Gary at View from the Wing writes today about the British Airways Visa which is a great card to get for a number of reasons:
– 50,000 points after $2,500 spend; no annual fee first year
– Those 50,000 points can be used for 10 short-haul one-way tickets on American.
– They’re usable on LAN and AA to South America with no fuel surcharges.
– You can use them on Aer Lingus and Air Berlin with no fuel surcharges.
– Great redemption rates when used on AA to the Caribbean; Central America; and Hawaii (from the West Coast).
Gary also likes the Travel Together ticket you get from BA after you spend $30,000 on the card in a year. You basically get a 2-for-1 award ticket redeemable on BA metal. In short, if you and your spouse each get a card, and one of you puts $30k in spend on the card, you’ll have enough points for 2 award tickets from the East Coast to London in First Class. However, you have to pay fuel surcharges for each person on those tickets.
That is no small thing: taxes on EACH ticket on a roundtrip First Class sample booking JFK-London are $1,153. Each. Those award tickets will cost you $2,306. Oh, plus if you had put that $30,000 spend on a 2% cash back card you would’ve earned $600, so those tickets are actually costing you $2,906. It’s not just London – flights to Rome are $1,027 each.
So if you wanted 2 premium class tickets to Europe without a crazy amount of spend (or fuel surcharges), what can you do?
– You and your spouse could each get the SPG personal and business cards. When you hit the minimum spends ($5k for each card), you’ll have more than enough to transfer to ANA, which you can use to redeem for surcharge-free flights on United to Europe. Just 63k from New York to London, or 68k round trip from the East Coast to Europe.
– But that would still require $20,000 in actual spend. I would go this route: each of you get a Sapphire Preferred and an Ink Bold. You can hit the minimum spends on those buying gift cards – $3,000 spend gets you 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points for the Sapphire Preferred, and $5,000 gets you 50,000 points with the Bold. Add $2,000 additional dollars in spend and you can transfer those 100,000 points to United, where you can get a surcharge-free ticket to Europe in Business Class. Plus you can put your regular spend on whatever your preferred card is.
There are certainly lots of people who are happy to spend $2k+ for 2 First Class tickets to Europe. But for those of us who don’t want to do that it’s good to know there are other options.