About six months ago, both my wife and I applied for and received the Chase British Airways credit card. The offer came with a 50,000 mile sign up offer with your first $1000 purchase. With the first $10,000 in spending you were given 25,000 bonus miles and for $20,000 in spending you were given another 25,000 bonus miles totaling 100,000 miles. As you earn 1.25 Avios/$ spent, after $20,000 spent, you have accumulated 125,000 Avios. With $30,000 spent, you are given a "Travel Together" ticket that is good for up to 2 years. In about 6 months time, we have accumulated almost 275,000 Avios. This offer is now back.
The Travel Together ticket is good whether you book your ticket with either cash or miles. This can be a great savings. Two people can fly from the US to London in first class for a total of 100,000 miles RT. The BIG downside of British Airways are their horrendous fuel surcharges. The "free" tickets could end up costing $1000 each. That's still a tremendous value for a 1st class ticket to London. One 1st class ticket on that itinerary could cost $5000 or more each way! From what I hear, British Air has a terrific 1st class product too. My wife and I plan on using our miles and Travel Together ticket in the Spring of 2013. Most people who use this option, consider it the same as buying a Coach ticket and getting a confirmed 3 class upgrade. There is another option below that we could use as well.
One great feature of the Avios program is that you can create a Family account and pool miles together. My Mom has a BA card, but she doesn't travel any more. We have pooled her miles with ours so that we can use them. If you want to get really creative, you can get your entire family a card for the 50,000 mile sign up bonus to pool even more miles. I believe you can have up to 7 people on one family account.
Award travel to South America is another great use of Avios. There are no fuel surcharges to South America when using Avios to book travel on One World Alliance partner American Airlines. For example, there are ways to book travel to Brazil for only 25,000 Avios and $23.70 in fees from New York, Dallas, or Miami to Rio de Janerio on American Airlines.
As British Air award charts are distance based, One "Secret" use of Avios is to book a trip from Boston to Ireland on Partner Aer Lingus. Without going into detail, it's possible to book this flight for as little as 25,000 Avios plus some minor fees. Now you still have to get yourself to Boston, but from the East coast, that is very easy. There are other slightly more costly ways to do the same thing from Chicago, New York and Orlando.
Later this week, I will write about another great use of Avios; The ability to book short to medium distanced flights with your Avios on AA using very few miles. Click Here. Except for the Travel Together ticket this is probably the best way to use Avios.
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About The Points Doctor
The Points Doctor is Bruce J. Wilderman DDS of Artistic Expressions Dentistry.Dr. Wilderman has a practice limited to Cosmetic Dentistry, serving patients of the Philadelphia Area since 1986.He and wife of 30 years enjoy traveling the world for little or no money with the points and miles they have earned from the credit card companies. Dr. Wilderman would love to teach you how to do the same. You may reach him at ThePointsDoctor@comcast.net