Category Archives: British Airways

Oh My God, Finally! British Airways Introduces Tea Designed for High Altitudes…My Dreams Have Come True!

What more can I add to this breathless press release:

British Airways and Twinings are promising to transform tea in the air with an innovative new blend of the drink, specifically designed to work at altitude. The British Airways signature blend tea will take to the skies from February 1, 2013 for customers in all cabins.

With research to prove that taste can be reduced by up to 30 percent at 35,000 feet, the airline commissioned Twinings to come up with a teabag that would taste as good in the sky as it does on the ground.

Kate Thornton, British Airways’ head of product and service said: “British Airways has decided to lead a campaign to improve tea in the air. With an incredible number of teas available from around the world, there is a real opportunity to create innovative new flavors, perfect for flight. At British Airways we serve 35 million cups a year and we are proud to have what we believe is the best traditional British cuppa in the air.”

It goes on like that for some time…

25% Off Select British Airways Redemptions (Yes, the Deal Still Stinks)

British Airways is offering 25% off coach and World Traveller Plus Avios redemptions between London and NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, Montreal, St Lucia or Bermuda for the rest of this year. Travel must be booked by May 30th.

While 30,000 points round trip between NYC and London sounds like a steal, it is less of a steal when you include the $656 in taxes and fees on top of that. World Traveller Plus is 45,000 miles plus $750 on that route.

They’re also offering 25% off redemptions to Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, and Dubai. That JFK-NRT flight will be 75,000 miles + $1,028, please. In coach.

It’s a terrible deal, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share it.

British Airways, Other Partners Now Searchable for Awards on AA.com

A bit of helpful news for AAdvantage miles holders: you can now search for award availability on British Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines on AA.com. Apparently Alaska has been available for some time, but BA and Hawaiian are new. Unfortunately, BA awards are pricing fuel surcharges correctly, which is a giant bummer (unless you enjoy spending $1,000 in addition to using your miles).

You can search itineraries originating both from the US and overseas, which is helpful if you’re looking at intra-Europe flights on BA.

There don’t appear to be any bargains in the new functionality, but AA’s tool is easier to use than BA’s (and I find it easier to use, though far less comprehensive, than Qantas, which has been the go-to search site for Oneworld award travel).

Good News: BMI Miles Will Transfer to British Airways Avios at 1:1

For those of you interested in the BMI Diamond Club situation following their acquisition by British Airways, here’s the latest update:

- You can earn and redeem Diamond Club points on non-Lufthansa Group Star Alliance airlines until May 31st (Lufthansa Group is Lufthansa, Austrian, Brussels, SWISS and LOT).
- Lounge access is also available until May 31st.
- If you prefer, starting today you can earn BA Avios points when you fly BMI.
- Beginning July 3rd, you can transfer BMI miles into Avios at 1:1. (Whew).
- You’ll be status matched to the same Avios level.

In the end, that’s good news if you like to use BMI miles for short-haul, because Avios has those types of cheap awards. It’s bad news if you were using BMI for long-haul because of the fuel surcharge and ridiculous mileage requirement for long-haul Avios flights.

Apparently It’s Avios Week, So Here Are 2 Great Ways to Use Those Points on Alaska Airlines

Avios Theme Week ™ amongst us travel bloggers is apparently continuing this week, so I thought I’d throw out some great redemption ideas. Or pretty good redemption ideas (I don’t want to oversell this).

I’ll add to this discussion of using Avios points by noting the great values available when you use them to redeem on some Alaska Airlines routes. Avios doesn’t impose fuel surcharges on Alaska Airlines flights. For example:

Nonstop flights from the West Coast to Hawaii on Alaska are only 25,000 miles round trip in coach and 50,000 in first class. That sure beats spending 40k/75k Alaska Mileage Plan miles or 45k/75k AAdvantage Miles for those flights. Alaska has extensive service to 4 islands from up and down the West Coast.

Flights from California to their strong Mexico network are just 20k/40k round trip (coach/first). Flights from Seattle are just a bit more at 25k/50k, all surcharge-free. Alaska charges 35k/65k using their own miles.

And I believe that will conclude my Avios Theme Week contribution.

Contributions from others include:

For those who didn’t see, One Mile at a Time wrote about how you can use Avios points on Aer Lingus to fly Boston-Dublin for 25k miles round trip in coach (or 50k in business class). The comments section is worth reading, as they commenters are roughly as excited as audience members in the Oprah “You Get a Car You Get a Car You Get a Car” episode.

And a callout to Million Mile Secrets for showing how you can exploit the lack of fuel surcharges on flights out of Brazil to redeem Avios points for fuel surcharge-free tickets from North America to Europe – if you fly from New York to Brazil to London you can avoid the fuel surcharges. It’s a great strategy for those who want the free stopover in Brazil and then continue on to Europe. Or for people who want to fly for 23 hours to go from NY to London.

A Final Thought about the British Airways Changes….Seriously, They’re a Good Thing for Most of Us

I’ve been reading lots of commentary about the changes British Airways has made to its award chart with its new Avios distance/zone-based points redemption program. Pretty universally, the feeling is that British Airways has screwed over travelers and that we should all be up in arms about the screwing we just received.

If you haven’t seen, basically redemptions for flights to Asia and South America have gone from being very reasonable to very expensive. However, redemptions (especially nonstop redemptions) within the US; from the US to the Caribbean and Central America; within South America; from the US to Europe; and within Europe, have all become more reasonable. In some cases, far more reasonable.

How these changes affect you is based entirely on your travel patterns. I suspect for people (like me) with families, these changes are actually great. We can take cold weather trips to the Caribbean and Central America for fewer points than required before. Plus, short-to-mid haul flights within the US have also become more reasonable. As a commenter pointed out yesterday, flights from New York to Montreal are now 9,000 miles round trip plus about $55 in taxes. Many flights within South America are now 9,000 miles round trip plus $10 or so. Those are great deals, and there are plenty more.

For most families (and many non-families) that’s pretty much how we use miles. Sure, I take trips outside of those places — but I’ve got miles in plenty of other mileage plans to ensure I can fly free pretty much wherever I want. But for most people, these changes are beneficial.

If you were hoping to hop around South America for 40,000 miles like you used to, that’s gone. So are the well-priced business class trips to Southeast Asia on Cathay. Those are gone too. But most people reading this should take everything else they’re reading about Avios with a grain of salt — the changes will actually benefit most of us. How often does that happen?

New British Airways Chart Is Out: Bad for Longhaul, Good for Shorthaul

I won’t bother getting into the details of the new British Airways Avios redemption chart (Gary and Ben do a more-than-admirable job here and here), but I figured I’d pass along the highlights because the more casual traveler (especially those who just signed up for the big 100k credit card bonus with BA last year and doesn’t care about long-haul) actually may benefit from the changes.

In short, their redemption chart is now (primarily, at least) distance based (they made this way, way, way, way more complicated than they needed to by not publishing a chart. You have to use this instead.) Long-haul travel has gotten much, much more expensive (nearly doubling the miles required in some cases.) This is especially egregious on flights to Asia and South America.

But for short-haul flights, it’s a steal. JFK – Toronto is 9,000 miles round trip. JFK – Chicago is 15,000 miles. JFK – Ft Lauderdale is 15,000 miles. Northeast to Costa Rica is 25,000 miles. New York to San Juan is 20,000 miles round trip. These are great deals.

On the flip side, connecting flights require you to price out two awards In other words, to go from JFK to the island of Grenada, you’ll need a 20,000 mile award to San Juan, then a 9,000 mile award from San Juan to Grenada. Still a deal at 29,000 miles. But for connections on domestic flights, you can end up paying 30,000 miles instead of 25,000 in some cases.

Plus, BA does not add fuel surcharges on American Airlines flights in the US, Caribbean and South America.

Again, you can read more detail in the other articles I linked to, but to sum up:

- Long haul, especially to Asia and South America, gets dinged.
- Short haul gets cheaper, especially intra-Europe where many flights are now 9,000 miles round trip with fuel surcharges waived if you’ve gotten at least 1 point in Avios
- Travel from North America to the Caribbean and Central America on American Airlines is now cheaper.

For me, this is a great thing because that’s how I (mostly) use those miles. For people constructing multi-stop trips to traipse through Southeast Asia, you’ll want to go elsewhere.

Save 10% On All British Airways Flights When You Book with BA Credit Card

British Airways has a deal for BA credit card holders: save 10% on any flight in any class when you use your BA credit card. Travel must begin by December 31st. Use code CARDOFFERU when checking out via this link.

Offer is only valid on British Airways roundtrip or openjaw flights and can be used for up to 8 people.

(Thanks to reader Aarti for the heads up.)

British Airways to Purchase BMI: What To Do With Those Diamond Club Miles?

The parents company of British Airways and Iberia (International Airline Group) will purchase struggling BMI from Lufthansa with a March 2012 target date for the deal to be completed. They’re just buying BMI, not BMI Regional in Britain nor BMI Baby. BA basically wants BMI’s slots at Heathrow.

You’ll note that British Airways is a Oneworld carrier, which means BMI will leave Star Alliance next spring.

This is an especially big deal to folks who have some BMI miles because BMI’s award chart is, in some cases, extremely generous. How generous? Flights within or between UK, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland could be yours for just 4500 miles plus a GBP 40 Co-pay (that’s about $60). The chart is full of little gems. US to Argentina in business class? 60,000 miles (or 30k miles plus about $300).

Yes, they charged a fuel surcharge even when the airline you’re actually flying on did not charge one (see my chart of airlines that charge fuel surcharges for details). That was annoying. But especially on intra-Europe trips, the surcharges were low (say, about $80) and still made those flights a good deal.

Anyway, those will likely be gone when they join the BA family. Well, the fuel surcharges will stay, but I can’t imagine they leave that chart untouched. That’s a shame – I always found it useful when I was over in Europe for business and wanted to tack on a trip within Europe.

BMI also had a deal or two along the way where you could get Silver status just by signing up, which was great because you then got free checked bags on Star Alliance flights for the year.

This would be good, though, if you had status on BMI and did not have it on a Oneworld airline, as it’s likely that status will transfer over to BA. So on some level, I guess I’ll benefit from this as I’ll now get free checked bags on American, an airline I never fly.

It’s all about me…

British Airways Offering $250 Off World Traveller Plus and $500 Off Business Class

British Airways is offering $250 off World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and $500 off business class round trips between North American gateways (New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto) and a handful of cities in Europe (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Budapest, Frankfurt, London, Milan, Paris, Prague, Rome, and Vienna). Flights are available November 18th and January 4th and must be booked by October 20th. You must book through THIS LINK.

Fares are not particularly cheap (premium economy to London starts at about $1200 round trip after the discount; business class is about $2800, which is pretty reasonable ($500 more reasonable than anyone else). Fares are also valid on Iberia and American Airlines.

The nice thing is that these are discounts off of the actual lowest fares available (sometimes these types of deals are not applicable on the cheapest fare buckets).

This is a deal being offered in association with Jetsetter. You don’t need to be a Jetsetter member for this deal, but if you’d like to join Jetsetter, feel free to use my link.