Mileage Sweet Spots 3 – London to Madrid Club Europe 777 with Avios

Week three and another bargain Avios fare.

Each lunchtime British Airways operate a 777 between London and Madrid with its long haul business class seats available for purchase. I was quite excited to try these last year as I’d never flown backwards before. The flight leaves LHR around 1.20pm and arrives in Madrid with plenty of time to get into the city, checked in and out for dinner.

The full Avios fare is 12,750 and $40. As always and a great part of the program is you can pay more cash and less miles as you can see below. The cash price for this flight next month is £530 on the days I checked so this represents great value using your Avios.

The service onboard is really good and the T5 lounge in Heathrow, while big and busy does do a good choice of food and drinks and has some great runway views.

LHR is one of the best airports in the world for plane spotting. One downside was the plane was at a remote stand the week I took it but sometimes that’s kinda fun too as you get out on the tarmac.

This is a great way to travel between London and Madrid in a bed with lashings of wine for a very small price.

A New Year – what’s in store?

2018 has been and gone and was for me the busiest year I’ve had from a travel perspective. Between business and personal travel I ended up taking 61 flights on 17 airlines, traveling 96,000 miles through 33 different airports. I ended up the year with Delta Gold status and IHG Spire from flights and hotels which I’m looking forward to taking advantage of this year.

Most of the flights were in economy but I strategically used miles to travel in Thai First, Virgin Upper, Qantas and Cathay Business and thanks to Iberia’s promotion travelled up the front with them and BA. It was also interesting to try out Virgin’s and BA’s premium economy offerings across the Atlantic. As soon that will be the new business and business the new first for many business travelers.

While my intention was to travel less in 2019 the next six weeks show no sign of slowing down. A business trip to Tennessee will be followed by a long weekend in Europe spending a night Berlin and a couple in Dublin. I’ve been dying to fly on the Singapore A380 so used 30k United miles for JFK-FRA-TXL with the connection on Lufthansa and 13k Avios back from DUB – JFK with minimal charges.

Then February brings the years first “big trip” finally using the Hong Kong Airlines Error fare between LAX and PVG. I’ll be heading out to LA on the new United Dreamliner in Polaris on the way out and their new premium economy on the way back. The HKA legs will hopefully be on their newest A350s and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to sit in the queens nose once again, if only for an hour between BKK and HKT. The other flights will mainly be on 330s, which are still a nice change from the majority of my 2018 aircraft.

So by the end of February 35k miles and 17 flights will be flown. Further out, a weekend to visit to Boneyard in Tucson is planned and a week in Portugal booked for a very nice 44k SkyMiles in the height of summer.

I always find it nice to have a couple of trips booked in Jan/Feb to start the year off right and have something to look forward to in the New Year. That along with the fact that fares are cheaper and destinations less crowded make it the perfect time to travel. Wherever 2019 takes you enjoy it!!!

My 5 best deals of 2017 and not a single error fare.

2017 was a good year for me on the travel front racking up around 45,000 miles in the air. Nearly all of it paying cash and involving lots of deal hunting. I really enjoy researching fares and coming up with random routes to get the best value for money. I had quite a bit of success last year and wanted to share my top 5 deals of the year.

1.) SWF-EDI-FAO-LTN-DUB-SWF in July.

Every year I am lucky enough to go on a family holiday to the Algarve in Portugal, but since moving to the US the cost of flights has increased substantially. For the week in July I needed TAP via Lisbon was pricing at about $1,300 Return in economy. Other options included Aerlingus via Dublin but even it was coming in around $1,000.

Then along came Norwegian and their 737 MAX flights from Stewart Airport. I picked up SWF – EDI and DUB – SWF for $99 dollars each the day then went on sale and then used Ryanair flights for the flights in Europe which totaled about $150. All in all the flights came in at under $350 which for July was pretty awesome.

2.) BOS – EWR (LGA) in August

I guess this is more of a stroke of luck but I was booked on a 6am Monday morning United flight from Boston to Newark. This was a basic economy fare that cost just $59. I needed to get to work but when they ask for volunteers to change flights, you have to ask what’s on offer. In this case it was a $500 voucher and a seat with American twenty minutes later. I actually got to work earlier than I would have with United.

3.) EWR-SDQ-EWR-SFO in April

I needed to get to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic for a wedding. Prices were steep at about $600 round trip which I felt was far too high. Playing around on the United website I discovered that by adding an extra leg to the reservation to price would come down.

Being close to Easter we decided to add a leg to San Francisco which in its own right was very high due to the holiday. When all was said and done the fare came to $480. In theory we could have not taken the SFO flight and still saved cash but went ahead and booked the return with American for 12.5K miles as $5.60. Job done.

4.) JFK-LAS-SFO-LAS-JFK in December

Christmas is far and away the most expensive time of the year to travel but this year wanted to be in San Francisco. I booked the return flight on Virgin America via Las Vegas for 12.5K Alaska and $5.60 on the 26th of December. I felt this was a great redemption, but still needed to get there.

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Direct flights a few days before Christmas we’re pricing at between $450 and $500 again expensive for a route that is usually half that.

Meanwhile very few people go to Vegas the week before Christmas preferring the week after. Delta had a flight leaving at 8pm on Wednesday to LAS for $200 and a connection to SFO the following lunchtime was $59 with United. Hotels were empty so a king room at the Mandalay Bay was $90. Between the two of us it was a nice saving and a fun one. Who doesn’t enjoy the occasional night in Vegas.

5.) LGA -YUL June

A bachelor party bought me to Montreal in June. I decided to travel first thing on Saturday morning with Air Canada from LGA for $66. As per usual Sunday flights were steep so I started getting creative and decided on the train. A one way ticket on Sunday morning was $70 and it is a beautiful journey, sure it took a day, but the days after bachelor parties don’t tend to be too productive anyway, so why not stare out the window at things like Lake Champlain.

We’re now a week into 2018 and it’s almost time to get going again. My first trip will take me the whole way around the world in about 12 days. That kicks off next week and I am starting to get very excited.

Promotion: Long Haul BA Flights from 6,500 Avios. Including NYC, Dubai, Singapore and 87 others.

British Airways have today launched a great Avios promotion for the first six months of 2018. They have reduced the Avios needed for most long haul international flights by 50%. The program already has peak and off-peak rewards which makes today offer particularly tempting in many markets.

These fares have to start or finish in London, which is the only thing to be wary of. London has some of the highest airport taxes in the world making it more expensive to fly out of. But these taxes are not applicable when you fly into London.

As you can see a London to New York Fare here is a very attractive 6,500 Avios but with a fairly hefty $278 charge on top. This is made of taxes and the fuel surcharge BA insist on charging.

However the UK taxes drop off going in the other direction to $178. Still steep but certainly affordable. This can be combined with a cheap Norwegian flight or using miles to travel back with a different airline. Sadly taking advantage of open skies and flying from Paris doesn’t get around this problem as you don’t go through London.

There are 90 routes available in this promotion. Dubai and Singapore above again have fuel charges but a very low amount of Avios required. I will be playing with this for a few days and hope to find some more sweet spots.

If you have Avios in your account this could be a great way of getting more in seat miles per point.

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Fly the new American Dreamliner between ORD and DFW

As airlines take delivery of their new long haul aircraft they often put them into service on domestic routes on train pilots and crew. Americans fleet of 787-800s is slowly growing and in the new year you will have the opportunity to try one of them out between Dallas and Chicago before it goes into international service.

Flight times vary between January and March but it seems to be flying almost every day. If you happen to be traveling between the cities this is definitely the way to do it as the planes will be brand new and much more enjoyable than a 737.

These flights will have the international seat configurations so paying the extra for first/premium economy or using miles is definitely recommended.

The route is currently available for 15,000 Avios or 25,000 AA saver points if you want to use miles and travel up the front.

British Airways – Dublin to L.A. just €317 

 

Seems to be the day of Dublin and LA today. Hot on the heels of the WOW fares, there are now fares originating in Dublin to Los Angeles for just €317 via London on British Airways. Dates are wide open until the end of the year and flights will be full service with drinks, meals and the ability to earn Avios. 


Bookings are through Omega Flight store and Momondo. 



5 Great Value Business Class Avios Redemptions.


The British Airways Avios Program can offer some of the best value and worst value points redemptions out there. It is a distance based program which offers great value on short and medium distance routes starting at 4,500 Avios for flights under 600 miles long. Long haul flights tend to get caught with BAs fuel surcharges which often make them as expensive as booking the cash fare. 


A great way to use Avios is to travel on some of their One World partners in their wide-bodied business classes. Below are five options around the world which offer lie flat beds and full business class service and lounge access for between 12,500 and 20,000 Avios with minimal charges. 

American Airlines 777-200  – Dallas to Miami  for 15,000 Avios + $5.60

Cathay Pacific A330  – Hong Kong – Bangkok 15,000 Avios + $43.05


Latam Airlines 767-300 – Buenos Aires – Lima 20,000 Avios + $84

Iberia A340 – Madrid – London Heathrow – 12,750 Avios + $23.56


Qatar Airlines 777 – São Paulo – Buenos Aires – 15,000 Avios + $36.71

These are just five of the options you have to travel International business class products using a relatively low amount of Avios. Don’t waste them on an expensive long haul Economy redemption, drink some champagne instead. 

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