Companion voucher calculations - one for Craig

Discussion in 'British Airways | Executive Club' started by endian675, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. endian675

    endian675 New Member

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    I originally posted on FlyerTalk, but got very little traction there. Apparently FTers are more interested in the new CW bedding. Oh well. I thought Craig might offer his thoughts, given his series earlier in the summer.

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    I have two flights in F booked for this December, LHR-HND, using the BA Amex Companion Voucher (the '2-4-1'). As this is peak dates, I had to pay 240,000 Avios for this. I purchased the majority of these, either via a BA deal or via Topcashback redemptions, at an average cost of 1.0633p/Avios. I paid approximately £1000 in tax for the two F tickets, and I value the Companion Voucher at the full £195 card fee, as I wouldn't have the BA Amex card otherwise.

    With all of this, it means that my two F tickets LHR-HND are costing 240000*0.010633 + 195 + 1000 = £3747. If I only value the Avios I paid for rather than earned via bonuses, card spend, etc., (153,287) then the cost changes to 153287*0.010633+195+1000 = £2825.

    If I look at BA Club World flights AMS-HND (via LHR) they are currently priced at £3924. I need to add on approx £150 for a couple of flights to AMS, and the cost of the J-F upgrade (£1,276) , but subtract the tax paid (-£1000), the cost of the voucher (-£195), the rebate of 240k avios (-£2,552), the Avios earned for the trip (-£430 given R class AMS-LHR-HND = 40322 Avios return) gives a total cost of £3924+150+1280-1000-195-2560=£1,174.

    The only cash actually coming back to me would be the £1000, everything else is non-negotiable instruments (voucher, Avios). So my actual outlay for the purchased flight = £3924+150-1000 = £3074, but I'm left with a 241 voucher (value £195) and an Avios balance of around 160,000.

    Getting to Amsterdam is about as convenient as getting to Heathrow - possibly easier in fact!

    Any advice or guidance on what to do would be very welcome.
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  2. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Hi Endian,

    I'm not Craig (and personally gave up on the amex BA 241s a couple of years ago when I crunched the numbers for my own travel), but I do love these sort of conundrums!

    For me, the question basically boils down to whether you would be going on another trip anyway where using the 241 would make sense (ie what value would you get from it and the Avios).

    Is using a 241 to save a £1174 a great use of a 241? Probably not, but it's not terrible either these days - particularly when you consider the frequency of good value Qatar cash fares etc that you might be able to make use of for the other trip/s you've got planned.

    There are also considerations like Tier Points, whether you might be better crediting paid flights to Alaska, how easy it is for you to replace your Avios, value you could get from using those Avios on other trips (even if you used the 241 in a less optimal way), etc. In other words - I'd advise looking at your travel and points collecting plans for the foreseeable all together in the round and working out the best use of everything from there.

    It can get a bit like 3 dimensional chess sometimes, but that's part of the fun!
     
  3. endian675

    endian675 New Member

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    Thanks Joe, appreciate your input! I think your point about whether we would be going on another trip anyway is an excellent one - no, we wouldn't have. So I think ultimately sticking with the 241 booking we had in F is the right choice this time. Next time I will think a little more carefully, and possibly cancel the BA Amex.
     
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  4. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    My pleasure!

    If the majority of your Avios are bought (or transferred from Amex MR etc where you could potentially transfer to other programmes), it's definitely worth spending a few minutes having a serious think about your travel ideas for the next couple of years and then working backwards to decide which Miles/Points to focus on.

    For example, If you wanted to fly Cathay Business Class to Hong Kong, you'd prob be considerably better off buying Starpoints in the current sale and transferring them to Alaska Mileage Plan, rather than using Avios. You can currently pick up United Miles for about 1p each too with a little trick (I'll be writing about later), which can be be fantastic in some circumstances, etc etc.

    Let me know if you'd like any ideas or help at all!
     
  5. endian675

    endian675 New Member

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    Thanks Joe! The Cathay redemption to Hong Kong is very appealing. What is the availability typically like? BA availability was virtually non-existent, hence why we've ended up going to Tokyo instead.

    I am dipping my toe in to Alaska miles next week, when I credit my Hilton airline miles to Alaska instead of BA for the first time...

    I usually want to earn the majority of my miles, but the BA sale meant they were approximately the same price as redeeming from TopCashback, hence I made the purchase. Alaska miles are not quite so easy to acquire, although the SPG sales seem pretty helpful. I do worry that when SPG eventually morphs in to Marriott that Marriot->Alaska transfers won't be available.
     
  6. FlyingPiggie

    FlyingPiggie Active Member

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    Sorry I have been travelling and not monitoring the forum...

    The good news on your final point is that a Marriott Travel Package for 120,000 Alaska miles and a hotel week is better value than the straight SPG conversion. As long as that survives the merger I'll be happy!

    However, Marriott don't typically sell points at a discount, so it's hard to judge whether that aspect of SPG will find its way to the combined programme. At least we can still max out 30K for 2017 and 2018, times however many family members you can set up at your home address...

    As far as your math is concerned, I had to read it about 10 times to get my head round it - I wonder if some of my more mathematical posts are like that sometimes - but my first instinct is to burn your Avios ASAP and consider whether the BAPP makes sense going forward. If we truly see "dynamic Avios pricing" next year, it will be carnage! So I wouldn't necessarily want 240K Avios coming back to me without having a good idea about when/where to use them in the short term.
     
  7. endian675

    endian675 New Member

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    Indeed, I've been crunching numbers on buying SPG points and redeeming for Marriott Travel Packages this week! Even with the 30% SPG bonus, if one can't redeem the actual hotel stay then I don't think the costs compare well to taking advantage of QR J sales.

    Completely agree with you on the Avios, I'm very glad I am clearing my account down given Cruz's comments this week.
     
  8. Richies

    Richies New Member

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    Working your spend to hit the 2-4-1 Companion Voucher target suddenly seems a little unrewarding when BA run their 50% off redemption bookings promos anyway, and other OneWorld airlines have such great deals running...
     
  9. endian675

    endian675 New Member

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    Having crunched the numbers more times than I'm willing to admit, the 241 still makes sense for a family of four (like us).
     
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  10. FlyingPiggie

    FlyingPiggie Active Member

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    A willingness to crunch the numbers is key to travelling well for less. Besides, it's one thing for solo travellers like Joe or myself to extol the virtues of Alaska Mileage Plan, but that's not going to help somebody needing to scrape together enough miles for 4 return rewards!

    I just wish that more people took the time to really test whether the BAPP makes sense for their own spending and travel habits.
     
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  11. JoeD

    JoeD Well-Known Member

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    Excellent point - the key is always working out what's best for your own individual circumstances. Alaska could still work though, if you're not averse to buying Miles. That said, with Royal Jordanian now joining Qatar in the really cheap Biz Class sales market, buying Miles might not make much sense at all for some people.
     

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