How do I get a British Airways business class upgrade?
The 14 Week Challenge shows you how to earn tons of BA miles (and other airmiles) to bag a British Airways business class upgrade. There really are tons of ways to supercharge your AVIOS balance without ever leaving the ground, but this information can feel overwhelming when you start travel hacking. To help, we have compiled a step by step guide to help you achieve your first BA upgrade to business class.
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 BA business class. The thought of managing all this credit can get scary for some people though. Even though I am Mrs Organised, 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, and dispelling the myths of credit.
Fast-track your AVIOS collection with Mr & Mrs Travelhack
Mr and Mrs Travelhack will help illustrate a simplified approach to fast-track your progress towards BA business class seats.
They spend £1,000 a month on credit cards, and want to fly British Airways Club Class to Las Vegas for their silver wedding anniversary.
Here’s how they can do it.
Churn and Burn
|Date||Credit Card Application||Card Applicant||Card to use for spending||Card spend||Sign up Bonus||Spend points||Notes|
|November 2017||Gold AMEX||Mr Travelhack||Gold AMEX||£1,000||0||1,000|
|December 2017||None||Mr Travelhack||Gold AMEX||£1,000||22,000 if he uses the link to the left (otherwise 20,000)||1,000||£2,000 minimum in 2 months. Transfer points and close the account.|
|Gold AMEX||Mrs Travelhack||Gold AMEX||£1,000||9,000||1,000||Mr Travelhack uses his referral link to refer Mrs Travelhack and earns 9,000|
|February 2018||None||Mrs Travelhack||Gold AMEX||£1,000||22,000 (20,000 if she doesn’t use the referral link from her husband)||1,000||£2,000 minimum in 2 months. Transfer points and close the account.|
|March 2018||British Airways Premium AMEX||Mr Travelhack||British Airways Premium AMEX||£1,000||0||1,500||Spend £3,000 within 3 months of application|
|April 2018||None||Mr Travelhack||British Airways Premium AMEX||£1,000||0||1,500|
|May 2018||None||Mr Travelhack||British Airways Premium Plus card||£1,000||26,000
(25,000 if he doesn’t use the referral link above)
|1,500||You may wish to retain this card to satisfy the minimum spend for a companion voucher.|
|June 2018||British Airways Standard (blue)AMEX||Mrs Travelhack||British Airways Standard (blue)AMEX||£1,000||6,000||1,000||No annual fee on this card. Earn 6,000 AVIOS on spending £1,000 within 3 months of application|
|July 2018||Gold AMEX||Mr Travelhack||Gold AMEX||£1,000||0||1,000||Six months have passed since closure of account, so now eligible to apply again.|
|August 2018||None||Mr Travelhack||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|
|September 2018||Gold AMEX||Mrs Travelhack||Gold AMEX||£1,000||9,000||1,000||Six months have passed since closure of account, so now eligible to apply again. Mr Travelhack again refers Mrs Travelhack to secure a 9,000 refer a friend bonus.|
|October 2018||None||Mrs Travelhack||Gold AMEX||£1,000||22,000||1,000||Satisfied the £2,000 minimum spend to receive the sign up bonus. Account can be closed once the points have been transferred|
Mr & Mrs Travelhack 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 is almost enough to book business class flights if 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 Travelhack
- Don’t opt for joint cards. This will mean you have to wait six months between closure and re-application.
- Stagger the sign up dates between Mr & Mrs Travelhack to make it easier to achieve the sign up spend.
- Get organised and make sure whoever is spending has 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.
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.
Tools to help manage your credit cards
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.
There are also tools to help manage your finances, and keep your stress levels in check. The only way is up with travel credit cards gives you a ton of tips to help you manage your affairs and includes links to posts from my Travel Hack Trio buddies covering Stateside factors.
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 Credit Card Tracker showing when you took out your cards, and when you closed the accounts. This will indicate when you can next apply.
It’s now over to you to pick your destination, and get spending. Just don’t spend more than you can afford to pay off each month!
If you are thinking that 12-18 months is a long time to wait, and this is too much effort, ask yourself ‘whether you really want to fly economy if you can fly business for less?’ This is money you were going to spend anyway. It might take a while to get your first flight, but if you repeat the cycle, you will be flying business every time.
Have your say
If you have other tips please feel free to share them below. I’d love to hear from you.
Get Your Free Travel Hacking Taster E-Book
Just click on the link to grab a copy of the first chapter of my upcoming E-book. I would love to know what you think of it.