Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

  • memesweeper 1,331 posts

    I have been without an British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card (BAPP) for nearly two years. After several stonking-value redemptions with the companion voucher with pre-pandemic bookings, I was now struggling to use it, and beginning to think it wasn’t worth having. I’ve not had the BAPP for some time, and an unused and approaching expiry voucher in the BA account. Finally made a booking! Club to Istanbul, saved 48,500 Avios (the max Avios in this case was near-as-dammit the same as the normal best value “middle” redemption). So, using a floor value for Avios of .67p, that’s £ 324 saving, from which I need to deduct a £ 250 fee if I get the card again (no option to cancel early anymore). OK, it’s not First to Los Angeles, but not too shabby after all.

    I think I’ll get the card again. The earnings rate is good too, but day-to-day spend might end up on another card instead…

    Peter K 619 posts

    I’m in the same quandry. The sign up bonus basically negates the £250 fee in the first year, but overall I’m falling out of love with the idea of keeping the BAPP.

    NorthernLass 8,484 posts

    It’s a very personal decision. If you’re definitely going to be able to use the 241 on an expensive J or F route, it’s still a no-brainer IMO, especially as it can now be used on IB and EI.

    Froggee 1,006 posts

    Well firstly, remember they’re doing a 60,000 sign up bonus just now so, depending on your Avios valuation, that is ~two years membership fee paid.

    Only you know your flying patterns but if you fly long haul annually then it is worthwhile in my opinion, even if you have to buy the Avios.

    I’m “blessed” by living in Edinburgh so the voucher also opens up additional availability which I recently benefited from, booking four J to Singapore on my first choice of dates (albeit not my first choice of plane). I value Avios at 1p so with that valuation it cost £7,380 for the four of us. I couldn’t come close to that for cash, particularly not for refundable flights.

    I gave up the BAPP several years ago as we weren’t flying long haul as had very young kids. This, of course, meant when we wanted to fly long haul again, I didn’t have any Amex vouchers which saw me end up paying cash. There was Avios availability but without the Amex vouchers, it doesn’t always stack up long haul.

    So personally, I’m happy to pay £250 a year to have the optionality for these outsize redemptions when they come up. And I’m going to get Mrs Froggee to apply for the BAPP during the current sign up bonus as I could see us using two vouchers a year for a wee while.

    As always, YMMV.

    AJA 1,156 posts

    I still think the BAPP card is worthwhile even with the £250 fee. I’ve never churned either.

    The fact that you get 1.5 Avios per £ on general spending and 3 Avios per £ with BA is good. That means I’m always eligible foe RFS even if the only flying I do in a year is redemptions.

    Plus the extra availability with the now current voucher is great. My OH and I each have the card and we use both vouchers each year.

    The fact I am ineligible for the Barclays Avios card as I still hold the Hilton card also sways my decision.

    FatherOfFour 288 posts

    I’m thinking about how my travel has changed since getting involved in the points “game” and doing my first 241. I’m also reflecting on a quote from my best mans’ wedding speech about how when we turned up at a bar and it was 241 on drinks, I had twice as many drinks for the same cost, rather than the drinks I would have had for half the cost.

    Would I ever pay the cash prices for business class travel? – Possibly, but not always
    Would my wife ever pay the cash prices for business class travel? – No
    Did having a BAPP voucher make it easier for me to sell the idea – definitely. We’ve done a CE and a CW together now.

    She now has a BAPP which she got initially for the 70k signup at the beginning of the year. Whilst we had plans for a break together next year, there is no way I would use the voucher on the short hop to CDG… so I’ve ended up “creating” a long-haul trip which we wouldn’t have otherwise done in order to make good use of the voucher. Have I saved any money at all? Not at all. Will I enjoy a few days away with my wife, hopefully travelling in comfort? hell yeah!

    With the size of our family, opportunities will be more limited, but as per the “what to do with 500k Avios?” thread, there are definitely times where we’ll be able to save by using Avios and we MAY be able to one day piece together a trip using 2+1 2-4-1s!

    SamG 1,731 posts

    I am in the same position, I’ve got 2 young kids now so I can’t see it adding much value for us for a few years outside of Y1 with a decent sign on bonus like now. I would then consider getting the cards to get vouchers for a “big” trip every couple of years which would probably be about right for us – Florida, Safari, Japan etc. I’d love to fly biz for those but they wouldn’t be an annual event

    I would like a Feb half term canary island trip in CE to be a regular fixture in my calendar so perhaps the numbers with the extra 0.5p earn vs my barclaycard work. Though then you’re out of scope for welcome bonuses. I feel a spreadsheet coming on!

    Gavin454 174 posts

    I don’t consider it to be worthwhile, even before the pandemic. I used a 2-4-1 to go in Club World to Seattle (and then a standard redemption with Avios to Hawaii) in 2017, but it would have ended up cheaper to have booked a cash flight ex-EU and with the additional benefit of gaining many Avios and tier points, and much greater booking flexibility on dates and timing. Ended up letting my last voucher expire over the pandemic.

    My only good value 2-4-1 redemption was the LCY – JFK all business class plane in 2015 booked before the devaluation early that year. But redemption prices have increased a lot since then, and that unique service no longer operates.

    I used a 2-4-1 once to go to Seychelles too, which was OK value, but it was comparable to booking WT+ with cash and upgrading using Avios.

    NorthernLass 8,484 posts

    I had a few years of just earning too many vouchers and doing a couple of trips, e.g. short breaks to JFK and BOS in F just because we could rather than because we really wanted to! But now I feel like I’ve properly got the hang of getting best value out of it, we’ll probably just use the 241 for our annual GCM trip. Cash prices are always high in CW, and we’d be going anyway, but paying around £1k pp for economy seats, so being able to do the 12-hour flight in PE or CW completely transforms the travel experience. Being able to travel in CW for the cash outlay of economy is well worth it.

    The Savage Squirrel 610 posts

    I’ve had a couple of very decent redemptions and a couple of times I’ve been scratching my head a bit.

    Overall the voucher is always somewhat speculative (you’re unlikely to embark on earning it with a specific redemption on a specific date already pencilled in). It might help to think of the voucher as a speculative cost in a similar way to the flights you book somewhat speculatively then spend £35 shifting or cancelling. Worst case scenario is you spend £250 on the OPTION of using a 2-for-1. Even if it didn’t turn out to be brilliant in hindsight, or even expires unused, the chances of it potentially being very useful were enough to justify that cost at the time (and of course a lot can change in the 2 yrs of its validity). Just like if you end up cancelling a speculative booking and eating the £cost it doesn’t mean the original decision to book was necessarily a bad one.

    Also, if you don’t get it then Murphy’s law dictates that you will see amazing opportunities where you could have used it brilliantly on several occasions in the next two years. 😀

    meta 1,465 posts

    @The Savage Squirrel I actually do have a destination in mind and the approximate dates when I start earning the voucher every year. I know exactly when I want to trigger it and I also don’t want to trigger it too soon as for example, I want to use it for my anniversary every year. I have never used a voucher for a destination where I didn’t want to go and have been able to secure seats without too much trouble.

    However, I used it more for F and since that availability has dried up, I find myself questioning the value of the voucher. Then again, I am also leaning towards keeping it because of BAPP’s earning rates and I can use them to fly on partner airlines in J and F. It’s the same earning rate as the paid Barclaycard Mastercard, but Amex has more sizeable statement offers so wins over. I am also leaning towards keeping it because I can use it on Iberia.

    memesweeper 1,331 posts

    Much food for thought — in particular optimising the timing for earning a new one. I think I’m “in” on a new BAPP, but hold off until I have a semblance of a plan.

    If I can’t/won’t use the voucher I’ve blown £ 250 earning (say) 10,000 extra Avios. The increased earning rate definitely is not a sufficient incentive.

    Vit 173 posts

    Interesting stuffs here from fellow Hfpers. I have not put much thoughts into this myself as only used 3 x amex vouchers so far. 2 of them being put onto non-BA (i.e. QR and JL) and 1 on BA F, so I guess the “beneficial factors” I’ve and will are a bit (positively) skewed by this. I triggered the 4th one which I need to seriously think about the game-plan especially now that we have a little one on tow too. It is not as straightforward as it used to be.

    With £250 I am veered toward a no as long as the voucher is not usable on QR (or BA returning to BKK) which enables us going home in the East once / twice a year. Having to fight for availability to SIN / HKG / TYO is fun and game but it adds cost and time which take away the “benefits” of the voucher.

    To me it really depends on what your personal circumstances are. There is no one size fits all.

    mark2 133 posts

    I would not get the BAPP (but am drowning in Avios).
    But I believe that I would get better redemption availability with a companion voucher.

    kelliea1 95 posts

    I’m still in a dilemma whether to upgrade my OH to BAPP as he’s about to trigger the 241 on the BA credit card. We have no plans to use it for next year as already have a trip booked from my 241 on the BAPP. Would be paying £250 upgrade when I will be eligible to earn another 241 on my card next year anyway.

    rams 228 posts

    The card offers used to help offer the fee but these are definitely getting worse

    Mart16 48 posts

    If you downgrade the bapp in say, 3 months, collect the pro rata refund for downgrading but not cancelling, after hitting the sub and voucher, could you then 9 months + 1 day later upgrade again and rinse and repeat this tactic?

    zapato1060 719 posts

    If you downgrade the bapp in say, 3 months, collect the pro rata refund for downgrading but not cancelling, after hitting the sub and voucher, could you then 9 months + 1 day later upgrade again and rinse and repeat this tactic?

    Yes to the pro rata, but no to the bonus as that would have been a one off. Of course with no guarantees that you’d be accepted in 9 months and a day.

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