BEST BA Long Haul Business Class Deal Ever? – London to China From £867 Return!!! (+ How to Get £450 Worth of Miles Back)

cheapest British airways

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British Airways frequently offers good fares if you’re willing to start your journey from elsewhere in Europe, but this is the best direct BA long haul business class offer that I can remember seeing!

Rich wrote a couple of days ago about the excellent £1,009 fares that are available to Beijing and Shanghai, but you can actually do considerably better if you book through an Online Travel Agent rather than with BA directly:

London – Beijing Business Class Return: £867 per person (£1,734 total for two people)

London – Shanghai Business Class Return: £874 per person (£1,747 total for two people)

To get these fares there needs to be two people travellingyou must stay a Saturday night, and book by 21st Feb 2018.

I tried a range of different flight comparison sites and the cheapest fares I could find were via Momondo or Skyscanner – sometimes one was better and sometimes the other, so it’s worth trying both (and others like Kayak if you can’t find anything suitable).

You can use the BA Low Fare Finder to get an idea of dates that might work, but the lowest price you’ll see there is £1,009. For Beijing, April, September and November currently look like the best bets; for Shanghai, availability looks a little better with options in April, June, Sept, October and November. It’s still worth experimenting on Momondo / Skyscanner / etc for other dates too though.

What Miles can I earn?

These fares book into “I” class, so a British Airways Executive Club member without any elite status would earn  15,160 Avios and 280 Tier Points return to Beijing; or 17,158 Avios and 280 Tier Points return to Shanghai. Elite members would earn more Avios.

I (almost) always advise people to credit British Airways to Alaska Mileage Plan though, if you aren’t interested in elite status with BA, as you earn more Miles and they are worth considerably more than Avios too.

For example, the return flights to Beijing would earn ~25,000 Alaska Miles, while Shanghai would net you ~28,700. That’s ~66% more Miles!

In ‘value’ terms, it works out even better. I value Avios at about 1p each and Alaska Miles at about 1.6p each, so with Avios you’d be getting back ~ £150 (for Beijing), or ~£170 (for Shanghai) in value, whereas with Alaska you’d be getting ~£400, or ~£450. 

In other words, on a ticket costing £874 to Shanghai, you’d get more than 50% back in value, if you credited to Alaska – which is pretty amazing!

Bottom line

These are superb BA long haul Business Class fares. The fact they are direct from/to London and don’t require any repositioning, along with the very generous Miles earning rate when you credit BA flights to Alaska Mileage Plan, makes this the flight deal of the year so far I think!

Hat-tip: YHBU


  1. James says

    What flights can you get for 28,700 Alaska Miles though ??
    I imagine they can be worth 1.6p if you have shed loads of them but if you only have the 28,700 what can you get and therefore what value do they have ?
    Thanks for the heads-up.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Excellent question and something I should probably address in a full post at some point – but there’s plenty of good uses even for relatively small amounts . For example,

      Off-peak Economy on AA between Europe and USA (inc Hawaii) is 22,500 or 30,000 Peak one-way, and remember you can have a free stopover on one-ways too!

      One-ways within the continental USA on Alaska,Virgin America or AA range between 5,000-12,500 in Economy or 25,000 for ‘First’.

      22,500-25,000 gets you Biz Class one-way within Asia on Cathay or JAL (with a free stopover in Hong Kong or Tokyo). In the case of JAL, that includes India, so you can do A LOT of Premium flying for 25,000 Miles!

      Etc, etc

      • Joe Deeney says

        For 30,000 you can get Biz Class between Middle East and Asia on Cathay (again with stopover in Hong Kong), or one way Economy from Europe to Hong Kong (no connecting flights allowed though. And you’d be better paying another 5k for Premium Econ or an extra 12.5k for Biz Class in my view).

        • Joe Deeney says

          No YQ when redeeming Alaska on AA (or Alaska) flights (redeeming on BA is a different story of course!). AA availability can be an issue, but when you bear in mind you can stopover wherever there IS availability to, connect pretty much as many times as you might need within the US, and that you can use AA and Alaska (and I think Virgin America now too) on the same award, you should be able to sort something out most of the time – particularly if you fancy ex-EU to drop the APD.

          From Manchester, for example, taxes/fees total ~$170 + the 22,500 Miles off peak.

          • Joe Deeney says

            Also bear in mind you could buy 20k Starpoints for ~£330 at the moment for the return and the taxes/fees in that direction should’t be much more than ~£20? Stopover west coast on the way out and east coast on the way home maybe?

    • Joe Deeney says

      Yeah, as with all Miles, a lot of the ‘value’ is unlocked by knowing the best uses for them. 30,000 for an EU Return is rubbish, but 22,500 Econ to Hawaii with a stopover in New York or LA is good (or something like to LA, stopover, backtrack to New York… then cheap Norwegian flight home could be good). The Intra Asia Biz Class deals are awesome – though it’ll be interesting to see what availability is like on those now that they’ve made it impossible to book close int (72 hours before) on those ones.

    • James says

      Your not going to take the offer up because of £150? Just over £1000 inc, visa direct from London and you dont think thats a good deal???

    • Joe Deeney says

      Haha – not going for Gold (well, Silver anyway!) again? – or have you already booked enough to re-qualify? Also, Economy to Hawaii… urgh 🙂

  2. VK says

    Availability and flexibility of travel are really important when booking CX with Alaska. Many times they don’t see CX awards that you and I can find online on other partners.

  3. VK says

    The other thing is cost of travel and comfort that one is paying for. Cheap flatbed I guess it’s good. For the above price it makes sense. But if a competing airline is at the same price, buying a BA ticket for Alaska miles is a difficult decision.

    Flat bed premium economy is what BA offers in club world. 8 across seating. Hit & miss service. Average food. Rubbish lounges. No thanks. Strikes.

    I just booked tickets BOM LHR JFK return with a long stop over in both directions in London. BA was the same price as a 9W and VS combination. Overall better seats if flying 9W & VS + Clubhouses on the pond hop. VS seats are just a bit better than BA but overall experience is miles apart due to privacy, aisle access and service. Bed is much better as you get lot of space at the head end.

    Plus 9W and VS both are flying 10 to 12 yr old 773s and 330s respectively while BA flies it’s 20 yr old 772s on the BOM sector (one 787 that used to do one bit has been grounded) and 18 to 20 yr old 772s and 747s on the JFK sector. I know the 747s are refurbished but no thanks. Not with ‘new’ 8 across club world. And first class which is worse than business class on 3-4 star airiness like 9W.

    I was really tempted to fly BA for Alaska miles. I do value then a lot. but just couldn’t get myself to pay to fly BA. My last J experience with them (241 is definitely worth going with BA in certain expensive direct routes), the multiple reviews, their current state of affairs, 8 across business class, bad food (eg. lying about all out improvements re DO & CO).

    I can’t be bothered to spend hard earned cash on BA. The only time I fly them is using 241 avios on sectors where alternatives are just too expensive using freely earned miles.

    I’d rather just buy starpoints for CX on Alaska. Create multiple family member accounts and job done. Also versatility of starpoints helps rather than hoping Alaska doesn’t devalue JAL & CX like they did EK. Then there are the miles and room packages with Marriott.

    I hope BA improves. I really do. They are just capitalising on their preferred slots status at LHR. Take them away and BA will have to get their act together ASAP.

    I hope BA get 2-2-2 sky suites at the very least as they love density. If they actually get the EK like seats, then great. BA getting better will take about 5 yrs. It needs a change of mindset.

    • Joe Deeney says

      All good points, and yep, I wouldn’t personally (usually) fly BA just for the Alaska Miles either – but a lot of readers really do prefer a direct flight even if the product isn’t competitive. At least the price is very good – and I would certainly be crediting to Alaska if I had booked myself.

      As you say, hopefully BA can come up with something a little more competitive in terms of the product in future, but I’m not going to hold my breath – the fact is, if you can squeeze 8 across in Biz and still have decent loads and yields (which they do), then it’s hard to see the business case for substantial change. Whether that view is a short sighted or not is the big question!

      • VK says

        who knows. maybe other airlines may follow trend and start cramming in more seats!

        worst case I think everything will move to JAL 2-3-2 sky suites config. still better than the BA 2-3-2 on their 787s.

        PS – all my flights are direct and i prefer them as well. I have never positioned as yet (mainly as we fly with a 3 yr old) but may do so for a trip to Oz via ARN on QR – too good to miss the companion offer that I am hoping will surface soon!).

        WIth regards to my tickets, they are all direct as I am not positioning to BOM (obv!) but instead will be there anyway on holiday. So I used that to my advantage and booked a one way to BOM from LHR and then a BOM-LHR-JFK return in J. Worked out way cheaper compared to just booking J LHR to JFK! crazy! So that, on BA was very tempting as I would have got double miles instead of booking with VS, but in the end I couldn’t get myself to do it!

        btw, your blog is excellent and very unique and compliments rather than competes with the other UK based bloggers. keep up the great work. I know its hard!

        • Joe Deeney says

          It’s not impossible that others could try to copy BA, but the trend is towards better products over the last 10 years – and I think we’ll actually continue to see an improvement in premium cabin quality, generally speaking. BA’s domination of Heathrow is the key reason why they can get away with offering what they do, but the other European/North American airlines don’t have that. Even the IAG/transatlantic JV partners Iberia, Aer Lingus, Finnair and AA have genuinely quite good products these days, and heading East from Europe everyone has to compete with the ME options and the likes of SIA/Cathay/JAL etc. Innovative use of space (but still reasonable density) like the Qatar QSuite, could be the future.

          Yeah, I quite like stopping off at places I otherwise might not see, or having a quick night somewhere for an ex-eu at the moment, but I’m sure my feelings would change very quickly if I had small children!

          Excellent work on the fight stacking/nesting there – as I always say, the ‘secret’ to getting good deals with this stuff is to think flexibly.

          Many thanks for the kind comments!

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