View from the Wing that Avios is offering a 6 day sale for 25% off points needed for award bookings originating from London. The upcoming 30% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards starting December 3rd doesn’t quite coincide with the promotion.
The fuel surcharges for awards haven’t been reduced, so it’s important to determine whether this promotion makes sense (from the consumer-side). As I’m US-based, my inclination is to book a one-way ex-London (to satisfy the promotion) and book an award with AA/UA to Europe. With more careful planning, a full-fledged roundtrip booked under the promotion could be nested within a roundtrip award (or revenue trip) booked elsewhere.
As a justification for why one might pay for British Airways’ fuel surcharges on an award, there’s currently no saver business or first class availability on AA metal across the Atlantic at least without AA.com getting more creative than it currently knows how to be. The taxes and fees of a standard award for LHR-JFK one-way on AA metal currently run $282.80 in a premium cabin.
British Airways metal offers far more plentiful premium cabin space. Picking a random date to book a business class award on LHR-JFK, I turned up two different prices, one with AA and one with BA:
With a 20k point price disparity, the BA-booked award is a clear winner between the two. The $269.10 in “fees” above and beyond a standard AA-ticketed and operated award is less than ideal, but the point disparity can largely justify it. I can routinely earn Avios points at 0.75cpp (paying a small processing fee to charge my rent to my BA Visa) but I currently earn AA miles at 1.54cpm (by flying; if I had the AAdvantage cards, I could similarly run my rent through them to achieve 0.94cpm). This brings the implicit cost of the miles for these awards to $225 and $770 (or $470 with an AAdvantage card), covering the difference in “fees.”
A LHR-SFO one-way booking in business class tells a similar story.
The BA-operated fuel surcharge across both carriers widens to about $301. The gap in the implicit costs between AA-ticketed and operated and BA-ticketed and operated narrows to an optimistic $188.75 to a realistic $488.75 ($281.25 versus $770/$470).
As I lack status with British Airways, the redeposit fee of 40 USD deters me from speculatively booking to my heart’s content (as I might with AA/UA awards), but this promotion leaves in inclined to firm up my plans more quickly than I would otherwise.