Hey, I earned a British Airways companion certificate!

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. Like many of you, I’m sure, I have the British Airways Visa card thanks to the 100,000 mile sign-up bonus they offered a couple of years ago. I’ve actually found the card to be pretty valuable in the meantime, between their elimination of foreign transaction fees and generous stopover rules. My goal at the beginning of 2011 was to switch all my spending to the British Airways Visa until I earned the British Airways companion certificate, after $30,000 in spend within the calendar year. The British Airways companion certificate lets you book two passengers for the cost of one on a British Airways metal award (only in terms of miles, though… both passengers have to pay taxes and surcharges).

Last year I figured it would be unrealistic to spend the $30,000 on the credit card, given that I put virtually no effort into using the card for the first half of the year.

Well, I nearly fell out of my chair this morning when I logged into my British Airways account, only to find this message at the top of my account:

I logged onto my Chase account to do the math on just how much I spent last year on that card. After crunching the numbers, I figured out that my total spend, by chance, was $30,100. Man, guess I should be happy I became addicted to Starbucks last year, or else I wouldn’t have hit the target.

Now I’ve gotta find someone that actually wants to travel with me… hmmm…

And before anyone asks, no, not all of that spend was “actual” spend. A majority of it was just credit card spend to generate miles with little to no cost.


  1. “And before anyone asks, no, not all of that spend was “actual” spend. A majority of it was just credit card spend to generate miles with little to no cost.”

    What do you mean?

  2. @ Stevie G — Credit card spend = spending $30,000 makes me 30,000+ miles richer. Actual spend = spending $30,000 makes me $30,000 poorer. 😉

  3. “Fake Spending” = Gold Coins + Funding a CitiBank savings account with your credit card.

    You should offer up the companion seat to someone willing to pay the $1,400 in taxes for the two “free” tickets!

  4. How much do you lose on such “Credit Card Spend”?

    Amex Charges the merchant about 3% commission here; so in order to rank up $30K on a card (Even if you get everything back) would also induce about ~$1000 in fees.

    Is such voucher worth the 1000 bucks? I guess it is; but the winnings are not as big as when you would do “Real Spending” 😉

  5. BA gets a bad rap about YQ, but the 1.25 miles per dollar are as good as the beloved Starwood card (albeit without the option of moving the miles to another program). And the no fx fees is nice too.

    Now we all get to find out if Ben is going to eat his words and actually PAY for a free ticket — and even better, pay the YQ twice! bwahaha.

    Still not a bad deal.

  6. I’m curious how you will use it. I recently got one and want to use it but am finding it hard to pay for the $1400 for my wife and I vs. using 160K to fly Business class to South America again.

  7. I’ve always been curious as to how you can afford to travel so much. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not judging you!! It’s just that the little I know about you is that you’re a college student (that’s what it says in the “About” page) and I don’t know any college student who can spend $30,000 on a Starbucks addiction (:P) let alone 300K+ BIS miles per year. I know that some of that travel is on awards, but you have to have earned those awards at some cost to begin with. If it’s a private matter (wealthy family…whatever), then by all means tell me it’s not my business, but if there’s a lesson in there for the rest of us (i.e., another secret like the many useful ones you’ve shared so far — thanks, by the way!), then I look forward to hearing it!

    I’m assuming that for one thing you’re one of the now-famous US Airways millionaires from the TIB promo (which I missed!), but you also spend cash, so…it’s not all just wise miles decisions, right?

  8. @Xandrios @SteveG @Simon @A.S.

    There are a lot of ways to generate spend on a card without actually spending any money. For example, if you’re from a largish family who doesn’t really care about earning miles themselves, you can have lots of opportunities. When I know someone in my family is planning a large purchase, i.e. computers, jewelry, flights, cruise vacation, etc. I get them to order it on my card and then give me cash or a check. In most cases they were just going to be using a debit card anyway. I’ve been able to generate >$40,000 in additional spend this way in the past year.

  9. You’d be surprised how much your everyday spending, monthly bills, etc. all adds up. Especially nowadays that credit cards are accepted so widely. Plus other methods of racking up CC spend without incurring debt.

    I’m still on the fence but we may decide to go for the companion pass this year (got the BA cards in late Feb last year and too many other bonus spend thresholds to meet last year)

  10. You would be suprised how easy it is to “buy” money then payoff the card with the bought money!

  11. Personally I have no issue with paying the YQ on BA redemptions. Sure I’d like not to have to.

    However, I’ve now used about 5/6 of their 2-4-1 vouchers, saved myself a lot of miles and travelled to North America and Asia in First Class for less than an economy ticket would cost me.

  12. Both myself and my wife each have a ba companion ticket to use. Nice thing is that you have 24 months to use them. I taking my 7 year old to London in April in first class using the companion ticket. Only 150,000 round trip plus taxes as opposed to the normal rate if 300,000.

  13. Thought I was going to get the certificate as well, but just realized I charged $28,081 not 35,581 as I had thought. I forgot about the 1.25 miles per dollar, so I was doing the calculation off points instead of $. Any suggestion on getting retro points or spend?

  14. @ CaribAA — Unfortunately I suspect you’re out of luck. Wish I had a good suggestion, though there’s not really a way to do that retroactively. Better luck next time!

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