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!!!
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……
Another year another low cost airline. Launching in April 2018 Primera Air will offer rock bottom, no frills fares across the Atlantic. They have leased two A321 neos which will operate from Boston and Newark to London Stansted, Birmingham and Paris.
Much like Norwegian and Wow the lowest fares will only get you a seat and once you add seat selection, meals etc. the price will rise. But we’re all getting used to that now so what’s the big deal.
Currently the basic fares out of the US in the summer months are very reasonable actually starting at the promised $99 and rising to $200. The return legs are slightly higher but it is possible to get a round trip for between $400 and $500. They are charging $80 to upgrade and include seat selection, checked bag an a meal. So even if we call it $660 it’s still pretty reasonable for peak summer.
The Newark flight to London departs at 10.50pm so really all I would be concerned with is a decent seat to try and sleep. Those are pricing at $50 for exit and XL seats and $40 for anywhere else onboard. Rows one to four are a premium class which is pricing closer to $750 all-in the day I looked.
I’m pretty tempted to buy a one way $139 fare in June as I know I’ll need it and I don’t believe anyone will go cheaper. While Stansted isn’t ideal in some respects it will allow low cost connections all over Europe without the need to go into London.
However I do think it will be interesting what the major airlines do next summer and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a price war as there are now so many seats over the Atlantic. So if you are booking a summer family round trip maybe avoid for now, but if you need a cheap one way they are unlikely to go lower than this.
Just in time for the Christmas season Groupon and American have joined forces to allow you earn AA miles on everything you buy. New customers can earn 1,000 bonus miles with a first purchase and then 5 per dollar spent.
This is slightly better than the current deal in place with Alaska which offers 4 miles per dollar with the same bonus offer for new customers.
Use these extra miles towards your Dreamliner trip between Dallas and Chicago.
Check out momondo.ca if you fancy an escape to Asia in December. A China Eastern mistake fare is offering round trip flights from Toronto and Vancouver to Angeles in the Philippines for just over $300.
This is a bargain to get to that part of the world and you can connect from Angeles to other parts of Asia.
Check it out and as always don’t book any extras until the fare is ticketed.
Earlier today I wrote about the Ryanair 7 day Black Friday Sale which is offering some really low fares around Europe in January. Here are some really great routes I found if you want to get away for a few days.
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Usually the places you actually want to go are restricted in sales like this. Not this time!! Get Booking.
Amazing value error fare today between San Francisco and London from just $259 with Virgin Atlantic. This is a super fare between the cities on one of the better economy options out there.
The fares are available on Momondo and run into next year on many dates. Some include short layovers in either JFK or LAS and you may get to try out the new Virgin 787 which I’m looking forward to Flying on.
As always don’t book anything non-refundable until the ticket is issued, but get on this quick you will not find a better fare between the west coast and London.
Amazing deal to Tel Aviv from Dublin available this morning. Dates available in December including weekend trips with Aegean Airlines via Athens for €132.
Tel Aviv is a vibrant and interesting town with lots of history. Fares are never this low from Ireland. You can book these fares on sky scanner and momondo. Likely an error Fare so jump on these quick and don’t book accommodation until the flights are ticketed.
In reply to the Wow fares yesterday, Norwegian are at it today. Originating in Stewart Airport outside New York or Providence outside Boston to Dublin, Cork, Belfast and Edinburgh for $89 with available dates all the way to Christmas. Due to taxes the return fares are higher.
Stewart is a bit of a trek from NYC http://bit.ly/2vuuXUd as you can read here, but $89 to Europe is worth the hassle. Book on the Norwegian site and off you go!!!
Free flight comparison with Skyscanner, your flight search starts here!
Cheap fares across the Atlantic are becoming the new norm with low cost carriers launching and the US airlines trying to compete with occasional flight sales. Taking advantage of a bargain fare on Norwegian will get get you a no-frills service to your destination potentially on a 737, not very glamorous.
A much more enjoyable way to travel to Europe is onboard the Emirates A380 from JFK to Milan. They are currently running a promotion with lots of dates available up until December for $398 round trip based on two people travelling. It is still a very reasonable $448 if you are travelling alone.
These are full service flights with award winning service aboard their flagship A380 aircraft. Where there won’t be any charges for food and drinks and certainly not for a glass of water. This really is one of the best ways to travel in economy across the Atlantic from the east coast.
Once in Milan Northern Italy is at your finger tips or explore Europe with one of low cost airlines who can get you pretty much anywhere at a reasonable price.