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I posted yesterday about some of the excellent prices British Airways and American Airlines are currently offering to the USA, and how the cheap fares can be combined with ‘part pay with Avios’, to bring the price for Return flights to New York down as low as £165.00 + 13,000 Avios (net).
When I was playing around with the dates and prices for the last post, I noticed that you could get some extremely good value fares by flying one direction in Economy and the other in Premium Economy or Business Class/Club World
Flying in Economy to the east coast of America from the UK isn’t exactly a great hardship – the flights are relatively short, during the day, and because you gain 4-5 hours it is possible to set off after lunch and still have a full evening at your destination.
Coming back is a completely different story though – the flights are almost all in the evening/night, and losing 4-5 hours means it’s early morning when you arrive which makes it harder to catch up on sleep / adjust – and the flights are too short to get a proper rest even if you can get comfortable enough to sleep.
I think that being as comfortable as possible on flights back to the UK is therefore much more valuable than travelling in a premium cabin on the outbound, so that’s obviously the way round that I would do it – but you might think differently and the offers work the same either way.
I’ve listed a few examples below, but there are lots of similar prices from other UK airports available too, for dates through to April 2017:
Leeds Bradford – New York, 23rd-30th January, out in Economy, back in Premium Economy: £333.03
Edinburgh – New York, 16th-23rd November, out in Economy, back in Premium Economy: £327.08
Inverness – New York, 16th-23rd November, out in Economy, back in Premium Economy: £259.21
All of these offers require using 15,000 Avios to get £150.00 off the price, but you earn about 5,000 Avios for the flights (+ a rather useful 135 Tier Points!) so the net figure is more like 10,000 Avios.
For context, a standard Avios redemption for the same flights (Economy out, Premium Economy back) would cost 39,000 Avios + £289.03 off-peak, or 60,000 + £289.03 peak. So by booking in this way rather than just using Avios, you pay about £40.00 more but save 29,000-50,000 Avios!!!
(Bonus Tip: Domestic connections on paid Premium Economy tickets book into fare class ‘J’, which means you can use the BA Business Class lounges at Heathrow on your way back!).
If you really want to travel in Premium Economy in both directions, the best prices seem to be from Jersey.
Jersey- New York, 16th-23rd November, Premium Economy both ways: £366.02
You would earn 9,416 Avios (+ 260 Tier Points, 43.3% towards Silver status!), so the net cost would be ~ 5,600 Avios + 366.02.
A standard Avios redemption would cost 52,000 Avios + £285.00 off peak, or 80,000 + £285.00 peak – in other words £80.00 less but 46,400-74,400 Avios more!
What About Business Class?
Premium Economy/World Traveler Plus is definitely more comfortable for the flight back than standard Economy/World Traveler, and as the flights are too short to sleep properly anyway, upgrading all the way to Business/Club World might be a bit of an extravagance – but if you really fancy being able to lay down, there are some fantastic prices on American Airlines direct to Manchester.
Manchester-New York, 1st-9th November, out in Economy, back in Business: £678.24
Again you would earn ~ 5,000 Avios (and 160 Tier Points), so the net cost would be 10,000 Avios + £678.24
A standard Avios redemption for the same flights (Economy out, Business back) would cost 80,000 Avios + £332.22, so booking this way costs about £340.00 more but saves 70,000 Avios. Everyone values Avios differently, but I think most people would agree that effectively getting less than 0.5p per Point wouldn’t be a great use!
Remember that the boosted ‘part pay with Avios’ offer ends in a couple of days (12th July).