Multi-leg journeys

Discussion in 'British Airways | Executive Club' started by TTGLOBE4L, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. TTGLOBE4L

    TTGLOBE4L Member

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    HI all, can anyone advise the best way to redeem points to do multi-leg journeys? I am hoping to use a companion voucher and stop off in Las Vegas (or LA and then get a short flight locally) before heading onto South Island, New Zealand. Ideally I would like to do this in First so know I am going to need a serious amount of points but I keep hearing people saying I would be better booking out of a European base rather than the UK (and then book a regional flight from Manchester to the European hub). Any tips would be appreciated!
     
  2. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Hi TTGlobe4L,

    I'm certainly not an expert on the BA Companion voucher, but I think there a couple of potential issues here. The first is that you can only use the voucher on British Airways flights so you'd definitely have to book a separate flight between LA and New Zealand, and then BA don't fly to New Zealand so you'd have to get to Sydney or something. Even then though it might not be possible to have London-LA and then Sydney to London because although openjaws are allowed BA have a rule for using the voucher that means that the open jaw segment can't be longer than the shortest of the 2 flights - and LA to Sydney (the open jaw) is further than London-LA.
     
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  3. TTGLOBE4L

    TTGLOBE4L Member

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    That is a really good point which I had not thought of. Maybe I need to check whether Virgin fly LA to New Zealand! Thanks for the pointer
     
  4. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Virgin Atlantic only fly from the UK, but it is of course possible to use avios or virgin miles on their respective partner airlines - it's only the BA companion pass that is restricted to actual BA flights. I think I'm right in saying that another restriction of the companion pass is that you have to start your journey in the UK as well, which you don't otherwise have to do so can save on the Air Passenger Duty. If you don't mind sharing how many miles/points you've got, I'd be happy have a quick think about the ways you might be able to do the trip. Also, if you have any Amex membership rewards points, SPG points, or miles with other frequent flyer schemes they might be really useful for a trip like this - given the vast amount avios BA want these days for First.
     
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  5. TTGLOBE4L

    TTGLOBE4L Member

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    I have about 120,000 currently but the time I book expect to have around 250000. I also have 10000 in AA and some other small amounts in other airlines.
     
  6. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Ok - getting to the USA is the relatively easy bit. British Airways London to Vegas or LA one way for one person in FIrst Class is 85,000 off peak and 100,00 peak, or in Business is 62,500 offpeak and 75,000 peak and about £350 in taxes/fees (you can see when is peak and when isn't here: https://www.britishairways.com/assets/pdfs/updates/ec-spending-avios-faqs.pdf). It is possible to use the companion pass on a one way flight (though it might seem a bit of a waste but can make sense), so you'd be looking at 85,000-100,00 avios and about £700 for BA First for 2.

    One alternative to consider would be to fly in Business with Iberia from Madrid to LA which is just 42,500 off peak (or 62,500 peak) - with the added bonus that taxes/fees are less than £100 each. I actually quite like Iberia Business Class, and don't really love BA First all that much (apart from the champagne - Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle - which is superb!). If it wasn't for the 241 voucher that would definitely be my advice. If you haven't tried BA First before though and have the 241 voucher, I'd prob say go for it.

    As regards the rest of the trip, are the miles that you have/will have all Avios or are some of Amex/SPG/Tesco that can be used for other things too potentially?
     
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  7. TTGLOBE4L

    TTGLOBE4L Member

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    @JoeD you are an absolute legend! Thanks for these tips. I must confess I am reconsidering my entire itinerary. Rookie mistake not checking that BA fly to NZ however the pointer re Iberia is really worthwhile as I also really fancy Panama/Costa Rica and may be that I could do these through Madrid without even touching the voucher. Thank you so much for the tips. I really appreciate it!
     
  8. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    No problem at all!

    Iberia fly to both places from Madrid and it'd be 42,500 avios off peak (or 62,500 peak). Remember you have to book it through the Iberia website to get the cheaper taxes/fees - transferring your avios from BA or avios.com to iberia is fairly easy, but to do the transfer your Iberia account has to have been open for at least 90 days and have earned at least 1 point (they have lots of partners so credit a hotel stay, transfer an amex point, or even just buy the minimum amount if necessary).

    Avios can be great, but I would consider diversifying your points/miles earnings if at all possible, as different airlines charge wildly different amounts of miles for the same trips. For example, from Australia/NZ to Europe in First costs 200,000 Avios Peak one way these days, but just 80,000 AA Miles (and the fees/taxes would be A LOT less using AA Miles too). It's going up to 115,000 in a few months, but still much better than Avios.

    In particular I would recommend focusing on collecting 'transferable' points like Amex Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest Points (and even Tesco Clubcard Points to an extent) - as then you can transfer over to the best frequent flyer scheme for a particular route. If you earn significant amounts of miles from flying, take a look at crediting to American rather than BA (although I'm not sure what the earnings rates are these days).
     
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  9. TTGLOBE4L

    TTGLOBE4L Member

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    I have always decided against spreading to other programmes purely because of the lack of companion vouchers (I know some offer upgrade vouchers or 241 but you usually have to pay full price for one passenger and I like being able to use AVIOS with the companion voucher.) However what this conversation highlights is the fact that BA's companion voucher really masks the fact that they are charging so much more for redemptions. I have enough points to redeem for flights to korea which I want to book but then can look at diverting my AMEX points to other programmes instead in order to make this trip come to life. Thanks for giving me some inspiration to do some research on this subject which might also provide fuel for a future blog post. Thanks again for taking the time, I really appreciate it.
     
  10. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Yeah, my pet hate with BA has always been the taxes/surcharges, add on the devaluation last year (which was pretty nasty for Premium cabins) and I decided not to even bother going for the companion pass anymore.

    Amex has some interesting partners like Singapore (which has some great sweetspots on the award chart), Etihad (some of their partner awards look ridiculously good value, but booking is a nightmare by all accounts), Flying Blue and Delta can make sense sometimes too. I don't really know much about the others (apart from Virgin + Iberia/BA).

    Personally though, I tend to find good value in transferring Amex to SPG and then to American. It's 2 MR points to 1 SPG which isn't great, but obviously you get the 5,000 bonus airmiles when you transfer 20k SPG points, so it works out at 40k Amex MR points = 25k American Miles. Given the lack of fuel surcharges, great partners like Cathay Pacific/Etihad/Qatar, and the (currently) excellent award chart it quite often seems to work out best.
     
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  11. tommyl

    tommyl Co-founder Staff Member

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    Some excellent advice from Joe.

    Ignoring the Companion Voucher (which is a great option, but very rigid), his AA shout is a good one. You also have a Qatar sale until 17 January (I'll be doing a post on it tomorrow), which has some staggeringly cheap ex-EU flights (e.g. Oslo to Bangkok at £787, Oslo to Singapore at £838), which you could then build further travel from.

    More directly, London to Melbourne is £4,935 Business Class return for two people with their companion offer. Not cheap, but not bad at all.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
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  12. TTGLOBE4L

    TTGLOBE4L Member

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    Following Joe's suggestion out of interest I've started looking at Iberia and American Airlines sites to figure out what kind of points I would need were I determined to continue with this route. Is there an easy way to work this out as I have only ever done much with Virgin and BA so this is new territory for me?
     
  13. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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  14. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    the bands are the same in terms of distance as BA
     
  15. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    With AA, the standout value in my view is 30,000 in Business and 40,000 one way in FIrst from anywhere in Europe to anywhere in the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent region. 40k for Etihad First on the A380, before switching in Abu Dhabi down to the Maldives or something is pretty unbeatable. Which is presumably why they are changing it to 42,500 for Business and 62,500 for First in a couple of months., which is still not terrible at all considering no fuel surcharges.
     
  16. TTGLOBE4L

    TTGLOBE4L Member

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    Thanks you rock. I have figured it out now and it is a lot of miles. I would need 250,000 miles on AA from Vegas to New Zealand and a further 200,000 miles to Vegas using my companion voucher. Ouch! I will have the 200,000 in the bag soon but need to figure out ways to bag the AA miles. Thanks for the great tips guys
     
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  17. Lochlann

    Lochlann New Member

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    Alaska has a sweet spot for US-Australia, compared to BA. Problem is how to accumulate points there though - along with Etihad I have membership there as a kind of orphanage account (felt it made more sense than flying Blue for crediting a rare KLM trip)
     
  18. JoeD

    JoeD Active Member

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    Is that the 55,000 Alaska Miles for Business/ 70,000 for First on Qantas? AA is 62,500 and 72,500, which isn't too much worse considering there's the UK AA credit card and other offers. It's going up to 80,000 and 110,00 in March though.

    For Alaska Miles, I think the only consistent way to get them in decent amounts is to transfer from SPG or from Amex MR to SPG to Alaska. Can pick up a 5,000 or so via Rocketmiles easily enough too I suppose. If they don't devalue to match AA, I suspect I'll be paying a lot more attention to Alaska soon!
     
  19. Pete B

    Pete B New Member

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    Check
    @TTGLOBE4L - I ran across this tool a while back: flyermiler.com It's not a booking tool, but as a first point of call for sussing out various options and costs for such and such a route, it is absolutely fantastic. As for specifics, looks like all the posts above have just about covered it! I use BA miles solely for short trips, usually just around the UK. For the rest we usually find AA miles to be about the best, or AMEX points turning into Singapore etc.
     
  20. TTGLOBE4L

    TTGLOBE4L Member

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    Yes FlyerMiler is fab for that purpose and there are also a few others such as ExpertFlyer, Pex (yet to check it out properly) and another I cannot recall. Thanks for the tip
     

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