Is it Worth Earning a British Airways Travel Together Ticket?

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Million Mile Secrets reader GLG commented:

Hi Daraius,
I am spending $20,000 to get the British Airways 100,000 miles.  Is it worth an extra $10,000 in spending to get the ‘companion cert.’ ?  I’m stuck only using it on British Airways flights.  Can I use it with British Airways Avios points on British Airways flights?  What have you two done with your Companion certs.?

Is It Worth Earning A British Airways Travel Together Ticket

Emily & I Used Our Travel Together Ticket to Fly British Airways First Class From Boston to London

Gary wants to know if the British Airways Travel Together ticket is worth earning.

Buy 1, Get 1 With the Travel Together Ticket

Link:   British Airways card

Link:   British Airways Travel Together Ticket

Link:   British Airways Travel Together Ticket restrictions

Gary can earn a Travel Together Ticket (companion certificate) when he spends $30,000 in a calendar year on his British Airways card.  Only 1 Travel Together ticket can be earned per calendar year.

The Travel Together Ticket lets a companion fly with Gary when he flies on British Airways using his British Airways Avios points.  Gary only pays the British Airways Avios points for his award ticket and his companion gets to fly “free” without using any British Airways Avios points.

However, Gary has to pay high fuel surcharges for BOTH himself and his companion.  So he should crunch the numbers to see if this makes sense for him or not!

The Travel Together Ticket comes with a few restrictions:

  • Can only be used on British Airways
  • Will pay fuel surcharges
  • Flights have to start and end in the US
  • The cardholder has to travel
  • The Companion has to be on the same itinerary
  • Can only be used on round-trip award flights
  • Good for 2 years from the issue date

It could be worth it if Gary is comfortable paying ~$800 per ticket in fuel surcharges.

It’s usually not worth it for a coach ticket, but could make sense for a First Class or Business Class ticket that normally costs thousands of dollars.  Emily and I used our Travel Together ticket for our Paris honeymoon.

But What About Fuel Surcharges?

Because the Travel Together ticket can only be used on British Airways flights (you can’t use it on partner airlines such as American Airlines etc.), Gary will pay high fuel surcharges when he redeems his Travel Together ticket.

If Gary flew from New York to London, he would pay 40,000 British Airways Avios points + $699 to fly coach! Gary’s companion would also pay $699 in fuel surcharges, but pay 0 British Airways Avios points.

So Gary ends up paying 40,000 British Airways Avios points + $1,398 ($699 in surcharges X 2 tickets) for 2 coach tickets.

Is It Worth Earning A British Airways Travel Together Ticket

When Gary Flies on British Airways He Pays High Fuel Surcharges

If Gary bought 2 coach tickets (with cash) from New York to London, he would pay ~$1,017 per person, or ~$2,034 for 2 tickets.

He would pay ~$636 more (~$2,034 cost of 2 coach tickets – $1,398 fuel surcharges for 2 coach award tickets).  But he would save 40,000 British Airways Avios points and earn British Airways Avios points for the flight (~7,000 miles per round-trip)!

Gary should decide if it’s worth paying ~$636 to save 40,000 British Airways Avios points and earning points for his flights.

If Gary prefers saving cash, he should use his Travel Together ticket.

Is It Worth Earning A British Airways Travel Together Ticket

It Costs Almost as Much to Buy a Cost Ticket

However, the calculations are a lot clearer with business or First Class tickets and Gary should consider using his Travel Together ticket for Business Class or First Class tickets.

To fly from New York to London in Business Class Gary would pay 80,000 British Airways Avios points + $1,181 in fuel surcharges.  His companion would also pay $1,181 in fuel surcharges, but 0 British Airways Avios points.  So for 2 Business Class tickets he would pay 80,000 British Airways Avios + $2,362.

Is It Worth Earning A British Airways Travel Together Ticket

Gary Pays 2X More British Airways Points and $964 More to Fly Business Class With His Companion

But buying a Business Class ticket (with cash) would cost Gary $5,278 per person, or $10,556 for two tickets!

Is It Worth Earning A British Airways Travel Together Ticket

Gary Would Get a Better Value Using His British Avios Points for Business Class Tickets

Gary can decide if the comfort and perks of Business Class seats are worth an extra 40,000 British Airways points (80,000 British Airways Avios points for Business Class – 40,000 British Airways Avios points for coach) and $964 ($2,362 Business Class fuel surcharges – $1,398 coach fuel surcharges) over coach.

Paying $2,362 and 80,000 Avios points for 2 business class tickets is a much better use of the Travel Together ticket.

And for 120,000 British Airways Avios points and $1,181, Gary could fly First Class from New York to London.

So he would pay 120,000 British Airways Avios + $2,362 in fuel surcharges for 2 First Class tickets.

Is It Worth Earning A British Airways Travel Together Ticket

The Fuel Surcharges Are the Same If Gary Flies First Class

Gary can decide if the comfort and perks of First Class seats are worth an extra 80,000 British Airways points  (120,000 British Airways Avios points for First Class – 40,000 British Airways Avios points for coach) and $964 ($2,362 First Class fuel surcharges – $1,398 coach fuel surcharges). 

So Gary and his companion would pay the same amount in fuel surcharges to fly in Business Class or First Class.

Could His $10,000 Be Better Spent?

Gary could spend an additional $10,000 on his British Airways card to meet the $30,000 calendar year spending requirement to earn the Travel Together ticket.  This could be a good idea if Gary can easily meet the additional $10,000 in spending.  Or if he doesn’t mind paying the high fuel surcharges when using British Airways Avios on British Airways.

Or he could spend $10,000 to meet the minimum spending requirement on the Citi American Airlines Executive card.  Gary would earn 100,000 American Airlines miles after he spends $10,000 in the first 3 months.  Or he can get a Chase Ink Bold or Ink Plus card if he’d like to earn Ultimate Rewards points (which can be transferred to many airlines including British Airways).

British Airways Avios Points

British Airways Avios points uses a distance based award chart, so using British Airways Avios points on short distance flights is a good deal.  Gary can use his British Airways Avios points on partner airlines, like American Airlines.

Gary would pay 4,500 British Airways Avios points for a 1-way flight up to 650 miles and 7,500 British Airways Avios points 1-way for a flight up to 1,151 miles.

So if he wanted to fly 1-way in coach from Phoenix to Los Angeles, Gary would only pay 4,500 British Airways Avios points.  This is a much better deal than paying 12,500 American Airlines miles for the same flight!

Is It Worth Earning A British Airways Travel Together Ticket

Gary Pays 4,500 British Airways Avios When He Flies up to 650 Miles

When Gary uses his British Airways Avios points for flights in the US he doesn’t pay fuel surcharges.  He would also avoid fuel surcharges if he used his British Airways Avios points flying on:

  • Air Berlin
  • Aer Lingus
  • Iberia
  • LAN flights except some LAN domestic flights

But Gary pays fuel surcharges when he flies on British Airways.  And to use the Travel Together Ticket, he has to fly on British Airways.

Bottom Line

Gary can earn a Travel Together ticket after spending $30,000 in a calendar year on his British Airways card.

The Travel Together ticket lets him bring a companion on a British Airways award ticket without spending any additional British Airways Avios points.  Gary only pays the fuel surcharges for his companion to fly and 0 British Airways Avios points.

Gary can only earn 1 Travel Together ticket in a calendar year and has to use it within 2 years.

It might make more sense for Gary to use his Travel Together ticket on Business Class or First Class tickets than on coach tickets because of the high fuel surcharges.  But it depends on the cash price of the coach tickets which Gary would otherwise buy.

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12 responses to “Is it Worth Earning a British Airways Travel Together Ticket?

  1. Hi Darius, I am glad you decided to write about me. I actually decided to book business class rather than coach. It was very easy to call the AA booking department to book this. It only took about 5 minutes. This will be my first time flying in business class. I’ll be leaving next Tuesday.

  2. I think that you should let your readers know that the chance they can find two first or even business class seats west of Tampa Florida are pretty slim. Phoenix used to be a gold mine last I checked there were zero days with two first or two business seats for awards. LAX and SFO were also not showing a single day with two First class awards. I believe business was not too much better

  3. Greg is right of course. That’s why there is absolutely no sense to make an effort to go for a TT.
    Even if someone decides to swallow the fees, it’s pointless. I considered it for a moment,
    as flying out of LAX direct to Europe is becoming very limited, so BA to LHR is a valid option, but…
    I checked availability and ZERO days in F/J for the entire year are available.
    But this of course makes this whole post pointless and every chance to include a few links is good, right?

  4. Timely post, Daraius! I’m thinking of flying from San Diego to Munich on BA and it shows the following options:
    29500 $ 0.00 + taxes, fees and carrier charges
    24000 $ 80.00 + taxes, fees and carrier charges
    19850 $ 130.00 + taxes, fees and carrier charges
    15800 $ 180.00 + taxes, fees and carrier charges
    12800 $ 210.00 + taxes, fees and carrier charges
    10000 $ 240.00 + taxes, fees and carrier charges
    So does this mean that if I use more Avios then they cover for the fuel surcharges? What’s the total trip cost in this case. Does BA have a model where u can pay more Avios to compensate for the high fuel surchages? Thanks!

    • @Bob – You’re welcome!

      @Greg @Andrew – Award seats keep on changing, so keep checking. That said, there are definitely less award seats this year.

      @SRT – That is the cash and points rate, and I don’t believe you can use Avios points for the fuel surcharges.

  5. One can always get business class tickets to Europe for less than $2500 round-trip for most of the days by booking through a travel agent. I always book business class tickets for my parents from India to USA round-trip for less than $3200. Paying $2,362 and 80,000 Avios points to redeem 2 tickets to Europe is one of the dumbest idea IMHO.

  6. @Daraius: Thanks for clarifying! Any particular airline you’d recommend for flying to Munich from San Diego when it comes to award redemption value? Thanks!

  7. I think the biggest draw backs on the TTT is that you have to use it from the USA. If you could get to London and then use it to go from there to Asia or elsewhere and avoid some of the fuel charges it would be much better even if on a short route.
    I also value Avios higher than AA miles for USA domestic as you earn 1.25 Avios per $1 on regular spend versus 1x$1 on AA cards typically. So if you spend 30k on a BA card you end up with 37500 Avios versus 30k and 30k on AA cards.

  8. One of the best value it’s to go to india from nyc in the ttt in business class, remember you can go anywhere ba fly. Just has to be roundtrip from usa

  9. Glad Greg and Andrew are calling you out on this. You know full well how hard it is to find the seats, and this isn’t some temporary thing.

    You’ve lost my trust.

  10. received my Britsh Airway free companion voucher for two years since 2012. I still have not been able to find my flights from SFO or Lax . Its going to expire on Sept 19,2014. i could only go during Sept 2014. Any flights suggestions are really appreciated. I have accumulated 96000Avois. Finding award seats are so frustrated at British Airway website. There are almost nothing no flights available if i want to depart from sfo or lax any ither routes that are easier to get a seat? fuel charges are as much as a ticket . i cancel my card a year ago .

  11. i have applied different credit cards Amex ,Chase and paying different annual fees each year. Can i cancel it and re apply later? Do i get my credit score pull down by cancelling credit cards?