Sydney is a popular target destination for using frequent flyer miles, probably because the sheer length of the flight means that people are keen to do what they can to avoid travelling in economy.
Ironically, redemption tickets to Australia and New Zealand are often poor value. Mile for mile, buying a cash ticket to Australia in a premium cabin can be relatively cheap. You can often find a business class ticket to Sydney for around £2,000 – although you may end up starting your trip in another European country and flying on an airline you wouldn’t usually consider.
In contrast, an Avios ticket in business class to Sydney is 250,000 or 300,000 points plus taxes, depending on whether you are on an off-peak or peak day. Even assuming that you can find availability – which is very difficult since the BA service was switched from 2 x daily 747s to 1 x daily 777 and Virgin withdrew entirely – it is not the best value.
For some time now there have been some good British Airways prices available out of Oslo. This obviously involves you flying to Norway – at added cost – and then flying back.
(Bergen and Stavanger also price the same, and Bergen is a prettier option.)
It isn’t entirely clear why these fares exist. BA is facing competition from the discounted long-haul services operated by Norwegian but they do not fly to Australia.
The current price at ba.com, for example, is 26,722 NOK or £2,220. This fare is available pretty much all year. It is the cheapest starting point in Europe for BA travel to Australasia.
The fare rules (which you can get using the ITA Matrix tool I discussed on Thursday) state that you must book 28 days in advance and stay away for a Saturday night. Unlimited stopovers are available – the first two are free whilst additional ones will cost €200 each.
A travel agent, or possibly even Expedia if it is playing ball, should be able to book you Oslo – Heathrow – Singapore – Sydney – Perth – Brisbane for example at no extra cost apart from any taxes, with the extra segments being on Qantas. ba.com can’t offer routings this complex even though the ticket rules allow it and it is one of the few times when a visit to Trailfinders or Flight Centre may be worthwhile.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)