British AirwaysChase

British Airways 50,000 Point Offer / Why Using BA Miles On AA Is Awesome

By March 14, 2013 December 10th, 2013 6 Comments

British Airways 50,000 Point Offer

Last week, I talked about the Southwest Card & the Companion Pass and what an amazing offer it can be if done correctly.

Well I got a few emails from Readers saying Southwest doesn’t fly into their home Airport, so are there any other good offers.

The best one I could find, and one I actually forgot was still around, is the British Airways 50,000 Point Offer.

Now if you aren’t familiar with the British Airways offer, I have written extensively about it before, so feel free to check out some of the old posts.

The current offer is 50,000 Avios after you spend $1,000 in 3 months.

You can get 25,000 bonus Avios after you make $10,000 in purchases within the first 12 months of account opening. Plus an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you make an additional $10,000 in purchases also within the first 12 months of account opening.

Basically if you can spend $20,000 on this Card in 12 months, the total bonus you can get is over 100,000 Avios!

While most people might not be able to do that (or want to spend their $20,000 on a different Card), the 50,000 Avios for spending $1,000 in 3 months is still a great deal! 

The reason why Avios Points are so valuable is because you can use them for free Award Flights on AMERICAN AIRLINES!

As you will see below, for Domestic Flights, 9/10 times it is cheaper to use Avios for AA Flights rather than using AA Miles for AA Flights…

Getting The Bonus Twice

Typically with Chase Cards, you are supposed to only get the Sign On Bonus once.

My Friend and I both got in on the British Airways 100,000 Mile offer back in 2009 when it first came out. After earning our 100,000 Miles, we closed the Cards before the Annual Fee came due.

When the current offer of 50,000 Avios came back this year, my friend decided to try his luck and sign up for it again. To both of our surprises, he was awarded the Sign Up Bonus again!

This is a situation where Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) but there are lots of reports on FlyerTalk and Twitter about people getting the Sign Up Bonus again after closing the same Card 2 years.

If I wasn’t gunning for the Southwest Companion Pass, then I’d definitely get this Card again for the 50,000 Avios bonus because the Points are so useful on AA.

Using Avios For Award Tickets On AA

Using your Avios Points to book Domestic Award flights on American Airlines is fairly easy!

A full step by step tutorial that I did can be found here.

The reason why Avios Points are valuable for use on Domestic American Airline flights is because British Airways operates a distance based Award Chart.

So instead of a fixed 25,000 Mile Domestic Award like on United or American Airlines, the cost of a British Airways Award depends on the distance between the 2 cities.

British Airways has a calculator which can tell you how many Avios you need for an Award, but a more practical example is below.

Assuming you are based out of New York City, using Avios for roundtrip flights on American Airlines, it would cost you the following amount of Avios:

  • Boston – 9,000 Avios
  • Washington, D.C – 9,000 Avios
  • Miami – 15,000 Avios
  • Chicago -15,000 Avios
  • Dallas – 20,000 Avios
  • Las Vegas – 25,000 Avios
  • Seattle – 25,000 Avios
  • Vancouver – 25,000 Avios
  • Los Angeles – 25,000 Avios

As you can see, for the short haul flights, like NYC-BOS or NYC-WAS, it is only 9,000 Avios roundtrip!

If you logged into AA.com and used American Airline Miles, those same flights would be 25,000 AA Miles, instead of 9,000 Avios!

Real Life Example

For my Brother’s birthday next weekend, he wanted to go to NYC to visit my Niece and Nephew.

My Parents couldn’t take him, so I volunteered.

The first place I checked for tickets was Southwest. The price (in points) for 2 Award Tickets was reasonable but given how valuable Southwest Points can be, I decided to save them and check if there was anything available using British Airways Avios.

I had my Parents get the British Airways Card last year and we have a Family Account which allows us to merge all of our BA Accounts together, so we have over 100,000 Avios.

Using Avios, I was able to find 2 Award Tickets on American Airlines for only 30,000 Avios + $10 TOTAL, or 15,000 Avios per a person, which is a steal!

As I talked about above, for Domestic Flights, even though you are flying on American Airlines, using Avios can be far cheaper than using American Airline Miles.

Just how much it will save you is fairly astonishing…

I searched for the SAME EXACT AWARD FLIGHT on AA.com, and for 2 tickets, AA wanted a whopping 50,000 Miles AND $160 in taxes ($5 each) and “close-in ticketing” fees ($75 each).

Luckily British Airways doesn’t charge any Close-In Ticketing Fees!

So not only did I save $150 in non-sense fees BUT I also saved 20,000 Miles since I got the same exact flight for only 30,000 Avios instead of 50,000 AA Miles.

To put that in perspective, with those extra 20,000 AA Miles I am saving, I could spend another 15,000 Avios AND GET ANOTHER FREE FLIGHT!

So for 45,000 Avios I could get 3 Award Tickets on AA OR for 50,000 AA Miles & $160 I could get 2 Award Tickets on AA…

Not a hard decision!

As always, I did a quick search on Kayak.com for my flight to see how much it is retailing for.

For our flights next week, they are going for $600 each.

Basically for 30,000 Avios & $10, we got $1,200 in free flights!

Recap

Although most people only think to use British Airways Avios for trips to Europe (absolutely terrible deal by the way), the real value of Avios Points lie in the ability to use them for Domestic Flights on American Airlines.

By using Avios Points, not only do you pay substantially less for an AA Award than if you had used AA Miles, but you also avoid all of AA’s ridiculous close-in ticketing fees!

Talk about a win-win!

-Parag

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6 Comments

  • Drew says:

    Are you able to transfer AA miles to Avios or vice versa?

  • Frequent Flyer University says:

    @Drew – You can't transfer between the 2 programs.

  • Anne says:

    Can you buy tickets for someone else using your Avios points? ie. their name would be on the ticket

  • Frequent Flyer University says:

    @Anne – Of Course! I do it all the time!

  • Anne says:

    BA is telling me I can't use my Avios for someone else unless that someone else is part of my BA household account, ie. they live in the household, share the same address etc. I know that I can share my Avios, but that costs me money – something I want to avoid. So how do you do it?

  • Frequent Flyer University says:

    @Anne – It is free to create a household account, but you don't even have to do that. Just book the ticket under their name. That is all. I do it all the time.

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