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Hard to get seat with reward points on British Airways?

Hard to get seat with reward points on British Airways?

May 2nd, 2011, 11:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 301
Hard to get seat with reward points on British Airways?


My family is planning a trip to England and France in 2013. I recently saw a promotion for a British Airways reward credit card with the potential to earn two R/T tickets from the US to Europe.

Before I apply for the card, I was wondering if anyone has experience booking flights on British Airways with reward points. I have not done this before, but have read on the forums about needing to book 330 days out, there being no reward seats available when one goes to cash them in, etc.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
amamax2 is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,338
I usually just upgrade with BA but even then I've found you really need to book well in advance if you have specific travel dates. A couple of years ago, I did get a return ticket ( seat & upgrade) and did that about a year from the return date. I'd book as soon as you know your travel dates.
historytraveler is online now  
May 2nd, 2011, 02:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,222
One downside to BA reward flights is the taxes -- this is significantly different than other airlines. Last year, I priced out RT tickets using BA to Europe and would have paid a few hundred dollars / flight. I felt like it was a rip-off to pay all those taxes + use points for a flight.
surfmom is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 03:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 464
A year or so ago I got the deal of all deals from BA: 100K miles for getting their credit card. I've had pretty good experience using their miles. Last fall I used them to get from London LHR to Lisbon on BA. Then I used them on Iberia to get to Granada. The fees on those one way fares weren't much and it would have cost a great deal more to pay for them. This fall I'm using BA miles from Milan to LHR and then on their new non-stop to San Diego. That trip cost $200.

Like surfmom said, the problem is the surcharge/fees that they charge. For instance, on my trip last fall using UA miles from SAN to LHR cost me a total of $5. Although I've been fortunate to get the dates and flights I wanted, I'm only getting one ticket. It might be more difficult to get two or more.
JEFF_ is offline  
May 4th, 2011, 05:56 AM
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Posts: 301
Thank you all for your responses - I appreciate it.

Do you know if I use the BA points for a ticket on a partner airline (like AA), would I still have to pay those fees/fuel surcharges, or is that only for a ticket ON BA?
amamax2 is offline  
May 4th, 2011, 06:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,184
I believe you would still have to pay the extra fees because those are for landing taxes at LHR -- not something that just BA adds in.

We used AA tickets to buy a BA tickets and had to add another $300 on top of the points. Still cheaper than a ticket without points, but only just.

My problem with using AA points to buy a BA ticket was that BA then decided to strike. BA was happily rescheduling everyone's flights -- but wouldn't touch mine because it was with AA. It turned into a bit of a nightmare because I was traveling with my (minor) son, whose BA ticket was purchased without points. AA wanted to reschedule my flight to another time when an award seat was available. BA wanted to reschedule my son's flight to another one just a day or two later -- but didn't have any award seats available. Trying to get the two airlines to help me, at the same time, in the same way was VERY difficult. I believe tears and tantrums may have been involved

In the end BA pulled through, their customer service was excellent, my son and I only missed one day of our holiday and we all lived happily ever after (but it was a stressful week or two trying to sort it all out).
BKP is offline  
May 4th, 2011, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,209
You might want to post this on Flyer Talk as well - excellent forum for discussing airline reward programs

Elizabeth_S is offline  
May 4th, 2011, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,865
You can use BA points on partner airlines and you just pay whatever fees that airline charges.

For domestic US tickets on AA there is no surcharge - you can use 25,000 BA points to get an AA saver award, and only pay something like a $3.50 booking fee.

Another thing about the BA offer is that if you spend $30,000 in a calendar year on the Chase BA visa you get a 2-fer coupon from BA. If you travel a lot for work, or have school tuition, or put everything on your credit card it can be pretty easy to rack up $30,000. That 2fer has to be used on BA metal.
J62 is online now  
May 4th, 2011, 11:48 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 301
Thank you so much everyone, and a special thank you to Elizabeth - that link was great. I have my answer.
amamax2 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2011, 10:13 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 6
There was an article last week in the New York Times (and other papers) regarding British Airways' Fuel Surcharge of $300. per ticket, which definitely takes the "free" out of "free ticket". Has anyone encountered this?
fjoyner21 is offline  

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