When news hit about British Airways’ stellar business class fare deal yesterday, I had no intention of taking advantage – I already have a healthy supply of points to fund years of premium cabin award travel, am loyal to United Airlines, and perhaps most importantly, my wife still doesn’t care – she remains content to fly in economy class.
But as the day dragged on, I started thinking about our trip to Germany next spring and begin looking at flights. We already had our travel dates planned and in looking at economy class prices, they were all around the $1,000 USD mark.
So I checked British Airways business class fares, which were pricing at $2001 r/t via London for our dates to our cities. Not bad, but too high to justify…without further price cutting.
The beauty of this fare sale is that it is stackable with several offers. British Airways still offers $400 off business class fares for AARP members, and anyone can join for $16/year. In fact, my wife would not even have to join – me joining and booking for both of us via the AARP portal was sufficient to receive $400 off each ticket.
Okay, so $2001 becomes a $1601 fare. Even better price, but still too much to justify.
But that wasn’t all. BA is running a promotion right now where you can use Avios to offset the price of your paid ticket. 30,000 Avios takes off $767 from the fare, giving you a value of about 2.55 cents per point. That’s a lower CPM than I can usually coax out of a well-planned redemption, but we’re talking cash here and 2.55 is hard to beat (in fact, you can buy points from BA for a bit less).
So now the fare dropped from $1601 to $834/ticket. Now that I could live with, considering the time involved in hunting for award space, the fact that this ticket will actually earn back a lot of miles, and the fact that it is an easy routing from LA via London – I actually would have been stupid not too book.
The final question was routing. I actually could have saved a little money by flying AA metal through Dallas or Philadelphia, but having just read Rocky’s poor experience in American business and having had an equally poor experience flying in American Airlines first class to Beijing earlier this year, I had no desire to fly on AA. I also love the A380 and managed to book on the A380 both to and from London. I’ve never flown Club World on BA, only first, so this will be a new experience as well and other than the liquid gestapo at security in Heathrow, I enjoy flying through London. And I must admit, I love BA’s afternoon tea service on westbound flights and that factored into the decision as well.
Sometimes, even a great deal does not make sense. Not chasing elite status on AA, I wasted my money taking advantage of the $455 Beijing first class deal earlier this year, but this booking made sense. We already had a trip to Germany planned, our precise dates were available, and we are ultimately paying less than we’d pay to travel in coach and upgrade.
This deal runs through midnight ET and you can still jump on it. If you are thinking about a trip to Europe through next August, I highly recommend you jump on this right away, as sale inventory is limited. You have 24-hours to cancel without penalty and if you do end up having to cancel the trip beyond the cool-off period, the cancellation fee is $500. Keep in mind as well that if you credit to American Airlines and travel in 2015, you can earn 25,000 bonus award miles just for completing the round-trip.
We are in a new era of cheaper business class fares and it would not surprise me to see a lot more deals to Europe in the $2K range going forward, but the AARP discount is slated to end on 10/31 and ability to apply Avios at 2.55 cents to your fare is not an indefinite promotion.