Update: The current sign-up bonus offer for the British Airways Visa is 50,000 Avios. 25,000 upon first use, and another 25,000 when you spend $2,500 within 90 days.
This is the sixth installment of my series on maximizing British Airways miles. Since so many of you got in on the super-lucrative 100,000 mile BA Visa sign-up bonus (see details of the current 100K offer), it would be beneficial to check out: General tips, Post 1 – Booking BA Awards, Post 2 – Booking Partner Awards, Post 3 – Oneworld Alliance, Post 4 – Taxes and Fees, Post 5 – Household Accounts, Post 6 – Companion Ticket, Post 7 – Using ExpertFlyer for Partner Award Availability, Post 8 – The Art of the Stopover, Post 9 – Leveraging Miles and Cash Redemptions, and Post 10 - Using Qantas.com to Find Oneworld Award Availability. Also, be sure to check out my post on the credit card deal itself and the lengthy Q&A in the comments section.
I often see ads for “free companion tickets” from credit cards and after reviewing the terms and conditions, I usually come to the conclusion that the companion tickets are of little value. In fact, so many of them require expensive fare classes – often more than twice the price of a cheap ticket – that the value and purpose of the “free” extra ticket is totally negated.
Enter the British Airways Visa Travel Together Ticket, which is awarded to cardholders after spending $30,000 on the card within a calendar year. The great thing about this companion ticket is that it is used in tandem with an award redemption - not from purchasing an expensive fare.
For example, if you wanted to redeem 150,000 miles for a Los Angeles to London First Class flight (which would cost around $700 in taxes/fees), you could use the Travel Together Ticket to get another First Class ticket for 0 additional miles and an additional $700 in fees. Overall, two First Class seats for 150,000 miles and $1,400 – an amazing deal.
Some key things to note:
1) The Travel Together Ticket must be used on British Airways flights only – no Oneworld partners or codeshare flights. This means all flights go through London and will have $500+ fees.
2) All flights must originate and end in the United States.
3) The cardholder must travel on the entire itinerary
4) These are only good on roundtrip awards
5) Vouchers are valid 2 years from date of issue (usually 4-6 weeks after you earn it)
6) Vouchers will be posted to your online account and can be redeemed online (unless you have a Household Account and redeem for someone outside of your household)
7) You can use the vouchers for mixed itineraries, like coach on the outbound and business class on the return
8 ) Open jaw itineraries can be booked over the phone
That covers the basics, but if you have other questions, feel free to post below or read the main Flyertalk thread on the subject. Overall, these companion certificates can save you major miles. Plus, you normally earn 1.25 miles per dollar with the BA card, so if you get the 100,000 mile sign up bonus and spend $40,000 during the remainder of 2011, you’ll end up with 150,000 miles, which, with the Travel Together Ticket, would equal two First Class tickets to London or Paris. Not bad, since those tickets alone can cost upwards of $30,000! All for just a $95 annual fee for the BA Visa Card, which also has no foreign transaction fees.