Late last year, American Express had a transfer bonus to British Airways. I decided to speculatively transfer all of my Amex Membership Rewards points into Avios.
Since then, British Airways has announced a devaluation of their program. This change happens after April 30th. I usually use Avios for shorter, direct flights on American Airlines, which remains unaffected by the devaluation. However, I decided to see if I could figure out something cool I could do before the devaluation.
Nearly every travel blogger says that one of the best redemptions for Avios is Boston to Dublin or Boston to Shannon. These routes currently costs 25,000 one way in business class. The Boston to Dublin route comes in at 2993 miles. This is just 8 miles away from a higher priced award band!
I live in Madison, WI, so an award from Boston is less than ideal for me. However, I am from a small town in southern NH that’s only 50 minutes from Boston. I was already planning on going home for Labor Day weekend this year, so decided to tack on a trip to Ireland at the end. Using Expertflyer (a paid service for looking up award availability), I saw that there were two business class seats to Dublin available! Now it was time to call and book…
I called British Airways at 1-800-452-1202 and got a busy signal. A busy signal! I didn’t even get the chance to be put on hold. I have no idea what’s going on at British Airways and their reservation line, but they need to figure it out.
I called the moment they opened at 7:30 AM EST and got connected to an agent immediately. I read him the exact flight information and he was unable to find any seats available…
I called back a few days later because I didn’t want to give up yet. This time I called around 8:00 AM EST and had to wait on hold for about 30 minutes for an agent. Once I finally got connected, the agent was able to find the flight without issue. I said I would like to book a partner award on Aer Lingus flight EI 138 from Boston to Dublin on September 7th, 2 business class tickets. I’ve been wanting to take my Mom on a trip for a while now and I think she will be thrilled when I tell her about this surprise! The agent asked me if I tried to book the award online and I said yes and that I couldn’t and he said that he would waive the telephone booking fee. I was very impressed that he offered to waive the fee and I didn’t even have to ask. All in all, the cost for two one-way tickets in business class from Boston to Dublin cost me 50,000 Avios and $68.34! I was thrilled with this outcome.
I have not yet booked anything for my return flight. My mothers birthday is on April 7th and I will surprise her then by telling her about the trip. I will speak with her about how long she wants to go because the longer we go the less time I will be home for Christmas – unfortunately I don’t have an infinite number of vacation days! After this, I will figure out the return flights.
NOTE: This same trip booked after April 30th this year will cost 75,000 Avios instead of 50,000 so if you are thinking about booking something you should act fast!
I decided to do some math for the value I got out of my points. The first step was to look at what the cost of these 2 tickets would have been if I bought them with cash.
Wow, $6048.36!!! This is a price I would have never paid. Anyways, now the math (if you hate math skip the section in italics)…
604,836 (Cents) / 50,000 (Avios) = 12.09672 cents per point
But remember that I got these points with a 40% transfer bonus from American Express MR points…
36,000 (MR Points) x 1.4 = 50,400 Avios
Now using the 36,000 number instead…
604,836 (Cents) / 36,000 (MR Points) = 16.801 cents per MR point
16.801 cents per point is an unbelievably valuable redemption!
Now I just need to figure out what we are going to do and where we are going stay in Ireland. If you have been to Ireland and have any places you think are must sees please let me know in the comments!