Recently, British Airways announced a new route between San Jose and London, starting May 4, 2016. As is usually the case when an airline announces a new route, a ton of award space has opened up for next summer. Booking this award will set you back 100,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip, plus $1,263.30 in taxes and fuel surcharges. In terms of manufactured spending, you’re looking at $80,000 – $100,000 worth of spending to cover the AAdvantage miles and another $56,848.50 on the Barclay Arrival Plus card to cover the taxes and fees. Redeem your miles in November (when the travel rebate drops to 5%) and you’ll need to spend a little over $60,000 to cover the cost.
On the other hand, buying a ticket would set you back around $4,420 round-trip in Business Class. Meanwhile, First Class is “only” $300 more in each direction. So is it worth spending over 200,000 AAdvantage and Arrival miles for a summer award ticket to Europe in British Airways Business Class? There’s certainly a case for it if the following applies to you:
- You want to travel during the peak season and can’t find award availability on another airline that doesn’t impose fuel surcharges.
- Economy class tickets are expensive and you prefer to pay a premium to travel in Business Class.
- You’re swimming in Barclay Arrival miles and want a chance to redeem them before the November changes set in.
I would personally hold off on booking this award until at least fall. That’s when airlines have in the past discounted their business class fares for summer travel to Europe, often to less than $2,000. Paying for a ticket at this price point would require just 180,000 – 190,000 Arrival miles or $90,000 – $95,000 in manufactured spending on the Barclay Arrival Plus card. If British Airways is among those airlines offering these fares, you may be able to apply the $400 AARP discount for further savings. Unless you absolutely need to book this particular flight with miles, I would hold off until fall or next spring and see if there are any good deals on paid Business Class tickets.
Are you planning on redeeming AAdvantage miles for the San Jose to London route?
HT: The Points Guy