Bits: BA quietly changes Sharm tier points, good Turkish Istanbul business class deal

News in brief:

British Airways cuts Sharm el Sheikh tier points

A HFP reader contacted me yesterday to complain about British Airways cutting the tier points on flights to Sharm in Egypt.

A quick check confirmed that this is true.  When BA restarted the route from Gatwick, it offered 140 tier points each way.  This was presumably done to match the tier points offered to Cairo.

Sharm, however, is being flown with a short-haul aircraft and is sold as EuroTraveller / Club Europe rather than World Traveller / Club World.  Someone at BA has now decided that it should offer the standard 80 tier points each way awarded on similar routes.

Whether this is right or wrong is not the issue – although Sharm should now be put into Reward Flight Saver if the route is now short haul, surely?

The issue is that a number of people have booked return trips to Sharm purely to pick up 280 tier points in Club Europe.  Having this reduced to 160 tier points is a blow.

I would hope that British Airways will do the right thing here and award the tier points offered at the time the flight was booked.

Sharm el Sheikh

£263 business class flights to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines is offering some excellent business class deals to Istanbul at the moment.  For £263 return, you can fly from Gatwick to Istanbul in Business.  As long as you take the flight to the main Ataturk airport, and not SAW, this gets you the impressive A320 business class you can see below:

Turkish A320 business class

Pay a little more (£312) and you can fly from Heathrow.  Pick your departures correctly and you can book this offer onto the 1-2 Boeing 777-300 services flown to and from London each day!  This means that you will spend 5 hours in this seat:

Turkish B777 business

Turkish has a very well reviewed lounge complex in Istanbul, although I have never visited myself.  This review by gives a decent overview of the 777-300 seat and the Istanbul lounge.

Turkish is a member of Star Alliance so you would not be earning any Avios from this flight.  Your outbound travel date must be between 2 November – 17 December, 4th January – 10th February or 23 February – 28 March.  During the booking process you are told that your ticket is ‘Business / Flexible / J’ but this is not true, unsurprisingly – there are no refunds for cancellation as the detailed fare rules show.

You must book at the Turkish Airlines website before 25th October.

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  1. Nothing from BA really is strange anymore…but you have welcomed this change if it meant Sharm flights would now be eligible for RFS.

  2. You would not earn avios on TK but indeed on M&M joking but obviously as lufthansa miles are so difficult to earn in UK that is ideal to topup an account, i will check how many miles those flights would earn! The pricing is not bad if you need to fly there. By the way i have to say that having flown with BA short haul in june, even if it was eco (got the seat the day before with RFS!) the 4hrs flight was good and offered amazing views on the so green Bulgarian woods on the way to Ataturk! I tried the lounge there with ppass, to the hsbc one near the terrace..have a nice day all!

    OT tesco quarter now closed!

    • …with 140K Avios in the bag 🙂

      Go on, chaps, high time for 800 bonus conversion!

      • how did you generate 30k on two accounts in one quarter nowadays??
        or is that your total balance(which would be ok) it would be nice to have a bonus! now that there are so many options for redemptions!

        • It was an easy quarter, so 2 x 30K, I agree some quarters are like getting blood out of a stone. Raffles has actually posted all the deals I used, so no hidden tricks this time.

        • Blog reader says:

          Do you think the current promotion that lets you convert 2.50 quid of club card vouchers into 600 avios is a good deal? Sorry, newbie here, just wondering what your thoughts were on this as I have never converted tesco vouchers into avios before

        • I would say I think Tesco is flirting with losing a lot of users. The occasional bonuses keep us keen. £2.50 to 600 Avios is OK when balanced with the bonus conversions.

          I’m rather disappointed that loyal Tesco customers such as myself have not been rewarded with a bonus conversion for so long!

          So – Blog reader – you could convert to Avios if you need them now, but don’t go holding your breath that Tesco will reward your loyalty and custom with a bonus conversion.

        • Erico1875 says:

          The best actual value in the “travel category” is Apartments4you which currently has £30 of CC vouchers = £100 off., so approx 1/ 3.33
          Its mostly timeshare accom., The ones we have stayed in have always been of a good standard., better than most hotels IMO
          Last year they were offering a voucher at up to 5 to 1 value. for July/Aug so it may be worth holding off converting to see what offers appear
          Last Easter we used them for our twin centre Easter holiday to Goa.

  3. Any goof business class deal from Manchester ?

    • The Turkish deal may be on, did not check.

      • James67 says:

        Last night I was checking both returns and one ways all over se Asia to/from EDI, GLA, LON and DUB. I noticed many of the better deals were on TK but nothing amazing. However, might be a good idea for those seriously looking for a deal check out what TK currently have available from the usual European sweet spots.

  4. I thought TPs were based on distance travelled in a leg? In which case have they altered the thresholds and potentially affected other routes also?

  5. Cheshire Pete says:

    When I booked the new BA Iceland route starting this Sunday, it initially showed as being in the 40 (CE) / 10 (ET) TP category in my booking. I’ve now noticed all my earnings have doubled, so they have now moved it into the 80 / 20 band. So I guess good news there and shows BA can change things for both good and bad!

    • Guesswho2000 says:

      This always should have been the case, LHR-KEF is similar to the HEL route, distance wise, so should’ve always give SH+ tier points. I think the assumption was that it would, but I know BA’s calculator didn’t reflect this when the route was first announced.

  6. Greg Morgan says:

    Having recently used Turkish to fly to and from China and Japan I can thoroughly recommend their Business Class service which beats BA in nearly every respect. Not only did we enjoy a 777 with the above 180 degree lie-flat seats for our 12 hour flights, but also the last leg from Istanbul to Heathrow.

    As for the THY Lounge in Istanbul, it has to be seen to be believed and if you are a bt of a Lounge Freak, this one is for you. THY had a full page advert in Time or Newsweek earlier thisyear which read “Our business class lounge in Istanbul is bigger than some airports” and I can vouch for that. Not only is it HUGE, but there are facilities like a cinema, a golf driving range complete with a full set of left and right handed clubs, pool tables, TV screens showing major news channels, complete with wifi headsets for sound and even a Sceletrix track for the lads amongst us. Oh yes, and freshly cooked food in every corner. This really is a lounge where you hope your flight is delayed.

  7. OT: Any word on when the amex plat enrolment for le club plat status will be up and running again?

  8. Our 1 hour flight in J from IST -> BJV got changed to a 777. Without doubt the best food, service and seat I’ve ever had on a short-haul flight – if only they were all like that. The food was in fact right up there with Qatar J on a long-haul flight.

  9. I have a Club Europe booking in November to SSH from LGW which I booked a few weeks ago. I’ve just checked my booking and they’ve reduced it to 160 tier points. The only reason I was going to SSH was for 280 points!

  10. I have made 2 LGW to SSH bookings too. Shouldnt they honoured the terms at the time of booking. (like they did when they change Tier point / Avios rule in April)??

  11. I am getting the Turkish deal to price £254 to SAW and £273 to IST

    • Swanhunter says:

      I got £273 LGW-IST-LHR so it can be done without going near SAW which is rather inconveniently located.

  12. OT – I had a redemption flight on the 6.50 from LHR to Amsterdam on 13 November. Apparently, BA are using a 767 on the route, so with proper business class seats. I was almost sorry when the flash sale came and I was able to get the slightly later departure for about 50 pounds! Does anybody know why BA would use a long-haul plane for such a short flight?

    • This has always been like that, even when i flew in June to IST. it is the 1.30 service. but if you check properly on seatguru, I believe that is not the amazing layout you imagine (check the version). I remember i was disappointed about it. Also BA is flying to Moscow with 747s on some services.

    • BA have a 767 on LHR – GLA route, fully kitted out as a domestic, single class cabin IIRC.

      • James67 says:

        Yes, appears on EDI route sometimes too but always seems susceptible to last minute switches to an a321. I hate it, seats are somehow very hard and uncomfortable unless it has since been refitted. The only plus is the pairs of seats down each window.

      • Mark Smith says:

        Yes, in fact of the 13 767s still in service, 7 (i.e. the majority, just) are in short haul configuration.

        These go to 2-2-2 upfront when configured for Club World, 2-3-2 otherwise, but all standard seats as you would expect on short haul, not flat beds.

    • They do use a B767 on flight BA428 but it has not been subbed for a long haul in at least the last month, it has been a normal short haul plane.
      If you have a look here: you can see the history of what aircraft and configuration has flown that flight.

      Currently it does not seem to be a common for long haul subs on short haul. At the moment BA are a bit short of long haul aircraft so have only seen them going on Rome, Athens & Frankfurt in the last month.

  13. Does GLA to LGW get 20 TP,s when connecting to CE to SSH ?

  14. When I click on your Turkish Airlines link it gives me the message “There is no relationship between this site and the advertiser.” Wouldn’t want you missing out on that sweet affiliate money due to an old link!

  15. Some resonably good business class deals on TK out of EDI to BKK – £1,200. Certainly a good deal if like me you are based in Scotland and have a limited choice of EU starting points.

    Flew AMS-IST-BKK HKG-IST-AMS last month – superb service and lounge at IST is certainly best i’ve experienced.