Bonus American Airlines Miles Or British Airways Avios For Transatlantic Travel This Spring

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American Airlines and British Airways (and likely Iberia as well) have new bonus offers for transatlantic travel between March 18 and May 31, 2013. You can access AA’s offer here and BA’s offer here.

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You will get 20K bonus miles per round trip that is ticketed in first/business/high economy on American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia or OpenSkies between United States or Canada and Europe. The American’s offer is also valid for Mexico. Note that you AAdvantage account needs to be in United States, Canada or Mexico to be eligible for this offer. BA’s offer is only valid for Executive Club members whose address is in the United States or Canada.

British Airways Introduces Fares Without Checked Bag – Becoming No Frills Airline?

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British Airways has introduced fares out from London Gatwick to Amsterdam, Jersey, Dubrovnik, Turin and Tunis on a “trial” bases starting on travel from February 26, 2013. Previously, the airline has advertised being a full service airline with no add ons required for checked bags and on board refreshments even on short haul routes.

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Thing to note that this only affects the above five routes from London Gatwick on a trial base. If this trial is successful, I wouldn’t be surprised this to spread to all shorthaul destinations server from Gatwick and eventually from London Heathrow as well. There is very little information that you can find about this trial on BA.com. Here’s link to a PDF that is aimed for travel agents that tries to explain the rationale behind this decision.

Oneworld Alliance Carrier Bonuses for Malaysia Airlines Flights Feb 15 to Apr 15

Most of the Oneworld alliance airlines are offering double award miles on Malaysia Airlines flights between February 15 to April 15, 2013. Some of the programs require you to register for this promotion in advance while others have enrolled all their members.

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Malaysia Airlines joined the Oneworld Alliance on February 1, 2013. You can take advantage of alliance wide status benefits that you may have with one of the members when flying on Malaysia.

Buying Avios And Getting 25% Bonus?

British Airways has just sent out an offer email for Executive Club members and offering up to 25% bonus on purchased Avios through March 28, 2013. You can access this offer here.

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You need to purchase the maximum allowed per calendar year (24K) to be eligible for the 25% bonus.

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The price of an Avios under this offer is 2.28 US cents each. The transaction is handled by Points.com.

Financial Times Article About Problematic Airline Rebrands

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There was an interesting piece about some recent airline rebrands in the Financial Times. You can access the article here.

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People have very strong opinions about the recent AA’s rebranding and about United’s attempt to mix and match part Continental’s & United’s former branding. This is a very good and short read. You should check it out.

Extra Baggage Allowance & Fast Track Security New Oneworld Emerald Benefits

Oneworld alliance top tier frequent fliers have been in disadvantage compared to their Star Alliance equivalent ones when it came to extra luggage allowance based on the frequent flier status.

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Now, Oneworld alliance has announced that both extra luggage allowance (one piece or extra 20 kilos) will apply across all Oneworld alliance carriers and passengers will also have an access to fast track security lanes where available.

Crediting Le Club Accorhotel Points to Iberia Avios

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Iberia is one of the better airline partners of the Le Club Accorhotels. The ability to choose Iberia Avios as your partner was recently put on hold, but is back up again.

le-club-accorhotels-iberia-avios

With most of the other airline programs (there are exceptions), you will earn ONE airline mile per TWO Le Club Accorhotels points. With Iberia this exchange rate is different, however. Every TWO Le Club Accorhotels points converts to FIVE Iberia Avios.

British Airways Avios 25% Hotel Points Conversion Bonus

British Airways is offering 25% bonus for converting hotel points to Avios. This offer is valid until January 13. There is no need to register for this offer and you can read more about it here.

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You can convert points from Starwood, Club Carlson, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Priority Club, and Shangri-La’s programs into Avios.

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Conclusion

Airlines tend to intermittently run promotions for hotel point conversion to their miles. These offers tend to vary. Would I convert any of my hotel points to Avios due to getting 25% conversion bonus? I absolutely would not, but it doesn’t mean that this promotion could not work for you.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

  • This promotion is only open to Eligible Participants. An eligible participant is a person aged 18 or over and is a British Airways Executive Club Member (“BAEC”) (membership terms and conditions apply) and is enrolled and registered with one of the hotel partner loyalty programmes. By taking part in this promotion, Eligible Participants confirm that they accept the Terms and Conditions below.

  • Eligible Participants can earn up to 25% Bonus Avios between 13 December 2012 and 13 January 2013 for any qualifying hotel loyalty points converted into Avios. BAEC members must enrol via the hotel property links provided on http://www.britishairways.com/travel/points-to-avios/public/

  • To convert your points, please contact the hotel whose points you wish to convert to Avios.

  • Taxes, fees and charges remain payable by the BAEC member.

  • Bonus Avios can take 4-6 weeks to show on your account from the date of conversion. Once they have been credited, you can start redeeming them for flights, hotels and Avis car hire.· Bonus Avios is non-redeemable for cash and non-reversible.

  • Bonus Avios is issued subject to the BAEC Terms and Conditions http://www.britishairways.com/travel/termcn/public/en_gb and all passengers and baggage are subject to the general terms and conditions of carriage.

  • Reward flights are subject to availability and capacity control and availability may be limited at peak times.

  • Hotel loyalty scheme membership, and earning and redemption of points are subject to the Terms and Conditions of each specific hotel’s loyalty scheme in addition to British Airways Terms and Conditions, as applicable.

  • This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with any other British Airways offers or promotion.

  • Promoter reserves the right to withdraw the promotion or amend these terms and conditions without prior notice at any time, for whatever reason, and without any liability to customers for doing so.

  • This promotion shall be governed by the laws of England & Wales and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.

  • This promotion is provided by British Airways Plc Waterside, PO Box 365, Harmondsworth, UB7 0GB. Registered No. 1777777 England

British Airways Avios Award Booking Engine Update

British Airways has updated the award booking engine on britishairways.com to use the same engine that has been use on IAG’s Avios website. You no longer have to choose the engine to show partner airlines. They are now shown by default.

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You just have to bear in mind that BA charges awards by every single segment separately (some exceptions apply within Europe) and just combines the segment prices to come up with a total.

Here’s an example of the new booking engine for HEL-BKK one-way in Y

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Helsinki to Bangkok on a direct Finnair flight

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The price is rather reasonable 25K miles but around $160 of the $180 “taxes” are fuel surcharges

Helsinki to Bangkok on a British Airways flight via London

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The one-way is priced at 37500 miles and the “taxes” are $269.16.

Helsinki to Bangkok via London on Finnair/British Airways

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The miles required is the same as on the BA only flights but the “taxes” are $289.

Helsinki to Bangkok via Narita on Finnair/JAL

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BA wants 60K Avios and $347.35 for this combo.

Conclusion

The new award booking engine is better because it shows the partner airline inventory by default. You just have to make sure and check number of different options to find out the lowest price in Avios. As BA charges per segment, it is better to book a direct flight as a result.  People who are not living in Oneworld hub cities are basically screwed.

British Airways Avios One Year Anniversary: 25% Discounts on Awards Originating from London

British Airways and Iberia launched the Avios a year ago. British Airways Executive Club program went from being relatively good in long haul redemptions to being one for ok’ish awards in short-haul. The price of the long haul awards with multiple segments went through the roof.

ba-avios-1st-anniversary-sale

Now, British Airways is giving a 25% discount on the number of Avios needed for award trips in all cabins for trips originating in London until May 31, 2013. You need to make the award booking by 20th of November. Note that zones 1 to 3 are not included in this offer.

This discount also applies for points + money options & 2 for 1 vouchers that certain credit card holders get.

Searching for awards

I tried to do few searches for places like Cape Town, but couldn’t find any availability for first class seats. Then, I decided to check Mauritius, where BA flies from London Gatwick (leisure route obviously). I was able to find some availability in BA’s Club World business class cabin.

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The system was able to price out the Avios discount, that obviously doesn’t apply to the cash component of the ward that is fuel surcharge that goes directly to BA’s bottom line. You can read more about fuel surcharges and why airlines love them here. (One of the reasons is that they get to collect and keep them on “award” trips.)

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You can see the message that the award has been discounted. You just click the link and you will see a pop up with the price breakdown in Avios and the discount.

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You can click other link to get the cash price breakdown. As these awards are all originating from London, you are required to pay the APD (Air Passenger Duty) that is high on premium cabins. More than 60% of the taxes/fees is the BA’s fuel surcharge.

Conclusion

Personally, I have given up of trying to use Avios for long haul trips in premium cabins due to very high price in Avios combined with the (often) ridiculous fuel surcharge component. Avios can be quite valuable for short haul non-stop flights between expensive city pairs.

If you have access to those 2-4-1 vouchers, these Avios redemptions in premium cabins make more sense and even more now during the extra 25% discount.

Up to 2000 Avios at Fairmont, Raffles & Swissotel Hotels

British Airways just sent out an email about the new partnership with Fairmont, Raffles & Swissotel that had already started on October 1. This offer is valid for stays until December 31, 2012. There is no need to register for this offer, but you can find more information about this offer here.

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To celebrate the launch of the new partnership, these hotels are offering 500 bonus Avios  for each of the first three nights in top of the usual 500 Avios per stay.  You can earn maximum of 2000 Avios per stay. Fairmont President Club Premier members will receive an additional 250 Avios and Platinum members an additional 500 Avios per stay.

Note that not all the rates are eligible for airline miles accrual:

To receive airline miles, reservations must be booked on qualifying rates: Corporate, Package and Sell Rate of the Day rates and excludes some discounted packages.

Conclusion

It is always nice to see Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissotel to have more airline partners. Just be prepared to follow up in a case that the miles don’t automatically show up on your British Airways Executive Club Account.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

  • Maximum of 2500 Avios per stay can be earned
  • The name of the reservation has to be identical with the name on the British Airways Executive Club membership number
  • Membership card has to be presented upon check-in
  • The offer cannot be combined with any other offer
  • Reservations must be made through this website
  • Validity: October 1 to December 31, 2012
  • The offer is valid in all Fairmont Hotels & Resorts worldwide

Le Club Accorhotels Bonus Offer for 2000 Avios for a Stay of 2 Nights or Longer

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Le Club Accorhotels has a bonus offer for British Airways Executive Club members.  For a stay of 2 days or longer, you can earn 2000 bonus Avios. You can access this offer here.

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This offer is valid for stays between October 1 and January 31, 2013, for stays that are booked between October 1 and December 31, 2012.  You need to activate the automatic point deposits to Avios to be eligible for this offer. Note that all the existing points sitting in your account are likely to be converted and moved to Avios as well.

Ensure your automatic conversion is set up prior to making your booking, otherwise your bonus Avios will not be credited.

Never set up an automatic conversion before? No problem, here’s what you need to do:

1. Login to your account via www.accorhotels.com/leclub
2. Open up the drop down menu ‘Manage my Le Club Accorhotels points’
3. Click ‘Activate/Deactivate automatic conversion of my points into airline miles’
4. Then simply select ‘Executive club’ on the drop down and complete the necessary fields.

Conclusion

This is a good offer if you have an Accor hotel stay of two nights or longer coming up before January 31, 2013. Note that you need to do the actual booking by December 31, 2012.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

1.This offer is valid for bookings made between 1st October – 31st December 2012 and 1st October and 31st January 2013.
2. This offer entitles British Airways Executive Club Members enrolled in the Le Club Accorhotels program (regardless of their status), to benefit from earning 2,000 bonus Avios when the Member has selected British Airways as their preferred automatic conversion option.
3. 2,000 bonus Avios will be earned if the Member stays 2 or more nights between the dates stated above.
4. Bonus points are only awarded on the first stay. Multiple stays will be counted as one. The 2 nights need to be consecutive.
4. Members will still be eligible for their base Avios earned during their stay
5. A minimum of two nights must be booked.
6. You must book your stay online at accorhotels.com, participating brand websites, or via the Call Center to benefit from this offer.
7. General Le Club Accorhotels conditions apply.

Iberia’s Layoffs & IAG’s Attempt to Buy Vueling

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It has been a busy week with IAG, the parent of British Airways and Iberia, that made an offer to buy the rest of the Vueling, a Barcelona based discount carrier, that it doesn’t already own and an announcement of layoffs of around 4500 at its Iberia unit.

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IAG made a bid to buy rest of the Vueling that it doesn’t already own on November 8. Currently IAG owns about 46 of the airline. Unlike IAG’s Iberia, Vueling is a profitable airline and has considerable amount of cash on its balance sheet (407 million euros).

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Then on Friday, the IAG announced that it would need to fire 4500 employees of the Iberia unit that is currently not profitable. The airline has tried to move more of Iberia’s flying to its low cost Iberia Express unit. That has resulted the mainline to have too many employees working for it. The overall economic problems of Spain has resulted in fewer flights than previously required.

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Many of the European airlines are trying to outsource their unprofitable European flying that is required to support the network. Lufthansa recently announced to move all of the flying that doesn’t touch its Munich and Frankfurt hubs to Germanwings.

Finnair has already moved all of its Embraer fleet to be flown by UK based Flybe under their Flybe Finland subsidiary, although under Finnair flight numbers and service concept.

Conclusion

It is interesting to see if IAG’s bid for Vueling is successful and whether they would incorporate the airline under the Iberia Express brand.

The problems with Iberia that requires fewer headcount has been widely known due to fewer flights having been flown under the mainline Iberia-brand. Reducing headcount is not easy in Spain and especially now that the country is going through rather tough times.

Hilton HHonors: Third Look at Airline Related Promotions for the Fourth Quarter

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Hilton HHonors is running number of airline related offers for double and triple miles during the months of November & December. None of these promotions are listed on Hilton’s own website, but rather were targeted for frequent flier members of participating airlines.

If I have missed any Hilton (or any other hotel or airline related promo), you can always just send me an email to john@loyaltylobby.com. Just forward the promo email that you received from the program.

These are normally called airline acquisition promotions. Frequent fliers tend to stay quite a few nights hotels as well and they are thus very important group for hotel programs to attract.

Note that you need to change your Hilton earnings preference to Points + Fixed Miles or Points + Variable Miles. The preferable option is dependent of the airlines program, hotel brand you are staying at, and the folio amount.

My personal favorite that I have already maxed out is the  Hilton’s promotion with Virgin Atlantic. I won’t have that many stays with Hilton this quarter. Five stays earns 15K bonus + 5K base Virgin miles. I will transfer these back to Hilton for 40K Hilton HHonors points.

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Hilton HHonors Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Bonus Offer – 15K Bonus Miles for 5 Stays

You can get bonus miles or points for American Airlines, JetBlue, United, US Airways or Virgin America for stays at Waldorf Astoria hotels. The bonus is based on nights and expire on December 31, 2012.

Waldorf Astoria: Nightly Bonus Miles & Points for American, JetBlue, United, US Airways and Virgin America

Conrad hotels are offering 1000 bonus miles per night for American Airways, United Airlines, and US Airways frequent fliers. Offer is valid until December 31, 2012.

Conrad Hotels: 1000 American, United, or US Airways Bonus Miles per Night

You can earn 250 Delta MQM’s and double SkyMiles for stays of 2 nights or longer between October 1 and December 15, 2012. This offer is available at select hotels.

250 Delta MQM’s and Double Miles for Stays of 2 Nights or Longer at Select Hilton Family of Hotels

Hilton is offering double airline miles for American, Aeromexico, AviancaTaca, MultiPlus(TAM) and United on select hotels in Latin America until December 31, 2012.

Double American Airlines, AviancaTaca, AeroMexico, TAM/Multiplus & United Airlines Miles in the Americas on Hilton Family of Hotels

Hilton is offering maximum of 15K bonus Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for 5 stays. You can always transfer the bonus + base miles back to Hilton HHonors for total of 40K HH points. This promotion is valid until December 31, 2012

Hilton HHonors Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Bonus Offer – 15K Bonus Miles for 5 Stays

Hilton has a promotion with Miles & More (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian etc) for up to quadruple miles until December 31, 2012.

Hilton HHonors Miles & More Promotion for Up To Quadruple Miles

You can earn 4000 bonus Emirates Skywards miles on your second stay. This offer is valid until December 31, 2012.

Hilton HHonors Emirates Skywards Promotion – 4000 Bonus Miles on Your Second Stay

Hilton is offering double points for Air Canada Aeroplan members until the end of December, 2012.

Hilton HHonors Aeroplan Offer: Double Miles Until December 31

Double Qantas points (2000) for Hilton stays between November 1 and December 31, 2012.

Double Qantas Points (2000) at Hilton Properties Worldwide

Hilton is offering triple miles for number of Asian airlines frequent flier members. They have variation of the offer for Thai, Singapore, Korean, Asiana, Malaysia, and Cathay Pacific.

Triple Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Miles at Hilton Hotels Worldwide

Triple Asiana Miles at Hilton Family of Hotels Worldwide

Triple Malaysia Airlines Enrich Miles for Hilton Stays Worldwide

Triple Korean Air Skypass Miles at Hilton Family of Hotels Worldwide

Triple Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles at Hilton Family of Hotels Worldwide

Triple Cathay Pacific Asia Miles with Hilton HHonors

You can earn up to 3000 bonus Avios (for BA Gold member) for a Hilton stay by December 31, 2013.

Up To 3000 Bonus Avios (British Airways) for a Hilton Family Hotel Stay

Conclusion

Make sure that you have chosen the correct double dip option (fixed vs variable) and have the airline as your preferred double dip airline partner.

Some airlines don’t participate to both fixed and variable miles. Also, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites don’t always earn fixed miles at the full level. Home2 Suites brand earns even less. You have to check these by the airline.

I have already done the Virgin Atlantic and British Airways versions of these airline promotions. I am not planning to have more Hilton stays this quarter.

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