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Bits: £1699 to Dubai in Emirates Business Class, decent KLM and Air France business class sale

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News in brief:

Emirates launches a January sale

Emirates launched its January sale last week. Looking only at Business Class, I was struggling to find any great deals – although Emirates is not known for its aggressive pricing. Details are here.

Most long haul destinations in Asia or Africa are in the £2,000 to £2,500 range. It’s arguably a fair price for the quality of the Emirates product but not jaw droppingly good.

One fare I wanted to highlight was £1,699 return to Dubai in Business Class.

This isn’t bargain basement – Lufthansa is offering the same route via Germany or Switzerland for £799 when two travel together – but it isn’t dreadful if you can get it over peak periods.

You also need to factor in the large number of UK regional airports which have direct Emirates flights to Dubai.

You can also benefit from three other Emirates offers currently running for anyone travelling before the end of March:

  • A free Day Pass to Expo 2020
  • Access to My Emirates Pass – Expo Edition, which offers discounts at over 500 retail, dining and recreational spots for anyone showing an Emirates boarding pass 
  • Up to 5,000 bonus Emirates Skywards miles via the ‘Mile a Minute’ offer – book a Dubai stopover before 31st March and receive 1 mile per minute for the time you stay in Dubai, or pick up a flat 5,000 miles for a trip which ends in Dubai

This fare is available for travel up to 7th July, for bookings made by 24th January.

You can check pricing on the Emirates website here.

Air France KLM sale

Air France and KLM launch a business class sale

Air France (via Paris) and KLM (via Amsterdam) have also jointly launched a good UK sale.  Deals are available in all classes but I am just focusing on Business Class here.

Details are here on the KLM site.  You can book both airlines here since they operate as one for marketing purposes.

Here is the headline pricing. Other destinations are also available.  This is from London Heathrow via Paris or Amsterdam, prices may vary from other regional airports.

What is good about this sale, of course, is that KLM operates from most regional airports in the UK. Air France also has decent regional coverage, albeit not as good as KLM. This is an especially good offer for those outside the M25.

Deals include:

  • Accra £1,540
  • Bali £2,303
  • Bangkok £1,836
  • Buenos Aires £1,981
  • Cairo £1,096
  • Cancun £1,838
  • Cayenne £1,409
  • Curacao £1,820
  • Dubai £1,396
  • Fort de France £1,400
  • Lima £1,763
  • Muscat £1,898
  • Reunion £2,014
  • Rio de Janeiro £1,439
  • Saint Martin £1,660
  • Sao Paulo £1,342
  • Seoul £1,576
  • Seychelles £1,995
  • Singapore £2,006
  • Tel Aviv £1,119
  • Tokyo £2,102
  • Toronto £1,792
  • Zanzibar £1,804

You need to book by 24th January.  Travel dates are not given, unfortunately.

The covid policy is decent. You can change your date and/or destination up to the day of departure, although any fare difference is due. For flights up to 30th June, you can also cancel for a voucher.

Flights will credit to Flying Blue or any other SkyTeam loyalty programme or, of course Virgin Flying Club. You can see how many Virgin Flying Club tier points you will earn in this article.

Your best option to maximise your miles when paying is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.  This offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.  This assumes you are paying in Sterling, as Amex has a 3% FX fee for non-£ payments. Our review of Amex Gold is here.

Take a look here on the KLM site.

PS. If you are targetting Thailand, look at KLM / Air France flights out of Stockholm which can be under £800 return in Business Class due to a fare war which has broken in the region. Here is an example I priced yesterday (click to enlarge):

Comments (19)

  • The Streets says:

    I’m reading reports Emirates have closed their onboard lounge and pre-departure drinks service. I really can’t see the logic

  • BJ says:

    Not sure about London but AF/KLM fares given are mostly typical fares exEDI to my knowledge so hardly a sale unless they have got cheaper still from the regions.

  • Ryan Gill says:

    Any single men entering Stockholm from Thailand, your magic powers to be attractive to the native women will have deserted you.

  • David S says:

    Can you please tell us more about the Ex Stockholm price war. Who are the other airlines in the price war ?

    • Rob says:

      Lufthansa / SWISS for 2 people but needs to be booked direct. One traveller pricing should pop up on Skyscanner etc as long as you are booking for at least 7 nights away. Only snag with Expedia etc is that it won’t tell you if the previous / next day would have been far cheaper.

  • Tony says:

    I was looking at the deep discount EK business class fares last month and they seem to not give access to the lounge and the chauffeur service is off for these, too. No advance seat selection either. Add those in and its another 300pp round trip which could be worth it for the car if you live far enough out.

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      This is true but you can mix fare types outbound and inbound so the ‘special’ fare that doesn’t include seat selection/lounge access/chauffeur isn’t that unattractive for those of us who live near MAN as the lounge is shut anyway and loads seem to be low (re seats).

      • Tony says:

        But would you really pay £150 for lounge access in Dubai or maybe £125 if you allow a few pounds for the cab fare? That would pay for far better food & beverage in an airport restaurant assuming they don’t then try to upsell the lounge anyway.

        As is noted, loads remain low so i’d have thought if they don’t want to properly slash fares, offering add ons which have a low marginal cost – so access to any owned lounge but not a 3rd party limo in the uk – would be a far better way if adding value. This just seems tight.

        • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

          I would personally. DXB main concourses can be a zoo. I’d rather not be there, during normal times or covid times. There are other elements to the higher fare types, such as increased Skywards, which can then subsequently be multiplied.

  • bungalow says:

    I’m flying Emirates to Dubai at the end of the month and noticed the free Expo pass on their website. After investigating, it’s probably worth mentioning that if you are over 60 you can currently get a free pass on the Expo website anyway, and it lasts for 3 months until Expo closure end of March. No proof of age to upload on application, just asks for name and email then tickets are emailed immediately. I assume they will just ask for ID proof on entry, I already have mine downloaded to the Expo app.
    Of more value to me is the free Emirates covid insurance cover with any ticket purchase.

  • John T says:

    Its interesting that even with business travel still decimated, the cost of business class fares have not really reduced for 2022. Surely this whole year demand will be nothing like it was in 2019, so I’m surprised they aren’t tempting leisure travellers to spend more with enticing prices.

    I can’t see business travel ever returning to pre-pandemic levels so would expect some airlines will be reconfiguring their aircraft with less J seats and more Y+ seats as a result.

    • memesweeper says:

      and not much to North America… clearly holding out for a firm recovery in that market.

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      Not sure I agree. The virus averse among us are for the first time ever considering paying business prices because of the space and isolation (relative) it affords. IMO the seats will still be filled, just with those who currently double mask while outside (most New York natives) rather than actual ‘flying for work’ business travellers.

    • Track says:

      It is the new normal.

      Dont expect super-cheap air travel as a result of COVID, push for green, new taxes and increased oil prices.

      Structurally, there are also less flights around, so more pricing power to airlines (who need cash, not just fill the seats at negative full economic cost).

      What airlines can do better is to open more seats for redemption: since they treat loyalty programs as a separate business asset. The more liability (issued points) they remove, the less will overhang in the future — to give ability to issue new points.

      • Nick says:

        Premium air fares will stay relatively high for a few reasons:
        – Like a lot of companies, airlines want to make some lost money back, so fares must be kept high
        – Opportunistic jumping on the ‘inflation’ bandwagon. A lot of companies – particularly in the UK – are trying to hike prices even if it’s not justified in their sectors because ‘everyone is doing it’. BA certainly is
        – Airlines believe (possibly mistakenly, possibly not) that demand will be high because people ‘need’ to go away, so fares don’t need to be competitive
        – Everyone books last minute now. Advance purchases even for leisure are way down, and the majority book max 1-2 months out, so they need to keep seats free to sell closer to the time. Prices will go down later if this doesn’t materialise but it means (for example) that sale fares don’t need to be overly attractive
        – Certain costs are high – and rising. e.g. HAL’s cost escalators need to be paid for somehow – airlines are trying to pass it on to the consumer rather than eat it themselves

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