Almost a year ago we learned that British Airways was going to be changing their Executive Club program from a region based award redemption system to a distance based system meaning that the amount of miles it would take to get from point A to point B would now depend on the distance between these points (including stopovers) versus what region they were in. The change was a huge blow for many as British Airways was a great way to utilize miles to travel all over the world via the Oneworld alliance. British Airways was nice enough to give sufficient notice of the change which allowed those of us with substantial mileage balances to redeem at the old rates before the new ones took effect. While BA wasn’t completely transparent in what the new program would look like, they gave enough information to know that, for the most part, it wasn’t going to be a positive change, at least for most based in the US. To be fair, there are some great redemptions available through the new program, but the long distance awards where you can garner the most value have gone away, for the most part.
Knowing that our dream destinations generally are worlds away, I knew that redeeming our hard earned miles (;)) before the program changed would be a good idea. We had always wanted to go to Hong Kong and had heard wonderful things about Bali and this, combined with the fact that one of the traditionally awesome redemptions using British Airways miles was flying Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong from JFK in business class, we knew that this was the best use of our 100,000 BA miles (each). Remember, we had earned these miles by simply signing up for the Chase British Airways visa (which offered 100,000 miles at the time), paid the $95 annual fee, and met the minimum spending requirement.
Our 5 year anniversary is in September so I booked our trip around our anniversary with a two night stopover in Hong Kong and 6 nights in Bali. My husband and I have hardly had a dinner for just the two of us, let alone a vacation together, in the 3+ years since we’ve had kids, so we knew we were due. Luckily, we have a great family support system that will combine to watch our two little ones while we’re gone. I’m already having feelings of anxiety about leaving them for 10 days, but I think it will be good for everyone!
So, our grand total out of pocket expenses for 2 business class tickets from JFK to Bali was:
By signing up for a credit card and putting purchases on the card that we would be making anyways, for under $500 each, we have business class tickets on one of the best airlines in the world (lie flat seats!). The JFK – HKG portion alone is 16+ hours and currently retails for $4,600. The price of our entire ticket is currently going for $15,593! This may be on the high end due to seat availability, but it may not. Anyway, clearly we’ve utilized our credit card sign up very well!
Now that British Airways program has changed, these long distance redemptions generally don’t hold the best value. However, I wrote about a great option here. The Chase BA Visa is still available to sign up for, however, getting the 100,000 requires a little more work this time. Regardless, by making one purchase and paying the annual fee, you can get two roundtrip tickets from Boston to Dublin. Still, a great deal if you ask me!
I’ll be doing future posts on other aspects of our upcoming trip, including getting to JFK from Maine and our hotel stays in both Hong Kong and Bali! We can’t wait for this trip of a lifetime. A trip that would never have been possible without credit card sign up offers!