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.
Just 8,125 Avios and $160 that really is a sweet spot in the promotion.
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.
I have previously written about websites such as Kaligo, Pointshound and Rocketmiles which offer sometimes very generous miles bonuses on top of hotel stays. These websites allow you to credit to a wide range of airline partners and a single stay at a higher range hotel can even end up earning enough miles for a free flight across the Atlantic. Rocketmiles
However these bonuses usually come with some opportunity cost as the rooms themselves usually (but not always) come in at a higher price than the more established websites such as hotels.com and booking.com. This means it is important to place a value on the miles and is these sites are not always the best value.
However if you are an Avios collector (which you should be) there is a way around this as both hotels.com and booking.com have partnered with the Avios program and allow you earn 4 Avios per pound spend once you link through the Avios site.
While the bonuses won’t be as valuable the hotel prices will be lower and you can still earn miles. Just a couple of thousand Avios can get you serious discounts in some Business Class cabins around the world. Best uses of Avios
As you can see above you need to click through the Avios website to receive the bonus miles. The top shot is off the normal website and the one below via the Avios site. The best bit is the price is exactly the same so you aren’t paying over the odds for the Avios.
Hotels have become a better way of collecting miles than actually flying. It is always worth putting in a little extra research and comparing the prices. Sometimes the new sites will be worth while but with this trick you can earn miles on every booking.
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.
Looks like it’s Canada Day – there are also extremely cheap fares from Vancouver to Dublin in November and February next year. Again with Westjet and bookable via kayak.ie they are coming in at €208 or $245
These include travel with British Airways and Westjet. So should be good for some Avios too.
If you would prefer leaving from Toronto check out the post from earlier here.
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.
The taxes on international flights out of London are notoriously high and are nearly always passed onto the consumer. However there are ways of getting around them if you start your route elsewhere and connect through London.
If we look at this Fare between London and Chicago at the end of the month, BA are charging over $1,800 for round trip economy. This is peak season but still very expensive.
However if we start the trip in Dublin and add a two extra flights to the itinerary the fare drops to under $1,100 for the exact same transatlantic flights as the tax has fallen off.
While businesses don’t seem to mind this is a lot of money out of the leisure travellers pocket. You can also drop the second leg to Dublin if you don’t check a bag or make sure there is an airport change in the intinery.
A $700 fare difference is considerable when you are sitting in the same seat on the same plane. While a one way from London to Dublin to position yourself would cost between $20 and $70 depending on the details.
The next time you are flying out of Heathrow have a look. $700 would give you a very good night out in Dublin before you fly…..