While I write almost daily about the importance of acquiring frequent flyer miles so you can travel the globe for free, even I sometimes forget how valuable frequent flyer miles are and just how much money they can save you.
I definitely had one of those moments this week!
While I can provide examples of flights/hotels that I have redeemed for with miles/points, it is impossible to describe the exhilarating feeling that you get when you redeem your miles and realise how much money you just saved!
Hopefully this post serves as a powerful example to convince those of you that are still sitting on the sidelines for this British Airway 100,000 Avios Points offer, or have never signed up for a Frequent Flyer Credit Card, to get in the game!
It is safe to say that once you get your first Frequent Flyer Credit Card, you will never look at travel the same way again!
Off To Montreal For The Weekend
For anyone that knows me, I am usually up for anything, anytime, anywhere.
That 100% extends itself to travel.
If there is a mistake airfare sale, it doesn’t matter where it is to, count me in!
My motto is always book first, check schedule later. It has yet to fail me!
This past Monday as I was perusing Facebook, I noticed that my friend Chris who I ‘ve traveled with to NYC and Spain (on a $280 round trip Delta mistake fare last year), was asking if anyone had any good hostel recommendations in Montreal.
Always curious, I messaged Chris and asked him why and when was he planning on going to Montreal.
He said he was planning on going to Montreal next weekend for fun.
I didn’t have any plans for next weekend and I haven’t been on a plane since January, so I said what the hell, let’s do it!
Since we were just randomly going for a 2 day trip, I suspected that either Chris had found a really cheap mistake fare or excellent award availability on American Airlines using British Airways Avios Points.
Just as I suspected it was the latter and there just happened to be excellent award availability on BritishAirways.com for flights on American Airlines from Chicago to Montreal for next weekend.
Without any issues, we found a 8pm flight Friday from Chicago and a 7pm return on Sunday from Montreal.
The best part is that because British Airways operates a distance based award chart and Montreal is only 745 miles from Chicago, it would only cost us 15,000 Avios round trip!
Talk about a steal!
I always talk about encouraging your travel partners (in my case Chris and also my Girlfriend) to also sign up for any travel Credit Cards that you get,and this is the exact reason why.
Luckily, last year when British Airways also offered the 100,000 Avios Points offer, I successfully convinced Chris to sign up for it. Because of that, now we both have enough Avios Points for a quick weekend trip to Montreal.
We went ahead and booked our flights for only 15,000 Avios Points each and $56 in taxes.
When I first saw the $56 in taxes, I was a bit annoyed because I am accustomed to only having to pay around $5 in taxes.
My annoyance quickly turned into sheer awe when I ran a quick search on AmericanAirlines.com with our exact flight itinerary from above.
I could not believe my eyes!
Almost $1,300 for a 2 hour, 745 mile flight!
To put this in perspective, when I went to Australia in 2010, I paid about $1,300 to fly over 16,000 miles!
In terms of CPM (cost per a mile), the return on this flight to Montreal is outstanding, especially since we are flying Economy!
$1,300 Retail Cost Of Tickets / 15,000 Avios Redeemed = 8.6 cents per Avios
Cash Back Or Airline Credit Card
When people ask me if they should get a Cash Back Credit Card that earns 1% or an Airline Credit Card that earns 1 mile per $1 spent, the example from above is the #1 reason I always recommend Airline Credit Cards.
Frequent Flyer Miles have no fixed value until you redeem them, and you can essentially redeem them for any flights you want if you have enough miles.
With the 15,000 Avios Points I got from the British Airways Card, I was able to redeemed them for a free flight worth over $1,300.
If I had a Cash Back Card that earned only 1% cash back, 15,000 points would only get me $150 back.
$1,300 or $150? You do the math!
And remember the 15,000 Avios Points that I used is only 1/8 of the total points from the British Airways 100,000 Avios Point offer. Therefore hypothetically if you wanted, you could fly round trip to Montreal from Chicago over 8 times for FREE, which out of pocket would cost over $10,000!
How Much Money Will You Save
According to Kayak and Bloomberg Business Week, the average U.S Domestic Economy Flight this Summer will set you back $431!
Assuming you are flying across the Country and it costs 25,000 Avios Points per a ticket (many times it costs even less than that), by signing up for the British Airways 100,000 Avios Point offer and completing the minimum spend requirements to get the full 100,000 Avios Points, you could earn 5 free tickets.
5 Tickets X $431 Average Cost Of A Ticket = $2,155 Saved!
If someone gave you $2,155 worth of free travel for completing normal stuff that you already do on a weekly basis like grocery shopping, paying bills, buying gas, etc, who would pass that up?
As always remember you can double your savings and rack up over 250,000 Avios Points if your travel partner or spouse also signs up for the Card.
If you need further motivation, I would highly suggest heading over to Kayak.com, and entering your next vacation destination (even if it is only hypothetical), and see how much a retail airline ticket costs.
Always one to follow my own advice, hypothetically I’d like to visit Miami this September.
Although $318 is a lot better than $1,300, I’d still much rather pay 15,000 - 20,000 Avios and only have to pay $5 in taxes!
Links To Everything British Airways
Anyways hopefully my success using 15,000 British Airway Avios Points to save almost $1,300 encourages people to get off the sidelines and start saving money on travel!
Although I love reading First Class trips reports with extremely complex itineraries, as you can see, my Economy trip to Montreal could easily be a trip that any FFU Reader might take.
As always if you are beginner and have any questions, feel free to email me at FrequentFlyerUniversity@gmail.com with any questions big or small.
For everyone else, below is a link to 14 past articles and posts about the British Airways 100,000 Avios Point offer and how to truly maximize the offer.