.Last week I mentioned that Chase is having a limited time sign up bonus (till May 6th – unless they pull it sooner) with the 100,000 bonus miles British Airways Visa.
The bonus? After meeting the required minimum spend ($2,500 in 90 days), you’ll get 100,000 miles.
Here’s the deal. There are a lot of you who are hearing people like me say this is the best credit card sign up bonus I’ve seen in 10 years, but you have no idea what 100,000 miles can do for you. You’re new to the frequent flyer miles game and need a little more convincing to know if this really is a good deal.
Let’s say I told you that you can get a decent meal here in Alotau for K9. What does that mean? How about if I said it’s $3 US or Canadian dollars?
Sometimes we’ve got to put flesh and blood on something for it to make sense. So, let me help you understand what 100,000 BA miles can get you.
What Can I Do With 100,000 British Airways Miles?
I had some readers on my personal finance blog ask about specific itineraries, so I included some of those below. I also just randomly searched dates. I didn’t seek out the most exotic or luxurious destinations, but believe me, you could take a lot of fantastic trips using these points. Here’s a post with some of the best ways to use BA miles.
I focused on dates in Jan and Feb 2012 because I wanted to focus on finding the number of miles with taxes and fees, not availability. All bookings I checked are in economy because I figured that most people just starting out want to get the most number of trips, not the classiest fares.
|From .. To||B.A. Miles plus taxes and fees||Orbitz.com Cash price||Value per mile (Orbitz cost – taxes and fees / total miles)|
|JFK (New York) to Easter Island Chili (IPC)||40,000 + $75.18 on LAN||$1,237 on LAN||2.9 cents per mile|
|Sydney, Australia to Christchurch, New Zealand||50,000 + $249.16 on Qantas||$515 on Air New Zealand||half a cent per mile|
|Los Angeles to New York (JFK)||25,000 + $5.00 on American||$499 on Alaska Airlines||1.98 cents per mile|
|Dallas to Brisbane, Australia||100,000 +$427.73 on Qantas||$1,900 on Qantas||1.47 cents per mile|
|Los Angeles to Brisbane, Australia||80,000 + $427.73 on Qantas||$1686 on China Southern||1.57 cents per mile|
|Philadelphia to Rome, Italy||60,000 + $505 on British Airways||$845||half a cent per mile|
|Toronto, Canada to Hong Kong||120,000 + $902.28 on British Airways||$1169||quarter of a cent per mile|
|Toronto, Canada to Hong Kong||50,000 + 294.66 on Cathay Pacific||$1169||1.75 cents per mile|
So, how valuable is 100,000 British Airways bonus miles?
Using the most valuable itinerary listed above (business class fares are even more valuable), at 2.9 cents per mile, 100,000 miles is worth $2,900. As an example, a business class flight from Toronto to Hong Kong would cost 80,000 miles and $294.66. That flight costs $6,788. That would be an 8.11 cents per mile value for a total value on the 100,000 miles at $8,166.68. But I know that’s probably not how most newbie points collectors will use their points.
Using the least valuable itinerary listed above (excluding Toronto to Hong Kong on BA – which was just used for illustrative purposes), at half a cent per mile, the 100,000 miles is worth $500.
Using the average (excluding Toronto to Hong Kong on BA which was just used for illustrative purposes), at 1.52 the average value of 100,000 miles is $2,316.91.
Notes on the calculation and chart for the value of 100,000 British Airways miles:
- I included a couple of British Airways flights on BA to show how much you’ll want to avoid actually flying BA. They have crazy fuel surcharges and extra fees. As an example, look at the Toronto to Hong Kong segments on BA vs Cathay Pacific. You save 70,000 points and over $600 in fees.
- Of course, one of the draw backs with miles is that you’ll need to either be smart when you book or book in advance. There is no guarantee that you’ll be able to get the exact flights you want.
- I did zero playing around with dates, so it is possible that you could find cheaper flights.
- For award booking and Orbitz flights, I always searched flights departing and arriving in the middle of the week.
- Regarding domestic US travel, you might expect fares to be around $250 roundtrip (not the $499 mentioned above). As such, for US travel, I would say the value of the points is around $1,000.