Tags Posts tagged with "Avios"

Avios

250 Membership Rewards will transfer to 300 British Airways Avios from now until 11:59 p.m. CT on October 10, 2016. The normal transfer rate is 250 Membership Rewards = 200 British Airways Avios, so this transfer bonus will get you 50% more Avios.

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For only 25,000 Avios and $11, you can fly roundtrip on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines planes in economy from the West Coast to Hawaii. Here are the possible routes.

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1: Seasonal

That means with the current transfer bonus, you could convert 21,000 Membership Rewards to 25,200 British Airways Avios (transfers must be in increments of 250) to book yourself a roundtrip to Hawaii if you live in one of the cities listed above. That is an unbeatable deal.
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And that’s not all Avios are great for.

Other High Value Avios Redemptions

British Airways Avios are very valuable for short, direct flights without fuel surcharges (i.e. American Airlines flights within the Western Hemisphere, Alaska Airlines flights, Aer Lingus flights, airberlin flights, and British Airways flights within Europe).

If you have had a British Airways Avios and Iberia Avios account open for three months, you can transfer freely between them. This is extremely useful when you consider:

  • You pay much lower fuel surcharges when redeeming Iberia Avios on Iberia flights as opposed to British Airways Avios
  • You can redeem Iberia Avios on American Airlines flights (but not Alaska–they’re not partners). The price of an Iberia Avios award depends on the total distance flown, not the distance of each segment flown like British Airways Avios. They are not priced per segment so you are not penalized for connections. So if you’re taking a short trip but it requires a connection, an Iberia award will probably be cheaper. The only downside is that when redeeming Iberia Avios on American Airlines, you must book roundtrip awards as no one ways are allowed.
  • For any of the dates not highlighted in red on these calendars, you can fly Business Class between New York or Boston to Madrid on Iberia for only 34,000 Iberia Avios.

And neither British Airways nor Iberia Avios collect last minute award booking fees.

Speculative Transfers

I value Membership Rewards at 2 cents each, and Avios at 1.6 cents each. That makes 1,000 Membership Rewards worth $20 and 1,200 Avios (which is how many Avios you would get from transferring 1,000 Membership Rewards)  worth $19.20.

I’d rather have $20 (the Membership Rewards) than $19.20 (the Avios), so I probably wouldn’t transfer speculatively, but that margin is extremely narrow. This transfer bonus is a good deal, no doubt about it. Plug in your own valuations of Membership Rewards and Avios to figure out if a speculative transfer is worth it to you.

Bottom Line

Until 11:59 p.m. CT on October 10, 2016 you can turn 250 Membership Rewards into 300 Avios. This 50% transfer bonus represents huge savings over the normal transfer rate of 250 Membership Rewards to 200 Avios.

Transfer Bonus Terms & Conditions

Terms and Conditions for the Membership Rewards® program apply. Visit membershiprewards.com/terms or call 1-800-AXP-EARN (297-3276) for more information. Participating partners and available rewards are subject to change without notice. 
 
The value of Membership Rewards points varies according to how you choose to use them. To learn more, go to www.membershiprewards.com/pointsinfo.
 
You must be enrolled in the British Airways Executive Club program in order to participate in this offer, visit ba.com/executiveclub to enroll. American Express is not responsible for availability of flight, accommodations or any other rewards in the British Airways Executive Club program. Once you have transferred Membership Rewards points, they become subject to the Terms and Conditions of the British Airways Executive Club program and cannot be transferred back to your Membership Rewards program account. Taxes, fees, charges and surcharges, including airline surcharges, apply on British Airways redemption flights and upgrades. See British Airways Executive Club Terms and Conditions for details. Individual air carrier restrictions may apply. 
Minimum transfer is 250 Membership Rewards points. Redeem for this exclusive offer from 12:00 a.m. CT on August 10, 2016 to 11:59 p.m. CT on October 10, 2016, to receive 50% additional Avios. Additional Avios will be awarded at the time of transfer.
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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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I’ve been hopping around Europe for the last few months with flight that I’ve booked a variety of ways:

  • Barcelona, Spain to Leipzig, Germany (cash, Vueling)
  • Prague, Czech Republic to Belgrade, Serbia (Etihad Guest miles, Air Serbia, Anatomy of an Award)
  • Belgrade to Tivat, Montenegro (cash, Air Serbia)
  • Sarajevo, Bosnia to Zagreb, Croatia (cash, Croatia Airlines)

Now I have two more flights coming up from Zagreb to Spain and back for a quick trip. Using all my knowledge of cheap flights and miles I came up with the best options for each flight, and I’ll share my thought process here, so you can see how I attack the flight search.

I need to fly into Madrid and out of Barcelona. My dates were only semi-flexible. I really wanted to go on certain days, and going a different day would make me less happy and cost me extra for hotel rooms, so I’d only change from my preferred dates for a great deal.

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First Step: Cash Search

The first thing I always do when deciding how to book a flight is to check out its cash price. On the dates I wanted to travel, I could book a nonstop roundtrip for $257.

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That sounded reasonable. If the flights were under $200, I would have just booked the trip with cash and not looked any farther because when the cash price is very low, you are not getting a good return on your miles. It’s better to save them for flights with high cash prices like international Business Class or routes made expensive by a lack of competition.

I went a step further and searched each one way separately. The return was only $84, so I decided to book that with cash and the outbound with miles, if I could find a suitable outbound itinerary.

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Second Step: Wikipedia

If I’m going to use miles, I always go to Wikipedia’s articles on the airports I’ll be using to see which airlines fly my route. It turns out that only Iberia has a direct flight from Zagreb to Madrid.

Third Step: Brainstorm Potential Miles and Search Award Space

For a short, direct flight on a oneworld carrier, Avios are ideal–not much brainstorming required.

I went to ba.com and searched for the flight I wanted, and I found ample award space on the direct flight on my ideal date in economy and Business Class. (Intra-Europe Business is the same seat as economy, just with the middle seat in each row blocked. That’s not worth extra miles for me.)

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 6.14.23 PM The economy award was 8,250 Avios + 25 euros, or several other combinations of Avios and euros. (By the way, can anyone explain why the award was 8,250 Avios and not 7,500 or 10,000? I think BA might have slightly different prices for Iberia flights than other partners.)Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 6.14.33 PM There are no fuel surcharges on the award. The 25 euros are all taxes, and the other amounts you can pay are cash co-pays to spend fewer Avios.Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 6.14.49 PM
I decided that the best option was 2,750 Avios + 85 euros. I’d save 5,500 Avios at a cost of 60 euros, which was like buying back Avios for 1.21 cents each, which is a good deal for me, since I value Avios at 1.7 cents each. Check out my full analysis of Avios Cash & Points award here.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 4.38.37 PMSince the one way flight cost $173, I was getting well over 2 cents of value per Avios.

But before I booked the award, I took a look at booking it with Iberia Avios instead. On iberia.com, the same flight showed the same award space, as expected.Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 6.18.53 PM The prices were a little different though. The option to pay 8,250 Avios was 5 euros more expensive with cash. But the option to use the fewest Avios used 250 fewer Avios (worth about $4) to me and 5 euros less, about a $10 savings overall.Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 6.18.59 PMI tried to transfer British Airways Avios to my Iberia Avios account to book the cheaper way, but I got an error message online.

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At the time, I was busy and decided not to make the call. I booked with British Airways Avios instead.

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Bottom Line

Instead of $257 roundtrip between Croatia and Spain I paid $178 and 2,750 Avios. I looked at the best options with miles and cash to get the cheapest and most convenient flights. It turned out the best deal was cash one way and Iberia Avios the other.

This is a rather mundane example, but most award bookings are rather mundane and just require knowing the options and picking the best one. Over time, these mundane “wins” add up to huge savings which you can plow into extra travel.

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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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).

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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Until July 5, 2016, you can transfer 20,000 Starpoints to 33,750 British Airways Avios. The normal rate is 20,000 points to 25,000 Avios, but Avios is running a 35% bonus on transferring hotel points.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 6.33.10 PM The only hotel-point transfer option with a decent rate is Starpoints.Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 6.33.55 PM

 

If you don’t have Starpoints, you can buy them right now for 2.45 cents each. The best number to buy would be 20,000 for $490 to maximize this promotion, since Starwood gives a bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred to airlines. Then you could transfer those 20,000 Starpoints to 33,750 Avios, which is like buying those Avios for 1.45 cents each. I value Avios at 1.6 cents each, so this can be a very good deal if you use Avios for their high value uses.

This (1.45 cpp) is close to the best we’ve seen for buying Avios other than a few Spanish Groupon deals.

Key Links:

Hat Tip One Mile at a Time

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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Through tomorrow (May 26, 2015), British Airways is offering a 40% bonus on the purchase of Avios. The biggest bonus ever offered on the purchase of Avios was 50% in February 2015, so this is a big bonus.

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The maximum Avios you can purchase in a year is normally 35,000, but is being raised to 100,000 during this promotion. With a 40% bonus, that means you can add 140,000 Avios to your account. Americans are being offered those Avios for 1.98 cents each, but with one simple trick, you can drop the price to 1.44 cents per Avios!

The Trick

If you set your British Airways account address to a country that uses the euro, say France, you will be sold Avios in euros instead of dollars. The euro price for buying Avios is way cheaper!

The cost to purchase 140,000 Avios for people with an American address is $2,775 or 1.98 cents per Avios. The cost to purchase 140,000 Avios for people with a euro-area address is $2,016 (1,800 euros) or 1.44 cents each. You save more than 25% just for changing your address.

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To change your address, click “Manage my account under Executive Club on any page.
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Click “Update my personal information” on the left side of the screen.

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Give an address in a euro-using country.Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.38.40 PM

Hit Continue about three times. The first time I tried to make the change, I stopped a screen short. You’ll know if you have succeeded because when you go back to the Purchase Miles screen, you will be offered the Avios in euros.

If you buy fewer Avios, the price is a bit higher. For instance, buying 14,000 (10k + 4k bonus) Avios results in a price of 1.60 cents per Avios.

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If you purchase in euros, make sure you use a card that charges no foreign transaction fees like the Citi Prestige® Card. You should also probably pay with a MasterCard instead of a Visa (again like the Citi Prestige.)

Does Putting Your Account in France Mess Up Points Transfers?

After setting my account to France, I initiated a 1,000 Ultimate Rewards transfer to my British Airways account that was already stored on chase.com. The transfer went through instantly as usual, so changing your address doesn’t appear to mess this up.Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.46.45 PMScreen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.46.53 PM

Eventually you can change your Avios account address back to your home address, but British Airways makes you wait six months between address changes. However I have had my address in France for over a year now, and I seem to be offered better deals for mileage sales and Cash & Avios awards, so I see no reason to change my address back to the United States.

Is This a Good Deal?

The best uses of Avios are short, direct, economy flights on partners without fuel surcharges.

At 1.44 cents per Avios, domestic (including Hawaii) one way awards that cost XXX Avios plus $5.60 in taxes one way would cost:

Those are pretty good deals. I’ve seen cheaper with cash on every route, and I’ve also seen a lot more expensive.

The bottom line with all miles sales is that they are a good deal if you have an immediate, high value use for the miles, and a poor deal otherwise.

Bottom Line

You have until tomorrow (May 26) to get a big bonus on purchasing Avios. Ignore the 1.98 cent price for Americans. Anyone with a euro-zone address on file with British Airways and a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card can get the Avios for 1.44 cents each. The sales are consummated by points.com, so there is no bonus for an airline or travel purchase on your credit card.

The best deals with Avios are short, direct, economy flights on routes/airlines without fuel surcharges. That includes all domestic flights and all these flights.

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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  • Groupon Spain is having a sale on Iberia Avios, offering them for 1.38 cents each.
  • Iberia has a portal that allows you to earn 8 Avios per euro on the purchase of Groupons.
  • Those extra Avios bring the effective purchase price down to 1.26 cents each.
  • You can freely transfer Iberia Avios to British Airways Avios if both your Iberia and British Airways accounts are 90 days old.
  • Both types of Avios are worth well more than 1.26 cents each.

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Preparation

The only three things you need to make this deal work are a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees, the Google Chrome browser, and Iberia and British Airways accounts that have preferably been open for 90+ days. If you don’t have those three things, get them for this and future deals.

My favorite credit card with no foreign transaction fee is the Citi Prestige® Card because it offers 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months, 3x points on hotels and airfare, a $250 Air Travel Credit each year, lounge access, and 2x points on restaurants and entertainment.

Occasionally deals or useful information related to our hobby are only available in a foreign language. Chrome‘s built-in translator is awesome.

You can open an Iberia account here and a British Airways account here. Once both are 90+ days old, you can freely transfer miles between the two. The programs have slight differences, so this is very useful. Sign up now for the many future deals when you will want to transfer between the two, and put your log in information in your Award Wallet account, so you have it for the next deal.

Execution

1. Go to the Iberia Plus portal.
2. Search for Groupon. This deal is based on Groupon offering 8 Avios / €1.

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Keep clicking through until you get this final confirmation and click “Continue.”

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You can now be confident that the portal is tracking your shopping with cookies, so that you will be awarded 8 bonus Avios per euro.

3. Go to the Avios Offer on Groupon.es
4. Make your purchase with a no-foreign-transaction-fee card.

You have four options: 4,000, 8,000, 12,000, and 20,000 Avios. (Unfortunately 2,000–the best deal–sold out.) You can buy five total packages, meaning you are limited to buying 100,000 Avios. The 4,000 to 12,000 point packages are almost identical in price, while the 20,000 point package is a few hundredths of a cent more expensive.

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If you buy only the 4,000 packages (ie you buy 4,000 to 20,000 Avios), you can get Avios for 1.12 cents each.

You pay 49 euros for each package, which is $55.31 at current exchange rates. In exchange, you get 4,000 Avios plus 392 Avios (8 times 49) for buying through the portal. That’s like getting each of your 4,392 Avios for 1.26 cents.

5. Redeeming Groupons for Avios

One Mile at a Time has actually redeemed the purchased Groupons for Avios and like most people on FlyerTalk got errors before the redemption actually went through:

In a new tab/window, open this page, which will let you validate the Groupon. Enter the security code, the coupon code, and the email you used to register for Groupon.

Because this is where the fun starts, you’ll most likely receive an error message [that says your coupon has been used.]

Obviously your coupon hasn’t been used yet, and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why this fails.

Just keep entering your information until it actually works (for me this was 15 times, by which point I thought I was going completely crazy, because it’s not like this is a complicated form).

6. Optional: Transfer Iberia Avios to British Airways Avios

Once you have all the Avios, you can determine which program offers the better deals for your dream award. Usually, but not always, that is British Airways Avios. See Basics of British Airways Avios to learn more.

Here’s how to make the transfer.

Bottom Line

I value British Airways and Iberia Avios at 1.6 cents each. I normally say not to buy miles without an immediate use in mind, but 1.26 cents is on the border where I might buy Avios speculatively for myself.

This deal ends April 29 at 6 PM ET.

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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You can book yourself a tour around Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia stopping in four places for only 100,000 miles total with nearly half the trip in a flat bed. By stopping in four places, I am referring to actual destinations, not connections that have to be under 24 hours.

Much like the Mega Trip to the Caribbean and South America I wrote about a few days ago, this deal relies on piecing together some sweet spot awards (and this time also a low cost carrier flight within Europe) into one big trip. Even if you never take a trip like this, knowledge of the sweet spot awards is useful.

For the purposes of this example, this will be the route we examine:

Chicago > Paris > Istanbul > Doha > Bangkok > Chicago

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 1.54.50 PM

You can tweak the route to your liking and keep the same prices as long as each destination falls in the right region for the pricing of the award.

What does that mean exactly?

  • Chicago could be replaced by anywhere that American Airlines flies to.
  • Paris could be replaced by anywhere that is in Europe, but that will affect the cost of the low carrier flight to Istanbul.
  • Istanbul could be replaced by any nearby city with low cost carrier flights from Europe, although this would affect the out of pocket cost as well as the miles price which will probably go up if you choose a different city since the following award is flown with distance-based Avios to the Middle East.
  • Doha can really only be replaced by Amman as the two oneworld hubs in the Middle East.
  • Bangkok could be replaced by a different Asian city that is anywhere from 3,001 to 4,000 miles away from Doha or Amman.
  • Chicago could be replaced by anywhere that Cathay Pacific or Alaska Airlines flies to.

United States to Paris

Before American Airlines devalued their award chart, you could book economy flights to Europe for 20,000 American Airlines miles during the Off Peak season (October 15 – May 15). With American Airlines’ devaluation, the price went to 22,500 miles one way and, more alarmingly, the available dates were dramatically reduced. However you can still use Alaska or Etihad miles to book American Airlines flights in economy to Europe from October 15 to May 15 for 20,000 Alaska or Etihad miles. Here is such a flight on alaskaair.com:

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 3.13.32 PM

You can search for and book award space right on alaskaairlines.com’s home page, just check the “use miles” box in the search tool. You don’t even need an account with Alaska’s Mileage Plan loyalty program.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 3.27.07 PM

There is space every day of November.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 3.23.18 PM

You can book this same award flying American Airlines flights for 20,000 Etihad miles. 

Some other options you might want to consider depending on what kind of miles you have and where you live:

Paris to Istanbul

Low cost carriers are an economical way of hopping around Europe, especially when you’re trying to save your miles for higher value long distance redemptions.  I found the following flight from Paris to Istanbul with Pegasus Airlines for under $100:

pegasus flight

As is often the case with these discount airlines, the catch is that you have to watch how much you pack. You get one free carry on that can weigh 17.5 pounds. I am a proponent of one bag travel, but understandably you might want a little more room if you’re going on a trip with as many climates as this one. Luckily it’s only $6 more to bring about 44 pounds of luggage.

Istanbul to Doha

The next two legs are Avios awards. Why? Avios are ideal for short, direct, economy flights, especially between regions on award charts. Why pay 20,000 American Airlines to fly Istanbul to Doha (the same price that London to Delhi would be), when you can pay 10,000 Avios?

You can book a one way ticket between Istanbul and Doha in Economy for 10,000 British Airways Avios and $86 in taxes and fees.

avios price

You can search search and book this award right on ba.com– here’s how use the search tool. There is space in Economy every day I checked between these two cities.

avios award space

Doha to Bangkok

It costs 20,000 British Airways Avios and $62 in taxes and fees to fly from Doha to Bangkok, Thailand.

doha to bangkok price

You can search and book this award right on ba.com– here’s how use the search tool. There is space in Economy every day I checked between these two cities.

doha to bangkok avios space

Bangkok to United States

You can fly Cathay Pacific’s Business Class featuring a fully lie flat bed for only 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles…

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 7.35.25 PM

…and about $55 in taxes and fees. The following screenshot is from ITA matrix, which breaks down the costs of a normal revenue ticket. Alaska Airlines does not collet fuel surcharges on Cathay Pacific awards, so we know that the amount of out of pocket expenses will be approximately the sum of the taxes and other fees:

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 7.41.40 PM

You cannot search for Cathay Pacific award space on Alaska’s website. Use British Airways’ search tool instead– here’s how to search ba.com. The easiest time to find award space in premium cabins on Cathay Pacific flights is immediately prior (a couple weeks or less before travel) or about 11 months out from travel. For example, the availability shown below is for about 11 months from now, and five out of the seven days displayed have three to eight Business Class seats available each day.

bkk to us

bkk to us

Cathay Pacific flights can be booked by calling Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan at 1-800-654-5669.

What Do Those Awards Add up to?

     United States to Paris = 20,000 Alaska Airlines Miles and $19

     Paris to Istanbul = $80

     Istanbul to Doha = 10,000 British Airways Avios and $86

     Doha to Bangkok = 20,000 British Airways Avios and $62

 +  Bangkok to United States = 50,000 Alaska Airlines Miles and $55


    100,000 Miles and $302  

Or, if you wanted to fly the leg between the United States and Paris in Business Class it would cost an additional 30,000 Alaska miles for a total of 130,000 miles and $302.

How to Get the Miles Needed for this Trip

Alaska Airlines Miles

The Alaska Airlines credit cards from Bank of America are churnableEach one has a 25,000 mile sign-up bonus for simply signing up– no minimum spending requirement. For the Business Card you have to charge one purchase to earn the bonus.

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

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card by American Express, personal and business versions, both are offering 25,000 Starpoints each for spending $3,000 and $5,000 respectively within three months of the accounts opening. SPG Starpoints transfer 1:1 to Alaska miles with a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. SPG Starpoints also transfer 1:1 to British Airways Avios.

Etihad Miles

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Etihad is a 1:1 transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Points.

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

British Airways Avios

Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards are ideal, since they transfer 1:1 instantly to British Airways Avios miles.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

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.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

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

Bottom Line

You can see four destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia for 100,000 miles and $302 with about half the trip in a flat bed. The deal relies on using Etihad or Alaska miles to fly American Airlines off peak economy to Europe; using a low cost carrier in Europe; using Avios for direct, region-connecting flights; and using Alaska miles to fly Cathay Pacific home.

The exact destinations in this post are mostly guidelines and can be subbed out for your preferred spots, as long as you understand how these sweet spot awards work.

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

4

BA.com is not showing Royal Jordanian award space. You have to call British Airways and give the agent specifically worded instructions to book Royal Jordanian flights with Avios.

British Airways is a member of oneworld Alliance, along with the rest of these airlines:

Screen-Shot-2014-05-02-at-2.55.30-PM

  • Air Berlin
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • JAL
  • LAN
  • TAM
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7
  • SriLankan

They also have the following non-allied partners:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Meridian

British Airways’ frequent flyer program is called British Airways Executive Club, and you can redeem distance-based Avios for awards on British Airways flights or (in theory) on any of the other aforementioned airlines.

When researching awards between the Middle East and Asia for an upcoming post, one of the legs I was investigating was an Avios award between Amman, Jordan and Bangkok, Thailand. I wanted to know how many Avios it would cost, how much the out of pocket expenses would be, and what the availability forecast looked like–thinking it could be a potential Avios sweetspot.  But I couldn’t find the award I wanted on britishairways.com, which lead me to discover a a specific method necessary for booking Royal Jordanian flights with Avios.

British Airways’ Search Results: Amman to Bangkok

The only results displaying on brithsairways.com were for Qatar or British Airways flights with out of the way routings, which makes the price of a distance-based Avios award skyrocket. Every day I looked at had similar results to this:

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.18.45 AM

None were ideal. I needed a direct route out of Amman, which would only be found on Royal Jordanian Airlines (the flag carrier airline of Jordan headquartered in Amman).

So I decided to double check with American Airlines’ search tool, as I know that while aa.com doesn’t show all oneworld Alliance award space, it does show Royal Jordanian’s.

American Airlines’ Search Results: Amman to Bangkok

I found plenty of award space on aa.com for on Royal Jordanian flights between Amman and Bangkok in Business:

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 9.50.59 PM

And a smattering of it for the same time period in Economy:

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 9.50.49 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.27.14 AM

This was a bit perplexing as British Airways’ search tool is known for, generally, showing every airline’s award space that belongs to oneworld Alliance, yet it did not show any of this space that I found on aa.com. I went back to britishairways.com to cross-reference these results with specific dates, yet still nothing matched up.

What Does That Mean?

A couple of quick searches returned some insight from Flyertalk, an online forum frequented by the kind of people that read this blog along with all types of travelers. It seems that I was not the only person unable to see Royal Jordanian award space on ba.com, and the answer wasn’t that aa.com was showing phantom award space. I called American Airlines AAdvantage to personally confirm this, and after feeding the agent some different dates that I saw with space on Royal Jordanian, she confirmed it was bookable with American Airlines miles.

I then called British Airways Executive Club to see if any of their agents could find this alleged award space. Using a tip from this Flyertalker, I directed the agent to look up the paid ticket with the same flight numbers as those with award space I was seeing on aa.com. This worked right off the bat. The agent was able to see the fare code for award space when he searched that way. I asked the agent to check a few different flights in different cabins on different days just to fully confirm that this method works, and it turned up available award seats every time.

Steps for Booking Royal Jordanian with Avios

1. If you know you specifically want to redeem your Avios on Royal Jordanian flights, then search for the award space you are looking for on aa.com.

2. Take note of dates, flight numbers, and cabin.

3. Call British Airways Executive Club at 1-800-452-1201.

4. Feed the agent the dates, flight numbers and cabin(s) of your desired award.

5. When they come back to you with no availability, which they probably will, ask them nicely if they would look up the paid ticket for the same flight numbers, and to see if they find the fare code for award space there. There is a good chance, from the data points I’ve experienced and from what I’ve seen on Flyertalk, that this will do the trick, and the agent will then be able to see and book Royal Jordanian award space for you.

6. Proceed with booking. Depending on the agent, they will tell you there is an additional $25 fee for booking your award over the phone. If that happens, patiently shed light on the situation that it is not possible for you to book this space online because it does not show up in britishairways.com’s search results. Also depending on the agent, they should waive the phone booking fee.

Bottom Line

AA.com is properly displaying Royal Jordanian award space. If you want to book it with Avios, you cannot find the space on ba.com. You need to call British Airways, and have the agent look up the flight that interests you. He should see the award space you found in the proper fare bucket.

Let us know in the comments if any of you have successfully booked an award with Avios on a Royal Jordanian flight, I am interested to see if we have any other data points. Hopefully British Airways will fix the error soon.

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

You can book yourself a tour around the Caribbean and South America stopping in three places for only 64,500 miles total with half the trip in a flat bed. By stopping in three places, I am referring to actual destinations, not connections that have to be under 24 hours.

This incredible deal relies on piecing together four sweet spots awards into one big trip. Even if you never take a trip like this, you should know about these sweet spot awards.

For the purposes of this example, this will be the route we examine:

Philadelphia > Aruba > Bogota, Colombia > Rio de Janeiro, Brazil > Philadelphia

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 7.46.00 PM

However the price is the same no matter where your home airport is, and no matter where you choose your destination in Southern South America to be.

You can tweak the route to your liking and keep the same prices as long as each destination falls in the right region for the pricing of the award.

What does that mean exactly?

  • Aruba could be replaced by anywhere that is in the region defined by American Airlines as Mexico, the Caribbean or Central America for no extra miles
  • Bogota could be replaced by any nearby city with direct LAN flights from the Caribbean or Mexico, though the miles price will probably go up if you choose a different city since this part of the award is flown with distance-based Avios
  • Rio de Janeiro could be replaced by any destination in South America for no extra miles

United States to Aruba

American Airlines post-devaluation award chart has flights to Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean during the off peak season priced at just 12,500 miles one way in economy.  

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.20.37 PM

The off peak season for these regions is defined as:

  • April 27 – May 20
  • September 7 – November 14

Taxes: $16

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.20.42 PM

Where to search for award space: aa.comHere’s how to search aa.com, award space is great to Aruba during off peak season

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.19.52 PM

How to Book: on aa.com

Aruba to Bogota

It costs 4,500 British Airways Avios to fly from from Aruba to Bogota, Colombia on LAN in economy.

Taxes: $49 (my ba.com is in euros for this reason)

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.18.01 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.18.11 PM

Where to search for award space: ba.comHere’s how to search ba.com. This route has the worst award space in the post, so if you copied this routing, you’d build the trip around award space on this leg. You can pick a place with better award space to Bogota (or wherever you decide to go), but the Avios price will probably be higher. Aruba to Bogota is only 605 miles flown, so it is the cheapest price of 4,500 Avios. Flights 651-1,150 miles flown are 7,500 Avios and something like Cancun to Bogota is 10,000 Avios.

How to Book: on ba.com.

Bogota to Rio de Janeiro

For 12,500 Singapore or American Airlines miles you can fly from Bogota, Colombia to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Avianca/TACA (if using Singapore miles) or LAN (if using American Airlines miles). You could book the same flights in Business Class for 20,000 Singapore miles, or 25,000 American Airlines miles. 

Taxes/Fees: $62 (ignore the miles price in the screenshot, we pay the price on Singapore’s chart, not United’s chart when using Singapore miles)

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.14.19 PM

Where to search for award space: If using Singapore miles, united.com. Here’s how to search united.com. If using American Airlines’ miles, ba.comHere’s how to search ba.com. Award space is very good on Avianca’s direct Bogota to Rio flight, especially in Business Class.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.14.08 PM

How to Book: If using Singapore miles, on singaporeair.com. If using American Airlines miles, call American Airlines’ AAdvantage customer service at 1-800-882-8880.

Rio de Janeiro > United States

It costs 35,000 Asiana miles to fly Business Class on Copa Airlines, Avianca, United, or Air Canada from Southern South America to the United States. I booked Los Angeles to Santiago, Chile in Copa Business Class for 35,000 Asiana miles this year.

Taxes/Fees: $57 (ignore mileage prices below, Asiana has lower prices than United for the same flights)

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.22.31 PM

Where to search for award space: united.com. Here’s how to search united.com. There is great award space between Rio and Philadelphia.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.21.52 PM

How to Book: call the Asiana Club at +1-800-227-4262.

What Do Those Awards Add up to?

    United States to Aruba = 12,500 American Airlines miles

    Aruba to Bogota, Colombia = 4,500 British Airways Avios

    Bogota, Colombia to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil = 12,500 Singapore or American Airlines miles

 + Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to United States = 35,000 Asiana miles in Business Class


    64,500 miles and under $184 in taxes

Or, if you wanted to fly the leg between Colombia and Brazil in Business Class, it would cost 72,000 using Singapore or 77,000 American Airlines miles.

Consider it from this angle as well. Heading southbound, you spent only 12,500 + 4,500 + 12,500 = 29,500 miles/Avios, and you visit three places. Normally a one way award to Southern South America would cost 30,000 American Airlines/Delta/United miles, and no stopovers would be allowed.

Why are There No Fuel Surcharges Mentioned in This Post?

Because fuel surcharges are not levied on any airline, on any ticket, w the Americas that I am aware of. Great news for our mega-trip!

How to Get the Miles and Points Needed for this Trip

American Airlines Miles

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 4.44.21 PM

Application Link: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®

Singapore Krisflyer Miles (transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Points)

The Citi Prestige® Card with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

Asiana Miles (transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints)

The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card by American Express, personal and business versions, both are offering 25,000 Starpoints each for spending $3,000 and $5,000 respectively within three months of the accounts opening.

British Airways Avios 

British Airways Visa Signature card by Chase is offering 50,000 Avios for spending $2,000 within three months of the account opening.

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

Bottom Line

If you have some (emphasis on some, not many are needed!) American Airlines, Singapore, and Asiana miles as well as a few British Airways Avios, you can piece together an amazing multi-award trip that spans all over the Caribbean and South America with three different destinations. It would be a great way to use up smaller amounts miles hanging around in your frequent flyer accounts, leftover after larger redemptions.

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

8

This change takes effect for bookings made February 2 at 5 AM ET or later.

British Avios are great for short, direct, economy awards on flights with no fuel surcharges–but they are getting less great.

The price of an award flight booked with British Airways Avios is determined by only two things: the distance of the flight and the cabin you book. The price of an Avios award is the sum of the prices of each flight segment. The award chart used to be set up such that Business Class flights were 2x the economy price and First Class flights were 3x.

In April 2015, the changed. First Class flights are now 4x the economy price. Business Class flights longer than 2,000 miles flown are now 3x the economy price. I didn’t love this devaluation, but I argued it was basically no big deal since only a few high value awards (like Boston to Dublin in Aer Lingus Business Class went up in price.) Most of the best values, namely the cheapest economy awards, were untouched. Here is the current chart (in thousands of Avios), since that devaluation:

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 2.51.06 PM

I even argued that the devaluation might be a good thing, on net, since it would probably forestall additional negative changes to the chart. I was wrong. In October 2015, British Airways announced additional negative changes.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 3.19.49 PM

For awards booked February 2, 2016 and later, the minimum price for an award starting or ending in the United States will be 7,500 Avios. The minimum price for a connecting award within the United States will be 15,000 Avios.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 3.20.32 PM

This change only affects bookings made February 2, 2016 and later. You can book until February 1, 2016 on the current chart. That means all of 2016 is bookable at the 4,500 Avios price. Here is an award currently bookable for this Summer from Charlotte to Tampa for 4,500 Avios.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 3.19.42 PM

This change only affects flights to, from, or within the United States. Flights in other regions will maintain the current chart. Here is that current chart (in thousands of Avios):

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 2.51.06 PM

Here is the chart for award bookings of flights that touch the United States starting February 2, 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 2.50.49 PM

Bottom Line

These are the last five days to book Avios awards within the United States for 4,500 Avios. You can book for the rest of 2016 and lock in the price. Cancellations of Avios awards cost as little as $5.60, so you may want to book some awards now even if you aren’t sure you’ll take them.

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

5

I just redeemed 5,650 Avios and $84 for a flight from Santiago to Buenos Aires (AEP), the closer airport to the city. Tickets to that airport were running over $400 one way.

Even tickets to the worse airport were $180+, meaning I was very happy to use an Avios & Money award.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.25.58 AMAward Planning

I am planning to return to Buenos Aires in February. I am planning to come from Santiago (though I don’t have a ticket to Chile yet).

Buenos Aires has two airports, EZE and AEP. The vast majority of international flights fly into EZE, which is about 45 minutes and $30 by car from where I stay in the Palermo neighborhood. AEP is about 15 minutes and $7. I have never flown internationally into AEP, but as long as immigration procedures are roughly the same speed, it is the far better option.

First I checked out the Santiago airport Wikipedia page to see what airlines fly to Buenos Aires. Aerolineas Argentinas and LAN fly from Santiago to both Buenos Aires airports. Chile’s Sky Airline flies to EZE, and Air Canada and KLM fly to EZE as part of tag flights from their home countries to South America.

LAN flights can be booked with Avios. That is the best option because the flight is short, and the price of an Avios award is based on the distance of the flight. Also, LAN flights don’t have fuel surcharges, so the Avios award will not have fuel surcharges. The total price for economy is 7,500 Avios + taxes.

Aerolineas Argentinas and KLM flights can be booked with Delta miles, but they cost quite a bit more miles.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.55.43 AM

Air Canada flights can be booked with any Star Alliance miles. Business Class has flat beds, but for 90 minutes in that air that isn’t very important to me. There is no chart that allows you to book the Air Canada flight for only 7,500 miles like you can book LAN with Avios.

Sky Airline can be booked with cash, which means you can use Arrival miles or the $250 Air Travel Credit on the Citi Prestige® Card to pay for the flight. I couldn’t find a good fare on the date I want to fly.

Award Search

I searched both Buenos Aires airport options at once on ba.com by using the city code BUE. Although ba.com doesn’t appear to recognize the code, it will still search the code as I explained yesterday.
Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.26.15 AM

Award space was available on the day I searched in economy on the flights to EZE and in premium economy to AEP.Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.26.21 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.26.27 AM I wanted to research Premium Economy, so I clicked on the flight number to learn the aircraft type. Then I looked up the seat map on Seat Guru.Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.26.39 AM Unfortunately, Premium economy is just a few extra inches of legroom and still has a 3-3 configuration (so I am not sure how it is wider than economy.Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.27.33 AMAvios charges 50% more for Premium Economy awards compared to economy. I don’t think that is a good deal for this product, but I greatly prefer to fly into AEP airport, so I selected Premium Economy anyway.

As I’ve detailed, Avios awards often offer Cash & Avios options. Here were mine for this award.
Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.28.03 AM

The best option is clearly the bottom one. It allows me to save 5,600 Avios for 50 euros ($54), which is like buying Avios for 0.97 cents each.

I selected that and paid with my Citi Prestige® Card to earn 3x points per dollar on airfare.

Confirmation & Seat Selection

It is always a good deal to see if the operating airline sees your reservation. I typed in my British Airways confirmation code on lan.com, and it found my itinerary.

I selected a seat. The seat map online shows a 2-2 configuration in Premium Economy, which makes me think that the row is 3-3, but the middle seats are blocked.
Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.34.06 AM

LAN’s confirmation number, which is what I will use to check in, is different than British Airways’, so I noted that when I was on LAN’s site managing my booking.

Bottom Line

Avios are the best miles to use for short, direct, economy awards on airlines or routes without fuel surcharges. I just booked myself such an award, except in Premium Economy (50% more miles) from Santiago to Buenos Aires (AEP.)

Now I just have to book from the United States to Chile, which I plan to do with Asiana for 35,000 miles one way in Business Class.

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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MG asks:

I’m not too well-versed with AA miles, but I have about 100k. I really want to use them for off-peak to either Chile or Argentina and somehow use them to get down to either country’s Patagonia region. Where do you recommend searching for LAN and TAM to get to Patagonia… the airport codes don’t seem to show up on BA.com???

 

If you search ba.com for award space, which you should do a lot when trying to redeem American Airlines miles, you will notice some missing airports. A lot of the airports that LAN serves in Patagonia for instance don’t seem to be on the site.

Or if you type in Buenos Aires, you are directed toward EZE, the mostly international airport far out of town.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.20.14 PM

If you try to type in AEP, the mostly domestic airport closer to town, no prompt comes up, as if the airport isn’t searchable on ba.com.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.20.20 PM

But ba.com can search AEP. It can even understand BUE, which searches both Buenos Aires airports at once.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.20.57 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.21.09 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.22.18 PM Similarly FTE doesn’t prompt you to El Calafate, Argentina, but it is searchable.Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.22.23 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.22.29 PMAnd PUQ doesn’t prompt Punta Arenas, Chile, but it is also searchable.Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.27.27 PM Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.27.46 PM

Bottom Line

Just because ba.com doesn’t appear to recognize an airport code doesn’t mean you can’t search that airport on ba.com. Hit “Find flights” any way and enjoy the results.

If you find award space on ba.com, you can book it with Avios or with American Airlines 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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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36

British Airways Avios are fantastic for short, direct, economy flights on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines because the number of Avios needed for an award is determined only by the distance and cabin of each flight.

One sweet spot with Avios that I’ve noted over and over is that flights from the west coast to Hawaii are 12,500 Avios + $5.60 in taxes each way.

  • From where do American Airlines and Alaska Airlines fly to Hawaii?
  • How can you book these flights with Avios?
  • How much do the flights cost in First Class?
  • How can you get Avios?

American and Alaska all fly to the four major Hawaiian islands: Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and Kauai.

Flights to Honolulu, Oahu

Alaska flights in red. American flights in blue and black.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.40.40 PM

Flights to Kahului, Maui

Alaska flights in red. American flight in blue and black.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.43.59 PM

Flights to Lihue, Kauai

Alaska flights in red. American flight in blue and black.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.45.44 PM

Flights to Kona, Big Island

Alaska flights in red. American flight in blue and black.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.47.02 PM

Chart of Flights

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 5.53.52 PM
1: Seasonal Flight

Searching and Booking

All these flights can be searched on aa.com.

  • If an Alaska Airlines flight shows up on aa.com, it can be booked with Avios.
  • If an American Airlines flight shows up on aa.com labeled MileSAAver, it can be booked with Avios. If the flight is labeled AAnytime, it cannot be booked with Avios.

American Airlines flights can be booked on ba.com. Alaska Airlines flights can only be booked with Avios by calling British Airways at 800-AIRWAYS.

First Class

One drawback of Avios is that mid- and longhaul Business Class awards cost triple the price of economy awards, and First Class awards cost quadruple the price of economy awards.

All three airlines market their forward cabin on these routes as First Class, and British Airways charges quadruple the economy price, so all of the routes in this post cost 50,000 Avios one way in First Class. I think that’s a terrible deal, since all these routes merely feature recliner seats in First Class.

Canceling Avios Awards

Feel free to book your Avios awards to Hawaii speculatively. The cancellation fee for Avios awards is supposed to be $40, but in practice, you are charged $40 OR the taxes you paid on the award, whichever is less.

That means you can cancel Avios awards to Hawaii and get back your Avios for only the cost of losing the $5.60 per person per direction in taxes.

Full info: Another Reason Miles Are Better than Cash: Free Cancellations

Getting Avios

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to seven airlines’ miles, including British Airways Avios.Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 12.00.14 AM

The card earns 3 points per dollar on travel and dining expenses and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

After spending that $4,000 in the first three months, you will end up with at least 104,000 Ultimate Rewards–more if some of that $4,000 was spent on travel or dining. That’s enough for four roundtrips to Hawaii on these routes.

 

One final note on the Chase Sapphire Reserve: The card has a $450 annual fee due immediately. But in addition to the 100,000 bonus points, you get a $300 travel credit each calendar year: the first $300 in “travel” expenses you put on the card between now and December get refunded and the first $300 in “travel” expenses you put on the card after January of next year. That’s $600 you can use toward hotels, Airbnb, other flights, taxis, parking, car rentals, cruises, Uber, etc., etc. for the first $450 annual fee. That means you make $150 ($600 – $450 = $150) in the first 12 months you have the card. And you get the 100,000 bonus points. And you get free airport lounge access with the card. You can cancel the card any time in the next 12 months to avoid another $450 annual fee.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 12.00.14 AM

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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2

Membership Rewards used to transfer 1,000:1,000 to British Airways Avios, but the rate was cut to 250:200 on October 1, 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 1.44.32 PM

Through the end of the year, though, you can temporarily get the old 1:1 rate through a two-step process.

  1. Transfer Membership Rewards 1:1 to Iberia Avios during the current 25% transfer bonus.
    Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 1.44.40 PM
  2. Transfer Iberia Avios 1:1 to British Airways Avios.

Caveats

 

Great Uses of Iberia or British Airways Avios

Generally both are good for short, direct, economy awards on partners without fuel surcharges. Here is my rundown of British Airways Avios.

Iberia Avios–if you just want to transfer there and not on to British Airways–are additionally very good for Iberia Business Class. For eight months of each year (the off peak window):

  • New York or Boston to Madrid is 34,000 Iberia Avios each way in Business Class.
  • Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami to Madrid is 42,500 Iberia Avios each way in Business Class.

Connections will increase the price.

Bottom Line

There is a 25% Membership Rewards to Iberia Avios transfer bonus that runs through December 31, 2015. It brings the transfer ratio to 250:250.

If your Iberia account has been open for three months, you can then transfer the points 1:1 to British Airways Avios.

(By the way, if you don’t have an Iberia account, open one now to start the 90 day clock for future times when you want to transfer between accounts.)

Hat Tip -g

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

4

British Airways is happy to handle a number of transactions in dollars, pounds, or euros. Each transaction has a fixed price in each currency instead of a dynamic one that changes with exchange rates, so at the moment transactions in euros are way cheaper than transactions in dollars and pounds.

What currency you’re charged depends on what country you list as your residence, so I explained yesterday how to set your address to France to save about 25% on buying Avios.

The Free-quent Flyer (remember he did an awesome Manufactured Spending extra for my e-book) asked whether changing your address results in cheaper Cash & Avios awards on Twitter.

On almost all Avios awards you are given six payment choices that range from all of the Avios you are supposed to pay for the award down to about a third of the Avios. When you use fewer Avios, you have to pay more cash. Here is an example of the six price options for a one way award from New York to Berlin on airberlin:

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.35.36 AM

Free-quent Flyer was asking if the cash component was lower in euros than in dollars. I told him that it definitely was, but I didn’t have data.

He answered his own question, saying he would have saved $100 on a previous Cash & Avios award he booked if his account had been in euros instead of dollars.

So there is no reason not to put your British Airways account in euros right now; you’ll be able to buy miles cheaper and be given cheaper Cash & Avios options with no negative changes associated with switching. Here’s how to switch.

How cheap are the Cash & Avios options once you put your account in euros? Commenter Charles points us to a German-language post on the subject. It is a very good post, and Google Translate in Google Chrome translated it perfectly except for the charts, but you can pretty easily figure out that this chart is showing the price of “buying” Avios during a Cash & Avios award booking. It shows all nine Avios price bands (eg 4,500 Avios is band 1 and 12,500 Avios is band 4) and all six options for Cash & Avios awards at each price band.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.19.08 AM
From http://meilenoptimieren.com/executive-club-tutorial-praemienflug-buchen-avios-and-money/

Note that the prices are in euro cents. Right now 0.82 euros = $0.89.

Do check out the whole German post; it is really good. And do set the address on your British Airways account to somewhere in the euro-area. This trick will help you use Avios much more efficiently. I love Avios for short, direct, economy flights. Read more about Avios and the best Avios uses here.

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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 Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

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