Weekend wrapup: 100K BA Miles, Amazon Prime, Manufactured Spending Getting More Expensive

It was a moderately busy weekend in the world of miles. Here are a few of the things that are going on:

100,000 British Airways Miles 

avios

Using Avios to fly

In an attempt to sound even more pretentious and offset their declining service, BA calls its miles Avios, but they do the same thing. Don’t let the terminology confuse you.

BA had what I believe to be the first ever 100,000 miles (er, Avios) credit card offer, and has brought it back. It’s no longer as good as the original, but you can earn 50,000 Avios when you spend $3,000 in the first three month; 25,000 more when you spend $10,000 total in your first year, and; another 25,000 when you spend an additional $10,000.

One of the oddities about BA is the way that they price tickets, which is based on the number of miles that you fly, rather than the geographic zone. Thus, really short flights are ridiculously cheap, although tickets on partner carriers start at the zone two peak rate of 7,500 one-way.* Still not terrible.

One note: The last place that you want to use British Airways miles is actually to fly on BA. The airline charges obscene fees, particularly on premium awards. They’re best used on American, or a partner that does not have crazy surcharges.

If you do want the card, you can apply for it at British Airways’ website.

Amazon Prime Movin’ On Up

If you’re one of the seven people in the world who don’t have Amazon Prime, now is the time to get it. On May 11, the price changes from $99 to $119. It’s still a great deal if you’re a frequent shopper.

Manufactured Spending to Get More Expensive

Manufactured spending (MS) is a subject that I don’t talk a lot about. MS consists of spending money to get credit card points in such a manner that you’re not actually out of pocket anything. For example, it’s possible to use your credit card to buy Visa or Mastercard gift cards, and then redeem those gift cards for money orders, which you can deposit in a bank account.

While there are fees involved, the trick to coming out ahead is to order the gift cards through a shopping rebate site, which gives you money back on just about any purchase. The 1-1.5% rebate that you used to get on cards from giftcards.com is going away, per a post at Point Chaser.** That rebate was usually enough to offset the fees from gift card purchases, and its loss means that the arbitrage on MS becomes much lower. It’s still possible to make money on the deal, but it may not be worth the time.

 


*Beginner’s Hint: Take a glance at this note if you want to learn a little more about how alliances work.

**When it comes to manufactured spending, particularly as it relates to gift cards, Point Chaser is my go-to site recommendation.

 

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