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British Airways just announced a huge bonus points promotion for fall travel, for those based in the US and Canada. Registration link.
Update: AA has a similar promo EUR11 (registration).
“Register, book and complete travel now through December 31, 2011, to earn 25,000 bonus Avios for your first qualifying, full-fare, transatlantic round-trip, 35,000 for your second, and 45,000 for your third and every additional round-trip after that. There is really no end to the points you can earn. For example, fly five times and earn a total of 195,000 bonus Avios. Fly 10 times and earn a total of 420,000 bonus Avios. To help you earn the most bonus Avios possible before the end of the year, this generous offer is also available on qualifying, transatlantic, round-trip flights on American Airlines or Iberia. Simply register now and remember to include your Executive Club number when you book.”
The biggest catch with this promo is that the cheapest fares don’t apply, however I priced out a bunch of “cheap” World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy fares) and all of them were T class, which is eligible for this promotion. When pricing out fares on Britishairways.com you need to click on the flight number and a pop-up window will give details of the flight including booking class. Make sure it’s one of the below before purchasing.
Another disappointing aspect of this promo is that existing bookings don’t count towards the promo. The good news is that most full-fare tickets allow relatively cheap cancellations, so if your fare allows – just cancel and rebook. Who knows – the price may have even gone down!
Overall, this is obviously a no brainer if you have premium transatlantic travel coming up and have the option of choosing British Airways. Even though their frequent flyer program is changing on November 16, 2011 and they refuse to give us the details, I still value 25,000 BA miles at least at $375.
Plus – you can upgrade from World Traveller Plus to Club World (business class) for only 25,000 miles roundtrip, so you will earn at least that many miles in bonuses, so essentially this promotion is like buying business class for the price of World Traveller plus (granted you need to make sure upgrade space exists). Most JFK-London World Traveller Plus fares were around $1,800 total roundtrip, so before you buy an expensive regular coach fare, check out World Traveller Plus to make sure it’s not the same price or even cheaper.
If you don’t have any BA miles and want to do the upgrade trick, you can always transfer in American Express Membership Rewards points (from Platinum and Premier Rewards Gold cards for example) or Chase Ultimate Rewards points (Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold and Amazon Visa) to BA at instant 1:1 ratios (and sometimes more if there’s a transfer bonus).
With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.
- Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
- No matter where you're traveling, when you use your Premier Rewards Gold Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
- Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. Terms apply.
- There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.
- Terms and limitations apply. See Rates & Fees