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50% Off British Airways Coach and Premium Economy Award Tickets

by on August 3, 2011 · 37 comments

in British Airways

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British Airways just sent out an email announcing 50% off award redemptions. However, it’s only on British Airways flights and only for economy, premium economy or intra-European business class awards.

Dear Mr Kelly,

“Get 50% off with your BA Miles. Wherever you want your reward flight to take you, you’ll need 50% fewer BA Miles if you book by 12 August 2011.

So you can go either sooner or further than you expected. And use 50% fewer BA Miles on British Airways, whether you fly in World Traveller, World Traveller Plus, Euro Traveller or Club Europe.

If you’ve got a promising collection of BA Miles, this is too good to miss. Just pick a destination on your must-go list and book before the ten days are up.”

From my understanding, you have to use a special link to get you to the reduced priced awards. This link will take you to your account log-in and since this offer is most likely targeted, so be surprised if it doesn’t work for you.

For those unfamiliar with British Airways lingo, World Traveller = long-haul coach (like Chicago to London), World Traveller Plus = Premium Economy and Euro Traveller = Coach within Europe, Club Europe= Business class (glorified coach, like Air France’s intra-Europe business class) within Europe.

I tried pricing out some sample trips, but not surprisingly britishairways.com is giving me tons of errors (I assume their servers are overloaded with people trying to get in on this deal). The website is volatile on even the slowest of days, so I’m going to wait a little bit, but I’ll come back with some analysis on whether this is worth it, considering high fuel surcharges. For example, even if you can get a coach round-trip to Europe for 25,000 miles roundtrip- is it still worth it if there are $550 in taxes and fees? It very well may, but I want to pull up specific examples, so stay tuned! This offer is good until August 12, so we have some time to strategize on the best redemption opportunities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Kris

    If they didn’t have those fees, or if you could use this on partners, this would be an amazing deal… I’m going to stay off their website since it seems overloaded, and wait for TPG to enlighten us. Kudos to BA though for rolling out so many deals and promos this year! That’s a great way to earn loyalty.

  • Anonymous

    I had the identical experience. Tried a few random examples and was clobbered with overload errors.

    I’m not near a BA hub so while this is tempting I’m guessing I won’t find much value in it.

  • Anonymous

    I got the offer too and I’m glad to see you’ll be doing an analysis of the costs and benefits. Since it doesn’t cover OneWorld partners, can you pick various destinations that BA flies to besides Europe (e.g., South America, Asia, Australia?). Thx!

  • Anonymous

    I got the offer too and I’m glad to see you’ll be doing an analysis of the costs and benefits. Since it doesn’t cover OneWorld partners, can you pick various destinations that BA flies to besides Europe (e.g., South America, Asia, Australia?). Thx!

  • Anonymous

    I got the offer too and I’m glad to see you’ll be doing an analysis of the costs and benefits. Since it doesn’t cover OneWorld partners, can you pick various destinations that BA flies to besides Europe (e.g., South America, Asia, Australia?). Thx!

  • Anonymous

    I got the offer too and I’m glad to see you’ll be doing an analysis of the costs and benefits. Since it doesn’t cover OneWorld partners, can you pick various destinations that BA flies to besides Europe (e.g., South America, Asia, Australia?). Thx!

  • http://www.euanross.com Euan

    You should be able to but bearing in mind you would need to go via London, if you are flying from the US.

  • http://www.euanross.com Euan

    “If they didn’t have those fees, or if you could use this on partners, this would be an amazing deal” – it would indeed but it wouldn’t help BA get members to burn miles on their metal and collect the taxes and YQ.

    If they included J and F (like the previous 50% sale they had a few years back) then it would be much more worthwhile.

    However, for a family of 3/4 who would normally travel in Y, it’s a good opportunity if they have a few air miles to fly Premium Economy.

  • Anonymous

    Two things. First, I think you meant to say “so DON’T be surprised if it doesn’t work for you.” But not sure if this is the case since it seems to define “Eligible Participant” as any BAEC member 18 or older. Second, do you think the 2-4-1 Chase companion vouchers work with this? The Ts&Cs mention the AmEx voucher, but not this one. Thanks for all the hard work TPG!

  • PhilS

    I’m showing the following checking a flight from IAH to MUC in September with 50% off points.
    Stop over in London is optional of course. 25K miles plus $601.89 with a combo of World Traveler and Euro Traveler on the outbound and inbound flight. This example is for Sept. 12th (Monday) with return date of Oct. 4th (Tuesday). Is this a good deal for Octoberfest TPG?

  • Highman

    Excellent – just booked two tickets TXL-SFO for mom&dad with half teh mileage needed:) Thanks TPG and BA.

  • JMSL

    BA.com is being buggy for me too, but I was able to price out a few sample trips for next spring. IAD to destinations in Europe Zone 1 (e.g. LHR, AMS, EDI) was coming to 25K plus about $500-550. Premium Economy, 37.5K plus a little more ($550-600) in taxes/fees.

    I tried doing a London stopover, but it seemed to eliminate the 50% miles discount. T&C say: “A Qualifying Flight is a single sector or return redemption flight…” so perhaps a flight with stopover(s) doesn’t qualify.

    Did a search on Kayak for same dates/cities, and coach tickets are coming to about $750 to London or Edinburgh and $900 to Amsterdam. So at best, you’re getting about $400 in value for those 25K miles, or as little as $200 depending on your route. This doesn’t even factor in the fact that you wouldn’t earn miles for the flight.

    Considering that 25K BA miles can also get you one-way from North America to much of Asia with stopovers (and lower taxes/fees), this still probably isn’t the best bang for the buck for those looking to maximize value. If you have to go to Europe at a specific time of year, and fares are looking high ($1000+) maybe this would be a good deal, but if you’re flexible, you can probably pay a couple hundred bucks more, save your 25K miles, and earn another 8K miles in the process.

    Just tried these routes/dates; you might be able to get more value out of a trip from the West Coast or during a peak time of year.

    Never sat down to do the math before, but this just makes me realize what a terrible deal BA’s standard redemption rates are. Usually these tickets would be 50K miles plus $500+… for a ticket you can buy for $750!

  • Angel

    I’ve got an email from KLM with fares as low as $611 all-in from BOS-LHR. I priced out WAS-LHR via DET at $680 all in. I think this is a better deal than burning 25k miles on BA and still paying $500-$600 in taxes/fees. Just my $0.02

  • Ahuimanu808

    Looks like a pretty good deal, I found flights from Denver to London for 25k but an additonal $550 in taxes and fees of course. Is there a cheaper airport to fly into? Anywhere in Europe really will do considering we want to see it all and will be taking Ryan air for the most part once were there or trains.

    Anyone have suggestions?

  • Angel

    BA is great for Asia and Latin America…..not so great for Europe. I agree, this is not a great deal. Check my post about KLM fares. If you are flexible (or lucky), KLM is a better option in my opinion.

  • JohnnieD

    Just priced YYZ>LHR with $577/fees, May 9-May 16 ’12. It prices on Orbitz @ $1290 for exact same flights. Looks like an OK deal, but nothing great with all that YQ…………..

  • http://www.euanross.com Euan

    As to whether it’s a good deal depends on everyones circumstances. If for example you were saving to get enough miles to go from the UK to San Fran/LA in economy and you have an AMEX Companion Voucher then you now have enough miles to do the flight in premium economy.

    If you only want to redeem your miles in First or Business class then this deal is of not use.

  • http://www.euanross.com Euan

    With the YQ, redeeming on BA metal has always been much better value on J or F (even better with the companion voucher). As this is Y and W (BA fare code for Premium Economy) then it’s a tougher call but it all depends on the individual circumstances.

    IMO, BA’s YQ is not going anywhere… it’s common practice among EU airlines.

  • niz

    I have a award booked on BA that I booked two weeks ago using the “full miles”. Does anyone know if they will somehow credit half the miles since this deal is on?

  • Scott

    you can call and cancel the rez; $50 per ticket fee but you’ll get the taxes back. Might be worth it, but you should run the numbers to be sure. Obviously check for availability to book another award on the same flight before canceling and allow a couple hours for the miles to repost to your account (took about 2 hours for me)

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  • http://profiles.google.com/eheinz Erik Heinz

    I just don’t value flying across the pond in coach. 25K plus $529 for the PHX-LHR return. Ok if during peak travel but I tend to travel in the winter / off-peak and can easily find mileage-earning airfare for $600-$700 (not necessarily on BA but certainly on a OW, *A or SkyTeam carrier). Since this can’t be used with F or J redemptions, I will pass.

  • Elena

    I saw this promotion fly across my email this morning and was really bummed because I booked a flight a month ago that departs tomorrow. So I, like so many others, immediately tried to use the link to look for flights. The BA website gave me an error message and after a few tries, I gave up. When I got home, I decided to try searching using the old fashion method of logging into ba.com and was successful!

    I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the one way flight I booked from JFK-LHR-CDG had plenty of inventory for me to re-book. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to call the BA customer service number which was an abominable 35 minutes of holding and an additional 30 minutes of canceling the original booking and re-booking the same flight, BUT it ended up saving me $180 and a refund of 22,000 miles back to my account. Keep in mind that if you decide to call, you will have to pay extra fees. I ended up paying $220 or so in fees, but getting cash back plus miles back were worth every minute of holding time.

    Normally I wouldn’t use miles to book a trip to Europe with BA, but regular ticket prices were so high and weren’t worth it. And I was able to add a stop over for free, so it was worth the $333 in taxes/fees + 18,750 miles for the flight considering I am flying premium economy.

    The refunded miles took about 5 minutes to show up. You can try to tell them that you are having problems with the website and give them the error message and they might refund your fees for booking through an agent. I’ve actually done that before and it worked.

  • Rob Perelman

    Wow, this promotion couldn’t have come at a better time. I booked a one way ticket from Las Vegas to London using the 1/2 points extra money promotion deal. So I paid 12,500 miles + $328.50. I had to push my trip back a few weeks, and I’m changing my destination from London to Brussels, so I was planning on rebooking my flight today. With this promotion, I ended up paying 12,500 miles + $239.14 for the new flight. I had to pay the $50 rebooking fee since I changed my destination, but I ended up saving a lot since I didn’t have to buy the additional miles. Thanks for the heads up, TPG.

  • DenverParlay

    My wife and I rebooked our BA trip to Istanbul for half the miles. Gladly paid the $50 cancellation and redeposit fee to save 32,500 miles each.

  • MichaelP

    If you are booking for 2 or more travelers, try booking one at a time to save on fees. I did a sample booking from DFW-LHR for premium econ, $1250 in fees for 2 travelers. $525 in fees for 1 traveler at a time. A saving of $200.

  • http://www.euanross.com Euan

    I think a lot will as J and F can’t be used. It’s a better offer, IMO, for UK based members who can use it with the AMEX companion voucher.

    I’ve priced up two tickets to Moscow for April next year. With this offer it’s 20,000 miles + 1 companion voucher + £208. If I were to buy 2 tickets in economy it would be £540, in business the cost is £1,820!

  • http://twitter.com/manuvns Kripal Singh

    pretty good considering 45000 miles + taxes to US – India round trip

  • Caroline

    I don’t know how this deal affects the general rule, but usually the British Isles have the best deals. London is not always the best but try Dublin, Edinburgh, even Manchester. Also: think carefully before booking Ryanair. The base price hides a lot of hidden fees, and in my experience it’s usually not worth flying with them if you have to check a bag–you way well end up paying more than you would have done on BA or a similar airline. The British Airways website has a chart somewhere comparing themselves to Easyjet and Ryanair, and you can get a sense of all the fees. The other thing with Ryanair is that if you do decide to go that route, make sure you book well in advance and get a No taxes flight — the regular fare flights end up way more expensive than advertised. Depending on the cities involved, you can often get fairly inexpensive airfare with the regular airlines though. Just do your homework and don’t assume Ryanair is the cheapest! Good luck and have a great trip.

    Oh — and the other extremely important note on Ryanair — another reason why their base fares are often so cheap is that in many cities, they fly to out-of-the-way airports (that may well cost you a pretty penny to access). In London they fly to Stansted, which is usually pretty inconvenient, and I think I’ve paid a lot for the train. In Madrid, though, they fly to the main Barajas airport. Again, do your homework! :)

  • Caroline

    A couple more thoughts on Ryanair (can you tell I hate them yet?): not always, but very often their cheaper flights are at seriously inconvenient times: really early in the morning or very late at night. This might not bother you at first glance, but keep in mind that it may seriously up your to-and-from the airport transportation costs if, say, the metro is closed and you end up needing a cab!

    Also, one of (in my opinion) the most odious fees is their online check-in fee. Not sure about the euro conversion, but in London you have to pay 5 GBP (each way) to check in online. The kicker is that you’re required to check-in online, and if you go to the airport without a ticket, they’ll turn you away. Maybe that’s not a ton of money, but it all adds up, and anyway I just find that policy an infuriating way for them to hide the actual cost of flying with them.

    Believe me, I’m a grad student without a lot of money who appreciates saving on spending just as much as the next person — I just think Ryanair ends up sounding a lot better in theory than it ends up working out at the end of the day, at least 90% of the time.

  • Anonymous

    LAX to SYD in business class for about $750 in taxes and fees! AMAZING!!!!! (160,000 miles needed).

    Anyone know about canceling an award ticket? I’d have to book for next summer…but never know how life might interfere with this plan.

    Too bad I wont have my 50,000 Sapphire points this month.

  • Anonymous

    LAX to SYD in business class for about $750 in taxes and fees! AMAZING!!!!! (160,000 miles needed).

    Anyone know about canceling an award ticket? I’d have to book for next summer…but never know how life might interfere with this plan.

    Too bad I wont have my 50,000 Sapphire points this month.

  • Anonymous

    I checked on a partner flight (Qantas) and the deal works! LAX to SYD on Qantas is about $750 in business class!!! I have not booked it yet- so I cant promise it would work

  • Anonymous

    I thought it was BA metal only, not partners.

  • Anonymous

    I did all of this on the BA website and it seemed to be no problem. Of course, there is no British Airways flight from LAX to SYD. A partner airline is the only option. Otherwise you are flying through LHR. Give it a try. Mine showed as if a partner airline could be booked with the deal! I have not completed my booking yet.

  • Caroline

    Wow, this deal could hardly be less worth it for me! Considering we’re past the summer hike in prices, I can get a roundtrip BOS-LHR for $610. Considering I got the BA credit card, I can save $50 on this flight and get it for $560. This deal offers me the same flight for 25K miles + $530. 25,000 miles for a $30 savings?! I don’t think so!
    My suspicion is that, if you want this for a typical transatlantic US-London route, it’s only worth it if there aren’t a lot of low fares from your city of origin or if your dates happen to be expensive travel dates. (Clever of them to offer this after the summer was over.)

    P.S. That link never worked for me. After days of trying and failing I just logged into the website the regular way. I did get the deal offer, it was just not a good deal.

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