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Tips for using FF miles on BA--business class

Tips for using FF miles on BA--business class

Jun 2nd, 2009, 09:24 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,491
enzian - you can't use Alaska miles to upgrade on British, only for free flights.

When you upgrade on BA, you purchase the upgrade (with miles) the same time you purchase the tickets - you can do it all online and it's a simple process. Or you might be better using a ticket agent if you're trying to get 4 tickets for the same flights.

Paulchili - BAs Household Account is one account for all members of the household residing at the same address. You can apply for a Household Account online. If I remember correctly, once our HA was set up, BA transferred all our miles into it. Each member of the household earns miles separately and they are all pooled into one account. Miles are pooled but not Tier Points. Any member of the HA can use the miles.

We all (2 parents, 2 adult children) have Chase credit cards for BA miles, and the miles all go into our Household account too. Of course, when you fly British you always go through London, which some people may not like. But the Seattle-London flight, 9 hours in a flat-bed sleeper seat, is a nice way to go.

By the way, the few times I've not been able to get award/upgrade tickets from Seattle, we've flown out of Chicago instead. There are usually 3 BA flights a day on that route, and two of them are sleeper services, which means they serve you a meal in the lounge at O'Hare if you want and you can sleep all the way to London. And you can use your AA or Alaska miles to get to Chicago if you want.

I've also flown from Vancouver, but it's more difficult to get award/upgrade tickets from there and the return arrival times are such that I've ended up staying the night in Vancouver, not ideal.

I always fly on upgrades, because I need the tier points to keep my silver card and I want the miles for future travel.

To give you an idea: In October 2007 my husband and I flew Seattle to Johannesberg and returned Cape Town to Seattle, he on a free ticket in Club (Business) and I on an upgrade to Club. I earned 31,500 miles on that trip from miles flown plus cabin bonuses and tier bonuses, plus 2 miles per dollar spent on the tickets, plus enough tier points to renew my silver status. I made the reservations/ticket purchases in December 2006.

In February 2008 we did Seattle to Marrakech in Club, he on an award ticket, I on an upgrade. I collected about 18,000 miles on that trip, plus 2 miles per dollar spent on the tickets. Tickets purchased in December 2007.

In October 2008, daughter and I used the same plan to fly Seattle-London-Istanbul-Tehran-London in business. I collected about 25,000 miles plus 2 miles per dollar spent on the tickets. I purchased the tickets in May 2008, though we didn't get our first choice dates this time and had to leave a couple days early.

I just returned in May from Italy, Seattle to Naples and Rome to Seattle, upgrade ticket purchased in November, no problem with getting my dates.

Husband and I are flying Seattle to Prague and returning Dubrovnik to Seattle in September, he's on an award ticket and I'm on an upgrade. No problem getting our tickets in February 2009.

And I just today purchased an award ticket for my daughter and an upgrade for myself from Seattle to India in January 2009.
julia1 is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2009, 09:35 PM
  #22  
 
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enzian, if I were you I'd go for the 3 award tickets when they open in July. I'd also get the Chase card immediately and join BA Executive Club and set up a Household Account. I'd get 25,000 miles in my account by hook and however, if need be by paying for miles - $547.50 for 19,000 miles for yourself (the max allowed per year) and $190 for 6,000 for another family member. And then I'd go for an upgrade ticket at the same time as the 3 award tickets.

I'd also concentrate on the Seattle-London portion. Flights to Italy are frequent, short (relatively) and usually cheap (relatively). Fly in economy London to Italy if needs be.
julia1 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 09:44 AM
  #23  
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Julia1, this is so helpful! (I have to tell you---one of our daughters is also named Julia). I'll open the BA account this week, and see what it takes to qualify for the 20,000 bonus miles. And I see that it is still cost-effective even if I have to buy miles to reach 25,000.

So this must explain how they fill those business-class seats. Last time we flew business class (the only time, actually) was 2003, and when I checked the price of the tickets they were selling for over $6,000 apiece. I wondered who could afford to fly like that? Now they seem to be down around $3500 for summer travel, but that's still a lot.

We have some flexibility on the dates, so hopefully that will help.

I don't think anyone answered my question on the 330-day timing. Or maybe Paulchili's suggestion that we fly AA instead of BA and book outbound and inbound separately was an answer. I assume if we book the RT (which is what we will do) then the 330 days is from the return (inbound) flight, not the outbound?
enzian is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 10:28 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Enzian, greetings to your Julia! What a lovely graduation gift you are planning for her and her sister.

Just for curiosity's sake, I looked online for 4 award tickets for this summer, flying together in Club. There's still a lot of availability for July and August 2009, even some in June. I think BA add to reward inventory throughout the year, as they see that seats aren't selling.

I also looked at reward availability for May 2010. Fridays are blocked but all other days have award seats available.

Unless the economy turns around soon, I don't think you'll have much trouble getting your 4 seats in Club for June 2010.

You can book outbound and inbound separately on BA also. I just checked and an award ticket next May outbound Seattle to Heathrow would be 50,000 miles plus $211.50 taxes and fees.
julia1 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 10:38 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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enzian,
That is correct - 330 days out for each date. I am more familiar with AA. By being able to book one way awards for 1/2 points you can book them separately (and it will be the same as a RT in the end) but you can "grab" the awards the first day they open for each leg. BA's calendar is out a bit more than 330 days ,I believe, and I think you can book one way awards as well (Julia 1 would know). I would get the BA card ASAP and make the first purchase (anything) as the miles take a while to post. That way you would need to buy just 5,000 miles.
FWIW, my BA card is a Citi Visa (if that makes any difference) and you do get double miles for using it to buy BA tickets.
Julia 1 - thanks for the info - I will open that account.
I love your travel schedule - way to go!
Paulchili is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 12:48 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Plenty of good advice here. One thing about joining the BAEC (their FF program) is that you'll then get a password that can be used with BA's excellent award availability tool - as good as Qantas' (except no non-BA flights allowed transatlantic - BA's restrictions are much more severe than AA's).

I did want to make one other comment. While Alaska requires more miles to fly in business on BA to Europe, the jump from business to first class is only 20K miles. As a rule, award redemption in F on BA is often easier than in J (business) and the spread in comfort and luxury is quite significant. Maybe the daughters can rough it in lie-flat beds in business class (the cabin setup is amenable to that) while the two parental units can hit the caviar up front. If my DW and I were in your shoes, that would be a no-brainer. You'd also get access to the marvelous FC lounge at Heathrow on the way back, too.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 4th, 2009, 06:36 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 636
If you have to buy one business class ticket anyway, you might look at getting Chase's British Airways Visa. It has a companion ticket feature. While I haven't used it yet, I had a similar card in Canada and found that it was a good value for business class tickets. You can get one companion ticket when you buy a business class ticket and all you have to pay for the companion ticket is the taxes/fees. I found in Canada that availability for companion tickets was very good (not the same kind of capacity limitations to which award tickets are subject).
frogoutofwater is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 08:40 AM
  #28  
 
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frogoutofwater,
I looked into it earlier this year (same type of offer) and as these tickets were full fare, I did not find them a good deal at all. Prices may be different now. JMO.
Paulchili is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 05:31 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Paulchili

The companion ticket offer with Chase isn't worth it for Premium Economy on BA (because it has to be a full fare ticket), but I haven't checked what kind of business class fare would be eligible for a companion ticket.
frogoutofwater is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 10:40 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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The offer states that ALL tickets (first, Club World & WT+) must be full fare to qualify for a "free" companion ticket; and those are usually more expensive than what you can get 2 discounted tickets for in any class. It really only works for those people (on an expense account?) that are willing to or have to pay full fare.
Paulchili is offline  
Jun 5th, 2009, 06:21 AM
  #31  
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I signed up for the BA card. Now to wait for approval and then use the card.

I did see the companion ticket offer, but the "full-fare" aspect is a bit daunting. It say "J" fare for a business class ticket. Any idea how much that is? That fare doesn't show up when you look at prices on-line (as far as I can tell.)

julia 1---thank you for looking at availability. Of course things can change (and hopefully the economy will improve) but that is reassuring.

One question about names on the tickets. If I am using my miles to upgrade an Economy Plus ticket, does it have to be MY ticket? Or can the ticket be my daughter's?
enzian is offline  
Jun 5th, 2009, 07:17 AM
  #32  
 
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Published J fare on BA SEA-LHR-SEA is only $14,195 all in.

Such a deal.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 5th, 2009, 09:50 AM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 489
You can get 4 (count them - four) discounted business class ticket for $12,964 and still have leftover change (for random dates in July 2009).
Why do they even bother advertising it?
Paulchili is offline  
Jun 11th, 2009, 11:05 PM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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enzian,
It seems to me that I read somewhere that BA charges excessive fuel surcharges for AS miles redemptions.
You may want to check those out and if they are excessive fly AA for fewer miles and less money (but not nonstop).
Paulchili is offline  
Jun 12th, 2009, 09:16 AM
  #35  
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Paulchili---yes, I am aware of the fuel sucharges on BA. It's worth it to us to pay a bit (I think it's around $300 at thia point) to have those flatbed seats, and the non-stop flight from Seattle to Heathrow.

I'm also hoping that those surcharges are deterring others from trying to book BA.
enzian is offline  
Jun 12th, 2009, 09:34 AM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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I agree - I hope it all works out for you.
Please let us know.
Paulchili is offline  
Jun 13th, 2009, 04:54 PM
  #37  
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Yes, I will report back.

I want to thank everyone for their help here. My BA Visa card came today, and I made my first purchase (a part for my Saab) so I'm on my way. And I received my BA executive Club membership last week, so I can start monitoring the award seats and keep an eye on how things are going as it gets closer to the date I will try for.
enzian is offline  
Jun 16th, 2009, 11:52 AM
  #38  
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A quick question for Julia 1 or anyone else who can answer:

For the economy plus with FF miles upgrade, does it matter whose name is on e the purchased ticket? That is, to use my BA miles to upgrade a ticket, does my name have to be on the ticket, or can it be my daughter's?

DH just applied for a BA card too so we will try for 2 award tickets (using my Alaska miles) and 2 upgraded ones (using our newly-acquired BA miles). I just want to be sure I get the right names on each type of ticket.

Also, I assume I would earn miles on a purchased ticket with upgrade, but not on the award ticket. That might determine whose name goes where.
enzian is offline  
Jun 16th, 2009, 01:02 PM
  #39  
 
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Correct - only paid fares earn miles, and usually only at the level purchased, not the upgraded cabin (if done with miles.)
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 16th, 2009, 01:17 PM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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I would recommend using the award tickets for your daughters and the upgrades for yourself and your husband. That way you and he will earn miles to add to the miles you're earning from your BA credit cards. You each will earn an additional 25% cabin bonus miles, so together you will earn almost 24,000 miles total for your SEA-LHR RT, almost enough for another upgrade down the road.

You might consider opening a household account for yourself and husband, in order to pool your miles earned from the BA cards plus miles earned from your flights, but miles in a household account can only be used by members of the account.
julia1 is offline  

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