For a limited time the BA card is offering 50K Avios for spending $2,000 in 3 months, an additional 25K Avios for spending another $8K in 12 months, and an additional 25K Avios for spending another $10K in 12 months.
That’s a total of 75K Avios for speding $10K in 12 months or 100K Avios for spending $20K in 12 months. 100K Avios is enough for more than 22 free short-haul flights such as NYC-Toronto, more than 13 flights from NYC-Miami, 10 flights from NYC-Cancun, 8 flights from Los Angeles-Hawaii, Los Angeles-JFK, or Boston-Ireland, 4 flights from NYC-Buenos Aires, or 2 flights from Sydney to JFK, all without fuel surcharges.
You’ll also earn 3 Avios per dollar on BA flights or 1 per dollar elsewhere, so after $10K in spend you’d have at least 85,000 Avios or after $20K in spend you’d have at least 120,000 Avios, enough for more than 26 short-haul flights.
You can also earn a free companion award ticket every year that you spend $30K though it’s only valid for travel on BA or Open Skies. The companion travels in the same class of service, so if you redeem Avios for a first class ticket, your companion flies in first as well for zero Avios, but taxes and fuel surcharges will be owed.
There are no foreign transaction fees.
There’s a $95 annual fee, but that pales in comparison to the value of these miles. Even if you value a last-minute short-haul flight at just $100, that’s over $2,200 in free flights and the potential for far more than that.
You can still load $5,000 of gift cards per month to cards like REDcard, Bluebird, and Serve. Grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations are good places to purchase gift cards. Typically a $500 gift card costs about $4.95, so $20K in gift cards would cost you $198 in fees. But you would have 120,000 Avios after spending $20K like that! Once in your REDcard, Bluebird, or Serve account you can pay off the credit card bills.
Or just use the card for everyday purchases over the 12 months and supplement if needed with gift cards to get to $20K.
-Want to learn more about the BA Avios program? Read this article for everything you NEED to know about the BA program and how to best search for BA award availability with tips and tricks! If you have a question about Avios it’s probably already been answered there!
-Click to view Direct Avios Flights From Montreal, Toronto, Denver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, S. Francisco, And 6 Ohio Airports
-Click to view 94 Direct Avios Flights From Baltimore/Washington DC
-Click to view 29 Direct Avios Flights From Boston
-Click to view 126 Direct Avios Flights From Chicago
-Click to view 196 Direct Avios Flights From Dallas
-Click to view 12 Direct Avios Flights From Johannesburg
-Click to view 77 Direct Avios Flights From Los Angeles
-Click to view 120 Direct Avios Flights From Miami
-Click to view 102 Direct Avios Flights From NYC
-Click to view 123 Direct Avios Flights From Philadelphia
-BA Avios are awesome. They effectively fill the gap that is left by the major programs like American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus. The major programs provide a fantastic value for long-haul flights, especially for one-way flights, last-minute flights, stopover flights, or flights in business or first class. But most programs are not great for short flights.
In 2011 BA launched the Avios program and for the past 4 years it has continued to provide an incredible value for short-haul flights. I’ve booked dozens of short-haul tickets using Avios for travel on American. A Cleveland-NYC ticket can cost $1,200 round-trip if you don’t stay for at least 3 days or if you book last-minute. But BA allows me to use just 9,000 Avios for that same flight, a whopping value of over 13 cents per mile. I can hop over to Chicago or NYC on a whim without any kind of mileage regret like I used to have in the pre-Avios days.
-100,000 Avios has gotten me flights that would have otherwise cost over $13,000. Or those same exact flights would run some 280K American miles not even accounting for the $75 close-in fees and $150 cancellation fees that American would charge with their own miles compared to $0 close-in and $5.60 cancellation fees when booking an American flight with Avios!
And how many other programs can say that they offer a flight to the Caribbean in coach for just 4,500 miles or in first class with 3 free checked bags for 9,000 miles? A flight from the west coast to Hawaii on American or Alaska is just 12.5K Avios each way.
-Cardholders get 10% off paid BA tickets with promo code: CARDOFFERU
-Avoiding fuel surcharges:
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on Aer Lingus. A flight from Boston to Dublin or Shannon is just 12.5K in coach or 25K in business. From there you can fly elsewhere within Europe without paying fuel surcharges. Plus you can fly to Boston from cities like Buffalo, NYC, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or Washington DC for just 4.5K Avios. Aer Lingus flights can only be booked over the phone.
-Air Berlin flights still have no fuel surcharges systemwide and remain the cheapest way to get to Israel. They have flights to Israel from Berlin, Dusseldorf, or Munich for 10K Avios. Flights to several US cities cost just 20K Avios.
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on Alaska. These flights can only be booked over the phone.
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on LAN. Some of their flights can only be booked over the phone.
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on Niki. They fly from Israel to Vienna for 10K Avios.
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on TAM. Some of their flights can only be booked over the phone.
-There are no fuel surcharges for flights on American within the Western Hemisphere
-There are also no fuel surcharges for flying on Qantas from Australia to anywhere in the world or within Australia.
-There are no fuel surcharges for JAL flights within Japan.
-Fuel surcharges on award-winning carrier Cathay Pacific are relatively low and you don’t even need to fly all the way to Hong Kong (though you should-great city with awesome kosher food, airport lounges with kosher food, and a business or first class flight you’ll never forget!) to get a taste of their awesome service, seat, pajamas, and amenities. They fly a daily 777 nonstop between JFK and Vancouver which I reviewed in this trip report.
-You can significantly cut the fuel surcharges when flying on Iberia by transferring your BA Avios into Iberia Avios
-British Airways 5th Freedom Flights (flights that don’t depart from or arrive to the UK) have significantly lower fees. For example even though Singapore-Sydney is a longer flight than NYC-London the fees in first class on Singapore-Sydney are less than half of those from NYC-London.
-As long as you have earned a single Avios within the past 12 months then fuel surcharges for intra-Europe flights will be very low. You can transfer points from AMEX, Chase, or Starwood to activate that benefit.
Advantages of BA Avios over most traditional mileage programs:
-There are no expedite or close-in fees for last minute award ticket bookings with BA Avios.
-You can book one-way tickets for half of the miles of a round-trip!
-You can cancel tickets and redeposit miles for the lessor of $55 or the taxes you paid. That means you pay just $5.60 for cancel a one-way domestic itinerary (and that’s part of the reason why I always book domestic flights as one-ways).
-British Airways only charges 10% extra miles for a lap child flying internationally, even when traveling on AA. AA and other domestic carriers charge a whopping 10% of the full fare, which can add up to be a small fortune. When flying domestic you should just add the infant at the airport for free.
-It’s easy to top-off your BA Avios account thanks to their partnerships with Starwood, Membership Rewards, and Ultimate Rewards.
-With short-haul flights starting at just 4,500 Avios you can get a lot of free travel from your Avios.
Award bands include:
Band 1: Flights that are 1-650 miles cost 4,500 Avios.
Sample routes: LGA-Boston, LGA-Cleveland, LGA-Detroit, LGA-Montreal, LGA-Pittsburgh, LGA-Toronto, Miami-Cancun, Miami-Key West, Miami-Nassau, London-Paris, Melbourne-Sydney, Los Angeles-Las Vegas
Band 2: Flights that are 651-1,151 miles cost 7,500 Avios.
Sample routes: JFK-Bermuda, Los Angeles-Cabo San Lucas, LGA-Chicago, LGA-Miami, LGA-West Palm Beach, Chicago-West Palm Beach, Philadelphia-Miami.
Band 3: Flights that are 1,151-2,000 miles cost 10,000 Avios.
Sample routes: JFK-S. Maarten, JFK-Cancun, JFK-S. Juan, Los Angeles-Chicago, Los Angeles-Columbus, Cleveland-Phoenix, Berlin-Tel Aviv, Vienna-Tel Aviv, Hong Kong-Singapore
Band 4: Flights that are 2,001-3,000 miles cost 12,500 Avios.
Sample routes: Boston-Dublin, JFK-Los Angeles, JFK-Vancouver, Los Angeles-Maui, JFK-Costa Rica, Pittsburgh-Los Angeles
Band 5: Flights that are 3,001-4,000 miles cost 20,000 Avios.
Sample routes: NYC-London, NYC-Berlin, Chicago-Dublin, Dallas-Maui
Band 6: Flights that are 4,001-5,500 miles cost 25,000 Avios.
Sample routes: NYC-Buenos Aires, NYC-Rio de Janeiro, London-Johannesburg
Band 7: Flights that are 5,501-6,500 miles cost 30,000 Avios.
Sample route: NYC-Amman
Band 8: Flights that are 6,501-7,000 miles cost 35,000 Avios.
Sample route: S. Francisco-Hong Kong, JFK-Hong Kong
Band 9: Flights that are 7,001 miles or more cost 50,000 Avios.
Sample route: Los Angeles-Sydney, JFK-Sydney