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.
So it happened – the deal of a lifetime became a reality. I expect many people booked as quickly as possible without a whole lot of research into how the are going to get to Vietnam for the outward leg and home from Vietnam on the return. As I mentioned I didn’t participate in this one but it could have played nicely into one of my goals for this year which is the take the Singapore Airlines longest flight for no other reason than I’m an avgeek.
Here’s an idea for you which may just work if you’re US based and mad enough and want to spend a few days jetting around the world eating and drinking in first and business class cabins and great lounges.
This idea works on the second leg. So make sure to credit the miles to Alaska if you are in first class on the outbound, you will receive enough miles for a JAL award later in the year as you can see in the chart above.
One of the great Alaska redemptions is the ability to travel from South East Asia to India via Tokyo in JAL Dreamliner business class for just 25k, an absolute steal. In this scenario we want to get to India to pick up a great Singapore Airlines fare back to New York.
Randomly enough Singapore offers great cash fares from Ahmedabad in India via Singapore to Newark on the highly publicized worlds longest flight. Fares between Delhi and Ahmedabad are very cheap and will position you to start the trip back to NYC.
Singapore Airlines have various dates available throughout the schedule currently from $1499, these have dropped as low $1200 and tend to fluctuate a bit. For the length of the flight it’s good value in business class and allows you travel on the worlds longest flight. It involves an A330 to Singapore and a pretty long layover, but so be it, it’s all part of the mission.
Before you know it you’re back in Newark after some serious hours in the air but why not consider it?? Three days ago you could only dream about traveling Cathay First why not tie in the worlds longest flight.
Amusingly you can credit Singapore to Alaska too. So between your Cathay accrual back to Vietnam and the Singapore accrual to New York, you’ll have enough Alaska miles for a rewards ticket back to Vietnam on Cathay Pacific……
As was widely reported on NYE Cathay Pacific released thousands of Business and First Class seats from Vietnam to the US round trip for prices between $650 and $1,000. As soon as the fares went dead speculation started around whether the fares would be honored or not by the airline. There was radio silence throughout New Year’s Day from the airline as presumably they were figuring out how many tickets were sold and what the damage was. The story was picked up by the local Hong Kong press which added extra pressure their decision.
Then it arrived the airline tweeted their intention to honor the fares and welcome the people who bought them onboard. This is a great New Years gift for those who purchased the fares. I had a great flight in Business between Vancouver and New York last summer but decided not to jump in this time, which I now regret quite a bit. If you booked have a great time and make sure to credit the fares to Alaska as they have great bonuses for higher class travel. Enjoy.
New Years Eve 2018 and around 5pm EST Twitter bursts into life with another mistake fare, this time it was Cathay Pacific and they were offering both first and business class fares from Vietnam to the US starting at around $650. It doesn’t come much better than that as First Class round trip fares can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
What was even more interesting this time was the fares stayed live for hours and almost every day of the schedule was available, allowing people the opportunity to actually plan and make dates work rather than jumping in and planning later. Eventually about midnight Cathay pulled all first and business inventory to solve the problem and prices later returned to normal.
For once I didn’t get on this one although it took a lot of self control to stay on the sidelines. In a few weeks I will be setting off to Asia thanks to the Hong Kong Airlines error fare. It almost made sense to only use the outbound and return with Cathay based on the price of a positioning flight I need to book to get back to Shanghai. However potential no show fees put me off that idea seeing as HKA have not budged an inch on any of my requests to amend the itinerary. Ultimately making three trips to Asia next year just for the sake of if, I decided against and $900 is still a fair chuck of change at the end of the holidays.
What happens next will as always be interesting. The airline can cancel all their fares and put it down as a mistake and I think they likely will. Cathay Pacific is the business carrier of choice to Hong Kong from the US and bad press from a lot of travel bloggers and deal hunters will probably be a better option than telling their frequent flyers there are only economy seats left because someone made a mistake last New Years and they have no seats left up the front. That could lead to them losing customers to competitors which in this day and age nobody wants.
But hopefully they will honor as their counterparts did. Should they decide to do so not only will those who book have a great experience in the sky and on the ground with the famous product but by crediting the miles earned to American or even better Alaska they will be able to enjoy a lot of redeemable miles to spend on future trips.
2018 gave us three big deals in my opinion. The Iberia 90K Avios came good. Lots of people have already enjoyed the Hong Kong Airlines error and I can’t wait to do so myself in a few weeks. But if honored this Cathay mistake will be the pick of the bunch. Good luck to those who booked I look forward to the first set of photos although maybe not 27 sets.
Here’s to some great deal hunting in 2019!!!!!
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.
Lots has been made in the last few weeks of the end of the 747 in the US with Delta and United retiring their fleets. It’s sad to see the end of the Queen of the Skies and just last night I posted a picture of two lining up for take off at Heathrow, a beautiful sight.
While the US carriers are cutting 747s several International airlines are still flying them, Lufthansa being one. In the wake of the Air Berlin fall out they have opted to run the queen on a domestic route between Frankfurt and Berlin Tegel based on increased demand.
The flights will start on November 1st and there are more than 60 available to book between the cities operated by a 747-400 with 67 Business Class and 304 premium and economy seats. Flight times seem to vary day to day with economy fares pretty low and business flex fares expectedly pretty high for a flight that’s takes a little under an hour.
But being able to choose these seats on a trip you might normally do by train is pretty exciting. I am no longer member of miles and more where there is likely much better awards value but I can confirm there is availability and United will charge 25,000 miles and $61 for the trip in business and 15k and $61 in economy.
It’s hard to know when your real last chance will be to fly on a 747 but the chances is are the 400s will begin to be phased out around the world sooner rather than later. If you are an avgeek at heart and want to sit upstairs once again this could be a great chance to do it at an affordable price. Hopefully it proves successful and they keep it running for the long term.
Every few days a new 787 Dreamliner rolls off the production line at Everett outside Seattle before heading off to airlines around the world. Some go straight to work in long haul routes while others are used domestically for a period of time to train crews and pilots.
Qantas will shortly be receiving their first 787-900 aircraft and it will put it to work domestically in November. Routes will be Melbourne to Perth and Melbourne to Sydney and will run from early November to mid December before the aircraft goes on International duty.
If you need to travel between these locations and have some Avios to spare it is a great way of doing it. Sydney to Melbourne costs just 9,000 Avios in Business Class with a minimal fee.
Currently these flights are still being advertised as A330s on booking systems but you are able to see the new business class seating layout as below. It appears premium economy seats are also being sold as normal economy on these flights which will be good value for cash fares.
If you are in Australia and need to travel between these cities why not give this 787-900 a go. There’s something special about a plane straight off the production line and it will be much more comfortable than the usual 737s on these routes.
Unfortunately this plane will be flying International when I’m in Australia next year. But I will get to fly their A330 for those 9,000 Avios so all is not lost….
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.
One of the better value Avios redemptions in Europe is between London Heathrow and Madrid in the Iberia A340 business class. Every day the wide body does one round trip between the two cities departing Madrid and 15.45 and returning from Heathow at 18.30. As it part of the international fleet it has lie flat beds and better entertainment options than the smaller aircraft used on this route.
This is a great Avios redemption available at 12,750 Avios plus just $23. You can also spend less Avios and more money depending on your preference. The best availability for this route is via the Iberia website.
While most people are more like to hold their Avios with BA it is very simple to make an instant transfer to your Iberia account via BA.com. The only thing is you need an Iberia account open with a points balance however small in it. This can be done via a small shopping purchase or crediting a short One World flight to it.
Once both accounts are ready you log into BA and go to the executive club you will see an option to combine Avios on the left. From there you choose your Iberia Plus account and complete the transfer. Once done you receive a confirmation email from both airlines and the points will be available to use.
From there just find availability on the day you need. Make the booking and enjoy the trip. I opted to use 6,400 Avios and £73 as my balance was running low. The cost price of the flight on the day I will travel is currently €683 in business and €276 in economy. Making this a very good redemption whatever way you look at it.
Third error fare of the day again with lots of availability in December and early next year in business class with Star Alliance airlines from both Nice and Munich to San Francisco.
This is excellent value bearing in mind the length of the flight and the amount of airmiles you can earn. Momondo again have the cheapest options. Go quickly as these will not last.
As always don’t book hotels etc. until the flights are ticketed.