Bits: Club World £1060 Dubai fares, BA stops awarding Avios and tier points for airberlin flights

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News in brief:

£1,060 British Airways Club World fares to Dubai

About 10 years ago, for no logical reason, Lisbon was the holy grail of cheap British Airways Club World tickets.  You could be pretty certain that, wherever you wanted to go, the cheapest route would be by booking a flight out of Portugal.

As a one-off, this deal is back (hat-tip to Flyertalk).

You can currently book a Club World return flight from Lisbon (or Porto or Funchal or Faro) to Dubai for €1,152 (£1,060).

There are very few restrictions:

you cannot travel before 1st November

you need to stay away for a Saturday night and

you need to book by 21st September.  

That’s it.  You can book as far in advance as the schedule allows, ie 355 days, as long as the cheapest Club World fare is not sold out.

For flexibility, due to the multiple departures per day, Lisbon is the easiest starting point.  Lisbon flights also go into Heathrow which is where the Dubai flight will depart from.  However, Funchal (Madeira) is 80 tier points to London compared with 40 tier points for Lisbon, Faro or Porto.

This fare will earn (40 + 140 + 140 + 40) 360 tier points if you start in Lisbon, Faro or Porto and (80 + 140 + 140 + 80) 440 tier points if you start in Funchal.

For €100 you are allowed a stopover in London.  On the way to Dubai, this will prove expensive because it will also trigger long haul premium class Air Passenger Duty. On the way back, it will only trigger short haul Air Passenger Duty back to Portugal.  You may want to build in a stopover on the way back and use the last leg for the first part of a weekend away in Portugal at another date.

On the outbound, you can have up to 24 hours in London from your landing time from Portugal without triggering Air Passenger Duty.  You could, for example, land from Lisbon at 21.20 on a Friday, go home (if you live nearby) and then return the next day with your suitcase to catch either the 12.35 or 20.40 flights to Dubai without triggering APD.

This is clearly a bit of a faff but if you are after a cheap fare, tier points, a pile of Avios and fancy a short break in Portugal it is worth a look.  Pop over to and have a play around.

Atlantis Dubai

British Airways no longer crediting Air Berlin flights

With Air Berlin and its loyalty scheme, Topbonus, in receivership, it seems that British Airways has decided to cut its losses.

Presumably on the grounds that they will never be paid for the points, you can no longer earn Avios or tier points in British Airways Executive Club from Air Berlin flights.  The only exception would be an Air Berlin codeshare carrying a BA flight number.

Whilst the airline still shows as a BA partner on this page of, you should ignore that.  This page of explains the new position.

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  1. Off topic : got 2 IHG rewards nights booked for tomorrow night. A pending charge for the cash value of this booking has just appeared on my credit card statement. Is this correct? First time I’ve booked an IHG redemption so forgive the noddy question!

  2. I understand that OW alliance benefits are still being honoured inc. Lounge access for topbonus gold and platinum members.

  3. I am thinking of doing something similar next year with a flight to Orlando leaving from Amsterdam (lgw-ams-lgw-mco-lgw-ams-lgw) Someone said that if I arrive in Gatwick and then get my connection back to Amsterdam the following morning, ba will allow my luggage off in Gatwick? Meaning that i could potentially not have to do the last gatwick-ams-gatwick part? Any downsides to this or easier routes? {I am trying to treat the parents to a cw flight and can do the above for around 1300 euros as opposed to almost double going direct lgw-mco-lgw.

  4. Concerto says:

    AB is disintegrating quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised if all these benefits suddenly disappear in the next days.

  5. Personally I’d just head to Portugal and save the grand for lovely accommodation when I was there!

    AB also stopping longhaul flights within a month or so from Berlin Tegel, sounds like the beginning of the end for them.

    • Or rather the end of the end for AB? Typical penny-pinching BA response though. The cost of awarding tier points is nil to BA. Subsidising the amount of Avios likely minimal. It’s things like this that irritate me about BA.

      • BA are not the only OneWorld airline doing this, most of the others are too; still irritating though, particularly re Tier Points which effectively don’t really cost BA anything (Avios you could potentially see differently, even if it’s only intra-group accounting entries)

        • “even if it’s only intra-group accounting entries”. Now I’m no expert on accounting for reward schemes but if there’s no money coming in to pay for the liability created by creating the avios (on an overall consolidated basis), then that only hits the bottom line?

          In accounting speak, normally Dr cash (from Air Berlin), Cr revenue / expense (as some kind of balancing figure), Cr liability.

          If no money from AB and avios still given, the liability is still present and so the corresponding debit becomes a Dr expense (i.e. a write off) which goes to the income statement?

          • the real harry1 says:

            won’t the total number of people using Avios to fly AB on points be extremely small? – so in absolute terms any ‘new’ liability created between now and when AB crashes out in a few weeks be remarkably small?

          • the real harry1 says:

            my mistake – I guess it’s more about crediting the flights to Avios instead of Topbonus – in which case BA’s position is entirely understandable

        • If it doesn’t cost BA anything to award the Tier Points, that must mean they wouldn’t be enough to move you up a tier? In which case, why be irritated?

          • Exactly. BA have typically been awarding about 5 and a quarter Avios points per Air Berlin segment anyway. So the cost of subsidising these would be minimal I don’t really care what other OW airlines are doing. OW is only an alliance when it suits its members, vis-a-vis Star, which is more of an alliance. As many AB routes will likely go to Lufty, and as BA’s response is poor, its just another factor leading to this BA G moving business to Star instead of OW.

          • Callum: can you explain how it costs BA anything to award tier points? I, as a customer, bought flights with AB instead of Lufty, for example, or Easyjet, on the understanding that tier points would be awarded. OK. AB goes bust. These things happen. But BA’s response is poor.

          • The awarding of tier points leads to status and a potential constructive obligation on BA to provide benefits in the future for such status holders (e.g. lounge access with free champagne etc) so a potential provision (and corresponding expense) should be made?

            Just thinking aloud…

          • the real harry1 says:

            of course it costs BA money to award tier points – hellishly difficult to work out on an individual basis, though

            I guess you would:
            -take the total tier points awarded in a year
            -subtract the tier points that didn’t end up giving status by the collection year end
            -work out the costs of all the extras awarded to status holders – cost of providing lounges & lounge consumption/ overheads for BA status holder passengers; extra luggage; fast track variable etc
            -make an adjustment for whatever the deal is amongst Oneworld partners in terms of quid pro quo-ing when a partner status holder not on a BA flight uses a BA lounge (etc etc)
            – get a total ‘net BA cost’ pa and divide by the appropriate tier points awarded that year
            -you have made a start but then you could factor back in a calculation of how much more repeat business/ contribution the tier points/ status have generated & offset this
            -and it could go on a lot further

          • the real harry1 says:

            another way to look at it is seeing what people are prepared to pay for tier points to get status

            from memory you need 600tps for Silver, 1500 for Gold

            looking at various expert blogs, it seems that serious status seekers on tp runs will generally willingly pay £1.50/ tp – whereas £1/ tp would be the holy grail (Talinn of old?)

            BA could easily sell tps for £2 each and there would be huge numbers of takers

      • So now’s the best time and the best reason for you to transfer your ‘loyalty’ to Star Alliance and/or Skyteam. That way you’ll no longer be irritated by all things BA.

        • I genuinely am a bit aghast here at these comments. I put 2500 tier points through BA typically per year. I have 10+ AB flights booked before any announcement of bankruptcy. For segments that are operating and not cancelled, why shouldn’t BA say ‘you know what, we will give you the tier points and Avios you would have otherwise received’ had AB not gone bust? Because when you booked the segments, AB had not gone bust.

          • the real harry1 says:

            you didn’t book on BA, that’s why

            AB won’t be in Oneworld in a couple of weeks’ time, so the mutual dependency relationship/ partnership disappears

            you might as well ask why you can’t get Avios points when you fly Singapore

            as for the tps you might have got UP UNTIL the day AB disappears, I sympathise – those thereafter, not

          • the real harry1 says:

            Any flights you booked on AB using a BA code will see the tps honoured, though

        • I’m not irritated by all things BA. I just have principles.

          • Ok: let’s put it a different way. You book a £1500 Qatar flight in March. Qatar goes bust in September. BA says ‘no tier points or Avios’. Avios has a cost to BA. They are redeemable. The 400+ tier points do not. Qatar are not invoiced for tier points.

          • Presuming of course, that the Qatar flight is taken. Just as I am taking these AB segments.

          • the real harry1 says:

            I don’t think many of us accept your point that tps don’t have a cost

            not entirely with you when you say you are taking your 10+ AB flights – that will depend on the deal struck after they stop flying, surely?

            it’s possible Lufthansa/ EasyJet (if they pick up the remains) may somehow honour the flights – but aren’t you more realistically looking at losing your flights after AB goes tits up same as for Malev? ie forced to claim back on insurance & section 75?

            what is the nature of your AB flights & when are they scheduled? you said they were due to earn tps so they can’t be redemptions

            I’m guessing AB ceases to exist by mid October

          • This is the point I’m trying to put across. Malev went bust overnight. Therefore any segments booked would be lost, and therefore credit card or insurance. But AB have not stopped operating flights yet. Out of the segments I have booked, which do operate, I don’t think my position is unreasonable in the slightest. Even if I’m rerouted on a non OneWorld carrier!

          • the real harry1 says:

            Jim: please read!

            ‘Air Berlin is confirmed to be cutting all of its long-haul routes from Berlin’s Tegel airport (TXL) as its insolvency proceeds. The latest news confirms the ending of the last two routes not previously dated and comes as the European Union approves the 150mm euro loan from the German government to help the carrier bridge operations as it seeks to sell off pieces.

            The final operating dates for the routes are:
            •New York City – 25 September 2017
            •Miami – 25 September 2017
            •Chicago – 30 September 2017
            •Los Angeles – 1 October 2017
            •San Francisco – 1 October 2017
            •Abu Dhabi – 17 September, 1 October 2017 (2x daily, staged shutdown)

            AB announced the cancellation of their AUH route with this note.
            “No rebooking option with other airlines will be offered for tickets with return flights past November 1, 2017, due to insolvency” ‘

          • Thanks for the link but The point still stands: for AB segments booked prior to announcement of AB insolvency, and that do operate between now and whenever operations cease, tier points, which cost BA nil, are not going to be awarded. And Avios points – which will cost BA a bit – are not going to be awarded as a goodwill gesture because AB was part of the OneWorld alliance at time of booking, and still is, and us still operating those flights.

    • +1, cant understand why anyone would fly PT-UK-UAE unless they had actual business to do in both countries

      • It feels like I’m stating the obvious, but it’s most likely either because they like Portugal and would be happy visiting it, or it’s cheaper and the extra time spent going to Portugal is less valuable than the money they save by flying direct.

        When I was younger I once took a bus to Luxembourg from London, then flew Luxembourg – Heathrow – Montreal – New York, New York – Chicago – Heathrow – orders of magnitude longer than a direct LHR-JFK flight. When you’re short on money (and have an interest in visiting pretty much anywhere), you’d be surprised how out-of-the-way people will go!

        • If you’re reading this site, you are likely to be someone who would actually find it fun – or at least not a pain – to pop down to Lisbon for a day trip in order to save a large amount of money on a flight!

          Sure, I won’t be dragging my wife and kids down there, but I’ve done a few such fares in my time. The last one was an ex-Budapest to Tokyo if I remember rightly. Day trip to Hungary, went home, headed back to Heathrow the next day for the long-haul flight.

          • the_real_a says:

            Just paid £120 return BRU – NYC for next week return flying air Canada. Sadly only Y but couldn’t resit at that price. Hope my back holds out!

  6. As soon as the German elections on Sep 24? are over, and all the Germans are back from their holidays in Mallorca Air Berlin will be finished!

  7. Jean Paul says:

    OT: Are there any Amex MR offers on for Marriott just now? None showing on my cards but I think I remember a commenter mentioning an MR offer recently…

  8. OT: sorry for basic question, but am due to fly Iberia for the first time – can I manage the booking through and my trusty BA app (as it’s part of IAG) or must I download an Iberia app for seat selection, check in etc …?

    • Optimus Prime says:

      I have flown Iberia metal booked on ex-LHR return.

      Outbound flight: was able to manage booking and check-in through BA app.

      Inbound: it redirected me to Ended up using Iberia mobile app.

      Both outbound an inbound were Iberia metal.

  9. the_real_a says:

    This brings to close the status benefits I got with AMEX platinum and the Sapphire oneworld membership from Cathay Pacific circa 2012. Each year i have managed to status match the membership (Air Berlin then to Alitalia and back to Air Berlin) for lounge membership. I was finally “downgraded” to Ruby this year but that still entitled me to priority boarding. Looks like i will have to look at tier points for the first time in 5 years!

    • Scallder says:

      +1 although was pleasantly surprised about the soft landing to AB Silver (OW Ruby) – kind of expected to drop out of status holding altogether…

      • the_real_a says:

        Yeah i was too. Coupled with a priority pass, priority boarding (through Ruby) is really all i need. I would go as far to say i much prefer the Aspire lounge in T5 to galleries as the food (IMO) is higher quality.

    • Presuming of course that BA doesn’t decide to stop awarding tier points even though the carrier you book your segments on is still operating!!

  10. OT: Do you get full breakfast in the restaurant at the IC Paris Le Grand when booking a Club room or can you only have the lounge breakfast?

    • Only lounge breakfast, which is ok. It is €40-€45 in the restaurant and they aren’t going to start comping that unfortunately.

  11. As much as I like to sit up the front, I don’t think £1K is worth it to DXB. Go on a bit of an adventure instead – Ukraine international airlines are currently selling individual eco one way flights from Gatwick to Kiev for £30 and then Kiev to Dubai for £30 if you book 10 months ahead. Quite cheap on Wizz too from Romania/Bulgaria/Poland/Hungary.

    • Impressive! You’re right, £36.25 each way from Kiev to Dubai.

    • the_real_a says:

      Take your own entertainment as there is no seat back screens. Kiev is really nice if you have some time in between flights. If you have priority pass the coffee from the barista in the biz lounge in Kiev is the best 🙂

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