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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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