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British Airways Discounts Frequent Flyer Award Prices

British Airways Discounts Frequent Flyer Award Prices

If you took advantage of the 100,000-mile bonus for new British Airways credit card customers (as did I and many of my readers), or the subsequent 50,000-mile sign-up bonus, or the American Express Membership Rewards transfer bonus, you may be sitting on a hefty cache of Executive Club miles.

British Airways wants you to use those miles. Because mileage-redeemers are more likely to be loyal customers.

And they’d prefer that you used them for awards on British Airways’ own flights. Because award travel on British Airways costs them less than awards issued on partner airlines, which British Airways must pay for.

Hence this offer.

Offer Details

Executive Club members can book award tickets on British Airways flights for 50 percent fewer miles through August 12, for travel between now and August 3, 2012.

The discount only applies to flights on British Airways, in World Traveller, Club Europe, and World Traveller Plus—first class and Club World aren’t included. The discount may be applied either to awards redeemed for miles or for miles-and-cash.

Deal or No Deal

The downside to using Executive Club miles for British Airways flights has always been the outsized fuel surcharges imposed by the airline. That hurdle remains: "Taxes, fees, charges and surcharges are not part of this promotion and must be paid in full at the time of booking."

Just how much of a disincentive is the fuel surcharge? As a representative example, I test-booked a round-trip flight from New York to London, departing October 4, returning October 18. The price, including the mileage discount: 25,000 miles plus $529.68 in fees. Of the total fees, $346 were be for the fuel surcharge.

To put that into context, you could purchase outright tickets for the same trip on the same dates from American for $664.20, taxes of $172.20 included. Since it’s a revenue ticket, you’d earn 6,904 frequent flyer miles.

Comparing the two scenarios, paying the fees in addition to using Executive Club miles amounts to getting just 0.5 cents per redeemed mile—a notably poor return.

Bottom line: The discount on the miles certainly improves the overall value proposition. But the fuel surcharges continue to seriously undermine the argument for using Executive Club miles on British Airways award flights.

Redeemer beware.

Reader Reality Check

Anyone planning to take advantage of the award discount?

Did you find flights where the fuel surcharges were less off-putting?

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  • Mary R

    After 5+ hours on the phone and internet I was able to book 3 RT tickets using the 50% off promotion and my companion e-voucher (use miles for one person, get the second ticket for 0 miles that I got for spending $30K in one year) from IAD-LUX (cheaper taxes than London)in World Traveller Plus class for a total of 75K miles and $1528 for all 3 of us May 30-June 19. Yep, it’s a lot of money but tickets are high in June

  • Jimmy

    No, thanks! I’ll continue redeeming on partner airlines.

  • Beatrice

    Anybody would have to be crazy to fly British Airways. One can often can purchase a ticket cheaper on another airline than using a free frequent flyer flight plus the exorbient fees on Britsh Airways. Use your British Airway miles, i trust you received by any means but flying with them, for partner airlines or you are just fooling yourself and wasting your money. They are an embarrasment to the frequent flyer community.

  • Tim L

    I’ve have flow BA from PHX to europe in 1st and business class several times between 2004 and 2009 using miles – I’ve probably spent 800,000 miles. But I simply REFUSE to pay those ripoff fuel charges. The charges alone cover their cost of flying you and the food/booze in first or business class. I’ve got 300,000 miles sitting at BA for the past 3 years and there going to sit there until those charges come down. now in some fairness, the weak dollar is jacking up those prices, but its simply not worth it when I can to Luthansa biz class or other partner airlines with far less fees.

  • Beth

    I was HORRIFIED to see the cost of my “free” ticket if I took advantage of the 50% award tickets for a trip I was hoping to take to London this fall. There’s NO WAY I would pay almost $600 plus 25,000 miles for a ticket to London. Granted, it’s been about 5 years since I was there, but I’ve never paid $600 flat out for a ticket to London (I always travel off-season on special rates deals). This is a MAJOR rip-off and I’m also going to cancel my B.A. credit card, which I opened soley to keep my miles from expiring….Guess I should’ve let them expire!

  • Euro traveller

    BA is a looser airline, now I understand why I haven’t flown them for 10+ years…..

  • Mona

    I use them for AA. but it is not the best experience