Part four: Flying to fly

It is possible to collect a chunk of frequent flier miles without stepping on a plane, as I discussed in the first three parts of this series. But how do things add up when you do fly a lot?

There are several things which determine how many miles you’ll get for any given flight aside from the destination; the fare class on your ticket, the cabin you fly in, the status you hold and the airline you fly with.

Fare class: Signified by a letter, which is also called the selling class. You can find this out when buying at BA.com by clicking on the flight number in the booking process.

Selling Class

Generally they are similar across different airline but you do need to be careful; the table below shows the different fare buckets on BA.

Cabin: You will have worked out what your base miles are from the selling class. The cabin bonus is a multiplier of this.

Fare Classes

Status: You get another multiplier of the base fare miles which is determined by your status in the Executive Club. Blue gets nothing, Bronze 25%, Silver 50% and Gold 100%.

Bonus Avios

Airline: Finally, the airline you book with can make a difference. Flying in the oneworld alliance, you can book the same flight on a codeshare. The first LCY-JFK flight is coded BA1, but can also beAA6229, IB4601 or AY5401. On a BA number it will give 5192 Avios, but only 4326 Avios with Finnair (tier points are the same).

With all that in mind, let’s take an extreme example to illustrate the point. LHR-LAX is a popular route for both tourists and celebrities.

A blue member flying in the cheapest seat would earn 1326 Avios compared to the 19074 Avios a Gold member flying in First would earn. It is also worth considering that paying for these on the BAPP AmEx would earn 1980 and 12276 Avios respectively if buying the cheapest tickets for the first week of September 2016. As is clear, someone who flies a lot will also earn a lot thanks to their status.

This is where a convoluted route and starting in Europe can help the leisure flyer. LHR-LAX in business is currently £2350 for 16326 Avios and 280 TP for a blue member but DUB-LHR-JFK-PHX-LAX is £2115 and would earn the same person 900 TP and 20,859 Avios and be Silver by the end of the trip. You can learn how to search for these routes here.

I appreciate that this is not for everyone but if you have the time, why not?! The more you fly, the more miles you get so that you can fly more and earn more; it is a frequent flyer scheme after all!

Having all these miles and the AmEx 2for1 voucher, it can be an opportunity to go somewhere that you otherwise wouldn’t. But it can also be a time when people get side-tracked by the voucher and not see where there might be better options elsewhere. Part 5 will look at other redemption options for your hard-earned Avios.

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