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Last chance to book in the BA sale – and trigger your Amex ‘BA spend’ bonus

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The British Airways Winter sale ends tomorrow.  As I will remind you, the short-haul deals are pretty good and the long-haul deals are pretty average.  You can also double up with the American Express cashback or bonus Avios deal currently available to many of us.

A reminder of the American Express deal

British Airways and American Express have a cashback or points bonus which is generous, especially as it can be combined with the current sale deals.

The offer only appears to be added to British Airways American Express cards, either free or Premium Plus, although it is worth checking any other cards you have.

There are two variants:

£15 cashback when you spend £100+ at ba.com by 30th January

1,500 Avios – added to your BA Amex balance and transferred to BA with your normal Avios for card spending – when you spend £100+ at ba.com by 30th January

Both offers were only valid for the first 20,000 people to save them to their card.  This target appears to have been reached so you may no longer see it as available.  You need to look under the ‘Offers’ tab of your online BA Amex statement page at the Amex website here.

Remember that the offer will pay out on redemption bookings as long as the taxes are over £100.  I imagine that it will also trigger if you pay £100 towards any BA Holidays package you have booked.  It will NOT work if you buy £100 of Avios via ba.com. This is because ‘buy Avios’ transactions are purchased by points.com and you will see their name on your Amex statement.

If your booking is very close to £100, remember that you can make a small charitable donation to Flying Start or to offset your CO2 emissions.  This is worth doing if your ticket is more than £85 but below £100.  I imagine the Flying Start donation can also be treated as gift aid.

A reminder of the short haul BA deals

The highlight of the entire British Airways sale is the incredibly low Club Europe fares out of London Gatwick.

In fact, these are the cheapest Club Europe fares I have ever seen.  Back in October 2015 BA ran a flash sale offering seats at £150 return, but some of these deals beat that.  The lowest fare was to Nurmberg for £114 but that was for early January only.

More mainstream destinations are also very cheap.  Barcelona is £160 return in Club Europe from London Gatwick.

The maths is compelling:

You get 80 tier points for the flight, so at well under £2 per tier point this is worth considering for no other reason than it is a cheap way to earn or retain status.  As I note below, Catania is £215 return for 160 tier points.

Even a British Airways Blue member would earn 2,150 Avios for a return flight to Barcelona, so that is at least £20 of value coming straight back

You will get access to the impressive new British Airways Galleries lounges at Gatwick which we reviewed here 

You will get the other benefits of Club Europe – fast track security (which works well at Gatwick), priority boarding, empty middle seat, a free meal and all the champagne you can get through

The best way to look at the available routes is via the Low Fare Finder tool on ba.com.   Click here, select ‘Europe’ and select ‘Business’.

This is what I see for travel between February and April for under £200 in Club Europe.  Remember that a 2-night minimum stay or a Saturday night may be required:

  • Alicante from £200 return
  • Amsterdam from £180 return
  • Barcelona from £160 return
  • Bilbao from £198 return
  • Bordeaux from £136 return
  • Friedrichshafen from £148 return
  • Geneva from £186 return
  • Genoa from £146 return
  • Innsbruck from £188 return
  • Limoges from £144 return
  • Luxembourg from £158 return
  • Lyon from £170 return
  • Malaga from £180 return
  • Nice from £180 return
  • Nuremberg from £148
  • Pisa from £196 return
  • Porto from £190 return
  • Rome from £200 return
  • Salzburg from £180 return
  • Seville from £210 return
  • Turin from £160 return
  • Venice from £180 return
  • Verona from £170 return

If you are after tier points, you should take a look at Catania in Sicily.  This is a 160 tier points route and is selling for as low as £215 return in May, June and July.  My article listing all of the 160 tier point Club Europe routes is here.

You should also have a look at the BA Holidays website here and do a dummy booking with a hotel or car hire added.  You might find it gets even cheaper.

A reminder of the long haul BA deals

The long-haul sale deals are less interesting.  The home page is here.  Remember that tomorrow is the last day to book.

Travel dates vary by route so take a look at the small print at the bottom of the sale website.  In general, you can book until early December 2018.  There seem to be fewer date restrictions than usual.

The easiest way to check out the best prices to a specific destination is with the British Airways Low Fare Finder tool on ba.com. This will show you the cheapest price on any route, in any class, on month by month basis.  If you can be flexible with dates, there are some decent fares available.

In general, the premium deals are more expensive than the last sale, but some First Class deals are attractive.

As usual I strongly recommend also getting a price via the BA Holidays website here.  Packaging a hotel and flight, or a car and a flight, can sometimes cost less than the flight itself.

Economy and Premium Economy deals:

If you are looking for a real bargain then I suggest looking at World Traveller (Economy) and World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) fares which are down sharply, especially to the US and Middle East.  We don’t really focus on those much on HFP but I would highlight:

  • Boston – £306 World Traveller / £749 World Traveller Plus
  • Chicago – £394 World Traveller / £755 World Traveller Plus
  • Montreal –  £406 World Traveller / £731 World Traveller Plus
  • San Jose (US) – £442 World Traveller / £781 World Traveller Plus
  • Bermuda – £578 World Traveller / £928 World Traveller Plus
  • Lima – £483 World Traveller / £855 World Traveller Plus
  • St Lucia – £488 World Traveller / £789 World Traveller Plus
  • Abu Dhabi – £317 World Traveller / £567 World Traveller Plus
  • Muscat – £298 World Traveller / £508 World Traveller Plus
  • Male – £726 World Traveller / £1220 World Traveller Plus
  • Shanghai – £415 World Traveller / £806 World Traveller Plus

Remember that World Traveller Plus fares can be upgraded to Club World with Avios, either during the booking process (use ‘Book and Upgrade’) or later.  There must be Avios availability for redemption seats in Club World for you to do this.

The cost is the difference between a Club World and World Traveller Plus redemption.  You can look up Avios pricing by route in this article.

Premium sale deals:

As I said above, the deals are not as good as they were in the Summer sale.  However, there are some excellent First Class offers.  In general, these are priced at roughly £400 above the equivalent Club World fare.  

Here are some major destinations, priced as Club World and First:

Boston £1364 / £1787

Chicago £1473 / £1896

Fort Lauderdale £1686 / £2122

Montreal £1410 / No First

New York £1387 / £1790

Philadelphia £1370 / £1787

Kingston £1189 / No First

Punta Cana £1284 / No First

Abu Dhabi £1247 / £1680

Dubai £1497 / £2138

Muscat £1098 / £1630

Shanghai £1890 / £2442

In general, Asia prices are not too attractive – even Bangkok, widely discounted by everyone at the moment, is still £1698 in Club World.  South Africa is also very high (£2854 Club World to Jo’burg, more to Cape Town).

If you were looking at Dubai, remember that Abu Dhabi is cheaper and it is a £40 / 1 hour taxi ride from the airport to Jumeirah.  That is only a little longer and a little more expensive than the ride from Dubai International.  It is worth taking a serious look at Muscat, however, as the fares are even cheaper and Oman has some good hotels.

And don’t forget ….

Remember that ‘Part Pay With Avios’ can be used with these fares.  The maximum discount at present is £250 for 45,500 Avios points per return flight in Club World and £300 for 55,000 Avios in First – which is pretty terrible, to be honest.  You can learn more about ‘Part Pay With Avios’, including the rates for other cabins, on this special page of ba.com.

Don’t forget to compare pricing with BA Holidays too.  Their home page is here.

The best thing to do if you are interested is to pop over to ba.com and have a look around, starting with the Low Fare FinderThe full sale details are hereThe sale ends tomorrow, Tuesday 30th January.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. I got caught out by the Ba Amex offer small print

    I saved the 1,500 Avios offer to my Ba Amex and purchased a one way ba flight on ba.com – Hamburg to LHR costing €130.

    I didn’t use my Amex gold card despite it giving triple MR on that transaction (1MR + 1 bonus MR for foreign spend + 1 bonus MR for airline spend) and instead used my BA Amex to trigger the 1,500 Avios.

    After querying the missing 1,500 Avios with the Amex chat online I was told eventually that I wasn’t eligible because the offer was only for BA flights purchased in GBP.

    Despite arguing with them on the chat for ages, the most they would agree to was to give me triple Avios on my spend as gesture of goodwill

    Always read the small print on these offers!!!

  2. OT, but not sure where exactly to post this:

    I’m c10k points short of booking a NYC trip as an anniversary surprise for my wife in the autumn using the BA companion voucher that I have earned with my BA AMEX. I wish to book sooner than later so I don’t loose the available slots for the weekend I’d like to take her. What are my best options for cheapest purchase of the avios balance, or otherwise earning c10k avios quickly?

    On a related point, we are currently living at the same address as my parents due to a build project. Our resi address is therefore the same and my father has registered for his avios / BA EC. I wondered about using his to points to top up our balance, but I think this would require us breaking his HHA (my father and mother), and us breaking ours (my wife, kids and I), then all of us joining as one, booking the ticket (once my father has done a transfer of all of his BA Avios points, except the 10k we require, out to his avios account) then doing the same in reverse! Quite a mission!

    Any thoughts or comments most welcome! Thanks in advance.

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