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……
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!!!!!
Last week we had one a few good Error fares this year with Hong Kong Airlines releasing business class round trip fares from the west coast to Asia for approx $600. Lots of people jumped on these and the airline has committed to honoring them. This was great news and I look forward to a trip to Shanghai and beyond next spring.
An added bonus of these fares is that they have been ticketed in Fare class J, which means they will also accrue airmiles in their program Fortune Wings Club. These miles will be usable with their partners in this club which include Hainan Airlines amongst others along with international airlines such as TAP and Alaska.
One very interesting new redemption you could make with these miles could be on the new fifth Freedom route between Dublin and Edinburgh. This was launched earlier this year and is operated by a Airbus A330.
Based on the short distance would not require many miles to try out their business class once seats are available. The flight operates direct from Dublin to Beijing twice a week and via Edinburgh twice a week.
Many of the people who jumped on last weeks deal will be frequent travelers and looking for an interesting way to spend the attached mileage haul. So why not hop between Ireland and Scotland in style….
The Stockholm Error Fare also works to San Francisco for €160 a real bargain. Jump on this quick.
Potentially more cities are available too. Play around with momondo.se and see what you can find.
First great Error Fare of the year with full service Star Alliance Airlines Lufthansa, SAS and United. Lots of dates available Jan-Mar and while you have to start in Stockholm exits are available in several cities including Zurich and Brussels.
These are available via momondo.se and are well worth a positioning flight. Book quickly and wait until ticketed before booking hotels and other travel. Here’s to lots of great fares in 2018.
I have had mixed success with Error Fares over the past couple of years. With every one you catch, you miss one or the dates, routes don’t work for you.
I don’t live on the west coast but would have happily made my way over there to connect onto this mornings fare. $637 one way or $1500 return to fly Air France A380 First Class to London via Paris.
I need to be in London that Friday so went straight for it once I saw it. Hoping to snare a one way ticket for the outbound leg.
Sadly when I got to the booking page the airline had pulled the fare and it was back to normal which is slightly higher and a little out of my price range, at $13,000 one way. So back to Norwegian it is……
It will be interesting to see if Air France honor this one as it may prove quite costly. If anything you can see the huge discrepancy in fares when these errors appear. Oh well you win some, you lose some – onto the next one.
Super Fare this morning available flying from Stockholm to NYC with Lufthansa with a Frankfurt exit possible. Lots of dates in Feb and March available.
This can be found on skyscanner and is bookable via Lufthansa directly which means it will very likely be honored.
Even if you are not based in Stockholm it’s worth adding a layover in to take advantage of this fare and fly on the Lufthansa A380 or 747-800.
Move quickly on this one as it won’t last.
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.