British Airways Offering 50% Off Award Tickets, and You Still Get Hosed!

British Airways is running an award redemption sale through November 17 for travel through January 31.

The sale is for economy travel between London and specific destinations, though there are quite a lot of them, and travel dates vary for a handful.

Here are the cities that are 50% off

US East Coast and Chicago are normally 40,000 miles. With this promotion they’re 20,000 miles roundtrip. Dallas, Houston, Denver, and San Diego are normally 50,000 miles. With this promotion they’re 25,000 miles roundtrip.

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Austin
  • Bahrain
  • Baku
  • Bangalore
  • Beijing
  • Beirut
  • Buenos Aires
  • Cairo
  • Calgary
  • Chengdu
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Dubai
  • Houston
  • Jeddah
  • Johannesburg
  • Kuwait
  • Mexico City
  • Montreal
  • New York (JFK or Newark)
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Riyadh San Diego
  • Sao Paulo
  • Shanghai
  • Singapore
  • Tel Aviv
  • Tokyo (Haneda or Narita)
  • Washington (Baltimore or Dulles)

These cities 25% off

Boston and Toronto, as East Coast cities (and British Airways prices on distance) are normally 40,000 miles roundtrip and 30,000 with the sale. The others drop from 50,000 to 37,500.

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Toronto

Fuel surcharges will kill this for most

Unfortunately only the mileage price is discounted, and not the fuel surcharges.

Even at 50% off, paying 20,000 miles plus fuel surcharges for an economy award may not be a great deal.

Let’s take a look at a sample January roundtrip.

Here’s the price breakdown, and note that when redeeming the award you still pay all the taxes and fees.

Your 20,000 miles save you only the airfare of $150.13, meaning you’re getting ~0.8 cents per mile in value.

This sure underscores how bad a deal economy awards are normally, without the discount from programs that add fuel surcharges onto award tickets.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The value per mile gets even lower than 1.8 considering you loose the miles you would earn on a revenue ticket

  2. I remain astonished that airlines like BA do this nonsense. It just reeks of sleaze — not to mention making their loyalty program look like a joke (which is ironic, because there are actually some great “hidden” partner redemptions with Avios). Is there no pushback from the traveling public in the UK, or from gov’t officials? If a USA airline did this, I am certain the gov’t would get involved.

  3. Shouldn’t the fuel surcharges be dropping considering the reduction in the cost of fuel? I know I’m paying about 20-25% less to fill up my car.

  4. Its a good deal on flights from Brazil to London as the government does not allow fuel charges on tickets

  5. Agreed re BA taxes/fees, which hit hard on Economy flights. With that in mind, worth noting that Iberia are also running a 50% Avios discount on certain routes to/from Madrid, in both Economy and Business Class.

    Not only do you get better value through a Business Class redemption, the taxes/fees are also substantially lower with Iberia than they are with BA.

    Details here:

  6. “Your 20,000 miles save you only the airfare of $150.13”

    – What are the fare rules on your “O” class comparison fare? You can cancel a redemption booking for a full refunds sans a small admin fee.

  7. I live in GIG, and I’m thinking that this might be a good deal for me since Brazil won’t allow the scam of fuel surcharges — or will they get me some other way?

  8. @Mak – fellow Brazilian here! There is only the British APD that you will get charged. But try Iberia as they have a sale as well, as stated above.

  9. Which airlines do not charge a fuel surcharge in economy and business class?

    Planning a trip fromNYC to Paris, Rome, St.Petersburg, Russia probably in business class early 2015.

    I have American Express and American Air miles.

    thank you.

  10. @sarah – American adds fuel surcharges to British Airways awards but fly American’s own flights or air berlin and there are none, and they are very low on Iberia flights. Amex transfer partner Delta doesn’t add any to awards on most partners for trips originating in the US. Amex transfer partner British Airways doesn’t add them to airberlin flights, and they are very very low on aer lingus flights..

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