Part one in our series covering everything you need to know about the BA companion ticket kicks off today. We start with the basics of how to get your hands on one of these invaluable companion tickets. If you happen to be an experienced travel hacker thinking you know this, don’t disappear just yet. This post goes beyond the obvious of how to earn the BA companion ticket, but also gives you tips for getting your ticket as quickly as possible.
How to earn a British Airways companion ticket
A British Airways companion ticket is awarded to British Airways AMEX card holders who spend a minimum amount each year. The amount you need to spend depends on which card you opt for. You can choose from a FREE British Airways American Express card, which awards a companion ticket after spending £20,000. Or, you can opt for the British Airways Premium card, which only requires spend of £10,000 in a year.
The latter card carries a hefty £195 annual fee, however it is more much more likely that you will succeed in meeting the required spend, to earn the American Express companion ticket.
What is the benefit of the BA companion ticket?
The benefit is that this ticket allows you to book two flights for the AVIOS cost of just one. Instead of paying 150,000 each for a flight, you will pay 150,000 for two (or 75,000 each). Sadly, you will still need to pay taxes and fees for both passengers, and these can account for a large part of the ticket cost. I will be covering ‘How to get the best value from your companion ticket in a future post’.
How many tickets can I get each year?
Technically one! However, if both you and your partner sign up for a seperate card account, then you can each earn a voucher, providing you can both satisfy the minimum spend . You could even apply for one British Airways Premium card, and then use the referral link to refer your partner. That way they get an additional 1,000 points on sign up and you get credited with a lovely 9,000 referral points.
This has been one of my biggest success stories in the last few months, and I have earned enough referrals to pay for a Club World redemption to anywhere in the world.
Top tips for getting your BA American Express companion voucher quickly
Ok, so that minimum spend might prove to be a problem for some, so here are my top tips for meeting the minimum spend quickly. Most of these are common sense but please spend responsibly. You should not be incurring spend which you cannot pay off each month. APRs on these AMEX cards start at 22.9% for the standard card and reach a whopping 76% for the Premium Plus card.
Apply for the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card at a time when you have a big outlay due. Don’t forget to use my referral link to get those extra sign up points.
For instance, if you need to pay for flights, a wedding or a new kitchen, try to put that expenditure on a credit card, and then immediately pay the balance off with any money you saved for the big purchase.
Helping out pals
If you tend to enjoy nights out, or holidays with friends and family, offer to pay for meals or holiday deposits on your credit card. Obviously, don’t forget to collect up the monies from them afterwards to pay off your bill.
If you have business expenses, rather than using the company credit card, be sure to use your own credit card. Once you receive the refund for your expenses, pay it straight onto your card.
Use plastic for everything
Admittedly, I felt a little stupid when I first started using AMEX to pay for my Starbucks but now I do not care. If anyone asks, I simply tell them I am using those miles to fly business class for less than economy. If nothing else, we usually get chatting about travel and who doesn’t love having that conversation?
Whilst each of those transactions may only award you 2 or 3 AVIOS, they all add up. Consider my coffee habit for instance – at almost £3 a day that is over a £1,000 in coffees each year. On the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card, I earn 1.5 AVIOS per £1 of spend. That’s an extra 1,500 AVIOS and 10% of what I need to spend to earn the companion ticket.
Your top tips for earning a BA companion ticket
Now I know there are a bunch of hardy UK travel hackers out there, who already earn BA companion tickets on a regular basis. Can you share any of your experience to help others get their tickets as quickly as possible? We would love to hear from you.
Part two coming soon: How to book a British Airways reward flight using your BA companion ticket
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