25% Avios Sale for US Originating Itineraries

One Mile at a Time and View from the Wing both note that the 25% off sale that I discussed yesterday is applicable to itineraries originating the United States, not just London.  As a US-originating roundtrip is far simpler than the alternatives, it’s worth examining whether this sale has any value for flights to the UK.

For comparison, a simple AA-ticketed and operated JFK-LHR flight runs 50k miles (in business class) and $2.50.  A quick glance at upcoming award availability turned up a BA-operated flight for comparison.  Thanks to BA fuel surcharges, the award has fuel surcharges baked into its cost of $435.20.

For comparison, the same award is bookable from British Airways and falls under the 25% off sale:

Based on yesterday’s analysis, booking now saves me about $75 in terms of Avios points at my cost of acquisition.  Even under optimistic assumptions about the cost of acquiring AAdvantage miles by credit card spending, there’s a gap of $245 ($225 versus $470) in acquisition costs.

This example shows the rub of the situation:  British Airways imposes asymmetric fuel surcharges for flights on the same route.  For the JFK-LHR flight, BA’s taxes and “fees” breakdown as follows:

In comparison, the total for LHR-JFK is $110.93 higher (due to UK Air Passenger Duty), but the fuel surcharge is $160.74 lower (despite eastbound flights being shorter and presumably having less fuel burn).

For eastbound flights, Avios, even under this promotion, is not a bargain if there are comparable AA-operated itineraries available.  For westbound flights, Avios is relatively competitive when considering the cost of acquisition, especially under this sale.

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