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The great short-distance award redemption values that British Airways offers don’t just apply to flights on American, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines inside the United States.
Jerry R. writes about the great value he’s gotten from his British Airways Visa Signature® Card which is currently offering 50,000 points after $2000 in purchases within 3 months.
I’m going with my wife to Shanghai and Hong Kong in a few months with my business class fare paid for by my organization so I’m using the Amex Platinum 2-1 on Air Canada which, despite the high business class fares the program generally charges, will allow her to fly for virtually nothing without my charging the organization inappropriately.
I did however, have to book a separate Shanghai-Hong Kong ticket (the business is in Hong Kong) and was about to fork over $650 each to fly Cathay Pacific business class when I remembered your discussion of the value of Avios points for short hauls and, lo and behold, 15,000 miles each and $78 for the two of us bought us the seats.
Thank goodness those valuable short-haul redemptions seem to be sticking around!
British Airways points are highly useful for short distance non-stop flights. And they even useful for premium cabin travel, not just coach, when — outside of US domestic travel — the forward cabin is called business class rather than first.
That’s because British Airways charges double the economy price for business class, but triple for first. And US domestic first class is ‘first’ in this scheme making it 3x the cost of economy.
But where it’s business class — and that includes transborder flights (between the US and Canada or Mexico) — then you pay double the points price. For short trips, that can be a value.
- It’s not just a more comfortable seat, cocktails, and maybe a meal.
- It’s priority checkin and free checked bags.
- And for travel beyond North America generally includes lounge access
In this case the difference between economy (7500 points per person one-way) and business class (15,000 points per person one-way) may be worthwhile.
I recently booked a similarly-priced trip between Tokyo and Shanghai using British Airways’ oneworld partner Japan Airlines.
British Airways even lets you book Japanese domestic awards far in advance which American believes is illegal for them to do (and some Japanese domestic awards have no taxes or fees at all).
The nice thing about Hong Kong flights — aside from the fact that British Airways is partners with Hong Kong mega-carrier Cathay Pacific and its sister regional airline Dragonair — is that Hong Kong is a low fuel surcharge market so flights tend not to be especially costly to book as awards, either, in terms of taxes and fees.
You can also transfer points to British Airways from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Ink Plus Business Credit Card, and the Amex Everyday Preferred Card (as well as other American Express Membership Rewards-earning cards).
Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.