Family trip to London-check. And what a trip it was as we flew ON AVIOS POINTS to London on British Airways Business Class. Wow what an experience!!! Amazing food, seats that turned into beds, an abundance of outlets for charging, a pre boarding lounge with tons of snacks, drinks and dinner and unbelievable service. A once in a lifetime treat for my family and wait-best part…all for free. (Note-except for having to pay the hefty BA fuel tax per ticket-but that is a charge you cannot get around no matter what so I don’t count it.)
So how did I get these five British Airways Business Class tickets that were 80,000 Avios points each? (Avios is the unit of point currency used by British Airways) I got most of them via my Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card.
Back in 2011, I applied for the card and once approved received 50,000 Avios points just for getting the card. Unfortunately, this initial 50,000 Avios bonus is not available today, but who knows—-it may be again, so watch for it. I then made $1,000 in purchases over the next 3 months and received another 50,000 Avios points. This bonus IS currently available if you are approved for the card but you now must make $2,000 in purchases.
So I now found myself with an easy 100,000 Avios Points. I should note however, that this card has a $95 annual fee, but to me, for all of these points, it was worth it!
What next? Well, I made my husband an additional cardmember of my British Airways Visa Signature Card in anticipation of our next move….
You see British Airways offers a Travel Together Ticket. That is, every year that you make purchases of at least $30,000 on your British Airways Visa Signature Card, you earn a Travel Together Ticket that is good for two years. The Travel Together Ticket allows you to add a guest on a reward flight without using any extra Avios Points. You are essentially doubling the value of your Avios Points.
So that is what we did. In both 2011 and 2012, I directed my husband to use his additional British Airways Visa Signature Card for the advertising expenses of his business. Once he reached the $30,000 annual amount, he stopped using the card.
So now what I had was the initial 100,000 Avios Points. and 75,000 Avios Points from the 2 years of purchases (you earn 1.25 Avios per dollar spent with your card-60,000 X 1.25). In addition, I had two Travel Together Tickets from meeting the $30,000 spend requirement in both 2011 and 2012.
Like I indicated above, those British Airways Business Class Tickets were 80,000 Avios points each. So for four tickets, I only needed 160,000 Avios points (because with each 80,000 Avios Point reward, I was able to add another guest to my reward flight). For my fifth ticket, I only had 15,000 Avios Points to apply. Hmmmm what to do???
Well, as it turns out, British Airways is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. Between my husband and myself, we usually have plenty of points there to play with if need be as we both use our American Express cards a lot. Also at the time (back in May of 2012), I took advantage of a 50% transfer bonus from American Express to British Airways. That is to obtain my 65,000 Avios Points needed to get that fifth ticket, I only needed to transfer in about 43,333 American Express Membership Rewards Points. (At the time of this post, there is a 1 to 1 ratio if you transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios——but they may run this 50% transfer bonus offer again…we shall see…..)
So after all of that, I had enough Avios Points for my five British Airways Business Class tickets. If we would have paid for these 5 tickets, the price would have been about 18K (crazy! in my opinion). We spent about $6,000 due to the hefty fuel charges and taxes. (You cannot avoid these charges when booking with miles). We saved about $12,000!!!!!!
So, we took our trip to London in December 2012 and had a really fun and educational family vacation. Did I mention we stayed for free as well in a GIGANTIC suite at the Park Lane Hotel…a Starwood Resort…and saved $2,800. Oh how I love Starwood Resorts!!!!!