April 6th, 2011
Worth noting: Last week I signed up for 3 Chase cards at the same time using 3 different web browsers (The BA Card, a Hyatt card, and a United card with IE, Chrome, and Firefox. I already have 2 active Continental cards and a Freedom card although the Sapphire Preferred card and Southwest card can be good choices as well) and was able to get approved for all 3 by making a few calls to Chase’s reconsideration department (see comment #3 for some great Chase reconsideration contact numbers)
Only one hard credit pull was made.
Talk about a hat-trick, this one was worth some $3,000 in signup points!
You’ll get a total of 103,125 miles after spending $2,500 on the card, more than enough for 4 free US49/Canada round-trip tickets on AA with no added fuel surcharges! Just 1,875 miles short of 3 free tickets to Hawaii (35,000 miles each) with no added fuel surcharges and you can always transfer AMEX points to BA to make up the difference.
-Get 50,000 miles for signing up and spending $1.
-Get another 50,000 miles for spending $2,500 within 90 days.
-$95 annual fee.
-No foreign exchange fee.
-Earn 1.25 miles per dollar spent.
-Get a free companion award ticket after spending $30,000 (valid only for travel on BA, not on partners)
BA allows one-way ticket awards at half the miles of a round-trip. While AA doesn’t generally allow stopovers on any awards anymore using AA miles (except at the north american gateway city of an international award) You can use BA miles even while traveling on AA to take an unlimited amount of free stopovers, even on a one-way ticket! You can theoretically fly from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, stay there for a couple nights, then to Dallas for a few nights, onto Chicago for a few nights, and Cleveland for a few nights before finally flying to New York. And you can book that whole one-way ticket for just 12,500 miles and $10 tax!
A stopover ticket like this would have to be booked over the phone. You can check award availability on AA.com. BA will have access to the same sAAver awards that AA.com shows availability for.
Now here’s the thing with BA miles, they do collect fuel surcharges when you travel on most carriers. If you want to travel on BA those fuel surcharges can be quite heavy, especially on long-haul and on connecting flights. But you don’t have to travel on BA.
BA is part of the OneWorld alliance so you can also redeem to fly on OneWorld airlines (American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, JAL, LAN, Malev, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, and S7 Airlines) and they also have non-alliance partners like Aer Lingus, Alaska, and Kingfisher.
You can book some partner travel online but they don’t make it easy, you will probably need to book over the phone at 800-452-1201
Fuel surcharges are worse on some airlines than others. While flying on BA can be very expensive you can fly on some partner airlines for much smaller fuel surcharges.
They do not currently charge fuel surcharges for travel on AA unless it’s a trans-atlantic flight. They also don’t charge fuel surcharges for travel on LAN.
BA allows families to pool miles together into a “household account.” Up to 6 people at the same address can pool their miles together!
So what are good uses for the miles? There are a few gems.
BA does not charge expedite fees. When you book an AA ticket within 21 days of departure you pay a $50-$100 expedite fee. When you book an AA flight with BA miles you don’t pay that fee.
-You can fly on AA within the US49 and Canada for just 25,000 miles with no fuel surcharges.
-You can fly on AA to Hawaii for just 35,000 miles with no fuel surcharges.
-You can fly on AA or LAN to South America for just 40,000 miles with no fuel surcharges.
-You can fly on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong or China for just 50,000 miles.
Business class is double the coach miles and first is triple the coach miles.
A Cathay Pacific First Class (150,000 miles) ticket may have $250 in fees, but that’s still not bad on a ticket that sells for a whopping $18,000 normally!
In summary, tickets between North America and Europe or Israel will have high surcharges but there are some very good deals to be had for other tickets.
This offer is scheduled to be alive until May 5, but is subject to end at any time.
BA has a number of award charts, here are links to them: