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The Oneworld trans-Atlantic partnership between British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia and Openskies often offers travelers who buy premium economy, premium economy, business and first class fares lucrative bonuses. Today, British Airways launched one of the most lucrative promotions I’ve seen in a while for US and Canadian Executive Club members: 20,000 bonus Avios per qualifying roundtrip booked and traveled between now and May 31, 2013 and if you do 5 qualifying roundtrips, you get an additional 100,000 Avios, for a grand total of 200,000 bonus Avios for 5 roundtrips.
What is a qualifying roundtrip?
1) Existing bookings made prior to the promotional period do not qualify and this offer cannot be applied retroactively.
2) British Airways operated flights, includes fares classes F, A, J, C, D, R, I, W, E, T, Y, B or H
American Airlines operated flights includes fare classes F, A, J, R, D, I, Y, B or H
Iberia operated flights includes fare classes: J, C, D, R, I or Y
OpenSkies J, C, D, R, I, W, E, T, Y, B or H
3) This promotion does not apply to flights marketed or operated by franchises, including Comair, Iberia Express, and Sun-Air, or any other code share partners or oneworld© Alliance members.
* Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for bonus Avios to be credited to your Executive Club account.
Checking for eligible fare classes
Always double check that the fare class you purchase is one of the qualifying fares listed above. On britishairways.com, you can click the flight number during the booking or on check-out and it will confirm what fare class you are purchasing.
AA.com allows you to click the + button and see what class of service the fare displayed falls into:
Business Class for the Price of Premium Economy?
I generally think the sweet spot here is to purchase British Airways Premium Economy fares (which are often cheaper than the refundable economy fares) and then using Avios to upgrade to business class. To upgrade from Premium Economy to Business, you only need 1/2 the amount of Avios needed for an economy award on that route. So you can use the Avios calculator to figure out the base Avios for an economy award- for example JFK-LHR is 20,000 Avios one-way. You’d only need 10,000 Avios to upgrade an eligilbe World Traveller Plus fare to Club World. So you use 20,000 Avios to upgrade roundtrp JFK-LHR-JFK and in turn you get 20,000 Avios via this promotion- or even 40,000 if you can hit the 5 trip jackpot.
Check out this post for detailed information on upgrading paid tickets with Avios
If you need Avios to upgrade a booking you can instantly transfer American Express Membership Rewards (often at a bonus, but none at this time for US cardholders, Canadian members have a 50% bonus through March 31, 2013), Chase Ultimate Rewards and also from Starwood Preferred Guest, though those transfers often take several weeks.
I wish this promotion had a longer life and included pre-booked flights, but I’ll take what I can get. I’m interested to see if American will launch their own version, as they normally do with these trans-Atlantic promotiions. I Tweeted them, but am still waiting on a response. If they do, I’ll be sure to write about it.