Earlier today I booked 2 one-way British Airways First Class award tickets for our return flight home when we leave Germany in September. I Skyped with my friend in Germany last week to discuss another trip this Fall to come visit him and his family again. We’re going to meet up in Barcelona, Spain first and then head back to Germany for a week.
If you recall, last year I flew British Airways First Class to meet up with my friend and his brother in London. We spent a few nights in London sightseeing before heading over to Germany for 2 weeks. Since the award seat was considered “last minute” in terms of booking award seats, the only availability I could find was on British Airways. I booked the ticket anyway, but I ended up paying almost $900 in fuel surcharge fees for 1 First Class ticket.
Why fly British Airways
Since British Airways was my first time flying First Class, it was one of the most memorable experiences for me. I really want Teddy to fly British Airways First Class at least once so he can have the same experience I had last year. I was talking to my brother in law this weekend and in his opinion, airlines such as US Airways, Delta and American Airlines don’t compare in customer service and attentiveness like British Airways does.
I have yet to fly US Airways Business Class transcontinental, but I’ll be doing that in just a couple short months when we go to Italy in April. I can then compare US Airways to British Airways for myself, but for now I’m going to take my brother in law’s word that British Airways is better. Since I have absolutely no complaints from my British Airways First Class experience last July, I can partially agree with him.
Avoid British Airways fuel surcharge fees
If you want to book British Airways with your American Airlines AAdvantage miles, then there’s no way to get around paying the hefty fuel surcharge fees. However, there is a way to lighten the cost! As you probably know by now, there are credit cards such as the Barclaycard Arrival or the Capital One Venture that allow you to erase travel charges with miles.
While I do carry both the Barclaycard Arrival and the Capital One Venture card, I don’t have enough miles on either card to erase $445 per person in British Airways fuel surcharge fees. I could have done some manufactured spending to earn the miles on each card so I could erase nearly $890 in fuel surcharge fees, but that would take me a couple months since I’d have to buy nearly $45,000 in gift cards. Not only that, but it would cost me roughly $500 in gift card activation fees since I go back and forth between my local grocery store and Simon Mall.
Instead of going the route of redeeming miles to erase British Airways fees, I am going the route of redeeming cash back to pay for the British Airways fuel surcharge fees! I have the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card in my wallet, but I hardly ever use it because I don’t care about cash back. I like to earn miles instead. I was going to cancel my Blue Cash Preferred card next month, but I soon realized that I could buy just $6,000 in Visa gift cards to earn $360 cash back! I’ll only pay $71.40 in gift card activation fees and I can complete the spending requirement in just 2-3 visits to my grocery store!
Teddy also has the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card, so I ended up charging his British Airways fuel surcharge fees to his own card. That way he too can also earn $360 cash back after buying Visa gift cards at our local grocery store.
1 of the benefits for carrying the Amex BCP card
- 6% cash back at US grocery stores, up to $6,000 per year.
This means we can each walk in to my favorite grocery store and pickup $6,000 in gift cards on our Amex BCP cards. We’ll earn an easy $360 cash back ($6,000 x 6% = $360) and we can apply this as a statement credit to help alleviate the British Airways $445 we had to pay per person for a 1-way First Class ticket.
This means we’ll end up paying $85 per person in British Airways fuel surcharge fees. A much better deal in my opinion! Plus, that means I’ll get to relive my BA experience all over again and Teddy will be able to join me this time!
Don’t always dismiss cash back cards! They can come in very handy if you work the cash back categories to your benefit. Since we can apply the cash back as a statement credit, it made sense to charge our British Airways fuel surcharge fees to our Amex BCP cards.
I have yet to book our award tickets to Barcelona, but I’m thinking we’ll go the cheapest route and try and find a couple seats on US Airways or American Airlines so we just have to pay the minimum in taxes.