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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Help with first redemption

  • dan1w 4 posts

    Hi guys,

    Hoping for some guidance on my first redemption. I was hoping to use my points for a J flight to an all inclusive resort for my partners 40th that is in July next year. Her idea of a holiday is sitting on an idyllic beach for a week drinking cocktails, so that’s what we’ll need to do.

    We did Mexico for my 40th last year and she loved it so thought something similar but different. Ideally I’d take her to Asia but BA/Iberia have no routes, looked at Panama and Costa Rica and was all ready to pull the trigger but it seems neither is really geared for AI and the available airports are far from the decent beaches. Any recommendations for Iberia/BA destinations welcomed, looking to spend no more than £2.5k for a weeks AI.

    I have a companion voucher and around 150k points. Just shy of the 180k it seems I’ll need for most Caribbean destinations with BA, but I’ve been offered a redemption on my Gold card so could find the points if needed. I could also just wait while I accrue more points but seeing as there’s a specific week we need I wonder if I’ll end up not being able to book.

    Other option is to transfer over a third of the points I’ll need from Amex and then boost them, just pay the extra or book an economy flight somewhere and save the points for later.

    I was thinking of using Iberia instead as I have the necessary points but they don’t seem to have any airports that are going to get us to a decent beach without a lot of travelling. Does anyone know differently?

    We’ve never flown business before so it would be nice to get the best business cabin possible, I know some planes are better than others but are there any routes that will guarantee the updated business class cabin?

    So basically, any destination ideas given the above criteria? Any input much appreciated.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,355 posts

    but are there any routes that will guarantee the updated business class cabin?

    Really only JFK.

    But to be frank go somewhere you and your beloved want to go to spend a week or so at not based on what plane you’ll be on for only a few hours.

    Candor 38 posts

    Even JFK isn’t guaranteed with the club suite, flew last September from Heathrow on the older club world seat

    Agree though, always go someone where you want to go and not based on a plane seat that can change

    executiveclubber 358 posts

    Hopefully someone can be along with some good advice as so far you haven’t had much inspiration!

    July is a popular time to travel so definitely brush up on the methods for booking — eg calling them via Skype at midnight and having a booking window open on your laptop too, plus having a payment card saved to your account in advance.

    Do Mauritius or Antigua fit the bill? Alternatively… your Avios will also get you very far doing plenty of Europe shorthaul business trips, not as “special” in the sky but wonderful bang for buck and an Avios pot like yours could sustain a fair few trips! Thinking Portugal etc. for a shorter trip, it just means less time to adjust to jetlag and more time to enjoy

    NorthernLass 8,442 posts

    CS aside, you’ve got numerous options, especially if you’re travelling early July before the schools break up. BA flies to most of the usual Caribbean AI suspects like Barbados/Antigua/St Lucia/Jamaica etc, so it might be better to identify suitable accommodation first then be ready to swoop to get your outbound seats at T-355.

    Punta Cana would be another option where you’d get a lot of bang for your buck!

    NorthernLass 8,442 posts

    You could also check out Breezes or Riu Palace in the Bahamas – NAS is a LHR departure and mostly CS these days – you can check by doing a dummy cash booking for the day of the week you plan to travel. Availability is usually better than the LGW routes as well.

    NorthernLass 8,442 posts

    Also also –

    NAS is a T3 departure so you could treat your beloved to breakfast & champers in the best lounges before whisking her off to the Bahamas in business class, you would get a LOT of Brownie points with this itinerary 😂😂😂

    masaccio 806 posts

    Look at https://www.flightconnections.com/ to see where Iberia fly. They do fly to Cuba and the Dominican Republic if either of those suit (as a US traveller Cuba is out for me). They also fly to Panama and Costa Rica, though Panama is not really an AI beach destination.

    I’d personally not fret about CS. Sure it’s a great seat, but assuming the crew are on good form, the old seats are still a great experience. I personally think crew make more difference than the seat to whether you enjoy the flight; lousy service to a great seat is not fun.

    I’ve never had any problems booking the Caribbean in July/August when I can be a little flexible on dates but late night calls will make it more certain as others have said.

    dan1w 4 posts

    Thanks for the input guys. Would love the RIU Palace Bahamas as we stayed in one in Mexico and it was great but the Bahamas RIU is significantly more expensive.

    Cuba was on the list but not sure how kitted out they are for AI. From what I’ve read it doesn’t sound like the same experience as elsewhere.

    Will have a look at Antigua. Mauritius is on the list but relatively cool in July and the good lady is not happy unless third degree burns are a real possibility.

    Was surprised to see the Maldives can be had for 90k each way but understand it’s hard to nab tickets. Our dates are 30th June – 7th July with the tiniest bit of leeway. Is it worth even trying?

    NorthernLass 8,442 posts

    You can certainly try for Maldives, but it’s very competitive and people have been known to struggle to get their inbound seats. Also your accommodation is going to be extremely expensive.

    I would forget Cuba as an option for now if you are ever planning to visit the USA as currently it would cause issues with you getting an ESTA.

    Have you looked at the Dominican Republic? While it’s not up there with Barbados/Bahamas for aspirational travel, it’s a beautiful country with some very nice AI resorts, especially around Punta Cana – you might get whale-watching as well if it’s the right season (don’t know off the top of my head).

    The Hilton La Romana is an adult-only AI and is around $3k for a week in the summer months.

    Neil 17 posts

    Worth noting that your dates include 4th July so any destination favored by the Americans could get pricy over that weekend but can also mean extra activities are laid on by some hotels etc

    masaccio 806 posts

    Maldives is getting very expensive. Decent 5* is about a grand a night. You can dial down the rating, but then you start to take pot luck on the food quality. It’s a lot way to go for disappointing buffet.

    You can find better rates last minute but if you want an overwater villa, especially one with a pool, then you might find you have very little choice.

    But if you did go for it, redemptions via India are easy peasy. You will need an e-visa for India if you have checked bags and may need one anyway on the way back due to the timing of flights. But you would get to sneak in a city on the back of the trip!

    NorthernLass 8,442 posts

    I am in a British Overseas Territory for the next 10 days, where Americans flock to celebrate their independence from, er, the British. This is the 2nd time I’ve unwittingly done this 😂. They seem completely oblivious to the irony, though.

    Re the Caribbean/Mexico, just a word of caution re the beaches, if pristine white sands are non-negotiable. There’s an ongoing problem with sargassum weed which blights a lot of the coastal areas, especially in the summer. Some research should show up areas which are/not generally affected (because of wind and currents), and which hotels undertake to remove it from their stretches of beach (not all of them because it requires very expensive equipment).

    masaccio 806 posts

    Grenada has some beautiful beaches, is very open for redemptions in June at least now and has no sargassum on the Caribbean side, which is where you will want to sit and drink your rum.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,355 posts

    I am in a British Overseas Territory for the next 10 days, where Americans flock to celebrate their independence from, er, the British. This is the 2nd time I’ve unwittingly done this 😂. They seem completely oblivious to the irony, though.

    I’ve had tremendous fun with some of my American friends and telling them that just because the colonies declared themselves independent on 4th July 1776 it didn’t mean they were independent which only became a reality after the Battle of Yorktown and then the signing of the Treaty of Paris in September 1783.

    dan1w 4 posts

    Thanks again guys.

    I’ve actually found some reasonably priced decently rated accommodation in the Maldives, suppose booking a year in advance and it being out of season helps, but it may be a no go as BA only seem to fly out on a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday which would make it very difficult with the way my work rota works.

    How does the Maldives redemption via India work? Flying into India and then just getting a domestic flight to Male?

    We had the seaweed issue in Mexico last year but RIU had a tractor out every day scooping it up. It was a bit smelly but definitely didn’t ruin our holiday.

    Dominican Republic is out as she’s been before. Hadn’t thought about Grenada though so will give that a look.

    NorthernLass 8,442 posts

    You might want to have a scroll through the forum – there are plenty of posts on ways to get to MLE/transfers/accommodation though admittedly it’s not the easiest site to search!

    I will have a look from my sun lounger as I haven’t much else to do 😂. Feeling happy to have just been given a $100 gift certificate for doing a 10-minute survey which is very odd for this place! It’ll pay for dinner tomorrow!

    NorthernLass 8,442 posts

    Well I just posted 4 links and it’s disappeared- see if it turns up later!

    If not, google “Head for Points Maldives” and all sorts of stuff turns up.

    NorthernLass 8,442 posts

    @Flyer/Stayer, I love this! Just wishing we had some Union Jack attire to wear next Thursday 😂

    I keep forgetting there’s a general election as well 😱🤣

    NorthernLass 8,442 posts
    masaccio 806 posts

    Thanks again guys.

    I’ve actually found some reasonably priced decently rated accommodation in the Maldives, suppose booking a year in advance and it being out of season helps, but it may be a no go as BA only seem to fly out on a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday which would make it very difficult with the way my work rota works.

    How does the Maldives redemption via India work? Flying into India and then just getting a domestic flight to Male?

    https://www.headforpoints.com/forums/topic/trip-report-maldives-via-mumbai-redemption-and-destination2/

    We’re doing it again next year but via Bangalore this time as I’ve never been there as a tourist. Indigo flights in front row were £225 each.

    LD27 214 posts

    @NorthernLass. Week beginning 30 June is going to be an interesting week – elections here in France too. Sounds like you’re enjoying and making full use of your time relaxing on your sun lounger!

    NigelHamilton 230 posts

    Also consider Mauritius (edit – just seen mentioned above – it’s about 27 degrees in July which is perfect for me but lower than some like it) but again BA only flies on certain days. It’s substantially cheaper than the Maldives for the same quality of accomodation (I booked someone for this July, admittedly on a honeymoon package which is discounted, at a really good 4* all inclusive in the highest category room on the resort for less than £3k for 10 days). Maldives is pretty special though (albeit best months are Jan-April)

    NorthernLass 8,442 posts

    MRU requires more avios than MLE, though, being in the next zone out, so 100k each way, off peak. Also I think there are only 3 departures each week which may not fit with OP’s work commitments.

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