50% Off British Airways Award Redemptions (Coach, Premium Economy, Intra-European Business)

Charles and Basil both point me to a new offer from British Airways for discounted award redemption. (You’ll need to log in to your BA account to see the details.)

Book award travel by August 12 for travel complete by August 3, 2012 and get a 50% discount on economy, premium economy, and intra-European business class mileage required. This only applies to redemptions on BA mainline metal. International business class and first class are unfortunately not eligible for the discount.

Unfortunately, since you have to fly BA metal only, you’re going to be paying BA fuel surcharges (in addition to other taxes). Which, to my mind, are generally worthwhile when redeeming for premium cabins especially given BA’s generous availability. But that reduce the value of BA awards for coach travel.

Still, a BA transatlantic coach award say from Los Angeles to Germany via London would run 25,000 miles roundtrip under this offer, provided you can find the space (I often find coach harder to get than business or especially first). So it’s still a pretty good deal.

Basil asks, “not sure if stackable with 2 for 1 cert.” What I think he’s wondering is if you have a two-for-one redemption certificate that comes from spending $30,000 in a year on the British Airways Visa from Chase, can you use it? And the answer would appear to be no.


This promotion may be used in conjunction with the BA American Express companion voucher and including Gold Upgrade for two vouchers but cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, promotion or deal including but without limitation to (i) discount coupons or vouchers, (ii) special offers by BA or jointly with any other organisation, or (iii) bonus, awards, or certificates.

If you took advantage of the American Express 50% transfer bonus to British Airways in June and July, you could wind up with a roundtrip economy to Europe for 17,000 Amex points. Or this may be a reasonable use of some of those 100,000 mile credit card signup bonuses y’all have sitting in your accounts.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. I went to the airline site just to check out flights available and happened to notice this offer listed on the home page. Wasn’t sure where to post it in case anyone was interested.

    “…Enjoy two exquisite meals and get $100 back for dining at New York City’s finest MICHELIN Guide 2011 star-rated restaurants. Use your British Airways Visa® Card at any NYC MICHELIN Guide 2011 star-rated restaurant today through October 1, 2011. Dine once and receive a $50 statement credit. Dine twice and receive another $50 statement credit for a total of $100. Minimum purchase of $50 each time you dine.”


  2. While I plan on using my companion cert for FC to Europe, seems to me the best use of the companion cert might be BC to the Maldives.

    But outside of the certs on BA metal, still seems to me that the best use of BA miles are the LAN BC award to South America or the Cathay BC award to Bali.

  3. My reading of the terms and conditions is that Amex 2-4-1 certificate issued to UK BA American Express card holders is valid, but those issued by Chase or any other institution, are not.

  4. Are there any BA metal awards from the USA that don’t have insane fees? I was planning on using my BA miles on LAN (no fuel surcharges), but would prefer to use them to Europe if it were an equal deal.

  5. @iahphx no, ba awards do incur fuel surcharges but for coach those’ll be cheaper than premium cabins (first class passengers burn more fuel, i guess)

  6. Well — I managed to book 4 coach seats from SFO to LHR over spring break. The taxes were a stunning $2K for the seats — which is $400 more than I paid for RT Business Class for four people going SFO – IST – ATH – SFO on BA, using miles and the Chase companion tickets. The dates really worked for us, so I bought. But I dunno — I need think about it and decide if I’d rather use the companion tickets we have and fly business. My impulsiveness may cost me $280 to cancel/change it later…. but with a family, work and school schedules to consider, it’s a price I’ll pay. Sigh. Saved 100K miles, but flying coach. hmmmmm.

  7. OK — I’m new at this and confused. Am I right that the $30K spend on the BA Visa gets a 2 for 1 companion ticket for a paid flight, or can you use the 2 for 1 on an award flight? Obviously, I’d love to get 2 people traveling on one award, and a $30K spend is doable (it would become my main card to use, instead of the AMEX premier rewards).

  8. @MDAccount – the companion vouchers are ONLY valid for award flights.

    @Baggageinhall – yes the UK issued American Express vouchers are valid in this offer, as are GUF2 vouchers.

    IMO a good offer if you’ve a few miles and you would normally spend your miles in WT and can now experience WT+. Just a shame it doesn’t include J or F like the last 50% miles sale BA ran.

  9. @Euan — thanks for setting me straight — that’s great news, since thanks to the AMEX bonus, we now have 300K miles and can conceivably go FC anywhere BA flies. Now if they’d just have a fuel surcharge holiday!

    One more newbie question — what are the AMEX certificates everyone talks about? Are they still around? And, if so, what are the requirements? (My apologies is I should be asking this elsewhere.)

  10. Amex companion vouchers are the UK equivalent of the US Chase companion voucher.

    IMO they’ll never have a fuel surcharge holiday and it does get a bit annoying when it’s constantly brought up. Yes, it’s not what US airlines do but it is what the big EU airlines do.

    Personally I don’t mind it (I’m UK based) as even paying YQ I am still getting a business or first class flight for less than it would cost me for an economy ticket.

  11. So every BA transatlantic ticket is going to have approx $500 in taxes/fees — FOR COACH? If so, it seems like it’s still better to use the miles for AA domestic or LAN/AA to S. America without the crazy fees.

  12. $450+ depending on route. Whether that’s good value or not depends on your circumstances. If an economy flight is pricing out close to $1,000 then it’s better value, particularly if you want 4 tickets and you’ve 100,000 miles you could save yourself a bit of cash – money you might not have to spend.

  13. “International business class and first class are unfortunately not eligible for the discount” – then, what good is this deal for? 🙂

  14. No F or TATL J seriously diminishes the value for some. For those who are willing to fly in back, this is a steal (even with a small co-pay).

  15. …particularly if you just did the Amex MR transfer bonus! Y TATL awards are only 25,000 miles. 16,667 MR points (had you transferred them last week) would be enough for a TATL award ticket. That’s pretty good.

  16. NYBanker, again we are back to the point of it being 25kmiles + $600…I called in today to price out a low ticket to EU and that is exactly what I got. I then priced out a revenue ticket and it was only $800 to my destination which is a no brainer to go with. I think I’ll save my large pool of BA miles Asia or South America. FACK BA and their fees, arseholes.

  17. It is dysfunctional to have an airline loyalty program where redeeming for an award ticket is going to cost you more than $500. What is the reaction in the UK to all this? If it were to happen in the USA, it would be the end of the frequent flyer world as we know it. Is there no customer pushback on this? Does everyone who cares about price (aka, paying their own money) just fly Easyjet?

  18. There is no reaction in the UK to it other than the disappointment J and F aren’t included.

    It’s not dysfunctional – it’s the way the system is. It’s been the case for years that BA along with all the major EU airlines will charge YQ on reward tickets.

    I would say it’s widely recognised (amongst UK based FT members anyway) that if you’re using BA miles on BA metal then best value is in J or F, particularly with the Amex voucher. Even more so with the excellent availability BA have, in general.

    It’s not going to change so people don’t complain or make a big deal about it in the UK. At the end of the day if people don’t like it they go elsewhere (ryanair, easyjet, etc).

    Personally speaking I don’t think the current offer is great, we’d all have liked to see J and F included in the deal but there are some good offers. I priced up Moscow for April next year. Buying a two Y tickets was costing £540, (two C tickets costs £1,820) but I can get two in C for 20,000 miles, a companion voucher and £200.

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