One of the best uses of British Airways miles is to use them to fly Alaska Airlines to Southern California. My brother had accumulated a boatload (or should I say a plane-load HAR HAR) of them during the Chase British Airways 100,000 miles promotion, as well as my sister in law. One of the beauties of the Avios program is the ability to ‘merge’ family accounts. Therefore, the family account was 200,000!! This is a lot of miles and if you know how to use them, they can be very lucrative.
I helped him find availability on Alaska using the American Airlines website, as British Airways does not show you Alaska flights (yet). Plug in your dates and check Redeem Miles, and whatever it shows at the 12,500 mile saver award, should be available to you using your British Airways miles on Alaska, as well. That will be your indicator flights are available on Alaska Airlines.
After you find, the flights you want, you must call British Airways call centre in the U.K. at 1-800-247-9297 to book it. There will be a $25.00 charge for EACH reservation made, so if 3 people are flying, you will be charged $75. Once in awhile you will get a kind and gentle rep who will waive the fees, but don’t count on it. Their call center is full of obnoxious, and somewhat rude agents. They will then book the tickets, and give you a British Airways confirmation code…..which can be useless since you are flying Alaska Airlines, so ask them for the Alaska Airlines confirmation code. I was able to book 3 tickets PDX- BUR for 45,000 miles + $90 in taxes/fees. He charged the taxes/fees onto his Barclays Arrivals World Mastercard, so he could redeem his points to pay off the $90.00. Zero out of pocket! Not bad… If you think about it, this is actually a steal! Usually it costs 25,000 miles PER ticket. You can also use the Avios points to book your hotel and car as well, though I got other plans for those.
I highly recommend anyone getting British Airways Avios points, because even with them devalued, they can still be awesome for domestic and short haul trips. Also, there are so many ways to get them, that’s its almost impossible NOT to get any.
For a limited time, American Express is offering their Starwood Preferred Guest credit card, with a sign up bonus of up to 30,000 Starwood points after spending $5,000 within 6 months. You initially get 10,000 points after your first purchase, and the remaining 20,000 after you spend $5,000 within 6 months. This is a piece of cake, and I urge you to get this card, if you do not have it, or its time for you to apply for some cards. The Starwood Preferred Guest program is awesome, because you can transfer these points to countless airline programs. Just look at the chart below.
You also get a bonus of 5,000 miles, if you are transferring 20,000 miles, so that means you will get 10,000 additional miles if you transfer 40,000, and so on.
Of course, then there is also the Starwood Preferred Guest, which you can leave the miles,and redeem them for stays at most SPG Properties worldwide. I used some when I was in Hong Kong, and stayed at the Sheraton Hong Kong Towers, overlooking the Hong Kong skyline. Well worth it!! On top of the bonus points, they are also waving the annual fee for the first year. There is also a business version of the card, and yes, you can apply for both and be approved for both, meaning you could possibly get 60,000 points total!! Just be aware both have a $5,000 spend requirement, and plan accordingly so you know if you can meet the spend or not.
This expires on 9/3/2103 so apply soon!!! American Express routinely brings this deal every now and then, but if you couple this with the latest Citibank AAdvantage offers, you could really rack up some miles. Below are some examples:
Citibank 50,000 miles offer + 30,000 American Express SPG Preferred card = 93,000 AAdvantage miles (after spends + bonus’)
Bank of America Alaska Airlines VISA card + 30,000 American Express SPG Preferred card = 65,000 Alaska miles (after spends + bonus’)
Another offer is brewing from American Airlines, and its AAdvantage partner, DIRECTV. By starting a new line of service from DIRECTV, you could get 25,000 miles. That’s enough miles for a standard coach saver award ticket on American Airlines….a FREE round-trip ticket! This is actually a good deal, if you are in the market for getting DIRECTV service, so you might as well get something for it, other than 250 useless channels. I haven’t jumped on this offer yet, because I have been exhausting all the Netflix offers from my various programs. However, if the price is right, I might consider this. There are some terms & conditions for getting the miles, but if you go through the right channels, you should see the miles into your AAdvantage account in no time. Here is the link below for more info and how to get started.