Earn your first free upgrade to business QUICKLY
Fantastic, you’ve been diligently following the #TTG4L 90 Day Challenge showing you how to earn tons of BA miles (and other airmiles) to fly British Airways business class for less than the cost of economy tickets.
Hopefully now you realise that there are tons of ways to supercharge your AVIOS balance without ever leaving the ground, however all this information can feel overwhelming when you start travel hacking. If this seems familiar, fear not, we have a step by step guide for you today to help you on your way.
The Importance of Credit Cards
Hopefully by now you’ve realised that credit cards are a significant contributor to your AVIOS balance, and hence your ability to fly business class but the thought of managing all this credit can get scary for some people. Even though I am Mrs Organised (aka a bit of a control freak), it can be stressful and daunting trying to keep track of multiple cards, payment dates, and spending requirements.
So maybe a month by month plan would help? You got it!
Today’s post is all about providing you with the tools to make this process as easy as possible to manage. The Only Way is Up with Travel Credit cards also gives you some useful pointers for managing credit cards, or dispelling any fears you may have about your credit status.
Fast-track your AVIOS collection with Mr & Mrs Happy
Mr and Mrs Happy are going to help illustrate a simplified approach to fast-track your progress towards business class seats.
They spend £1,000 a month on credit cards, and want to fly business class to Las Vegas, on their 10th wedding anniversary in a few years.
Here’s how they can do it.
Churn and Burn
|Date||Card owner||Card||Card spend||Sign up Bonus||Spend points||Notes|
|September 2016||Mr Happy||Gold AMEX||£1,000||0||1,000|
|October 2016||Mr Happy||Gold AMEX||£1,000||22,000 if he uses the link to the left (otherwise 20,000)||1,000||Satisfied the £2,000 minimum spend to receive the sign up bonus. Account can be closed once the points have been transferred.|
|November 2016||Mrs Happy||Gold AMEX||£1,000||9,000||1,000||Mr Happy uses his referral link to refer Mrs Happy and earns 9,000|
|December 2016||Mrs Happy||Gold AMEX||£1,000||22,000 (20,000 if she doesn’t use the referral link from her husband)||1,000||Satisfied the £2,000 minimum spend to receive the sign up bonus. Account can be closed once the points have been transferred.|
|January 2017||Mr Happy||British Airways Premium AMEX||£1,000||0||1,500||Spend £3,000 within 3 months of application|
|February 2017||Mr happy||British Airways Premium AMEX||£1,000||0||1,500|
|March 2017||Mr happy||British Airways Premium Plus card||£1,000||19,000
(18,000 if he doesn’t use the link to the left)
|1,500||Retain this card as you need to spend a further £7,000 before January 2018 to secure your companion voucher. LINK|
|April 2017||Mrs Happy||British Airways Standard (blue)AMEX||£1,000||3,000||1,000||No annual fee on this card. Earn 3,000 AVIOS on spending £500 within 3 months of application.|
|May 2017||Mr Happy||Gold AMEX||£1,000||0||1,000||Six months have passed since closure of account, so now eligible to apply again. LINK|
|June 2017||Mr Happy||Gold AMEX||£1,000||22,000 if he uses the link above (otherwise 20,000)||1,000||Satisfied the £2,000 minimum spend to receive the sign up bonus. Account can be closed once the points have been transferred.|
|July 2017||Mrs Happy||Gold AMEX||£1,000||9,000||1,000||Six months have passed since closure of account, so now eligible to apply again. Mr Happy again refers Mrs Happy to secure a 9,000 refer a friend bonus.|
|August 2017||Mrs Happy||Gold AMEX||£1,000||22,000||1,000|
So there you have it Mr & Mrs Happy have earned 128,000 points through sign up bonuses alone. They have also have earned 13,500 additional AVIOS from their ongoing spending. 141,500 point isn’t far off what they need to book business class flights assuming they also have a companion voucher.
If you are single, don’t worry you can still follow the same principle but it is going to take you a bit longer to get there!
Churning and burning your cards is the way to really rack up the points!
Things To Consider
- The British Airways Premium Plus card carries an annual charge of £195. Unless you can use two companion vouchers in a year, I recommend that only one of you applies for this card each year. Take your pick who gets their name on the plastic!
- The British Airways credit card carries no fee, hence why this is the second card for Mrs Happy
- Don’t opt for joint cards. This will mean you have to wait six months between closure and re-application.
- By staggering the sign up dates between both Mr & Mrs Happy, it makes it easier to achieve the sign up spend and ensures you can reapply sooner.
- Get organised and make sure whoever is spending has the card. What a bummer if they go to checkout to pay for an item, only to discover they are not in possession of the card!
- All of these cards are AMEX, which still isn’t accepted everywhere, so you will need a VISA or MasterCard as a backup (or your debit card!)
- To earn a companion voucher you need to spend £10,000 on the British Airways Premium Pluscard, or £20,000 on the standard card so make sure you have satisfied that spending requirement before closing the account.
We will assume that between September 2017 and February 2018, all spend goes on the British Airways Premium Plus card to satisfy the spend for the companion voucher.
With sign up bonuses and spending, you will almost certainly have enough for two to fly business to virtually anywhere in the world, once you have earned your companion voucher.
Of course, you now both need to agree where you want to go to!
Currently I have six credit cards, and I confess it freaks me out. Trying to keep track of payment dates, and spending is time consuming.
The above strategy is a good approach for achieving points. By having just two cards (your AMEX ,and an alternative VISA/Mastercard) you don’t miss out on a big sign up bonus by spreading yourself too thinly. You also keep your sanity, as you have less ongoing admin.
Other Tools to help
There are also tools to help manage your finances, and keep your stress levels in check.
Using Miles, Award Wallet and TripIt
These are all apps (with free versions) whereby you can manage details of all your award schemes in one place. If you are only ever going to focus on airline rewards with AVIOS though, seriously I wouldn’t bother.
These apps really come into their own if you have multiple airline and hotel reward memberships.
Good old spreadsheet
You could also set up a simple spreadsheet (or download this free one) showing when you took out your cards, and when you closed the accounts. This will indicate when you can next apply, or do what I do, and simply put a reminder task in your Outlook Calendar.
So that’s it, you now know all the tips and tricks to building your balance, I’ve shared my tools for managing the process and now it’s over to you. Pick your destination, and get spending (just don’t spend more than you can afford to pay off each month!).
Hopefully you will both be able to agree on the same destination!
If you are happen to be reading this and thinking that 12-18 months is a long time to wait, and this is a lot effort, ask yourself this ‘do you really want to fly economy if you can fly business for less?’
After all, this is money you were going to spend anyway. It might take a while to get your first flight, but then if you repeat the cycle, before long you will be flying business every time.
Have your say
If, on the other hand, you are an old hand at this and have other tips, which would benefit others, please feel free to share them below. I’d love to hear from you.
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