Aggressive BA business class fares from Finland to the US

HFP reader Ziggy, who runs Vacation Smarter, alerted me via his blog to some aggressive business class fares that British Airways is offering from Helsinki to the West Coast of the US for Summer 2015.

If you are looking to maximise your British Airways tier points, starting a trip in Helsinki has an added benefit.  It is one of the few British Airways European routes that offers 80 tier points each-way in Club Europe as opposed to the standard 40.

A standard Helsinki – London – Los Angeles trip in Club Europe / Club World would therefore earn 440 tier points return (80 + 140 x 2).

If you can force a suitable routing with a change of plane somewhere in the US, you can increase that considerably.  Helsinki to London to New York to Los Angeles, for example, would earn 80 + 140 + 140 * 2 = 720 tier points.  This only works if the internal US flight is over 2,000 miles, otherwise you will receive just 40 tier points for the 2nd flight.

San Francisco

You can increase that even more:

If you can force a routing that puts you onto the London City flights to New York, instead of the Heathrow flights, you will earn 210 tier points each way for that leg.  (As a marketing tool, BA treats the London City flights as First Class – even though they are sold as Club World – and so you get 210 tier points each way.)

Secondly, any internal business class flights on a two-class plane in the US will (if booked on aa.com, does ba.com also do this?) book into a First Class ticket bucket instead of what BA sees as a business class ticket bucket.

In theory, you could actually earn:

Helsinki to London – 80 tier points

London to New York on the London City flights – 210 tier points

New York to Los Angeles on AA – 210 tier points

x 2 for a return trip – 500

Total – 1,000 tier points

The prices for July and August come out at around €1775 from Helsinki to Los Angeles or San Francisco, so roughly £1,400.  You can test out pricing via ba.com but also look at aa.com as you may get different routing options.  No stopovers are allowed on the way.

If you are looking for a trip to the East Coast, Helsinki to Boston in Club World for Summer 2015 is €1500, so £1,185.  That is a great price for Club World.

You are, of course, locking in a ticket now for a long time in the future.  For a lot of people this will not be sensible or realistic.  I would not recommend booking one of the more complex itineraries without learning more about the various ticketing and routing options – the best place to start is the Flyertalk thread on maximising British Airways tier points.  I do not hold myself up to be an expert on this aspect of the Executive Club!

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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Comments

  1. The ex CPH fares are still available too, With that it’s possible to get to LAX for under £1200 in business which is absolutely astounding!

    • Agree, exCPH is cheaper than this, so £1649 to HNL/OGG for 1500 TPs going on babybus out and back, and going via HEL out and back.

      exCPH to NYC is around £1050, bit more if you add HEL in as a connection as well.

  2. This is even better than Aer Lingus return to the east coast on biz….from Dublin

  3. You can use Avios on finnair as well can’t you ? although they only fly direct to New York I believe.

  4. Even better route NYC-MIA-LAX to get another 60 TP each way 😉

    You need to make sure you book the AA numbered flights for your internal US ones though to ensure you get the F TPs – either book on AA.com or over the phone with BA, specifically asking for the AA flight numbers.

  5. Thanks for this really helpful. Just need to be careful about JFK LAX on AA. They use a small Airbus but it has 3 classes so many flights are genuinely business class and only deliver 140 points. You only get 210 if holding a real First ticket.
    I find calling BA or buying at the airport ticket desk also helps especially if trying to maximise Avios via the x3 deal on BAPP. You can also route via BA flight nets but on AA 777-300 which is an altogether better experience for the money

    • All the direct AA JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO flights are now 3-class A320 Sharklets.and yes you get 140TPs. However, if you fly with a stopover and a 2-class 737 in F you only get 2×60=120 TP because the legs are shorter than 2000m generally (ORD, DFW etc). I think the only exceptions are Charlotte and Boston. The former being US Airways.

      • Or as I mentioned above, if you want to stick with AA then Miami is a good option. However it depends how desperate you are for TPs, as given how old and bad some of planes are with domestic First you’d have a more comfortable seat in business on a 3-class modern service!

  6. Lady London says:

    Long may new airline Norwegian continue then :-)

  7. Simon Barry says:

    I presume the prices quoted above for AY flights to US are Business Saver fares? Do these attract full Avios points?

    • Because of the joint venture that BA, Finnair, AA etc have signed, the price is effectively the same (less some jiggling for taxes) whoever you fly with. ba.com will offer you options involving all three airlines – potentially four if there is a US Airways option.

      You would get tier points with Finnair using the same rules as BA.

  8. I have been watching these fares from Finland as well (and last year did HEL-LHR-LCY-JFK return for 1600e). One bizarre thing about the prices is that they are actually CHEAPER during holiday times (over christmas/new year and july-august). Cheaper means there are two fares for the same booking class, a cheaper one with start/end dates covering the holidays and a more expensive one for other times.

    When collecting Avios it’s important to book the prices from Finland with a BA flight number (even if flying finnair). I booked HEL-JFK (finnair flight) in economy with a BA flight number instead of AY flight number for this reason. This gets about 8x the avios points (AY discount economy earns 25% miles and no gold bonus, BA earns 100% miles and 100% gold bonus).