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View Full Version : BA AMEX 241 worth it??



jen
29th June 2008, 20:51
I booked my first amex 241 ticket in March, then the charges were about 550, now I have been reading they have gone up to 850ish. I was just wondering whether it would be better value to pay for my next holiday with tesco vouchers using Virgin and upgrade with cash to premium economy on the day flight and upper class on the night flight, rather than go the amex 241 route then pay for my holiday separately.

I use around 400 tesco vouchers to get the miles needed, these would be 1600 on a holiday, then there is the 10,000 spend on my amex card which would net me 5,000 points, worth 200 on a holiday. Plus of course the 850 I will be paying for my tickets. I am going to price up a few holidays on virgin that I like the look of, but any advice appreciated.

Raffles
29th June 2008, 21:35
The taxes are getting out of control - for 2 people to Orlando in business class you are now paying 390 in taxes EACH.

You need to do the maths yourself, but you seem pretty clued up on things so I think you'll be able to make the right choice. As well as the taxes, the other downsides to BA Miles are, of course, the lack of availability at times - a problem you are less likely to have with Virgin. If you need a hotel and are happy to stay in the same hotel for your entire holiday then Virgin may be cheaper overall. BA Miles is a better choice if you are renting a private villa or using your own holiday home, since you're not lumbered with a hotel you don't need.

Of course, you don't escape the taxes with Virgin either. If you upgrade to PE or business you will have to pay the extra 40 Air Passenger Duty plus any difference in fuel surcharge between economy and business.

As you seem to be a heavy credit card spender, though, have you considered BMI Diamond Club? Take out the BMI Amex and you get 24,000 miles if you get the card with the 60 fee. Spend 7,000 and you earn 14,000 miles which gets you to 38,000 miles. That is enough for a business class flight to the US, Caribbean, South Africa etc on their 'cash and miles' scheme. You and partner would both need to take out a card each, of course, so a total of 14,000 spending required. However, NO Tesco points are needed and availability is usually better, although you often end up flying Lufthansa and so need to change planes in Frankfurt.

jen
29th June 2008, 22:08
Thanks Raffles, I have looked at the BMI card and indeed joined the Diamond club when they were offering the 6000 mile bonus, however I was reading on Flyertalk that they may be taken over and then the future of the cash plus miles deal might not be certain. What are your views on this Raffles?
Also I only work part time and earn nowhere near my OH so don't know whether I would get the 60 card. I wonder if it would be better for my husband to get his first to build up a bit of a relationship, Amex have said I could have a card in my own name rather that a supplementary card , I wonder if BMI would work like this.

Raffles
30th June 2008, 11:16
The BMI Amex is issued by MBNA, not Amex. It is MBNA's credit approval you need so has nothing to do with any issues you may have had with Amex directly in the past.

BMI will be taken over by Lufthansa at some point in the next 12-18 months, that seems certain. However, if you look at what happened when Lufthansa bought Swiss, they left the scheme alone for a year before merging it with the LH scheme (which is rubbish). You therefore need to have booked your tickets (but not flown) before the schemes were merged, which will be at least 2 years away hopefully.

Maverick
30th June 2008, 11:28
With regards to credit cards quite often they ask for the household income rarther than just your own earnings so you may still be able to get a card in your own name declaring the household income IYSWIM.

I am saving for my first BA amex miles flight, converted loads allready ahhhhhh well.

jen
30th June 2008, 14:39
With regards to credit cards quite often they ask for the household income rarther than just your own earnings so you may still be able to get a card in your own name declaring the household income IYSWIM.

I am saving for my first BA amex miles flight, converted loads allready ahhhhhh well.

Hopefully it will be the household income route, will have to look into that.

Mav don't worry, I still think I am getting good value with the tickets that I have bought for early next year, I have priced them up around 4500, so even with the taxes going up still good value.

JANED9388
30th June 2008, 21:52
Mav don't worry, I still think I am getting good value with the tickets that I have bought for early next year, I have priced them up around 4500, so even with the taxes going up still good value.

I agree with Jen, the taxes are high, but compared to the cost and the flexibility of being able to move around, for some holidays it's better than Virgin. If you just want an All inclusive deal, virgin might be a better bet.

shopaholic2
30th June 2008, 21:56
Does anyone know how easy it would be to upgrade from economy and how much it would cost with Virgin? Can you upgrade from economy to Upper Class?

Maverick
30th June 2008, 22:45
Yes you can either with cash or miles, price a lot! Depends on route, time of year whatever but upper class is at least three times the price of economy normally.

chipsdog
2nd July 2008, 21:45
I agree the taxes we have to pay now are mad, however, I am typing this in the BA First Class lounge in Atlanta returning home from my two weeks vacation. I priced the flights at the time of booking and they were approx 9k, and the last twice I have flown BA have lost my luggage so I had 150 back last time and this time I have sent in receipt for 400! I know they won't pay that but in for a penny in for a .

My friend tried to upgrade with miles on a Virgin flight at check-in but she couldn't do because the flight was full, I'm not sure if you can do it before you fly or not - but you would be a bit disappointed if there wasn't any room to upgrade.

Let us know what you decide and how much the tax would be on a Virgin holiday.

jen
15th July 2008, 13:43
I am quite disappointed, have followed up with the bmi credit card route, as for our next holiday we fancy the maldives and qatar airlines are a star alliance member. I phoned up the diamond club to check and they are one of the few star alliance members who do not allow flights using miles and money, we rather liked the idea of doing the maldives again and virgin don't do the resort we went to this january, so back to the drawing board.
We can get to the maldives via Bangalore using our next amex 241, but then you have a 3 hour flight on Indian Airlines - I think that's the name - so not the easiest route. I am going to give virgin holidays a ring and find out how much it will cost to upgrade to business class in the maldives even if it will not be in our first choice resort.

black cat
15th July 2008, 13:52
I used my last lot of Tesco's vouchers for Airmiles not BA miles for the very reason that the tax on the BA miles was getting to be silly money. However that was for an european flight so not sure how it compares for long haul ones.

Raffles
15th July 2008, 15:50
I am quite disappointed, have followed up with the bmi credit card route, as for our next holiday we fancy the maldives and qatar airlines are a star alliance member. I phoned up the diamond club to check and they are one of the few star alliance members who do not allow flights using miles and money, we rather liked the idea of doing the maldives again and virgin don't do the resort we went to this january, so back to the drawing board.
We can get to the maldives via Bangalore using our next amex 241, but then you have a 3 hour flight on Indian Airlines - I think that's the name - so not the easiest route. I am going to give virgin holidays a ring and find out how much it will cost to upgrade to business class in the maldives even if it will not be in our first choice resort.

To do Maldives on BMI miles you have a few options:

1. Fly to Singapore (on Singapore Airlines direct or via Frankfurt etc) then connect to the SIN-Male Singapore Airlines flight. This flight is 100% on Star Alliance so you can do it using 'cash and miles'. The snag is that Singapore is a long way so the flight is about 6 hours longer than going via the Middle East. However, if you're in business class then its obviously not a very painful 6 hours! You could do a stopover in Singapore, and you only pay the miles needed to get to Male - far less than if you were getting off in SIN.

2. Fly to Dubai or Qatar and pay for an onward connection. This is what we are doing next January, flying to Dubai on Lufthansa in First Class. Note that the connections do not operate every day and are disproportionately expensive in economy (400 return for a 4 hour flight) which makes it unattractive compared to the cost of a direct economy flight from London.

3. Fly to Qatar and then, using a 100% BMI miles booking on a separate ticket, do the connection. Economy redemption seats can be found but I never found business class seats.

There is also an Austrian Airlines flight to Male once a week or so but they don't seem to offer miles seats on it.

The easiest option in theory is flying to Colombo in Sri Lanka and then getting the relatively cheap 90 minute connecting flight (175 or so return). However, I don't think there are any easy Star Alliance routings to Colombo. The quickest route from London takes 22 hours and involves changing in Bangkok (Thai Airways both flights).

Perhaps the Singapore route is the best for you - if its an overnight flight you won't necessarily notice the extra flying time if you sleep through it. BMI SHOULD ticket this without any problems since, whilst its not the most direct route, it is the most direct Star Alliance route on most days.

jen
16th July 2008, 00:01
Thanks Raffles, another extremely helpful post.