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Update: The current offer for the British Airways Visa Signature Card is 50,000 Avios when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
British Airways has teamed up with VisitBritain to offer travelers two free nights in a hotel on their next trip to the UK when they fly British Airways between now and May 31, 2013. This is similar to a promo the two ran this past July for the Olympics called “London for Free.” Note: You only get 2 free nights when booking flights for two or more people. Solo travelers only get one free night.
Is This Worth It?
To see if flying BA in order to get this discount was worth it, I priced out my birthday weekend, March 7-10, JFK-London. To buy the flight alone came to $857.23.
If I went with a companion and booked us both flights and two nights at the Holiday Inn London Stratford City, the total cost would be $903.50 per person. So you are paying taxes on the hotel rate, but paying $50 per person for 2 nights in London is still a pretty good deal. These aren’t prime hotels, but they’re not roach motels either. I did notice that BA was about $30 more than Delta on this route, so note that you might be paying a premium to fly BA on this route, so as always, do your math and check all your options before pulling the trigger.
The other key consideration is that if you have the British Airways Visa you get 10% off your flight including taxes and fees by using the promo code CARDOFFERU. That would save me $85.72 per ticket and bring the fare down to $771.51. You cannot combine both the 10% BA Visa discount and the free hotel nights – although if someone has a workaround for this that enables you to do so, please share in the comments!
Personally I’d rather save the money on flights and use points to stay at nicer hotels than are offered through this promo, but you can definitely save money one way or another.
Just a heads up, there’s a quirk on BA.com when booking Flights + Hotels that it doesn’t recognize the airport code LHR and was giving me an error message, so be sure to type in London to get it to work.
Here are the rest of the details:
You just need to purchase your trip using the flight + hotel option on BA.com, and then look through the list of participating hotels, which include the Rembrandt and Aloft Excel in London, the Holiday Inn Edinburgh, the Premier Inn Portland Street in Manchester, and more. You can take advantage of the two free nights whether you stay at the hotel of your choice for the rest of your stay as well, or just for those two free nights.
To book the stay just for part of your vacation, book your flights on ba.com and on the “Add to your flights” page, click “Add a hotel to your booking” then “View all Hotels.” Then just enter your stay dates and choose from the participating hotels that populate with a red text that will say that the two free nights are included in the total price. Then just select one of the “free” hotels and complete your booking on the payment screen. The process is the same if you plan to stay at the same hotel the same time and just will discount the two free nights from the entire cost of the trip.
This offer can only be booked online at ba.com and must be booked with a paid roundtrip transatlantic published fare on British Airways or on a BA codeshare operated by American or Iberia. All flights must originate from the US or Canada.
Flights must be purchased between January 9 – March 31, 2013 for travel between January 9 – May 31, 2013. These dates are also the same for travel to be eligible for the two free nights. No changes can be made after the promotional booking period has ended or the two free nights will be forfeited. The two free nights must be taken consecutively at the same hotel and rates are based on double, triple or quad occupancy (though triple or quad are only eligible at the National Hotel in London). Single occupants are only entitled to a maximum of one free night.
Participating hotels include:
-London: Royal National, President, Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum, Holiday Inn London Stratford City, Aloft London Excel and Rembrandt
-Edinburgh: Holiday Inn, Thistle Glasgow
-Glasgow: Premier Inn Glasgow Charing Cross, Argyll Hotel Glasgow
-Manchester: Premier Inn Manchester Portland Street, Holiday Inn Manchester West
-Newcastle: Jurys Inn Newcastle
While none of these properties is amazing, if you were thinking of booking a trip to the UK on British Airways this spring anyway, this could be a good way to save a few hundred dollars on hotel rates while getting to spend an extra two nights in one of the cities with participating hotels – that should take some of the sting out of sky-high fuel surcharges and taxes on BA tickets.
That said, always shop around and check to see if airfares on BA’s competitors are lower than those on BA because with the lower fares, you might actually end up saving even more money than by booking on BA to get two free nights since BA’s fuel surcharges can be well into the $400-600 range just for economy tickets. And that’s per ticket!