British Airways hands-down has the best offer out right now for you backpacking travelers wanting to cash in on some free flights. They are offering 100,000 miles total (you read that right!) for signing up for their Chase Visa card. Who doesn't want a ticket to Europe for a fraction of the price? Even with the world-wide financial meltdown there are still deals to be had. This is an easy way to take and run!
What is the catch you ask:
- $75 annual fee
- 50,000 miles upon your first purchase with the card (so buy a Coke and get a flight to Europe).
- 50,000 more miles if you spend $2,000 more in the first 3 months.
- The miles are good for 2 flights from America to one of the following countries: the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland.
- All tickets are subject to availability (so flying to London for New Years might not happen).
- All reward flights are subject to taxes, fees, charges and surcharges, including airline surcharges.
- After qualifying, please allow 6 to 8 weeks for bonus BA Miles to post to your account.
Note: I didn't see in the contract if you could fly from Europe to America on this deal (so I assume one could and spend their miles however they want). It did not clarify if the whole US was included (ie: Alaska and Hawaii). “which can be redeemed for 1 transatlantic reward flight in World Traveller, economy class from the USA to Europe Zone 1, or choose to redeem for another qualifying flight.“
That pretty much sums up the fine print but before you walk away and say “I can't afford to get another credit card” think about this: Why not just sign-up, get approved, pay the $75, take a flight to Europe and cancel the card when you get back? Then the cost of going only cost you $75 plus airport taxes.
If you decided it was such a good deal the first time, spend the next 3 months paying for your gas, bills, groceries, etc. with your card and you get another flight. They even have a few more bonuses for you:
- Spend $30,000 in a single calendar year and you get a companion vouchergood for any class of service (which means you can fly a friend for free).
- Get 1.25 miles rather than the usual one for each dollar charged to the card.
- Earn 2.5 miles for each $1 you spend at British Airways.
Other things can you get with a 100,000 miles:
- 60,000 miles: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Gibraltar, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden
- 65,000 miles: Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Israel, Libya, Romania, Russian Federation, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine
- 80,000 miles: Bahrain, Egypt, Ghana, Kuwait, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
- 90,000 miles: Angola, Kenya, India, Maldives, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
For the tightfisted backpacker, this is a sweet deal that can really save you some dough. I just looked up the cost for a flight from St. Louis to London Heathrow from January 14 – January 28 and the total on BA was $1,098. Humm $1,000+ or $75… not a hard choice! And don't get me started on endless journeys one could make using an Open Jaw ticket.
13.9 For return journeys, outbound and return flights must be booked at the same time. Travel to one destination from a point of origin and returning from another city to the same point of origin (or vice versa) is permitted.
Open Jaw example: You could fly from New York to Sweden. Then travel on your own overland to Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Hungry, Croatia and end in Serbia. Then fly from Serbia back to New York. 60,000 miles used, 9 countries traveled and you could space the time out up to 12 months apart from departure and return.
Ok seriously, if British Airways knew the backpack community was going to abuse this, they might cancel the offer or change the rules on it… but I'm not waiting around for them to do so. Act while ya can and happy travels!