Is it Worth Earning a British Airways Travel Together Ticket?
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Million Mile Secrets reader GLG commented:
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.?
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 cardGary 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.
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.
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.
But buying a Business Class ticket (with cash) would cost Gary $5,278 per person, or $10,556 for two 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.
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.
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® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. 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!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
- 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.
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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