Best BA Companion Voucher Use

Discussion in 'British Airways | Executive Club' started by bsaced, Feb 17, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. bsaced
    • Original Member

    bsaced Silver Member

    Since so many of us have the Chase BA card and have either recently earned or are planning to earn a companion voucher, I would love to hear some people's thoughts on the best use for it. Particularly those originating from the East Coast of USA.

    Since it has to be on BA metal, I think awards that keep the fuel surcharges down would be particularly helpful. I realize two 1st class tickets to india for $750 in surcharges per ticket may be a decent deal but $1,500 plus over 100,000 BA miles for 2 tickets doesn't sound like great "award travel" to me.

    Anyone have some great uses for the companion voucher?
  2. EZEIZA
    • Original Member

    EZEIZA Silver Member

    As it has to be on BA metal then you have no option but to pay the taxes/charges.

    Two First Class tickets for $1500 seems incredibly good value to me.
    G-BOAC, Toula, alex0683de and 4 others like this.
  3. bsaced
    • Original Member

    bsaced Silver Member

    Are there not lesser taxes or surcharges based on destination? Or are they standard regardless of destination?

    $1500 for two first class tickets is a good deal compared to the amount they normally charge but not compared to what most people would actually pay for the tickets. Add in the fact that you are spending 120,000 miles plus loosing the miles from a non revenue ticket and then compare that to other award programs or instead using your miles on BA partners and the companion ticket starts to look bad.

    I'm hopeful there are some decent east coast departure redemptions out there?
    4Health likes this.
  4. Globaliser
    • Original Member

    Globaliser Silver Member

    Yes, there are.

    So if low fuel surcharges are a priority, I highly recommend redeeming for LHR-EDI.
    So how much do you think people actually pay for first class tickets, then? Less, even, than the fuel surcharge?

    I don't think so.

    After all, this is BA's first class; not some other airline's "freebie upgrade" class.
  5. bsaced
    • Original Member

    bsaced Silver Member

    So the majority of people in ba first class are on paid fares and not award tickets or upgrades? That's news to me. I estimate the average traveler would never pay $20,000 for an airline ticket. And if the amount they would pay is closer to 2,000 (again I'm think the majority) if they had the means, then $750 and 150,000 miles to avoid paying $2,000 doesn't strike me as a great deal.

    I may be wrong and this math is obviously just a gross approximation but I think my logic is sound. Essentially, I'm asking if there is a way to redeem a ba companion voucher that most travelers (and not just those willing to spend $20,000 on a paid first class fare) would find great value for.
  6. Globaliser
    • Original Member

    Globaliser Silver Member

    Those on award tickets should have paid the level of taxes fees and charges you're complaining about. Most of those on paid fares have either paid first class fares, or have been op-upped one cabin after paying business class fares (which are a great deal more than $2,000) - including those taxes fees and charges.

    If you think that the majority of people in BA First have paid only $2,000 each for a revenue ticket to sit there, I respectfully suggest that your perspective could do with some realignment.
    EZEIZA has given you the answer to this already. $750 per person plus the miles spent (and not earned) to fly BA First from the US to India and back is great value.
  7. 4Health
    • Original Member

    4Health Silver Member

    I understand where you are coming from but do not expect any advice here other than "you are receiving a great deal by paying $750 + 270k miles for a F ticket". My advice to you is to look at using your miles on a partner carrier. I am in the same boat as you, I have this companion voucher that I am 99% sure I will end up discarding because I refuse to pay fuel surcharges. I'll instead be using my miles for a nice trip on CX to Asia. Taxes, no problem, but fuel surcharges I am not yet willing to swallow.
    bsaced likes this.
  8. EZEIZA
    • Original Member

    EZEIZA Silver Member


    I find that part of your reply about as useful as a chocolate tea pot to be honest.
    The OP did express an interest in flying to India using the companion voucher and asked for advice on how to get the best use out of it. He was told that as he has no alternative but to go via London so he has no option but to pay the taxes/charges.....which although high still makes a ticket in First Class very reasonable.
    Now to the most sensible part of your reply. Yes the OP will have to work out whether it is in his interests to discard the companion voucher and use the miles for a one partner redemption instead. Ideal if you want to go to the likes of the Far East in the first place but useless if you don't.
  9. The Saint
    • Original Member

    The Saint Silver Member

    I wish
    • that BA did not level fuel surcharges
    • that beer cost less
    • that HM Govt didn't charge so much tax on petrol
    • that the 50% tax rate was abolished
    • that travel on the underground was free
    And I'm sure we can add to that list.

    It's going to get seriously tedious if MiPo is also going to be cluttered up with threads whingeing about YQ.
  10. Mountain Trader
    • Original Member

    Mountain Trader Silver Member

    Whether one thinks using the 241 voucher is better than throwing it away or not, I think most can agree that the time to decide that was before spending $30,000 with the Chase BA Visa to earn the voucher. BAs fees were on the table when the Chase voucher offer came out and I'm surprised some are just now facing what the vouchers offer and what they don't.

    Savings are tough to compute since you have to determine "compared to what". Value is far harder since, by definition, it involves subjective judgement. I think 2 First Class tix to India for the stated fees are a great value. Others might think that using a voucher for coach seating from the West Coast is great value since they can save $2,000 compared to purchasing their tickets. We are both correct-if you think there is value there, then there is.
    Primula, oscietra, IMH and 3 others like this.
  11. IMH
    • Original Member

    IMH Silver Member

    Out of interest, and I'm not asking this to provoke anyone: what do you think "most people" (= "most of the people who would seriously consider purchasing premium cabin tickets") would pay for a return F ticket from N. America to India? Paid business class tickets start above $3,000 on the most competitive routes and go a lot higher.

    Most people here would say that USA-Europe returns in J or F are an excellent deal. I used my first Chase 2-4-1 for a plain vanilla IAH-LHR-IAH return in F and was delighted to save 150,000 miles. Another way of looking at it is to say that Mrs IMH and I saved 50,000 of the 200,000 miles we would otherwise have redeemed for a J award and got upgraded to F at the time of booking. :)

    But if India is where you want to go then of course other destinations are irrelevant. Is getting two J tickets USA-India and back for 180,000 miles plus taxes and fees a good deal? I'd say it is. Others will disagree.
    bsaced and Globaliser like this.
  12. Globaliser
    • Original Member

    Globaliser Silver Member

    One of the problems may be that there are some people who truly believe that nobody ever pays for a premium cabin ticket because, hey, if you work at playing the game/system, you can upgraded into the premium cabin for free!

    Of course, there are some airlines that just don't work like that. Others may want to comment about the relationship between business model and service quality ... ;)
    TuxTraveller and IMH like this.
  13. bsaced
    • Original Member

    bsaced Silver Member

    I apologize as perhaps I wasn't clear in the OP. I'm actually not trying to go to India at all. I was essentially trying to find out if people have found uses for the companion ticket the minimized the high fees BA charges. For example, did anyone find that by traveling to Namibia, the taxes were less than London despite being farther, etc. Or are the fees pretty standard throughout all routes and on all fully owned BA subsidiaries (e.g. Cityflyer)

    I'm unfortunately starting to get that sense and it looks like you answered my question as to whether it's better to use BA miles on partners and forget the companion ticket altogether.
  14. bsaced
    • Original Member

    bsaced Silver Member

    Very helpful. Solid contribution to milepoint. I see the spirit of the new forum taking shape nicely. Lol
  15. Globaliser
    • Original Member

    Globaliser Silver Member

    Fuel surcharges are standard. There are three categories of route: short-haul, long-haul up to 9 hours, and long-haul over 9 hours. Premium cabins pay a higher fuel surcharge than the Y cabin.

    Airport-specific charges will vary, obviously, but these are relatively small.

    The UK has an Air Passenger Duty which is not applied to those transiting (including connecting) in the UK. This can be quite hefty, so you can save that by flying beyond London.
    Clearly, only you can work out for yourself whether it's better to spend (for example) 270,000 miles + $1,500 for a pair of tickets in BA First; or 540,000 miles for a pair of tickets on a partner airline. At about 0.5 cents per mile, plus the BA First product, I think I know where I would be.
  16. Globaliser
    • Original Member

    Globaliser Silver Member

    Absolutely. More sense; less greed. We could all do with that here.
    baggageinhall and The Saint like this.
  17. rrgg
    • Original Member

    rrgg Silver Member

    I look at the voucher's value a little differently.

    Combine the surcharge for both BA metal awards and consider all of that to be the cost of the companion. In other words, if you decided on the CX flight you mentioned, and were offered to bring a companion in your premium cabin for $1200 (or whatever) would you do it? Compare that to whatever fare you'd pay out of pocket plus upgrade instrument. That decides whether the voucher works for you.
    Steven Schwartz likes this.
  18. IMH
    • Original Member

    IMH Silver Member

    I'm not suggesting that this applies to bsaced, but it's clear that an awful lot of people in the USA got their Chase BA Visa cards (i) without reading the terms governing the 2-4-1 voucher and (ii) without knowing much about BA. One key aspect that doesn't get talked about much in threads of this type is:

    It really is quite different from that which US airlines market as "F". My only long haul F with a US carrier was recent enough (December 2010) for the comparison to be fair: we redeemed AA miles to fly from DFW to EZE. Crazily, the choice was between a "MileSAAver" in F for 62,500 miles each and an "AAnytime" redemption in business class for 100,000 miles. We plumped for F. Only paying $5 in fees was, of course, very welcome.

    The experience was pleasant enough, but the only fair way to sum it up is "AA business class with more space and a better seat". The food and wine weren't any better, the FAs weren't any better trained ("We've got a Merlot or a French Bordeaux") and the overall atmosphere was typical AA. Not bad, but not special in any way. And of course the cabin was full, unlike the cabins further back in the plane.

    By way of contrast, my only two BA F trips so far (to and from India, as it happens) were special, with just about every aspect having been more carefully conceived and executed. Only being able to use one's Chase voucher on BA isn't the same bad thing it would be if one foolishly got stuck with a similar 'goodie' from, say, US Airways. :eek:
  19. The Saint
    • Original Member

    The Saint Silver Member

    Those people will be learning a valuable life-lesson then: knowledge is power.
    Globaliser and baggageinhall like this.
  20. 4Health
    • Original Member

    4Health Silver Member

    Globaliser and EZEIZA like this.
  21. Toula
    • Original Member

    Toula Gold Member

    I'm one of those peeps who is proud to admit they are shallow enough to absolutely adore BA First Class service and my dream would be to fly it everywhere.

    We have one of those companion tix and let me say all our points have been earned the hard way, through personal spend and travel. We had the BA card before the 100k bonus came out so never got any points.

    Our intention is to definitely use it for a First Class trip from San Francisco to somewhere in Europe. Yes the fuel surcharges are going to be in the region of $1500 but I still think that is a fantastic deal.

    I'm just hoping they continue with the companion awards as that will enable us to take a second trip in FC to Europe sometime in the future as we have accumulated enough points to do so.

    When we looked at our points balance we decided we could either go for 3 companion awards and 3 trips in Biz or 2 in First and it was a no brainer for us.
  22. Petrus
    • Original Member

    Petrus Silver Member

    Apologies to the OP if the debate is going OT. However;

    Statistical experiment: Of the many (hundreds?) of friends I have I consider 5 very close and 10 close.
    3 of us frequently pay cash to fly in long-haul J.
    Another 1 of us always flies in the highest cabin available, he pays himself.
    When I fly F between London and The US, the majority in the F cabin appear to be American. That tells me they pay to fly BA F as this is the best cabin on offer.

    So the point I am making is that there are plenty of people out there willing to pay cash for F. Anyone claiming otherwise should broaden their horizon and accept there are tens of millions of people on this planet who are rich enough to fly F without thinking twice.
    Globaliser likes this.
  23. oscietra
    • Original Member

    oscietra Silver Member

    Worth having a look at the product if you've not seen it before:

    www.ba.com/first

    and

    www.newclubworld.com

    A shame BA's product illustrations aren't as good as other airline's, and they don't really set out the peripheral benefits (e.g. BAg, Arrivals Lounges) in much detail.
    Globaliser likes this.
  24. bsaced
    • Original Member

    bsaced Silver Member

    I appreciated this post as I may have overlooked the general regard FFlyers have for BA first in my analysis. Additionally, I may have been misguided in my belief that most people (and further savy FFlyers on FT or MP) are able to find enough alternative means (miles, upgrade certs, etc.) for flying F than to have to purchase the full fare themselves. I really don't mean to sound patronizing but it may honestly be due to the fact that the majority of my interactions with FTers and MPers have left me feeling like they are incredibly impressive and savy with finances. Far so than I am. Couple that with my view that spending 5 figures to be more comfortable for 6-16 hours is not a sound financial decision and I'm left with the view that paid F is only for very rich people that wouldn't blink twice at dropping 5 figures on anything. As Petrus states, there may just be more of those people than I realize.

    I would be fascinated to find out if this is really what's going on in the airline industry and if most people in F are full fare paying customers? Especially given that this seems to contradict of all the new low cost carriers and premium economy expansion we are seeing.
    Disco Volante likes this.
  25. bsaced
    • Original Member

    bsaced Silver Member

    And this is what is so confusing about this topic. A post trying to figure out how to avoid paying $1500 in fuel surcharges and 150,000 miles for 2 tickets can get called greedy when it seems to be the point of this entire website. Maximizing value and minimizing expenditure. I guess I can take solace in the fact that if this is greedy than $150 to fly Delta to Europe could only be characterized as extortionist. More mistake fares for the rest of us? [​IMG]

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