News in brief:
£200 Air France cashback deal – but limited use
Air France has launched a new cashback offer with American Express. If you are targetted, you will see it in the ‘Offers’ section of the app or website on one or more of your cards. Remember to click ‘Save to Card’ to register
The deals offers £200 cashback when you spend £1,200 on the Air France website here by 28th October.
Unfortunately, the value is reduced due to three restrictions:
- you must depart from the UK
- you must book Air France flights
- you must book in Premium Economy or Business Class
This is frustrating, because:
- you can book Virgin Atlantic transatlantic flights via the Air France website, but it appears that these will not trigger the cashback
- Air France currently has some excellent deals out of Dublin (eg the £1,142 business class return to New York shown below) but it seems these won’t count either
Unlike most Amex offers, I don’t think you can ‘cheat’ this offer by booking a different airline or class. Airlines pass through detailed ticket information to American Express – you have probably seen it on your statements – so Amex can tell what you have bought.
(In general, you can ignore restrictions about what must be bought on an Amex cashback offer. For example, there was a recent £80 cashback deal for buying an iPhone 13. In reality this triggered on any Apple Store purchase above the £800 spend limit, as Rhys proved when he bought a new MacBook.)
That said, £200 isn’t to be sniffed at. The real value may be for those who live outside London – if you are getting the same price for booking Manchester – Paris – XXXXXX on Air France vs Manchester – London – XXXXXX on British Airways, I’d book the former and take the cashback.
Remember that you earn Virgin Points and Virgin Atlantic tier points on Air France if you credit them to a Virgin Flying Club account. This HfP article outlines what you earn in Virgin Flying Club when flying Air France and KLM.
You can search for fares on the Air France website here.
TAP Air Portugal launches good Americas sale
TAP Air Portugal has launched a new sale. Whilst the example fares shown on the website are only for Economy, there are some good Business Class deals out there.
Importantly, all of these offers are available for UK departures from either:
- London Heathrow
- London Gatwick or
….. so you don’t need to start your trip outside the UK to get a good deal. Of course, if you are willing to head to Dublin, Amsterdam etc then you will save even more.
You need to book by 2nd October for travel by June 2023. There are blackout periods over Christmas and Easter and minimum stay periods apply. You can have a free stopover in Lisbon if you want – this can be selected during the booking process.
According to Luxury Flight Club, the best deals are:
- Sao Paulo
- Rio de Janeiro
…. all of which can be found for around £1,300 return.
If you start outside the UK you may find similar deals to other major US cities and Canada.
The fares direct from Lisbon are pretty decent and cover more cities than the UK sale. If you want a deal to – say – Miami then getting a standalone flight to Lisbon to pick up your TAP flight would work. Remember, however, that unless you book the connection on TAP you won’t be able to check through luggage and will have little protection if your inbound flight is delayed.
What can you do with the miles you earn?
TAP is part of Star Alliance. You cannot credit your flights to British Airways Executive Club or Virgin Atlantic, neither of whom are in Star Alliance. However, you can credit the miles to Lufthansa Miles & More or any other Star Alliance frequent flyer programme.
Our core article on ‘what is best Star Alliance frequent flyer scheme for you?’ is here.
How to pay
For UK departures, your best option to maximise your miles when paying is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. This offers double Membership Rewards points – 2 per £1 – when you when you book flight tickets directly with an airline. Our review of Amex Gold is here.
For non-UK departures, you should use a card without any foreign exchange fees irrespective of its miles-earning potential.
Remember that you need to book by 2nd October. You can find details on the TAP website here.