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Last time we talked about my upcoming trip to Washington DC for the Family Travel for Real Life conference, and discussed a few of the options to get there.  Since this is a trip where probably it’s just going to be me going, I am trying to minimize my “away” time.

After discussing options on United, Southwest, US Airways and Delta and more, it looked like the clear winner was going to be British Airways.  It seems kind of counter-intuitive to fly a foreign airline for a short domestic flight, but many times that’s going to be the case, and the reason is that British Airways is an alliance partner of American Airlines, AND has a distance-based award chart.

British airways award chart

British Airways award chart – anything under 649 miles (one-way) is just 4500 Avios!

I’ve actually never booked a British Airways flight (I SHOULD have on a getaway trip to Miami last year, but I didn’t know about this trick back then, and that’s really a story for another day).  So I thought that since there may be others in that situation, it might be useful to document how to do it exactly.

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Avios

Now the first thing to do is actually get some Avios.  I actually don’t have any :-), but I do have a lot of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and because I have the Ink business card, I can transfer those to British Airways.

Logging on to your Chase account, you can to go, and then choose “Transfer Points” from the left-hand navigation.

Clicking on the British Airways logo brings you to the following screen

chase-britishairwaystransferI know I’ll need 9,000 points, so I put that in along with my information and hit Continue.

The points transferred pretty much automatically.

Booking on British Airways

To actually book the flight, the first step is (unsurprisingly) to go to  From there, you want to go to the Executive Club link (what they call their frequent flyer program) and choose “Spending Avios”.

britishairwaysbook1Once you’re there, on the left side nav, there will be a link for “Book Flights with Avios”.  Click that and log in to your Avios account.  Of course I can never remember mine, so I then pull up Award Wallet to look up my number.

Then you put in your flight parameters.  I had previously determined that they only fly to DCA, so I put that in.  I also had looked and seen that there were flight options for a same day turnaround, so I put my outbound and return flights both for Saturday August 23rd.

britishairwaysbook2Oh no!  There are no direct British Airways flights between random airports in the middle of a foreign (to them) country?!!?!? 🙂

Luckily for us, they are partners with US Airways (becoming part of the new American Airlines), and US Air has the exact flight that we need!

BA’s website is also nice because it will show you how many reward seats are available.  In this case, I only need 1, so that’s not an issue.  I have not yet had to deal with booking award seats for my whole family yet – I’m sure that can be quite challenging.

Then I pick my return flight as well

britishairwaysbook3As you can see, there is plenty of availability there as well, and the price comes up at 9000 Avios, just what we expected (plus the $5 annoying government fees)

Clicking Continue, we’re taken to the next page

britishairwaysbook4As long as you have at least 50% of the Avios you need, you can actually buy any you’re short.  The price to buy them is not a particularly good price, but it’s an option in a pinch.

In this case, because we already knew the right amount of Avios, we’ve already transferred them over so we have the exact amount.

At this point, you just continue, pay the $5 with the card of your choice, and get your e-Ticket!

Make sure to book with British Airways!

It seems kind of obvious, but the tricky thing to remember is that even though we’re going to be flying on US Airways, we want to book through the British Airways site.  If we were to book this EXACT SAME flight on US Airways, it would cost us 25,000 miles!  What a ripoff!

Now, I do still need to figure out how to get from DCA to IAD, but that’s a subject for another day!

Anything about transferring from Chase or booking on British Airways that I missed?  Let me know in the comments!


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