How British Airways Avios Saved The Day

American Airlines, British Airways, Credit Cards, Hockey, NHL, Unique Events 1 27

I bought tickets several months ago to the Kings vs Ducks Stadium Series at Dodger Stadium for my wife and me.  My mother-in-law was supposed to drive down this weekend to spend time with us and watch our 2-year old son while we went to the game.  Due to family medical issues, she has been driving a TON back and forth to San Francisco from Fresno, so was too tired to drive down.  We totally understood, but we were now in a bind since “special” games like this “require that every person in attendance have a ticket, per NHL rules.”

NHL 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series logoDucks vs Kings at Dodger Stadium logo

2012 Winter Classic – Rangers vs Flyers

We ran into this problem in Jan 2012 when we flew to Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park, where the Philadelphia Phillies play.  It was the first time we brought our son to a Winter Classic, since he was only 10 months old at this time.  We had taken him to other hockey, baseball, basketball, and football games without incident.  When we arrived at the game, we were told we’d need a ticket for him too.  Seriously?  A 10-month old?  Yes!  WTF?!?!?!

Luckily, my wife can be a little firecracker if pushed too far, and she started to go off on the ticket counter people.  We would have had to buy a ticket costing over $100 just to bring him in.  And, being so far away from home, it wasn’t like we could have had someone babysit him.  After a couple of minutes of us pleading our case, the lady handed us a ticket for free and told us to enjoy the game.  Ultimately, a happy ending, but not without serious frustration!!!

2012 NHL Winter Classic2012 Winter Classic Flyers vs Rangers

2014 Stadium Series – Kings vs Ducks

Knowing what we went through last time, I knew I had better call to find out if we could bring him, since it seemed like my mother-in-law was not up for the 4 hour drive from Fresno to Orange County.

I tried calling the Los Angeles Kings, but it was almost impossible to find a phone number.  While on hold, I found the online chat feature at Ticketmaster and confirmed with them that “per NHL rules, every person in attendance needs to have their own ticket.”  Talk about family unfriendly… why would there be different rules for these games than the normal regular season games?  It doesn’t make sense at all.

I sent a Tweet to the NHL, but never received a response…

Tweet to NHL

How did British Airways Avios save the day?

Since my mother-in-law didn’t want to drive, we didn’t have many options available for a babysitter since we’d be gone about 7+ hours for the drive to LA from OC, the pre-game KISS concert, the game itself, and the debacle that traffic is sure to be trying to leave Dodger Stadium, plus driving back home.  Our friends are nice, but that’s probably asking too much, since most have kids of their own… and we wouldn’t be home until probably 10pm.

British Airways Avios are distance-based awards, so they don’t usually require the 25,000 miles it would be for the usual frequent flier mileage redemption.  They partner with American Airlines, so first I checked to see if “Saver” award space was available for this weekend.

Fresno to LAX on American

And the return flight also had space…

LAX to Fresno on American

Success!!!  Because there was space available for both days with American, I knew that I could redeem Avios for a ticket.  Now, I just had to hope that the flight times worked for us.

Fresno to LAX using British Airways Avios

and the return options…

LAX to Fresno using British Airways Avios

So, I was able to book tickets for Saturday morning and Sunday evening for 9,000 British Airways Avios and $5.

Fresno to LAX points price using British Airways Avios

If I tried to buy these same tickets on American Airlines’ website, they would have been $430.

Fresno to LAX on American cash price

Checking on Expedia, there was a cheaper option of $295, but my mother-in-law would have arrived at 2pm, rather than 9am, so that would have meant 5 less hours with my son for her… and a rush to pick her up, drop her back off at home, then rush back to LA for the game.

Fresno to LAX on American cash price on Expedia

How can you earn British Airways Avios?

The best way to earn Avios is through the Chase British Airways Visa.  You will earn 50,000 Avios after spending $2,000 within 90 days, plus 1.25 Avios for every dollar in net purchases on your card.  The $95 annual fee is not waived the first year, but isn’t $95 worth the free flights you’ll get from these 50,000 miles?

Tickets are still available for the Kings vs Ducks at Dodger Stadium

If you’d like to attend the game, LivingSocial has VIP packages available starting at $185 per person.  This includes one ticket, a pre-game party with food, drinks, music, and free shuttle to the game, your choice of hat or scarf, and an Official Ticket Holder lanyard.  This seems like a better deal than buying tickets through Ticketmaster, like I did.

The game starts at 6:30pm, but the pre-game party at at Harvey House at Union Station begins at 2:30pm.

Conclusion

Life throws you a curve every once in awhile.  Take a deep breath, think through the available options, and you may come up with a sweet workaround.  The Avios I earned from the Chase British Airways Visa allowed me to still attend the hockey game without cashing in on favors I’ve been building up with friends.

Where will your miles take you?

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