by destination and season, the general pattern on American Airlines flights to Europe is usually OK economy award space and poor Business and First Class award space.

All calendars show award space for two passengers unless otherwise noted.

For instance, Raleigh to London is typical in having good award space in economy and basically none in Business Class.

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There are exceptions to the basically-no-Business-Class-award-space “rule.” Let’s look at some of the American Airlines routes with more award space.

New York to Paris has award space in economy nearly daily outside of peak travel times.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 6.59.31 PMAnd it also has a good deal of Business Class award space scattered throughout, including a ton of space in 2017.

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I hardly saw any First Class American Airlines award space at all on any of my searches.

Unfortunately, American Airlines does not open up last second award space in premium cabins on its European flights. Here is the award space from New York to London this week. There is some economy space, but nothing in Business or First.Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 8.07.13 PM

Iberia, Finnair, and airberlin Award Space

Iberia, Finnair, and airberlin fly from seven American cities to Europe, including four American Airlines hubs. Let’s go through their award space one at a time.

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Finnair

A lot of Finnair award space shows up on aa.com, but it is nearly all phantom award space. Check the real space on ba.com, and don’t get your hopes up.

airberlin

Airberlin has the best award space of these three partners, and is your best way to get to Europe with American Airlines miles other than the routes mentioned in the American Airlines section above.

For instance, New York to Dusseldorf has a decent amount of Business Class award space this summer.

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Award space in Business Class is not nearly as good on the return to New York from Dusseldorf, but there is still some.
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New York to Berlin has wide open economy but not much Business Class space in general.

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Dusseldorf and Berlin are both airberlin hubs with connections all over Europe.

Iberia

Iberia has great economy award space and OK Business Class award space as long as you book in advance. For instance, here are the days with Iberia Business Class awards in the first week of April 2017 from New York, Miami, and Chicago to Madrid.

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Here is the economy space the same week on the same routes.

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What about last minute award space? You sometimes see economy seats available, but not Business. For the routes mentioned above, there is not even economy space within a week of today.

From Madrid, you can connect all over Europe on Iberia.

Booking the Award

Search segment-by-segment if necessary to find award space from your airport to an international gateway, the transatlantic flight, and any connecting flights in Europe.

If all your award space is searchable on aa.com, book online. If your award includes Iberia flights, you need to book by calling American Airlines at 800-882-8880. The good news is that you will pay zero phone booking fee, since that fee was waived when an award can’t be booked online.

Pay your award taxes with your Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that will cover the award taxes and fees on these ticket. If you haven’t used the credit yet, pay the taxes with your Prestige, and you will receive an offsetting credit on your next statement.

Even if you’ve already used your $250 credit for this year, the card offers 3x on all airfare purchases which includes award taxes and fees.

Bottom Line

American Airlines miles are not stellar to Europe in premium cabins. The prices are expensive and award space isn’t that hot. Using American Airlines miles during the Off Peak dates to Europe for the lower price of 22,500 miles is a better bet since there is plenty of economy space (and Off Peak prices to Europe apply for American Airlines flights as well as partner flights).

There are some American Airlines, some Iberia, and some airberlin routes with decent award space if you know what to search and can be flexible. But I’d rather book awards to Europe with United, Delta, Flying Blue, or Virgin Atlantic miles.

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® is offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles and Admirals Club lounge membership, among other awesome benefits, after spending $5,000 in the first three months.Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 4.44.21 PM

By meeting the $5,000 total spending requirement you’ll earn at least 65,000 American Airlines miles, which is more than enough to book a roundtrip in economy or a one way in Business to Europe.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

I have a friend who, after about five months off from applying for any new cards, decided to give it another go recently. He is writing a series for MileValue on his experience. Below is Part 2: applying for the Ink Plus and the British Airways Visa Signature by Chase, as well as the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature and Business credit cards by Bank of America. Read Part 1 if you haven’t, where he explains how he decided on those cards. Take it away, buddy:

In Part 1 of my story, I explained to you why I decided to apply for the following cards:

  • the Ink Plus by Chase
  • the British Airways Visa Signature by Chase
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card by Bank of America
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card by Bank of America

To put it simply, I decided on applying for the Ink Plus and the British Airways cards as a last ditch effort–to see if I could slip them in before the Chase 5/24 rule completely solidifies. People on FlyerTalk have been reporting lots of denials and some approvals, so I wanted to give it a shot. Might as well, since I don’t plan on taking any two year breaks from this hobby any time soon and the longer I wait, the less likely I am to be approved.

The Alaska cards I decided on because I didn’t want to add a ton of required spend to the $7,000 I would need to put out for the Chase card bonuses. I found a link to apply for the personal card in this Flyertalk thread that offers 25,000 miles just for signing up, and the business card’s official public offer only requires one purchase to earn the 25,000 mile bonus.

Read on to find out what happened when I applied.

Applying for the Chase Cards

I started with the Chase cards, the Ink Plus and the British Airways Visa Signature, and received the same response.

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Both applications would require further review. Buzz kill. All things considered, 90% of me was expecting this response, so I couldn’t be too disappointed.

I immediately returned to the FlyerTalk thread I found about applying for Chase cards, in search of the reconsideration phone number as it is standard practice to call when you receive this type of pending application response from a bank. But as I was skimming through the wiki at the top of the thread, I came across the following statement:

“It may be better to avoid calling Chase unless your application is denied. Many recent calls on pending applications led to denials, and many people report having success letting applications work their way through the system. Be patient. Time is on your side; increasingly, Chase [customer service representatives] are not.”

I found this to be interesting and also make sense, so I heeded the advice and didn’t call the reconsideration line.

Applying for the Bank of America Cards

Next up was the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card, which I was auto-approved for!

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The final application was for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. Perhaps it was because I filled out the application just minutes after I had applied for the business card, I’m not sure, but I received another “we can’t give you a decision right now” pop-up:

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The FlyerTalk thread that discusses the application process for the Alaska cards does not advise against calling Bank of America’s reconsideration line like the Chase thread did, so I called 1-866-811-4108 to discuss my application with a Bank of America representative.

I am accustomed to this conversation as I have had it multiple times before. I always start out with the same line:

“Hello, I recently applied for your ____________ card and was told that more time was needed to review my application. I am calling to see if there is any information I can provide you with that would help speed along that process.”

I always strive to sound extra friendly. The reps on the other end have never ask me more than surface level questions that I already answered on the credit card application.

And that’s exactly how this call to Bank of America reconsideration went. The rep asked me who I worked for and what I did for a living, to which I answered briefly and truthfully. And that was it. He congratulated me on approval, and let me know that I would get my card in the mail in the next seven to ten business days.

The 25,000 miles from opening the personal card have already hit my Alaska Mileage Plan account, and the other 25,000 from the business card will hit shortly, once I purchase something with it and this month’s statement closes.

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 9.27.13 PM

Waiting Out Chase

In the next post, I’ll have Chase’s decisions about my applications for the Ink Plus and the British Airways Visa Signature. Dun…dun…dun…cliffhanger!

Final Words by Scott

Curious as to how his luck turns out with the dreaded Chase 5/24 rule? I am. Tune in next time to see the results!

If you want to apply for the British Airways Visa Signature,  Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, or the Ink Plus (all mentioned in this post) please consider doing so through the links below. I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

I have a friend who, after about five months off from applying for any new cards, decided to give it another go recently. He is writing a series for MileValue on his experience. Below is Part 1, where he decides on a new round of credit cards: the Ink Plus and the British Airways Visa Signature by Chase, as well as the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature and Business credit cards by Bank of America. Take it away, buddy:

I travel often, and for me to keep my expenses down and maintain the lifestyle that I want, I sign up for credit cards that earn me a lot of rewards that I can cash in for basically free flights. I imagine many of you are like me, to some degree.

I tend to apply for credit cards in batches, all on the same day. This is because I subscribe to the school of thought that if I apply all at once, the banks won’t see what each other are doing as all of the credit inquiries are being processed at the same time. Whether I apply all on the same day or spread out over time, I know the affect on my credit score will be more or less the same. I choose to apply in batches because I think it improves my chances of being approved for multiple cards in a short span of time.

My last round of applications were done in this manner, all on Christmas Eve of 2015. What greater present could I give myself than a bunch of free travel? I applied for five different cards, and my credit score (expectedly) took a dip. This ain’t my first rodeo, so I didn’t panic.

One of the perks I really appreciate about my Citi Prestige® Card is that I can check my real FICO score,  so I monitored it on citi.com

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 7.34.35 PM

… and also expectedly, after a few months, my score bounced right back up.

So I started researching what cards would best suit my travel needs, considering what cards I had gotten before and what cards I currently have compared with the latest and best offers. Scott’s articles about issuing banks rules for approvals and new bonuses and the Top 10 Travel Credit Cards both really helped with the research.

I decided to set my sights on:

  • the Ink Plus by Chase
  • the British Airways Visa Signature by Chase
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card by Bank of America
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card by Bank of America

How did I reach that conclusion?

Thoughts on The Current State of Chase Credit Cards

Unless you stumbled upon this blog post by accident, there’s a good chance you already know what the Chase 5/24 rule is. In a nutshell, the rule is that if you have opened any five credit cards, not just Chase cards, within the last 24 months, then your Chase application will be denied.

About a year ago, Chase started enforcing this dreaded rule to the purely Chase-branded personal cards, i.e. the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Slate. Then there were rumors that in March of this year, this 5/24 rule would also start applying to Chase’s Ink cards, and in April, to the remainder of the personal and business co-branded cards.

chase screenshot

I was really bummed about that news since I have certainly opened more than five cards in the last two years, and the Chase cards offer some of the best sign-up bonuses and perks out of any of the travel cards out there.

I looked on FlyerTalk to see if the rumors were true. The reports I read on this FlyerTalk thread about applying for Chase cards were mixed– many denials but still some approvals. What was clear was that the longer I waited, the less chance I would have of getting any Chase cards as more people (with five or more cards opened in the last two years) were seeing more denials as time passed. I saw my options as either:

A) Apply now and risk the denials to see if I can slip in before the 5/24 rule solidifies

B) Go two years without any new card applications, and then go after the Chase cards I want

Option B was not appealing in the least as I travel often and burn through miles pretty steadily. I decided the risk of a denial was worth the possibility of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards and 50,000 Avios.

My spending power isn’t greater than the $7,000 in three months required to unlock the sign-up bonuses on the Ink Plus and British Airways Visa Signature (assuming I am approved), so in my mind that left only two more options for this round of applications: the Alaska Airlines cards, personal and business versions.

Thoughts on the Current State of Alaska Airlines Credit Cards

The Alaska Airlines cards are known in the miles community as an easy way to keep a stream of valuable miles coming in without any serious spending required.

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 8.12.22 PM

Prior to May 2016, the public offer for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card did not require any spending whatsoever– you received the 25,000 mile bonus after simply signing up and paying the $75 annual fee. The Alaska Airlines Visa Business card has always (and still does) require just one purchase to earn the 25,000 mile bonus, and also has a $75 annual fee.

Now the public offer for the personal card is a sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account, which is still quite a low spending requirement, but I didn’t want to add even $1,000 to the $7,000 I would need to spend to earn the bonuses on the Chase cards as a I don’t think I’ll have that kind of spending capacity. So I looked to FlyerTalk in hopes of finding an old link with the 25,000 mile bonus in exchange for the $75 annual fee. I found one here at the top of this thread that is still active: Alaska Airlines card offers, Personal & Business, 25K and up.

I already have two Alaska cards, one personal and one business card, but all evidence I read still points to the Alaska Airlines credit cards as being churnable. I decided to proceed with applying for two more (one each of the personal and business cards).

Preparing for My Applications

I learned from reading Scott’s primer about the Alaska cards that calling into Bank of America to lower the credit limits on my existing Alaska cards would smoothen the process of applying for two more. The logic behind that makes sense to me– it reduces Bank of America’s exposure to risk– so I called customer service (1.800.732.9194) to complete the process. The representatives didn’t ask many questions, just did as they were told.

As for the Chase cards, I had no preparations to make. After waiting a week to make sure the credit limit decreases on my existing Alaska cards were official, I was ready to start the application process.

Final Words by Scott

Stay tuned for more follow up posts to see how his applications turn out.

If you want to apply for the British Airways Visa Signature,  Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, or the Ink Plus (all mentioned in this post) please consider doing so through the links below. I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® 60,000 mile offer has expired. Check out the current best credit card offers here.

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I am updating and re-posting my series on redeeming American Airlines miles.

“Redeeming American Airlines Miles” Series Index

As far as the three US legacy carriers go, it is almost always cheaper to use American Airlines miles to fly one of its awesome partners’ First Classes than it is to use United miles to fly one of its partners’ First Classes. You can’t even use Delta to miles to book a three-cabin First Class.

However First Class awards took the biggest hit with American Airlines’ devaluation.  So if you can, look to use Alaska miles, Korean miles, or Singapore miles instead for First Class awards.

Luxurious First Class Options to Book with American Airlines Miles

I’ll give the miles price of a one way award because American Airlines allows one way bookings (we’ll cover that later), and I’ll give the price after a 10% rebate in parentheses. That’s because the American Airlines personal card offers 10% of the miles back on all American Airlines redemptions up to 100,000 miles redeemed per calendar year.

1. Japan Airlines First Class for 80,000 (72,000) miles

Japan Airlines First Class is among the best in the world, and is the best value award from the United States in terms of duration and partner product on the new American Airlines oneworld alliance award chart.

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.37.20 PM

It combines a mostly enclosed suite with a wide, fully flat bed and impeccable service and food.Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.37.30 PM

Japan Airlines First Class between the United States and Japan costs 80,000 American Airlines miles one way. There is not as much Japan Airlines First Class Award space open between the US and Tokyo as there was in February, but a smattering remains.

Here’s how to search for award space on ba.com (you won’t find Japan Airlines’ award space on American Airline’s website).

2. Cathay Pacific First Class for 110,000 (100,000) miles

Trip Report: New York to Hong Kong

You can book Cathay Pacific First Class one way for 110,000 American Airlines miles between the United States and China, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia.

Cathay Pacific First Class is a throne…

IMG_0031

…that turns into a large and comfortable bed.

IMG_0051

Cathay Pacific First Class comes with some of the best food, fanciest wines and liquors, and most attentive service in the sky.

IMG_0045

And best of all, award space is widely available from the United States to Hong Kong and from there to the rest of Asia if you can book either within a week of departure or 11 months out.

And now you can redeem American Airlines miles to the Indian Subcontinent via Hong Kong, so you could fly Cathay Pacific First Class to India.

However, if you have Alaska miles, you can book First Class to China, Hong Kong, or Southeast Asia in Cathay Pacific First Class for only 70,000 miles one way– so keep that in mind.

Here’s how to search for award space on ba.com (you won’t find Cathay Pacific award space on American Airline’s website).

3. Malaysia Airlines First Class for 90,000 (81,000) miles

Trip Report: Paris to Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia Airlines First Class on its A380 costs 90,000 miles between Kuala Lumpur and London.

Malaysia Airlines is a very large and comfortable seat that converts into an extremely long and wide bed.

The all-you-can-eat satay cart was the best food I’ve ever had in the sky.

And the attentive service–that included kneeling down to seat level for interactions–was way better than you’d ever get from a US-based airline.

Malaysia Airlines First Class is widely available throughout the year between Kuala Lumpur and Europe.

Here’s how to search for award space on ba.com (you won’t find Malaysia award space on American Airline’s website).

4. Etihad First Class for 62,500 (56,250) miles

Trip Report: Abu Dhabi to New York

Etihad First Class costs 62,500 American Airlines miles between Europe and the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, or Maldives. From the United States to those destinations is 115,000 miles.

Etihad First Class on its newest A380 has a couch that seats several people and a separate bed.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.27.11 PM

Etihad’s fully enclosed suites are the most spacious in the sky, and there’s a shower onboard that you can use in flight.

First Class Award space is plentiful on the A380 between London and Abu Dhabi throughout the year.

Here’s how to search for award space on etihad.com (you won’t find Etihad award space on American Airline’s website).

5. Qantas First Class for 62,500 (56,250) miles

Qantas First Class costs 62,500 American Airlines miles between London and Dubai. From the United States to Australia, the cost is 110,000 miles for flights that last over 14 hours.

Qantas First Class features an open suite that converts into a bed…

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 11.25.48 AM

…or a table for two.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.33.16 PM

Qantas First Class is widely available year round between London and Dubai. For example, here is the very end of December 2016 and January 2017:

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 2.18.03 PM

It is not widely available between the United States and Australia, but there is some availability if you can plan your trip 11 months to one year in advance.

You can find Qantas award space right on American Airline’s website.

6. British Airways First Class for 80,000 (72,000) miles

British Airways First Class on the A380 from London to South Africa is 80,000 miles. It is a partially enclosed seat that turns into a fully flat bed.

There are fuel surcharges when you use American Airlines miles to book British Airways–the only fuel surcharges for any bookings in this post–but if the schedule is convenient, they may be worth paying. British Airways First Class is moderately available between the United States and Europe and between London and the rest of the world.

Also check out First Class on the British Airways 787-9 from 40,000 (36,000) miles one way on a ten hour flight.

Bottom Line

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® is offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles and Admirals Club lounge membership, among other awesome benefits, after spending $5,000 in the first three months.Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 4.44.21 PM

By meeting the $5,000 total spending requirement you’ll earn at least 65,000 American Airlines miles, which you can put towards one of these ultra luxurious First Class awards.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one the best travel cards on the market at the moment. It ranks #4 out my Top 10 Travel Credit Cards for May 2016.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 55,000 Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 in spending in the first three months and adding an authorized user on the card
  • Category Bonuses: 2x on travel and restaurants
  • Value of Ultimate Rewards: Worth 1.25 cents toward the purchase of any cash ticket OR can be transferred to any of these six airlines and four hotels for higher value:
    • British Airways
    • Korean Air
    • Singapore Airlines
    • Southwest Airlines
    • United Airlines
    • Virgin Atlantic
    • Hyatt Gold Passport
    • IHG
    • Marriott Rewards
    • Ritz-Carlton Reward
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first 12 months, $95 per year afterwards

There are 10 reasons why I am a fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  

1. You will earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards for the sign-up bonus.

2. You will earn 5,000 Ultimate Rewards after adding an authorized user.

3. Ultimate Rewards transfer to a variety of airline frequent flyer programs that employ three different types miles.

4. You can get that sign-up bonus again after a little more than 24 months.*

5. It makes your Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited card MUCH more valuable

6. Transfer Ultimate Rewards to Virgin Atlantic to fly to Europe for only 17,500 miles!

7. The card is accepted globally with no foreign transaction fees.

8. No annual fee collected the first year.

9. Baggage delay insurance

10. A live human being picks up the phone when you call Sapphire Preferred’s customer service.

Top 10 Reasons to Get the Sapphire Preferred

1. You will earn at least 54,000 Ultimate Rewards with the sign-up bonus and the spending it takes to unlock it. 

I value Ultimate Rewards at 2 cents each, so to me 54,000 Ultimate Rewards are worth $1,080.

You will more than likely earn even more than that if any of your spending is in restaurants or on travel, since those categories earn 2x for ever dollar spent.

2. You will earn 5,000 Ultimate Rewards after adding an authorized user. 

Definitely do this. The authorized user does NOT get a credit check. The authorized user is NOT disqualified from opening their own Sapphire Preferred and getting their own sign up bonus. The extra card is sent to you, and need not ever be used to earn you the 5,000 points. That brings the my sign-up bonus valuation to $1,180:

 $1,080 + (5000 x .02) = $1,180

Not to mention your authorized user can help you reach that minimum spending requirement much faster than you could on your own.

3. Ultimate Rewards transfer to a variety of airline frequent flyer programs that employ three different types miles.

Out of the airline transfer partners’ frequent flyer programs, four use region-based miles, one uses distance-based miles, and one uses airline points. You can read more about the different types of miles here.

It’s important to diversify across the types of miles because they all have different strengths. You want to have the best mile for the job, and you want to use the types of miles in concert.
Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 12.37.57 AM

4. You can get that sign-up bonus again every 24 months.*

You can get the bonus on the same Chase card once every 24 months. This 24-month clock starts when you got the last bonus (which may be up to three months after you got the card).

5. It makes your Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited card MUCH more valuable.

The Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited are marketed as cash back cards. The Freedom earns 5x spending on rotating category bonuses (as well as 1x on normal sepdning) and the Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5x on all spending. But in fact, the card earns points that can be converted to cash back or can be converted, through a process I call the Freedom Two Step, to much more valuable airline miles and hotel points.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.38.01 AM

The basic idea is that while the Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards do not transfer to airline and hotel partners, if you have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus, you can transfer the points to those cards’ accounts, and from there to airlines and hotels. Having a Sapphire Preferred turns the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited into the most valuable cards for non-bonused spending. No other cards come close to offering 1.5 United/Korean/Singapore/BA/Southwest/Hyatt miles or points per dollar (Freedom Unlimited) or definitely not 5 United/Korean/Singapore/BA/Southwest/Hyatt miles or points per dollar on non-bonused spending.

6. Transfer Ultimate Rewards to Virgin Atlantic to fly to Europe for only 17,500 miles

You can fly Virgin Atlantic economy from Atlanta, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, or Detroit to London for 17,500 miles and $134.60 in taxes and fees (yes, there are fuel surcharges).

Using American Airlines miles, United miles, or Delta miles, the same flight would cost you 30,000 miles. I think it is worth saving 12,500 miles for $129 in fuel surcharges. That’s like buying miles for 1 cent each.

With the Ultimate Rewards you earn from the sign-up bonus + spending to get the sign-up bonus + adding an authorized user (59,000), you could fly to London three times and still have miles left over.

7. The card is accepted globally with no foreign transaction fees.

The Sapphire Preferred’s chip technology provides added security so you can feel safe trotting around the globe with it. And you won’t pay any pesky foreign transaction fees that can really kill the value of your awards (on many cards these fees amount to 3% of every transaction– yikes!).

When you travel as much as I do, cards with foreign transaction fees get very little to no love. And all those foreign frequent flyer programs you transfer your points to to book awards? You need a card like the Sapphire Preferred to put the taxes and fees on, unless you want to pay 3% on top.

8. No annual fee collected the first year.

The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year that your account is open. Most cards with as many perks as the Sapphire Preferred do not waive the annual fee.

9. Baggage delay insurance

This screenshot is from the Sapphire Preferred’s Featured Benefits page:
Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 6.17.49 PM

That is stellar travel protection, offering a nice silver lining to an otherwise aggravating situation. I don’t have any personal experience with this but I did meet someone traveling in Argentina who held a Sapphire Preferred card. She was without her luggage for about a week, but an extra $100 in her budget every day made for some quality souvenirs and a good time shopping.

10. A live human being picks up the phone when you call Sapphire Preferred’s customer service.

Every Sapphire Preferred card has a customer service phone number on the back. When you call, you are not put through 19 prompts and transfers until you reach an actual (helpful) human being. A short recording plays that informs you the call will be recorded, and then a person that speaks English natively picks up. This is something that all companies–not just credit cards–could learn from in these days of never ending menus to get to a person who can solve your problem.

*Chase 5/24 Rule 

I put an asterisk by reason #4 because of a rule Chase enforces that must be considered before you apply for their cards, whether it’s for the first time or as a repeat. Make sure you haven’t opened five credit cards (any cards from any bank) within the last 24 months, or your application for the Sapphire Preferred will be denied. This is called the Chase 5/24 rule.  If you can’t remember if you’ve opened five cards in the last two years, check by requesting a credit report from one of the three national credit bureaus:

The dates in which you opened and closed accounts should be listed on all of them. You are entitled to one free credit report from each bureau per year.

Bottom Line

I am a big fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred for numerous reasons–the high value and diversified reward earning potential, lack of foreign transaction fees and impressive customer service are just a few.

What do you love about your Chase Sapphire Preferred?

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

According to Airline Route, British Airways has begun operating its 787-9 Dreamliner on three routes from London-Heathrow:

  • Delhi
  • Abu Dhabi/Muscat
  • Kuala Lumpur

In 2016, it adds a ton of 787-9 destinations including several in the United States:

  • Austin from February 1
  • Newark from April 2
  • Philadelphia from April 9
  • San Jose from May 4
  • Houston from August 1
  • Boston from October 1

The British Airways 787-9 Dreamliner is exciting both because it is a brand new plane and because British Airways features First Class on the plane, which the British Airways 787-8 doesn’t have.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 5.56.30 PM

These flights have fuel surcharges, but in some case, the fuel surcharge is low enough that I just might bite on an award with American Airlines miles before the American Airlines devaluation on March 22, 2016.

The Product

British Airways’ 787-9 has 8 First Class beds in two rows on 1-2-1 seating, meaning direct aisle access for all passengers. Business Class has 42 flat beds in a 2-3-2 layout.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 5.56.15 PM

Here’s how the First Class cabin looks on the British Airways 787-9. You can find a lot more photos at Aviation Week.

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Source: http://aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/whats-new-bas-boeing-787-9-first#slide-1-field_images-1367021

There are nicer First Classes, like several Asian and Middle Eastern Airlines, but First Class on the British Airways 787-9 looks very nice overall.

The Award Space

Delhi <-> London

To me, Delhi to London is the most intriguing route.

For one thing, American Airlines charges only 40,000 miles one way between the Middle East or Indian Subcontinent and Europe even though Delhi to London is a 10 hour flight. For another, fuel surcharges are almost bearable at $273 one way on the route.

Award space is excellent and predictable in First Class on the route in both directions.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.28.31 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.29.08 PM Unfortunately much of that award space is on a British Airways 777, not 787. You can see the aircraft on aa.com by selecting a flight and clicking Flight Details.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.31.29 PMLuckily Business Class on the Dreamliner, also flat bed is wide open for only 30,000 American Airlines miles one way.
Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.28.42 PM And this space is on the Dreamliner.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.31.35 PMAs with all the routes in this post, fuel surcharges are high. Taxes are only high leaving London, so you save a lot of money by flying to London on a Dreamliner instead of flying out of London.

For instance, London to Delhi in Business Class is 30,000 American Airlines miles + $501.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.07 PM The other direction is an extra hour of flying for the same 30,000 miles, but only $273, a savings of $228.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.59 PM

Kuala Lumpur <-> London

This is the longest route, though I am tempered in my enthusiasm for flying British Airways First Class when Malaysia Airlines First Class on its A380 is nicer and widely available on the route for the same number of American Airlines miles.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.34.37 PM

First Class award space costs 70,000 American Airlines miles one way and is widely available if you have flexible dates.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.33.53 PM

In First Class, on British Airways’ Dreamliner, you’d pay 70,000 American Airlines miles + $279 from Kuala Lumpur to London.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.34.10 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.34.42 PM

Muscat/Abu Dhabi <-> London

I didn’t even check. I’d so much rather use 40,000 American Airlines miles to fly Etihad First Class on its A380 from Abu Dhabi to London.

American Routes

The first American route to see 787-9 Dreamliner action will be Austin from February 1, 2016 on. Award space is pretty good in February 2016 on the route.

In the first month, Austin to London has First Class award space on 13 days.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.36.48 PM London to Austin also has award space on 13 days in the first month.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.36.42 PMUnfortunately, there isn’t much of a break in out-of-pocket costs for flying to London instead of out of it. Flying out of Lodnon has $538 in taxes and fuel surcharges in addition to the 62,500 American Airlines miles.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.37.40 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.37.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.37.59 PMFlying to London has $480 in taxes and fuel surcharges.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.38.30 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.38.46 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.38.51 PM

Other American Routes

Check out your favorite routes yourself to see the award space picture and the fuel surcharges. Here are the routes again and when they start.

  • Austin from February 1
  • Newark from April 2
  • Philadelphia from April 9
  • San Jose from May 4
  • Houston from August 1
  • Boston from October 1

Round the World Awards

These awards don’t require you to live in London, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, or Austin to partake. Like all region-based miles, you can add connecting flights within the region of departure and arrival for zero extra miles. So Dallas to Paris, including the 787-9 segment from Austin to London, would cost zero extra miles.

The other way to take advantage of these awards, and my preferred way, would be to use them as part of big, round-the-world trips, which in 2016, you should book as a series of one way awards. Delhi to London for 40,000 miles in First Class is really attractive as part of a big trip.

Getting American Airlines Miles

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

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Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles. That is enough to fly two segments in British Airways First Class.

Bottom Line

British Airways has added its 787-9 Dreamliner with First Class to the schedule for three routes already and adds several American routes in 2016.

Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

Book First Class on the Dreamliner for as little as 40,000 American Airlines miles each way plus fuel surcharges. Right now, you can get a boatload of American Airlines miles from opening the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®.

Use the flight as part of a round-the-world trip if you like to think big with your trips.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

British Airways is launching a new route from San Jose to London on May 4, 2016.

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The new route will be flown by a 787-9 Dreamliner with flat beds in Business and First Classes. I wrote about the British Airways Dreamliner product and award space on its first four announced routes here.

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The new route has excellent Business Class award space at the moment (not quite as good as a few days ago), and this is extra relevant because for a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers 75,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months. That’s more than enough for a roundtrip to Europe with one way in Business Class.

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You’re probably thinking, ‘Yeah, but what about the fuel surcharges?” They’re not nearly as bad as you think. Frankly most people look at British Airways award space wrong. For instance, this post by The Points Guy shows the price of a roundtrip in British Airways Business Class from San Jose to London costs 100,000 American Airlines miles + $1,258.

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That’s true, but that’s also literally the worst way to book this award space. British Airways award flights have fuel surcharges when booked with all types of miles, but there are ways to greatly minimize these fuel surcharges.

For instance, just booking that exact same roundtrip as two one way awards will drop the fuel surcharges a couple hundred bucks.

The outbound one way is $480.Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.12.12 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.12.16 PM

The return one way is $565.

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That’s $1,045 roundtrip, which is $213 cheaper than booking a roundtrip.

But even better than that, just book a one way from Europe to the United States and start it from a low-tax, low-surcharge city.

How to Save a Ton on British Airways Fuel Surcharges

There is no way to save on fuel surcharges when departing from the United States to Europe on British Airways flights, so don’t fly those flights. Use United miles or another type with no fuel surcharges to get to Europe.

There is a way to save a lot on fuel surcharges and taxes when flying home from Europe though.

Taxes vary greatly by city of departure in Europe, and so do fuel surcharges, which British Airways changes based on competition in the market and other factors that have nothing to do with the price of fuel.

Book yourself a one way award home from Europe on British Airways flights, but don’t start in London. London has the highest departure taxes. Return from a lower tax country, which might also have lower surcharges.

Remember that just London to San Jose cost $565.

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Berlin to London to San Jose is $148 cheaper. Taxes drop $170 though the fuel surcharges actually rises.
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Oslo to London to San Jose is $308 cheaper than starting in London. Taxes are $228 cheaper and fuel surcharges are $80 less too.
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If you want to go to multiple cities in Europe on one trip, play around to see how much money you can save by returning from the city with the lowest taxes and fuel surcharges.

I would gladly pay 50,000 American Airlines miles plus $257 for a one way award from Oslo to San Jose. United wants 70,000 miles for a comparable Business Class product, and Delta wants 62,500 miles. Saving all those miles for only about $200 more than the taxes on United and Delta awards would be is a fair trade off.

Award Space London to San Jose

Having said that the way to book British Airways award space is to book the return from Europe only, let’s look at award space from London to San Jose next Spring and Summer on the new direct flight. Remember that you will not start in London, but in another European city. Award space intra-Europe is excellent.

Award space from London to San Jose is widely available from May 4 until June 30. Then it abruptly ends, with no award space in July.

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Contrast that with San Jose to London space (which you probably don’t want to book because there is no way to lower the fuel surcharges dramatically), which is most available in July 2016.Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.43.10 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.43.35 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.43.56 PMEconomy award space is also widely available, though I cannot justify the fuel surcharges since United and Delta charge the same price as American for economy awards to Europe. First Class space is almost non-existent, though I did spot one day.
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Getting the Miles

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers 75,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months. That’s more than enough for a roundtrip to Europe with one way in Business Class.

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The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® also offers Admirals Club lounge membership, meaning you can access over 90 American Airlines Clubs in airports around the world whenever you’re flying–even if you’re not flying on American. Plus you can bring in any two guests for free OR your spouse and all children under 18 for free on each visit. This is why the card has a $450 annual fee; new membership in the Admirals Club usually costs $500.

Bottom Line

Award space is widely available on British Airways’ new San Jose <-> London flight that launches May 4, 2016 on a 787-9 Dreamliner.

Here’s how to save a grand: Instead of paying 100,000 miles + $1,257 for a roundtrip in Business Class on the direct flights, pay 50,000 miles + $257 for a one way return from Oslo to London to San Jose, and book a one way to Europe for just $6 in taxes with another type of miles.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Ireland’s government announced its approval for IAG–the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, and Vueling–to purchase Aer Lingus, the flag carrier of Ireland. The Irish government owns a 25% stake in Aer Lingus.

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Other shareholders, including Ryanair which owns a 30% stake in Aer Lingus, have not weighed in, but if the deal goes through it will have a big effect on your miles.

Right now Aer Lingus is not a member of any airline alliance. It does, however, have one-off partnerships with United and British Airways, so you can redeem United miles and Avios for Aer Lingus flights.

If IAG buys Aer Lingus, it would join oneworld, and you would be able to redeem American Airlines, British Airways, and any other oneworld miles for Aer Lingus flights. You would, however, almost certainly lose the ability to redeem United miles on Aer Lingus.

Current Redemption Options

British Airways Avios awards use a distance-based formula. Flights from Boston to Ireland are 12,500 Avios one way in economy. Flights from New York, Chicago, and Washington to Ireland are 20,000 Avios one way. San Francisco to Ireland is 25,000 Avios one way.

Unfortunately, since Avios devalued last month, Business Class awards are now triple the economy price on those routes. This is especially unfortunate because Aer Lingus now has flat beds on some of its American routes.

Avios redemptions on Aer Lingus have very small fuel surcharges, in the tens of dollars.

Connections beyond Ireland add to the price of an Avios award, since all flights add to the price of Avios awards.

You cannot book Aer Lingus awards on ba.com. Search Expert Flyer for award space and call British Airways at 800-AIRWAYS to book.

Alternatively, you can use United miles to redeem Aer Lingus flights. United charges 30,000 miles one way in economy to Europe and 70,000 miles in Business Class. You can search and book on united.com.

Future Redemption Options

If Aer Lingus is bought by IAG and joins oneworld, the United option would probably be discontinued. The British Airways option would remain since British Airways is a member of oneworld.

We would also gain the ability to redeem American Airlines miles for Aer Lingus flights. That would be great since American Airlines charges only 50,000 miles one way in Business Class to Europe and 20,000 in economy for the majority of the year. Unfortunately I do expect these prices to go up, possibly before you’d have the chance to redeem American Airlines miles for Aer Lingus flights.

We’d also gain the ability to redeem every other type of oneworld miles for Aer Lingus flights, but most of those programs are terrible.

I’d consider this mainly a wash–losing United redemptions and gaining American redemptions. I’d call it a slight win though because United has a ton of great partner options to Europe, and American has fewer.

Bottom Line

Aer Lingus to IAG and oneworld is not a done deal, but the second biggest shareholder approves. If it happens, redemption options to Ireland and Europe will change, and probably get slightly better.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

I’m intrigued by flights and awards that don’t involve America. If there’s a cool award to get from Australia to SE Asia, that can be integral to a longer, better, and cheaper trip.

My two favorite continents to explore are South America and Europe. Although I’ve never flown directly between the two continents, there are some intriguing options (all of which are fuel surcharge-free):

  • Singapore First Class for only 59,000 miles one way
  • Avianca Dreamliner direct from second-tier cities
  • Swiss Business Class
  • British Airways First Class, super-duper cheap on the US Airways award chart
  • Economy class for only 20,000 miles one way

Obviously you won’t be very interested in flights like these for a weeklong vacation, but if you have a month free or a year when you’re traveling around the world, there are great reasons to fly from South America to Europe or vice versa.

The Brazil Effect

It is illegal to add fuel surcharges to flights in Brazil. In practice, this means that international airlines don’t add fuel surcharges to their flights out of Brazil but do add fuel surcharges on their flights to Brazil.

(Weirdly the only exception I know is that British Airways collects fuel surcharges on Avios awards out of Brazil. American Airlines does NOT collect fuel surcharges on the same British Airways flights out of Brazil as I’ll show below.)

That means that, while it is the same number of miles in either direction between Europe and South America, it will often be hundreds of dollars cheaper to fly from South America to Europe instead of vice versa.

Several of the deals in this post have fuel surcharges unless you fly from South America to Europe via Brazil.

Avianca Dreamliner from Second Tier Cities

I wrote about Avianca’s brand new Dreamliner the other day. I didn’t mention the European routes:

  • Bogota to London starting July 2, 2015
  • Bogota to Madrid starting July 31
  • Cali to Madrid starting October 20
  • Medellin to Madrid starting December 19

I’m most intrigued by the Cali and Medellin flights. How often to you get to fly 10 hours from a country’s second-tier cities without having to connect through the big hub airport? (This is a reason to love the 787 Dreamliner; theoretically it should make more of these routes possible.)

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Avianca Dreamliner Bed

Award space is sparse on the Medellin and Cali flights to Madrid for one person in Business Class once they appear on the schedule partly because neither is a daily flight. But the space does exist, and I will assume if you are flying from South America to Europe that you have a pretty flexible schedule.

Medellin

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CaliScreen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.41.13 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.40.58 PM

Bogota

Bogota-to-Madrid space, by contrast is wide open. Note that not all flights are operated by the fully flat beds of the 787. Some are on the pretty comfortable, but not fully flat, beds of the A330.Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.40.13 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.40.04 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.39.51 PM

United charges 80,000 miles one way from Northern South America to Europe in Business Class on the Avianca Dreamliner, which is steep. Lufthansa charges only 67,000 miles one way in Business Class from South America to Europe. Singapore charges 78,000 miles one way.

Swiss Business Class

I wrote about Swiss Business Class today because it looks fantastic and United is discounting it through Saturday from the United States to Europe.

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Swiss flies from Sao Paulo to Zurich with Business Class award space that will initially look familiar to anyone who read today’s post on Swiss’ award space from the United States. There is good award space for the next month.

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What might surprise, though, is that there is also good award space in July and August. From the United States, Swiss is very stingy with award space more than a few weeks out.

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United charges 87,500 miles one way from Southern South America to Europe in Business Class, which is steep. Lufthansa charges only 67,000 miles one way in Business Class from South America to Europe. Singapore charges 78,000 miles one way.

Singapore First Class

Singapore Airlines flies a route from Sao Paulo to Barcelona to Singapore and vice versa. Just like its New York to Frankfurt to Singapore leg, you can book any single part as an award.

And Sao Paulo to Barcelona is way underpriced at 58,225 Singapore miles + $37 one way for 10.5 hours in Singapore First Class–one of the nicest in the world.

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The only way this could be better is if the route were operated by an A380 instead of a 777-300ER, but the service and food will still be the same. I flew the Singapore 777-300ER in First Class, and the bed is very comfortable.

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New Singapore First Class

 

British Airways First Class

British Airways flies from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo to London. You normally can’t get onto British Airways award flights without fuel surcharges, but because of the Brazil departure, American Airlines just collects miles and taxes.

American charges a rather pricey 70k miles each way in Business and 90k miles each way in First Class.

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On the bright side, taxes are only $37.

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You can get on these flights much more cheaply as part of a roundtrip US Airways award.

  • 70k US Airways miles roundtrip in economy from South America to Europe
  • 100k miles roundtrip in Business Class
  • 130k miles roundtrip in First Class

It is harder to think of reasons an American would want to book a roundtrip award from South America to Europe, but you can always return from Europe to South America via North America and simply not fly the North America to South America leg(s.)

I actually once booked myself a roundtrip Business Class award from South America to Europe with US Airways miles and did exactly that–I skipped my Chicago to Buenos Aires flights.

You could book:

  • Rio de Janeiro to London (British Airways First Class)
  • open jaw
  • Berlin to London to Los Angeles (American Airlines First Class on its best plane)
  • Los Angeles to Dallas to Rio de Janeiro (within 24 hours of landing in Los Angeles, in any cabin, collect bags in LA and go home without flying)

This would cost only 130,000 US Airways miles.

Flying Blue Promo Awards

You know those posts I write every month about Flying Blue Promo awards? Promo awards allow you to fly from the United States to Europe or Israel for as little as 12,500 miles one way. The fuel surcharges in economy are bearable, and the fuel surcharges out of Brazil are even better: zero as usual.

Here’s a full post on Promo awards out of Brazil.

Promo awards can cost as little as 20,000 miles one way in economy and 40,000 in Premium economy between Brazil and anywhere in Europe.

Here are the current Promo awards.

Bottom Line

There are some cheap, interesting, and luxurious award possibilities between South America and Europe. Flying from South America to Europe will often be cheaper because award flights out of Brazil do not have fuel surcharges in almost all programs.

Check out Singapore First Class, an underpriced US Airways award, or an economy flight for only 20,000 miles. as part of your big trip around the world.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Your miles are as valuable as you are creative. For instance, you can combine two luxurious A380 First Classes onto one American Airlines award.

British Airways flies an A380 daily between Los Angeles and London. Qantas flies an A380 daily from London to Dubai (it continues to Sydney.)

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from gcmap.com

Although American Airlines has strict rules on transiting one region to get to another, it is ALLOWED to transit Europe on your way to the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent region.

Combined the award costs 90,000 American Airlines miles one way.

The drawback is really high taxes and fees, but even here I see a silver lining.

The Products

First Class on the Qantas A380 taunted me with its near emptiness when I flew from Melbourne to Los Angeles in Business Class last year.

Qantas A380 Seat

I saw the British Airways First Class Suites on the A380 up close last year on a trip from Frankfurt to London as British Airways used the short hops to get the crew familiar with the plane.

British Airways A380 First Class Suite

Just Los Angeles to London

Los Angeles to London one way has $480 in taxes and fees, including $452 in fuel surcharges. (American Airlines only collects fuel surcharges on British Airways and Iberia flights.) That totally stinks, but it is tempting for a 10.5 hour flight in First Class on an A380 for only 62,500 miles.

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Just Los Angeles to Dubai

Departing London in a premium cabin has massive taxes. London to Dubai has $288 in taxes. That’s why if you only want to go one way for 40,000 American Airlines miles in an awesome First Class between the Middle East and Europe, I recommend flying west into London to avoid those departure taxes.

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The Silver Lining

Combine these two flights onto one awards, and you save big on miles and taxes. Instead of 62,500 + 40,000 miles (both of which are a steal), the one way First Class award is 90,000 miles.

Instead of $480 + $288 ($768) in taxes and fees, you pay $530 total. The big savings is because the less-than-24-hour layover in London means you are not considered to originate in the UK, which triggers the nasty taxes we saw from London to Dubai.

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That’s 17.5 hours in luxury for 90,000 miles and $530. Delta miles can’t even be used for International First Class. United would charge at least 140,000 miles for the same award. When you look at it that way, it starts to get tempting.

Other Options

Scrap the British Airways First Class and save $452. You could fly American Airlines First Class instead, but the product isn’t as nice and award space is harder to find.

From London, you can fly Etihad First Class on its A380 to Abu Dhabi (and beyond) or Qatar Business Class on its A380 to Doha and beyond. I haven’t seen Qatar release First Class award space on the route.

You can continue to anywhere in the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, or Maldives for no extra miles if the airline that connects you from the United States to Europe publishes a fare from your starting city to your final destination. That’s a big “if.” (See Five Cardinal Rules of American Airlines Awards for more info on this rule and how to figure out if you comply.)

You can start anywhere in North America and connect to Los Angeles on American Airlines, US Airways, or Alaska Airlines flights, subject to the same “published fare rule.”

I’m Talking Myself Into This Award

I need to get from the United States to Europe in April. I might fly an award like this and spend a few days somewhere in the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent region before returning to Europe. I could sample three A380 First Class products on such a trip–two as outlined in this post and Etihad First Class on the A380 on the return, stay tuned tomorrow–see a region I’ve never seen, and have a few interesting reviews for this blog.

Ninety thousand American Airlines miles is a lot, and $530 is more than I’ve ever laid out for an award, but it’s so tempting.

Getting the Miles

American Airlines miles are super easy to get.

Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card also comes with other awesome benefits like a 10% rebate on miles used for award bookings.

The business version, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, also comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. This card comes with 2x miles on select business purchases and a 5% miles bonus on renewal. One person can have both cards.

Getting both cards now and meeting both spending requirements means you will have at least 106,000 American Airlines miles in early 2015.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

22

The cat is out of the bag. Expect this deal to end any moment now because it’s likely a mistake:

US Airways is not collecting fuel surcharges on British Airways award flights like British Airways’ other main partners do.

This is huge news because:

  • British Airways flies to more American cities than any other foreign airlines.
  • British Airways has the best route network throughout Europe and Africa.
  • British Airways has gold mine availability on a lot of routes in economy.
  • British Airways has a fantastic Club World (business class product) I’ve flown three times.
  • British Airways looks to have a fantastic First Class product I haven’t yet had the pleasure to fly.

I expect this deal could die within hours or days or weeks because I do think this is a mistake. I am only sharing it because two other major blogs covered it today, and if they’re killing it, I want MileValue readers to have a shot at it first.

  • How much are US Airways awards that include British Airways flights?
  • How do you search for British Airways award space?
  • How do you book it with US Airways miles?
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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

8

Update: D’oh! Dewey Defeats Truman. This offer is dead (and was dead at the time of publication!)

The British Airways card from Chase is back with a new 100k Avios sign up bonus. Like the other recent 100k Avios offers, you need to spend $20,000 in the first year on the card to get the full 100k Avios bonus.

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  • You will get 50,000 bonus Avios after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • 25,000 bonus Avios after $10,000 in purchases within the first year of account opening.
  • Plus an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you make an additional $10,000 in purchases also within the first year of account opening.
  • Together that’s 100,000 bonus Avios, which is enough for a round-trip business class award flight. Taxes, fees, and carrier charges are approximately $1,250 per adult in business class based on travel from Seattle to London.
  • Lots of other terms and conditions apply. See Pricing & Terms for more details.

The British Airways card is divisive. For some people, it is one of the absolute best cards, and for other its rewards are nearly worthless.

Who should get this card? Who should not?

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

6

While other airlines search engines regress in functionality (looking in your direction, Delta), British Airways’ award tool continues to improve. While researching for another article, I came across the slightly modified ba.com and noted a subtle consumer-friendly change.

Though the change is minor, British Airways has exhibited a recent history of positive improvements to their search tool. With these steps in the right direction, we can safely anoint BA.com as the go-to site for comprehensive oneworld partner availability.

Simple Tool
This simple search engine packs a punch relative to its peers.

Scott wrote up a detailed guide on how to use BA.com to search for oneworld partner award space. Make sure to check out his post, Free First Class Next Month: Searching BA.com to Find oneworld Award Availability. We’ve also detailed British Airways recent and noticeable improvements to their site here and here.

What’s the newest change to the BA.com engine? When should you search ba.com versus aa.com versus qantas.com? (Hint: it has nothing to do with what type of miles you want to book your award with.)

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

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