Most of you are probably familiar with the British Airways Visa card which offers a 100,000 mile sign-up bonus. I’ve convinced my dad and brother to sign up for the card as well, so when all is said and done we should have 300,000 miles in our household account, plus any miles from spending. A cool benefit of the card is that if you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year you earn a companion certificate whereby someone can fly with you for free. In other words, it’s a “two for one” on a first class British Airways award. In theory that sounds nice, as I’ve always wanted to fly British Airways first class and that certificate (along with the ridiculous sign-up bonus) ease the pain of paying 200,000+ miles for a first class award ticket.
But here’s what really stings — the “taxes, fees, charges, and surcharges.” On an award ticket from Los Angeles to Delhi via London Heathrow (I’d love to visit India, so realistically this is an award I’d be looking at), the cost comes out to about $900 per ticket. Now, that’s still a great deal given that this is first class, but seriously, $900 for an award ticket?! And with two people traveling that’s $1,800 (still have to pay taxes on companion ticket).
This is where my mileage whoring ways start to kick in. For $900 I could probably buy a coach seat and earn another 30,000-40,000 miles for the trip, not to mention plenty of elite qualifying miles.
So the only other practical option, the way I see it, is to use the miles for a partner award ticket and forget about the companion certificate. Apparently you don’t pay the ridiculous “fuel surcharges” for partner awards, so maybe it’s time to visit South America in a premium cabin on American or LAN?
As it is I hate not earning miles on award tickets, but when I paid $40 total in taxes and am flying one of the top airlines in the world you won’t find me complaining. But if I’m spending $900….