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British Airways Avios

Home for the Holidays: Introduction

It's been a busy travel year for me. After taking it relatively easy in 2013 (newborn baby excuse), I've managed to make five international trips this year. Makes me thankful for this hobby and the ability to save money and travel in comfort. So a happy holidays to all as I begin my final trip of 2014! Though Jess and I were both born in the States, we both have a big attachment to Taiwan and Hong Kong (our respective "home" countries), despite our ABC (American-born Chinese) status. I even lived in Hong Kong for a few years when I was a kid. What better time to take M back home than over the holidays? First, it'd be the last time she could fly as a lap infant. Secondly, it [...]

Sometimes it Pays to be Obsessive Part II: Staying in First Class after a Forced Downgrade

I was at a dinner the other night when a friend (and very good food blogger, coincidentally), told the group - "Oh Joe, he's obsessed with miles and points." At first I was like, woah, that's kind of a strong statement - but - guilty. I've mentioned before how my semi-obsessive checking of award space has paid off in the past. I wanted to share my experience after a forced downgrade. I booked two round trip first class tickets on British Airways using US Airways miles back when they still weren't charging fuel surcharges. Our routing was BOS-PHL-LHR-LYS on the outbound, and LYS-LHR-BOS on the return. Both transatlantic segments were in first class and we were super excited to take the trip. Unfortunately, as these things go, I received a troubling [...]

Know Your Pin Number BEFORE You Book Awards

Here is something simple that can save you a lot of time. If an airline's frequent flyer program has a pin number for you to set - set it and don't forget. You can store your pin in Award Wallet or wherever you like, just don't forget it! If you're saying to me, "duh", that's great - but even with all the awards I've booked, I still forget this. Here are two examples and how I dealt with them recently. If you don't care (I wouldn't blame you), just remember - set your pin numbers and don't forget them! I do think these anecdotes should give regular award bookers some ideas of how to troubleshoot, which is why I'm sharing them. Pin Fail 1: British Airways There was, erm, a bit [...]

Concerned about a British Airways Devaluation? Book these

Update: Since I typed this up, via PFD, BA has denied any changes are forthcoming on Twitter. But I think the information on these flights are useful so I'm posting this anyway. These are still good flights to book, and potential devaluations are always a nice reminder to earn and burn. So, I was about to go to bed around midnight last night when I caught wind of a possible British Airways devaluation that can happen any minute. It's not official, but it makes sense that it's going to happen. The first people I saw write about were Free-quent Flyer, View from the Wing, Milenomics, and PFD (plus KennyBSAT on Twitter) - so you can read more about the details there. Anyway, at times like these, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the [...]

The DIY Guide to Booking Award Tickets – Part IX: Searching for Oneworld Award Space on ba.com

People have different opinions when it comes to booking award tickets with frequent flyer miles. I, for one, love booking award tickets and enjoy the challenge that comes with doing so. Booking award tickets are like puzzles to me and I love solving them. Other people hate booking award tickets, consider them too much of a hassle, or even go so far as to believing their frequent flyer miles are completely worthless. I’ve decided to put a guide together for those of you who fall in between – people who want to book award tickets themselves but feel like they need some pointers. This guide will assume some basic knowledge, namely, that you know how to log in to your frequent flyer account and check your mileage balance. Other than [...]

The DIY Guide to Booking Award Tickets – Part VIII: Searching for Oneworld Award Space on aa.com

People have different opinions when it comes to booking award tickets with frequent flyer miles. I, for one, love booking award tickets and enjoy the challenge that comes with doing so. Booking award tickets are like puzzles to me and I love solving them. Other people hate booking award tickets, consider them too much of a hassle, or even go so far as to believing their frequent flyer miles are completely worthless. I’ve decided to put a guide together for those of you who fall in between – people who want to book award tickets themselves but feel like they need some pointers. This guide will assume some basic knowledge, namely, that you know how to log in to your frequent flyer account and check your mileage balance. Other than [...]

Getting to Brazil for the World Cup – Lessons in Award Booking

The last week I've had only one thing on my mind: The World Cup. A few friends and I will be leaving for Rio next week and are planning to catch a couple of games. Although you might not be interested in going to the World Cup, I think this is a great illustration of the benefits and limitations of using miles for trips - and how they can save you a lot of money if you use them correctly. My method(s) for getting three of us to Brazil  As I noted in my DIY guide to booking award tickets, award seats are generally a function of supply and demand. When you combine two things - North American summer and the World Cup - demand was obviously going to be [...]