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Bits: Luxury Travel Diary auction deals, £30 off Virgin Economy Delight, rare Asia business class deals for Christmas

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News in brief:

Luxury Travel Diary auctions ending soon

The Luxury Travel Diary site dropped us a line about a new wave of its auctions that are closing within the next few days.

Most of the items offered tend to go for far less than the standard retail price because Luxury Travel Diary is a very niche site. I know readers have found some good deals there in the past.  Included are hotel stays, travel equipment and various gift vouchers.

Some of the auctions ending soon are:

7-night stay for four people in Las Vegas, Orlando or Mexico

2 nights at the new W hotel on The Palm in Dubai

7 all inclusive nights in Crete for some late summer sun

3 night long weekend in France

Or if you only wanted to travel within the UK, you could bid on one night including dinner at the luxury Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa in the Cotswolds, where Rob has been a few times and recommends (no children allowed though!).

It’s worth taking a look at the different auctions. Not everything will work for you, either in terms of location, length or dates, but you’ll probably find something of interest if you poke around.

Virgin Atlantic Economy Delight

Save an extra £30 on Virgin Atlantic’s Economy Delight cabin

Until 4th September, Virgin Atlantic is offering an extra £30 saving on flights in its Economy Delight cabin to all destinations.

Full details are on the Virgin Atlantic website here. You do not need a promo code to book the offer.

There are two good reasons to book Economy Delight – one relating to comfort and one relating to miles.  Most people only look at the first one and don’t bother to work out the impact of the improved mileage earning, which is a mistake.

First up is comfort.

Economy Classic:  Standard Economy fare with checked luggage included, can be upgraded to Premium Economy with miles

Economy Delight: Extra legroom (34″ pitch), priority check-in and priority boarding, can be upgraded to Premium Economy with miles

The second reason is more miles.

Economy Classic:  earns 50% of miles flown plus 25 tier points each-way 

Economy Delight:  earns 150% of miles flown plus 50 tier points each-way

Here are two sample screen shots, based on being a base level (Red) Virgin Flying Club member.  Flying to Los Angeles in Economy Classic would get you:

Economy Class miles earned

whilst flying in Economy Delight would get you:

Economy delight miles earned

As you can see, you will earn an extra 10,908 miles on a return flight in Economy Delight.  These are worth £109 if you assume 1p per mile.  You can add in the very substantial benefit of the extra legroom for 24 hours of flying time.

In general Economy Delight is usually priced at £100 return above Economy Classic.  You should find the gap is lower during this sale, given the £30 discount.

On the longer Virgin Atlantic flights the additional cost of Economy Delight is virtually offset by the additional Virgin Flying Club miles you earn.  The extra leg room and other benefits are pretty much free!

We reviewed Economy Delight last year on a flight to New York which you can read here.

If you want to find out more about the different Economy products, you can read our in depth comparison here.  This page of the Virgin Atlantic site shows you the differences between the fare classes.

You can book the £30 off Economy Delight fares on the Virgin Atlantic website here.  The offer runs until Wednesday 4th September.

Air China A350 business class

Good Air China business class deals over Christmas

Air China is rolling out its business class deals to Asia for the winter season. These are very good deals because Air China doesn’t block out Christmas dates.  Thank you Communism!

As usual, the best fares are from Germany and require a trip to Munich, Frankfurt or Düsseldorf. Here are some of the deals:

Taipei – €1438
Hong Kong – €1449
Tokyo – €1505
Nagoya – €1506
Osaka – €1518
Manila – €1493
Bangkok – €1507
Seoul – €1518
Ho Chi Minh City – €1517
Phuket – €1507
Singapore – €1529
Hanoi – €1549

These fares are valid for travel between 20th December and 6th January, with additional return availability from 18th to the 27th January. You can see the sale page here.

Ignore the booking dates shown – these fares are bookable until tonight and may be extended further.  Here was Frankfurt to Tokyo availability as of Saturday night for example (click to enlarge):

Air China business class sale

Air China is part of Star Alliance so you could (depending on which booking class the ticket books into) earn miles and status credit with Lufthansa Miles & More or one of the other Star programmes.  Use wheretocredit.com to find the most generous programme – you are looking for ‘R’ class earning which is typically 125% of miles flown.  

I know very little about Air China, so do some research on what planes are flying which route and what kind of seating it will offer.  Some flights use brand new A350-900 aircraft with the impressive 1-2-1 layout above, which uses the same Super Diamond seat that the new British Airways Club Suite is based on.  If you bring a bit of plywood for your own door you can replicate the full BA Club Suite experience!

Earlier last year reader Joel reviewed the Air China Boeing 777 business class service from Heathrow to Beijing for us – see here.

The Air China Germany site, in English, is here.

Bits: more BA strike rebooking guidance, Emirates adds European football redemptions
Our review of the Executive Lounge at Norwich Airport
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Comments

  1. We have enjoyed couple of lovely trips from the luxury diary site. Bordeaux, Puglia and Rabat. Both gorgeous places. And you need to be v flexible w travel dates. Have one coming up in Oct to Thessaloniki. They do tend to quote v high value worth.
    A quick check on booking.com or similar will give you an idea of real worth and whether to bid or not.

  2. OT: Going Japan first time next year, flying into Osaka and leaving from Tokyo. Have 13 full days.

    Recommendations for itinerary / where to spend my nights?

    • Stay at Koyasan for one night. That’s the best recommendation I can give.
      13 days is a good length. Probably sufficient time to head down to Hiroshima (and Miyajima), Himeji castle, Osaka itself, Koyasan, Nara, Kyoto (as long as you can), onsen at Hakone (not the best but v accessible) and Tokyo. If you have time, you might be able to go to Tokyo via Nagano and the Snow Monkey Park (in which case I’d prob not go to Hakone as there’s decent onsen around Yudanaka).

      There’s amazing food everywhere. For something a bit different I recommend the Molecular Tapas bar in the MO in Tokyo.

      • Genghis – how much is the Molecular Tapas bar, and how formal is it (I live in jeans most of the time)

        • I went a year ago. From memory around 36k yen (the menu + mocktail pairing). “Tokyo is expensive”, is what i said when I put my expenses in. Not that formal. I wore chinos and polo IIRC.

          Food wasn’t the best I’ve ever had but it tasted good and the show was good fun.

      • If you can, add Kanazawa too. It is much smaller than Tokyo and Kyoto but packed with things to see and do. It also show you a city with a more human scale.

      • +1 for Miyajima. I also love Kurashiki in Okayama prefecture. Think old wooden houses on the canal.

      • Just remember the Torii gate at Miyajima is under scaffolding for the next couple of years!

    • I went to Japan for the first time last year and stayed 10 nights in Osaka and 3 nights in Tokyo.

      Osaka is a great base for visiting most of the places Genghis mentions. I also went to Hiroshima, largely because we had a JR pass and it seemed silly not to go.

      I preferred Nara to Kyoto, but I know I’m in a minority here.

      Because we flew in and out of Tokyo, we got a two week JR pass. If I hadn’t taken the trip to Hiroshima, we would have broken even on the train pass. The Hiroshima trip was effectively free. The Shinkansen is very expensive but local trains (to Himeji, Kobe, Kyoto) are quite cheap.

      I’m going again in December. Flying into TYO and home from Osaka. 5 nights in TYO, 6 in Osaka. Travelling with my partner this time, so repeating much of what I did last year. Because we are only travelling one way between TYO and OSA, I’m planning to fly. Avios redemptions are dirt cheap – £4 pp redemption fee. I’m looking at a regional rail pass for Kansai, which covers local trains to Kyoto, Nara etc.

  3. Concerto says:

    I’m going to Hokkaido for the first time this October. Looking forward!

  4. If anyone looking for cheap j flights for Japan in Feb next yr..klm/Af txl -kix for £1350!!

  5. The A350 from Air China is quite OK actually. Service not as smooth as SQ or QR but in general quite attentive. The seats were fine too.

    It is more the ground experience i.e. transiting in Shanghai in our case) where China jn general lacks behind. But having the transit without visa program for up to 144h helps.

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