Is British Airways Avios the new “SkyPeso”? BA is killing their loyalty program!

I’ve been searching tirelessly for a trip next Summer to Italy. BA is wanting $2400 USD for a Companion Pass Award ticket for two…in business…AND 118,000 miles…?!? Really British Airways, really??

This was for:
6/19 Houston – London – Milan (arrive 17th, but really wanted Venice)
6/29 Rome to London
7/3 London to Houston (because the 3rd was the earliest flight available back home).

Ok…so $2400 to use 118,000 BA Avios miles in business. What about just buying a revenue-generating ticket outright and earning miles? Would the cost be much more than this…?

Well, let’s take a look. Below is the EXACT itinerary I want on the EXACT dates I want to fly in coach (ok, so no lie-flat seats, but I get the dates & cities I want). The price…$2958.20! Actually $2908.20 because I get a $50 credit using the BA Visa. So for $524.34 I could just buy the flights I want AND earn a bunch of (what is apparently useless) Avios points along the way (albeit buying coach…but hey, money is money and miles are miles).

Spending $2400 for business when I could simply buy coach for $2900 is a hard justification for 9hrs of lie-flat seats, a better meal and a few hours of club access.
Plus if I go the redemption route, I would have to shell out more money for 4 extra hotel nights, 5 days of food & sightseeing/transfer costs (in expensive London, no less) that I don’t really need because the only award flight back is on the 3rd (I want to return on the 29th).

A quick comparison on United for the exact itinerary I want shows coach going & business returning for 160,000 miles and only $162 in taxes and fees. Ouch. So I’m burning more miles to save money, but I do get the cities I want AND the exact dates I want. And 1/2 the flights are in business (and on the much longer return flights). Hmmm.

How can BA justify their Avios award costs compared to Star Alliance award costs? The same United/Lufthansa flights were the same price to purchase as the BA ones above ($3K), but $3K versus $162 is a HUGE difference in cost. This simply cannot be a sustainable reward solution for Avios if they want to compete with other award programs or they will kill their loyalty program.

Maybe I should start using my United Club Visa more – that’s 1.5 miles per dollar…hmm.

Something has to be done to Avios Award Redemptions quickly, or the program will die a slow death IMO.

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How to book BA Award seats

I’ve been searching for several weeks for a trip to Europe, looking to book using the BA Companion Certificate. For the last few weeks I have searched direct to a destination and not choosing to stopover in London. BUT, apparently through a few texts & phone calls with a friend looking to book the same, the trick to searching BA is to enter that you are choosing to stopover in London while on this 2nd page of your search screen:

Doesn’t really matter if you are stopping over or not. This will allow you more flight selection to your destination.

If you were to choose “No Stopover” above, your flight availability appears less available to your same destination…weird. But the ‘trick’ works.

Happy searching for a BA Award Seat!

thepointmaster.com has arrived

Hello World!

I’ve been reading various travel blogs for a few years now, and feel time it’s ready to post about the lifetime experiences I’ve had with acquiring miles & points over more than a decade.

I’m not your ‘order 10,000 coins guy’ (US Mint reference), or a major credit card “churner” like some other blogs who will apply consistently every 3 months for new offers. I take the strong offers as they come and keep building my MPR (mileage/point reserve) for when I’m ready to take trips in the future.

I do believe your credit score is your most important asset (hat tip FTG), and keep my score above 740 to always be ready to strike when the time comes.

If you like reading about point opportunities and hearing travel reviews of how miles and points are used to maximize their value, this blog is for you. I will report on deals that I believe are worth of a credit pull, and give you insights into my trips that you can use as a reference for your own TOAL (Trip of a Lifetime). I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I do, and always appreciate your viewpoints…Let’s travel…!