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.
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!