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Rate my redemption: Open-jaw first and business class from London to the United States, using 155,000 Avios

Aug. 01, 2022
4 min read
route 66 sign
Rate my redemption: Open-jaw first and business class from London to the United States, using 155,000 Avios
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TPG reader Nick shares his most recent redemption:

One of my bucket list items is to drive Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, however as my wife works in a school we are tied into peak dates for holidays.
Armed with my British Airways Amex Companion Voucher, I booked 2 x Club World seats for the London (LHR) – Chicago (ORD) sector (using 60,000 Avios) as soon as they were released online at 1.00am 355 days before departure. I added the return Los Angeles (LAX) – London leg by phoning BA the day they were released, so overall I was very happy to have been able to use my voucher & 135,000 Avios in total to secure 2 x Club World seats on a popular long-haul route in peak season.
I also have SeatSpy alerts set up for First availability on both sectors, so when I received a notification recently that First seats had been released for the Chicago flight, a quick call to BA ensured that I grabbed those (for an extra 20k Avios & even a small refund on the taxes previously paid!). Here’s hoping that I’m similarly lucky for the return flight from LAX…
Overall, the flight cost for my wife & I (LHR-ORD in First, LAX-LHR in Club World) is 155,000 Avios & £1,245 in fees/surcharges/taxes.

You might already know the British Airways Companion Voucher from American Express can be used for mixed-cabin redemptions when you can’t find availability in the higher class of service on both legs (or when you only have enough Avios for the higher class in one direction).

By using the handy SeatSpy tool, which the TPG team uses all the time, Nick received an alert when two first-class seats opened up; then, it was a simple matter of calling BA to move up to the higher class by paying the extra Avios required. The small refund of fees and taxes doesn’t sound quite right and may have been a lucky error in Nick’s favor.

A little-known perk of the already valuable Companion Voucher is that it can be used for open-jaw itineraries. This is where you fly into one city and out of another. This could be useful if you are taking a land journey, like Nick is from Chicago to Los Angeles, and you don’t want to backtrack to fly home; it's also smart if you can’t find availability to fly out of the same city you flew into, and you are willing to travel in order to fly home in the desired class of service. For example, you may fly into Miami, but out of Orlando.

The rule for open jaws is that the distance between the airports you are flying into and out of (in Nick’s case, the distance between Chicago and Los Angeles) cannot be longer than either of the flights you are trying to use the Companion Voucher for. You can use the free gcmap.com tool to work out the distance by entering the various airport codes.

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Related: The complete guide to maximizing stopovers and open jaws on award tickets

In Nick’s case, the distance between Chicago and Los Angeles "as the crow flies" is 1,744 miles; this is much shorter than both the flight to and the flight from London, so this open-jaw itinerary is allowed with a Companion Voucher.

While the 1,245 pounds ($1,526) in fees, taxes and surcharges will sting, there’s unfortunately no way of getting around these, especially if you wish to commence your journey in London.

Related: Why are the fees, taxes and surcharges on Avios redemptions so high?

Hopefully, two first-class seats open up from Los Angeles for Nick’s return journey. Regardless, though, I rate this as an excellent redemption and savvy use of both SeatSpy and the Companion Voucher’s generous open-jaw rule.

Featured image by (Photo by Ann Kathrin- Boppv/Unsplash)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023