Back in January, I used United's Excursionist perk to book our September trip to Malaysia with a stopover in Taiwan. Our flight route looks like this...
9 flights, 10 airports, 20,000 miles for a total of 75,000 United miles and $92 taxes per person. In case you're wondering, we'll see 5 cities in Asia during this trip, which explains this complicated route. I'll share more about our Excursionist itinerary in a separate post.
If you look closer at the map above, you can see that we are missing a connection between Taipei and Hong Kong. That means we'll have to find a way to travel one-way from Taipei to Hong Kong.
According to flyermiler.com, the cheapest award to fly between these two cities is using 4,500 British Airways Avios miles. BA uses a distance-based award chart so it's incredibly useful for short flights like this. As you can see, the award difference is quite significant as compared to other programs.
Based on a quick search on BA's website, I was able to find plenty of availability (15 flights per day) on Cathay Pacific for 4,500 miles on the date we wanted. Therefore, I decided to sit on it and wait till we plan out our itinerary before transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to BA to book this flight.
My decision to wait turned out to be a good one when I stumbled upon this post in April and found out that Chase launched a 30% transfer bonus for BA Avios. Since the transfer bonus promotion lasts until June 16, I was going to wait till June to do the transfer.
In a stroke of good timing, I was scanning through ThePointsGuy's newsletter on May 29 and found out from this post that British Airways will be changing their partner award prices on May 30. Somehow I missed all the articles that had been posted earlier about this change.
That means I only had a few hours to book our Taipei-Hong Kong award flights on Cathay Pacific at existing rates...whoops!
Fortunately, Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers to British Airways instantaneously. We needed a total of 13,500 BA miles for 3 one-way flights. Thanks to the 30% bonus, instead of transferring 14,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (1,000 increments), we only needed to transfer 11,000 Chase UR points to receive 14,300 BA miles, enough to redeem the flights for 3 person.
3 one-way flights from Taipei to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific for a total of 13,500 Avios + $98.10.
In case you're curious, the new award prices kicked in at 12am British time on May 30 and the same award increased 33% from 4,500 to 6,000.
I'm always interested in making the most of our hard-earned points and miles. By staying current of points and miles 'news', we were able to save 3,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards and avoided spending an extra 4,500 Avios for the exact same ticket that we were planning to get anyway. =)