The $95 100k BA miles headache

The Rapid Traveler and Mrs. Rapid Traveler are among the many US residents that having seldom or never flown BA found themselves this spring with 100,000 BA miles after a credit pull and $95 fee paid to Chase. He did not heed View from the Wing’s prognostication of a devaluation, instead setting aside the miles for a South America travel bank for the juicy Lan redemption rates. Now the devaluation is announced and looming for November 16; though details will not be released until it is too late, the expert odds are that it will be of Delta-ian proportions. When consultants convince a company not named Avis to rename its miles as Avios (file next to Deloitte = Braxon and PWC = Monday), it is indeed time to dump and run.

After parsing The Points Guy’s excellent BA miles series, The Rapid Traveler has spent an exasperating number of hours trying to find award space on Lan to the choicest South American destinations. The highlight was looking for a economy seat from Buenos Aires-Aeroparque (AEP) – Iguazu, Argentina (IGR) which is served by multiple flights per day, yet over the next eight months only two flights turned up. Business class showed no more promise in the two months before the risk of smashing his computer terminated the search.

Iguazu 038

Photo by Daniel Hardman

So, it was time to remember some of the key wisdom learned from the experts:

  • Miles are not an appreciating asset. There are good reasons to hoard them, such as a reserve for family emergencies, but never assume they will get more valuable.
  • Persistence is key when redeeming awards, but don’t push it to the point where the fun of travel is ruined.
  • Appreciate what you have. With or without Iguazu, The Rapid Traveler will still get several South America trips for that credit pull, $95 fee and some reasonable taxes and fees, redeeming points from an airline he has never flown on another airline he has only flown twice. Hard to complain about that!

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