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Most efficient use of points for two trips in Nov+Mar as detailed here?

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  • creativekeyboard2

    Hi All,

    Long time lurker – me and my partner have got into the points game this year. We’re planning to do 2 trips, one in November and one in March.

    I currently have about 33k Avios, 22k AMEX Points, and I should have a Barclaycard Avios upgrade voucher around December.

    My partner will have her 30k bonus AMEX points imminently. One/both of us could potentially get another card and quickly get some extra points in the next couple of months, but we’ve both already done AMEX Gold.

    Altogether I think we’ll have about 36k avios + 54k AMEX points ahead of the November trip. By January February that might be closer to 100k overall, along with the upgrade voucher I’ll have by then.

    We want to go to San Francisco / New York on Business Class ideally for one of the trips (one way if we can’t use points for return) and are open to wherever (cash rather than points probably) for the other one.

    I think it probably makes most sense to do a Cash Trip in November, and combine all the points together for the March/April trip. Is that the most efficient way?

    VerdantBacon

    Get the BAPP for the 241 voucher and it’ll help your points go much further.

    Whoever currently has the Gold Amex can refer the other to the BAPP to get the refer bonus points.

    Remember on sign up don’t add a supp card, do that after you receive your card for an extra 3k points

    AJA

    I think that realistically you are going to have to save more Avios if you want to fly to Club World. I would get the BAPP card as @VerdantBacon suggests by getting one to refer the other. Just remember that unless you have a household account the person with the companion voucher is going to need to have enough Avios to benefit. LHR to SFO return off peak is 125k per passenger. So I would pay cash for the NYC flights dor November as they will not only be cheaper than CW to SFO but will earn you some much needed Avios. Paying for the airfares on the BAPP will earn 3x Avios plus go a fair way towards the £10k spend needed to get the companion voucher.Then use the companion voucher to buy the CW tickets to SFO in March. The only issue is whether they will still be available to buy by the time you’ve saved and spent enough to get the companion voucher.

    Another thing to consider is booking WTP to SFO and upgrading to CW using Avios either on both legs or just the outbound or inbound depending on if you want to sleep. That may not save much Avios but is easier to do without having the companion voucher especially as the taxes and fees to SFO for two are going to be in excess of £1600 anyway and that is approaching WTP return cash fare territory for two on that route. You will also earn Avios and TP on the fare as well.

    NorthernLass

    Also be aware that one way cash flights on long haul routes are very expensive and will negate any benefits of using avios for the other leg. You’re better flying out in J and back in Y if you don’t have enough avios for a higher cabin on the inbound.

    Don’t forget March/April is school Easter holidays so availability will be very limited on avios and cash prices will be high!

    creativekeyboard2

    Get the BAPP for the 241 voucher and it’ll help your points go much further.

    Whoever currently has the Gold Amex can refer the other to the BAPP to get the refer bonus points.

    Remember on sign up don’t add a supp card, do that after you receive your card for an extra 3k points

    Thanks very much for your response mate!

    1) I should have the Barclaycard Avios upgrade voucher by then, which I believe I can use to upgrade a Premium Economy for me and my partner, to Business Class (one way each)

    If I get the BAPP it will deffo help do the return leg, I’m not sure we can cram £10k extra spend in only 5 months or so however but it does seem like getting it would be sensible

    2) We both have AMEX Gold already – does this mean we can’t refer one of us to BAPP? I could refer one of my parents, if helpful – they’re happy for me to do that.

    3) Thanks for the Supp card tip that’s really useful!

    creativekeyboard2

    I think that realistically you are going to have to save more Avios if you want to fly to Club World. I would get the BAPP card as @VerdantBacon suggests by getting one to refer the other. Just remember that unless you have a household account the person with the companion voucher is going to need to have enough Avios to benefit. LHR to SFO return off peak is 125k per passenger. So I would pay cash for the NYC flights dor November as they will not only be cheaper than CW to SFO but will earn you some much needed Avios. Paying for the airfares on the BAPP will earn 3x Avios plus go a fair way towards the £10k spend needed to get the companion voucher.Then use the companion voucher to buy the CW tickets to SFO in March. The only issue is whether they will still be available to buy by the time you’ve saved and spent enough to get the companion voucher.

    Another thing to consider is booking WTP to SFO and upgrading to CW using Avios either on both legs or just the outbound or inbound depending on if you want to sleep. That may not save much Avios but is easier to do without having the companion voucher especially as the taxes and fees to SFO for two are going to be in excess of £1600 anyway and that is approaching WTP return cash fare territory for two on that route. You will also earn Avios and TP on the fare as well.

    Thanks very much for your reply. I think a cash trip to NYC in November makes sense, there doesn’t appear to be a clever way to use Avios for both, and the Avios difference between NYC and San Fran isn’t that much, but the flight time does seem a sizeable difference!

    I will definitely get the BAPP to buy those. I’m about £3k off of my Barclaycard Avios upgrade voucher currently, so I will try to hit that target before using the BAPP to pay cash for NYC. Then I should have the Barclaycard Avios upgrade voucher and the BAPP available for the return trip, which should make things good.

    And I will consider your second option – I’m not sure if I explained well that I will have the Barclaycard Avios upgrade voucher in a month or so anyway, so the BAPP would be in addition to that, if that changes the equation

    creativekeyboard2

    Also be aware that one way cash flights on long haul routes are very expensive and will negate any benefits of using avios for the other leg. You’re better flying out in J and back in Y if you don’t have enough avios for a higher cabin on the inbound.

    Don’t forget March/April is school Easter holidays so availability will be very limited on avios and cash prices will be high!

    Apologies since I’m new here – what does ‘out in J and back in Y’ mean? Is it outbound in Business Class Avios, return in Economy cash? Happy to do that if so.

    NorthernLass

    If you start your return in the US using avios you will get hammered for surcharges so think very carefully about your strategy here, it’s not a good use of a BAPP voucher. Have you read Rob’s articles on here about getting best use out of it? It’s helpful to read everything you can when getting into this hobby.

    Yes to J and Y, but you can’t mix avios and cash bookings. Like I said, don’t book one way long haul except under very rare circumstances. If you book the inbound separately with avios you may get the RFS option which is 25/30/35k avios plus £50 cash pp. You avoid BA’s inflated surcharges on return legs from the US but you need a lot more avios.

    US redemptions are quite tricky to negotiate if you’re not booking it all in one go!

    AJA

    You could use the Barclays Upgrade Voucher by buying WTP return to NYC and use it to upgrade the outbound but that assumes that you will still have enough Avios to book a cash trip SFO in WTP and upgrade that trip. That way you don’t need to have earned the companion voucher on the BAPP card which requires you to have spent £10k. Not sure what status you have with BA or when your TP year end is but you could also consider buying both fares to NYC and SFO via BA Holidays and taking advantage of the Double Tier point promo – that would get you more than enough for Silver even on the normal 600TP thresholds assuming both trips fall in your current TP year.

    NorthernLass

    You can’t use the BC voucher to upgrade a cash booking. If you want to use it for the US for 2 pax without incurring a lot of extra cash layout you need to call BA to either book the whole journey at once with the outbound upgraded for both pax, or ask them to add the inbound when it’s released if booking close to T-355.

    AJA

    Ah apologies I did not know that the BC upgrade voucher is Avios only. Ignore my suggestion above to use it with a cash fare. Sorry

    creativekeyboard2

    Thanks to both of you so much for breaking it down. You’ve helped me understand a lot more, particularly about not being able to go Cash one way, Avios the other!

    Can I use both the BC voucher and the BAPP voucher for the same booking? I’m assuming not… I have read the guides but couldn’t figure that part out.

    My partner has just hit her AMEX Gold bonus, whereas I have £3k to go to get my BC Upgrade voucher. I think the best thing would be that I continue spending on my BC, while she gets the BAPP but adds me as a Supp cardholder, and we just try and hit the £10k there as fast as possible.

    Might have to delay the trip slightly but as you say, it makes the most sense. And it looks like there’s no clever way to just use avios on a New York November trip, and that we should just use that as cash – but do it on the BAPP instead!

    Question – if we both have AMEX Gold – how can I refer her to the BAPP? I’m guessing because we both have it the referral is a no go.

    No tier status with BA, unfortunately – we’re both quite new to this! Thanks so much for all your help

    NorthernLass

    No you can’t use both types of voucher on one booking – but the BAPP voucher provides a return journey for 2 so there’s no need for it. You only need both if there are 3 or more of you travelling (but would need 2 separate bookings still). NYC out in Club, back in Economy would be around 63k avios plus surcharges for both of you off peak with the BAPP companion voucher so you’re actually not that far off.

    Having gold doesn’t stop one of you referring the other for BAPP. Not the free BA card though. Again, read Rob’s article about sign up bonuses as it’s very easy to apply for the wrong card and lose your chance for a SUB for 2 years!

    creativekeyboard2

    No you can’t use both types of voucher on one booking – but the BAPP voucher provides a return journey for 2 so there’s no need for it. You only need both if there are 3 or more of you travelling (but would need 2 separate bookings still). NYC out in Club, back in Economy would be around 63k avios plus surcharges for both of you off peak with the BAPP companion voucher so you’re actually not that far off.

    Having gold doesn’t stop one of you referring the other for BAPP. Not the free BA card though. Again, read Rob’s article about sign up bonuses as it’s very easy to apply for the wrong card and lose your chance for a SUB for 2 years!

    Brilliant, thanks! Not sure what I’m gonna use the BC voucher for now if I do that your way, annoyingly! But I will have to find another trip in the meantime.

    Where in the AMEX app can I refer her for BAPP? It only lets me invite for gold

    VerdantBacon

    Get the BAPP for the 241 voucher and it’ll help your points go much further.

    Whoever currently has the Gold Amex can refer the other to the BAPP to get the refer bonus points.

    Remember on sign up don’t add a supp card, do that after you receive your card for an extra 3k points

    Thanks very much for your response mate!

    1) I should have the Barclaycard Avios upgrade voucher by then, which I believe I can use to upgrade a Premium Economy for me and my partner, to Business Class (one way each)

    If I get the BAPP it will deffo help do the return leg, I’m not sure we can cram £10k extra spend in only 5 months or so however but it does seem like getting it would be sensible

    2) We both have AMEX Gold already – does this mean we can’t refer one of us to BAPP? I could refer one of my parents, if helpful – they’re happy for me to do that.

    3) Thanks for the Supp card tip that’s really useful!

    I’m probably a bit biased as I’m not a big fan of the BC upgrade voucher for a couple, I find the 241 easier to use and better value. If you can afford the points for SFO in J (or F) for one person, the 241 makes life really easy.
    Also the 241 gives extra redemption availability in J so you have more chances to get to the destination you want to get to.

    If any one of you, have not had an Avios earning Amex in the last 24 months, you can earn the SUB for the BAPP.

    The idea of cash to NYC is a good one, that’ll help with getting a points boost as well. If you can book it as a BA holiday you can get double tier points too and possibly get to Silver which will save you on the J seat reservation fee.

    If you have the BC upgrade vouchers and 241s you might be able to redeem with point on both trips, might be best to add up all your points + potential points and see if that’s enough points for J with vouchers for both trips

    VerdantBacon

    Where in the AMEX app can I refer her for BAPP? It only lets me invite for gold

    Send her the refer link and then she can click “choose another card” or something to that effect, from the link

    creativekeyboard2

    Where in the AMEX app can I refer her for BAPP? It only lets me invite for gold

    Send her the refer link and then she can click “choose another card” or something to that effect, from the link

    Many thanks – last question can she do this from her existing AMEX login details or should she use a new email to make it a ‘new’ AMEX account

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