With the recent devaluations over the past year that have included some of the biggest airlines in the US and in the world, including United, Delta, & American Airlines/US Airways, I find myself to be even more attracted to the distance-based mileage award programs. All Nippon Airways and British Airways employ distance-based mileage charts for award ticket redemptions. Meaning, the amount of points I spend corresponds to the distance of my flight. This can be very valuable if you leverage these two programs to access the oneworld and Star Alliance networks that include airlines who have devalued their programs significantly and could devalue even more in the future.
I recently wrote about how valuable ANA can be when utilized for its Star Alliance partners and booking distance-based awards for less. For example, I explained that a flight from New York to London in economy would cost 38,000 points roundtrip and only 63,000 in business class. While the same flights on United would cost a minimum of 60,000 points in economy and up to 140,000 in business! If you live in a different city and need to get to New York, I would use British Airways points for a short haul journey at only 4,500 points each way or just use my United points as I don’t consider them as valuable as ANA or BA points anyway. I just hope that AA doesn’t diminish its MileSAAver award tickets and allow it to affect British Airways’ chart as those are 2 very important award tiers in the frequent flyer world.
Transferring Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards Points
I’m beginning to shift my philosophy away from transferring UR and MR points to programs other than BA and ANA. The value is just so much better than other Star Alliance and oneworld partners that I would only consider transferring my points to another airline if I need to fly very long distances at a static rate. I’ll save my BA points for short-haul flights within the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia. My ANA points will be saved for flights from the east coast across the Atlantic or for the west coast across the Pacific. Why should I fork out 220,000 points to fly first on United from New York to Frankfurt when I can book the exact same itinerary with ANA for only 100,000?!
Why fly to Hawaii from the west coast on American or Alaskan for 40k-45k points or more when I can book that same roundtrip ticket for 25,000 on British Airways? It’s important to know the different award programs and be aware of the alliance networks to maximize your points values and save those extra miles for free travel or a companion ticket. Familiarize yourselves with the oneworld and Star Alliance networks and play around with British Airways and ANA’s award search tools outlined in the articles I’ve written before to learn how to save points and fly free for less.
To earn points for the British Airways and ANA award programs, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink cards. Chase UR points transfer to BA at a 1:1 ratio. For both BA and ANA transfer options, consider the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, Platinum Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest Card. I outline all the great perks of these American Express cards here.