New Chase and British Airways Above & Beyond Experiences Added to Calendar

Jul 25, 2017

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Until recently, if you wanted a taste of the VIP events known as Above & Beyond experiences — for British Airways Visa Signature Cardmembers as part of the BA/Chase partnership — you had to be a serious big spender … and it was invite-only anyway. Now we’ve learned that there will soon be a whole new series of experiences that are far more accessible to the average cardholder.

Each of the coming programmed Above & Beyond events includes a one-day package for a British Airways Visa Signature cardholder and a guest costing 20,000 Avios (which is much more attainable than the 800,000 Avios required for past events). Signing up is easy, too: there will be an 800 number on the website — and in the email that cardholders will soon receive — to make reservations.

This fall’s event lineup includes the following:

  • VIP access to the Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco, including Box Suite seating and artist meet and greets, among other perks (event is August 11-13, 2017; on sale July 25, 2017).
  • An evening beneath the Space Shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, including a private dinner with a former British astronaut (event is October 20, 2017; on sale Sept. 14, 2017).
  • An international culinary evening in Chicago, including a cocktail reception and multi-course dinner and wine pairings with a top chef at a world-renowned restaurant (event is Nov. 7, 2017; on sale October 4, 2017).
  • A special holiday event in New York City, including a traditional British Christmas dinner menu hosted by a British celebrity chef at Rockefeller Center (event is Dec. 2, 2017; on sale Nov. 17, 2017).

More information will be available at the end of August via the Chase/British Airways website. Email invitations will also soon be sent to all British Airways Visa Signature cardholders so they can be on the lookout for the new website and check out the events.

If you’re looking at TPG’s point valuations, British Airways Avios are valued at 1.5 cents per point, so spending 20,000 British Airways Avios is like forking over about $300. If you value each of the above events at more than that, which they likely are, you’d clearly be getting a solid deal.

Above & Beyond: Summertime In London

The most recent Above & Beyond event, Summertime in London, just took place in mid-July. Lucky participants jetted from the US to London on British Airways and headed to one of the city’s most prestigious hotels — The Savoy, London — for an opulent three-night stay.

The Savoy in London.

Guests received a private tour with afternoon tea before zig-zagging their way across the city for a string of fabulous events, starting with a private reception at the Radio Rooftop Bar atop the Mélia Hotel ME London (see pics below) featuring a whiskey tasting, an international cheese and seafood bar, ice sculptures of the London skyline — all set to live jazz from New Orleans musician Acantha Lang.

Seafood and skylines.

The next evening included a dinner of British delicacies at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel hosted by celeb chef Heston Blumenthal featuring some of the most photographed foods in the world — a mandarin chicken liver parfait with grilled bread…

A very photographed dish by chef Heston Blumenthal.

… and spit roast pineapple for dessert.

Pineapples grilled on a spit.

Tennis fans were treated to an afternoon at Wimbledon and a private lunch with tennis star Stan Smith, pictured below.

Stan Smith, tennis icon.

Finally, the experience ended with a farewell river cruise along the Thames and a delicious brunch.

River cruise views.

So who got to go? As we mentioned, it was invite-only. Even then, it still cost 800,000 British Airways Avios for two people to attend — alternatively, guests could choose to spend 400,000 Avios and use a Travel Together ticket voucher, which is earned by spending $30,000 per year on the card. Of course, you really can’t put a value on once-in-a-lifetime experiences — some tennis fans might just spend 800,000 Avios for the opportunity to meet Stan Smith alone!

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