March 28th, 2012
-Confirmed: Citi ThankYou Points To Be Transferable To British Airways And Singapore Airlines Starting In April!
-Get A 50% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points Into British Airways Avios!
-Flying With An Infant With Miles In Business Or First Class? Start Collecting Air Canada Or British Airways Miles…
-Short-Haul Flights: BA Avios Versus LAN Lanpass.
-BA Miles Are Now Avios…For Better Or For Worse.
I typically don’t advise people to use the extra miles for business class on short flights with domestic seating. Why use 80K United miles to fly from LAX to Hawaii in a business class that’s just domestic first seating that are a little wider and have a little extra legroom? At least on United’s flights from Denver, Houston, and Newark to Honolulu they use something closer to an international business seat (and rumor has it they will be converted to lie-flats by the end of the year).
But take a look at New York to Toronto. This is a route where British Airways shines. AA and Delta charge 25K for this route and United charges 20K. However BA charges just 9K of their miles to fly round-trip on partner AA in coach.
But let’s say you want to check 2 bags and don’t have AA, OneWorld, or Alaska elite status to waive baggage fees. You’ll wind up paying $120 to check the bags round-trip. Or you can fly in business class for 18K miles and get 3 free bags! If you were planning on checking 2 bags that’s like paying 9K miles to save $120 round-trip, or a value of 1.33 cents per BA mile. As American Express Membership Rewards points currently transfer into BA at a 1:1.5 ratio that’s getting a value of a whopping 2 cents per Membership Rewards point! And that’s not even factoring that you get to sit in business class and that business class availability can be better than coach on short flights. It’s also not factoring that a 3rd bag would normally cost $300 round-trip, but is free in business class.
The problem is that although AA charges double miles for business class on domestic flights, BA charges triple miles to fly in AA business class (as they call it first class) on domestic flights, so this “trick” will only work for a limited number of flights. For example for Cleveland-NYC BA would charge 27,000 miles in business, or an 18,000 miles premium over coach. This would make no sense to do if you are only checking 2 bags, though it would make sense if you needed 3 bags.
Examples of where booking business class for double the cost of coach may make sense include:
DFW: Dallas/Fort Worth
GCM: Grand Cayman
LAX: Los Angeles
MBJ: Montego Bay
ORD: Chicago/O’ Hare
SFO: S. Francisco
SJU: S. Juan
STT: S. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
STX: S. Croix, US Virgin Islands
One-way miles in coach
One-way miles in business
Charge for 1st bag each way when flying coach
Charge for 2nd bag each way when flying coach
Charge for 3rd bag each way when flying coach
Find more good routes for booking business class with BA miles? Post a comment!