Maximizing Points for Last Minute Travel

For last minute travel, knowing how to utilize/maximize your points can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars and miles.

My latest travels have me heading to DC for the weekend on a last minute trip.  Instead of spending $616 on airfare I was able to use just 15,000 British Airways Avios to book round trip airfare (American Airlines between White Plains, NY and Washington DC).  This more or less is a 4.1 cent per point conversion… not too shabby.  Another reason to have a solid points card versus a defined benefit rewards card as I am yielding at least two to four times what a fixed benefit card (like Capital One Venture) could offer.

Avoid Travel Portals if Flight is over $250

If you were to book this flight with a travel portal like Chase Ultimate Rewards, the same trip would have cost over 51,000 points, a net savings of 36,000+ points.  This is enough savings to bring two of your friends or family and still save 6,000 points (or just save the 36k points).

Bypass Late Booking Fees

Many of the US carriers like American Airlines have implemented late booking fees for tickets purchased within 21 days of the departure (except for elite members).  To avoid paying such fees, I used British Airways Avios to book an American Airlines reward seat.  BA has no such fee.

How to Transfer Miles to British Airways

  1. Set up an Avios account at:
  2. Log into your Credit Card Travel Portal:
    • Amex Membership Rewards
    • Chase UltimateRewards
  3. Select Transfer to Partner
  4. Select British Airways and follow the on screen instructions.

Within minutes to a couple of hours your points will be in your Avios account.  We highly recommend you check that an acceptable flight is available before transferring points as you cannot transfer the points back.

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