There are 5 days left to apply for the Chase British Airways Visa and receive a 100,000 mile signup bonus, an offer which expires on May 6th.
It’s a phenomenal offer. For instance, 100,000 British Airways miles can be used for a business class ticket on Cathay Pacific from New York to Bali via Hong Kong (with an allowable stopover). 80,000 British Airways miles can be used for, say, New York or Miami in business class on LAN all the way to Easter Island, with a stopover in South America in each direction (perhaps in Santiago and Buenos Aires). What’s more, those awards minimize the fuel surcharges that British Airways does charge on award tickets.
But how long will these great value British Airways awards last? I don’t have any definitive information. There are some really good value awards like US to Asia on Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines, or LAN or American to South America (and Easter Island is included in that region!). There are also some crazy expensive awards. British Airways double the coach price for business and triples the coach price for first class. US to Africa is thus 90,000 miles in coach, 180,000 in business, and 270,000 in first. Australia is over 400,000 per person in first class. Could those awards ever get more expensive? (That’s a rhetorical question…)
Still, British Airways has been printing an increasing number of miles, given away inexpensively, in the recent months. And it’s been quite awhile since they’ve significantly adjusted their award chart. When it’s been awhile, I tend to think it won’t be awhile until it happens again. When an airline prints cheap miles, I assume that they will want to balance things out on the cost (redemption) side.
So I’m sort of expecting some of the better value awards to go away.
British Airways now gives full miles credit on discount fares, something that they won a Frequent Traveler Award for doing, the concept of “one miles equals one mile” is a foreign one to European and Asian programs generally. And British Airways has been offering big bonuses, though these are examples in the US and that’s not the major market for their mileage sales, it makes for good and familiar examples — lucrative bonuses such as the 40% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards that ran in February and March, and this 100,000 mile British Airways Visa bonus.
Now, I still think the 100,000 mile signup bonus is a great offer. And it’s a good card, $30,000 in spend earns a companion award ticket and the card has no foreign currency transaction fees, it’s a Visa earning 1.25 miles per dollar spent. It comes with a $
7595 annual fee, though the fuel surcharges are unpopular and they can’t really be minimized when using the companion award ticket since it can only be ued on British Airways metal.
But my suggestion is to use the British Airways miles you accumulate sooner rather than later for some of these great awards, because while I don’t know when the price of awards may go up I am confident it will go up at some point. The future will see higher award prices than the present. (And when the BA chart goes up, it might be a similar timeframe in which the American AAdvantage chart gets adjusted, might, and I don’t really anticipate American Airliens devaluation this year in their 30th year so my best guess for that program is next year, they haven’t done an adjustment in awhile either…).
Bring in those miles, use ’em, and earn more later. Always the best advice, and especially so when an airline is printing lots of cheap miles after not having adjusted their award chart in awhile, and I’m certainly hearing plenty of unconfirmed buss about the possibility..