I started out with 370,000 British Airway miles when BA announced that they were changing their program. Under the old program you got unlimited stopovers as long as it was on the way. So last week I redeemed all but 50,000 for the following flights:
New York, NY – Hong Kong (1 Month Stopover).
Hong Kong – Jakarta, Indonesia (4 month stop over to roam around SE Asia).
Singapore – Sydney, Australia (5 week stopover).
Sydney, Australia – Auckland, New Zealand (1 month stopover).
Auckland, New Zealand – Santiago, Chile (3 week stopover).
Santiago, Chile – Easter Island (4 day stopover).
Easter Island – Lima, Peru (1 month stopover).
Lima, Peru – Miami!
Actually we did all that on 200,000 BA miles because 120,000 of those went to flying two friends (including my wife’s twin sister) NYC to Santiago; Easter Island; Peru and back to NYC, half the trip being business class. That means this entire itinerary was 100,000 points each person plus tax. What does tax look like? Well for my friends to fly from NYC – Santiago – Easter Island – Lima – NYC cost $140 (which is tax + fuel surcharges) and 60,000 miles (20k for economy down + 40k for business back).
Note that the South American airline partner LAN has much cheaper fees than Quantas in Australia. Huge difference. And personally even though British Airways has devalued the miles for people in North American I still see it’s advantages being in South America.Why?
- LAN Airline’s fees are super cheap.
- Domestic flights are cheaper.
- A ticket from Miami to Cancun or Grand Cayman Island is now 4,500 miles. (9,000 miles round trip!)
- Easter Island – Papeete, Tahiti, was 37,500 miles, now 12,500 miles.
- All flights have the option to pay with points or a combo between points and cash.
- The stopovers are gone! You can book in one way segments and stopover as long as you like though.
- Long Hauls are more expensive.
- NYC – Hong Kong, was 25,000 miles, now 35,000 miles.
- NYC – Santiago – Easter Island, was 20,000 miles, now 47,500 miles.
My recommendation is to wait until Chase runs the 100,000 miles British Airways credit card promotion and then sign up (who knows when that will be, but I’ll let you know). And/or wait for a big American Express promotion and wait for British Airways to run a 50% bonus promotion where you get 50% more for transferring to British Airways.
Finally, I would seek other airline miles for long hauls and reserve British Airways points for hopping around.
While I’m disappointed because my itinerary would not be possible for 100,000 miles under the new program, Avios, I will still be harvesting British Airways for the new perks.