What Can I Do With 100,000 British Airways Miles?

.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.

The results

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. I did zero playing around with dates, so it is possible that you could find cheaper flights.
  4. For award booking and Orbitz flights, I always searched flights departing and arriving in the middle of the week.
  5. 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.

If you want to get a $2,316.91 value out of signing up for a British Airways Visa.

Any questions?


  1. R says

    I would be one of travel newbies you mentioned. :)
    1. I’m assuming these are r/t flights.
    2. What is LAN?
    3. Lastly, what is the deal with unlimited stops on BA? How does that work?


    • Craig says

      As a newbie you might check out my free ebook that introduces you to the world for frequent flyer miles – http://travelfreecoach.com/earn-frequent-flyer-miles-from-your-living-room/.
      1. Yes, these are round trip flights that I mentioned. British Airways (BA) does allow one way bookings.
      2. LAN is an airline that fly’s to South America. It is part of the One World group of airlines. You can use BA miles on any airline in the group.
      3. With the unlimited stops different airline have different policies. BA has the best for stops. When you fly if you touch down en route to your destination then you can stay for as many days as you wish for no extra cost. This allows you to do 3-4 cities in South America with one award ticket.
      You can also so this in the US. If you’re traveling from LAX do JFK with a stop in DFW and Miami you can spend as may days as you wish in any city you stop in along the way.

      Let me know if you have any more questions. Be sure to check out the book!

  2. David says

    So are BA miles used at a 1:1 ratio if you’re flying a American Airlines route that would cost you 70K with American Airlines miles?

    • Craig says

      That is basically correct. The mileage requirement would be based on the BA awards chart. If AA uses 35,000 miles for a flight and BA requires 40,000 you would use 40,000. But, you can use that mileage amount to book flights on American. Look on the BA award chart then see if AA has anything available.

  3. lucy says

    We are a family of 4 planing our dram vacation to Turkey and Israel. We got tickets with our AA miles and are wondering if it will be wise to use this100k miles for accomodations and car rental. We thank you in advance for Any suggestions?

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