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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Using Avios points to Tokyo

  • Drifter47 1 post

    Is there a workaround when booking two seat BA business to Tokyo for about 10 days in early October this year please.

    Covid did for us, and we lost our BA Amex companion voucher(s) when we cancelled due to flight change and the possibility of entry restriction in Japan in that global lockdown. BA very unhelpful then and we also lost out as seat prices now higher with a max of £800 being knocked off with Avios.

    With 198,258 points on our household account and will probably our last and only long haul this year, we want to use them on that one return trip. Is it possible to purchase one full priced return in Business and then use the Avios points for the other ticket on the same flight.

    Rob
    HfP Staff
    2,378 posts

    Yes, obviously you can do this.

    The only (small) snag is that you will have two separate bookings, so won’t be automatically seated together and, if one of you has elite status, the other won’t get free seat selection.

    It’s also worth looking at upgrading. Assuming two Business Class reward seats are showing, you could pay for World Traveller Plus cash tickets and upgrade them both to Business Class. Not sure off the top of my head if you have enough Avios to do this but it’s worth comparing the costs.

    If only one Business Class seat is showing for redemption then, of course, you don’t have the choice.

    Worth considering flying Qatar via Doha. The person who pays cash would get 560 tier points which is 90% of a BA Silver card, and you can use Avios for the 2nd seat as usual.

    zio 271 posts

    Well, if you are lucky and there is avios availability showing on a flight to Tokyo you can nab that flight. But if you mean can we do this on one booking, mixing an avios and a cash ticket then I’m afraid the answer is no.

    NorthernLass 8,494 posts

    SeatSpy is showing nothing outbound in October, expect some economy on the 30th and 31st, so I think you’re going to be very lucky to see more award seats appear without another companion voucher to use. You can sign up for alerts, but newly-released seats are often snapped up before you get notified on popular routes like this.

    There IS availability showing in other months, especially January and February, if you can change your plans. If you absolutely have to travel in October, have you considered booking a BA Holiday and using your avios towards that?

    meta 1,465 posts

    You can also look at flying to Hong Kong/Singapore and from later in the year to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur and then cash flights to Tokyo. You may also look at Madrid-Tokyo (starts 27 October) for which you might also have enough Avios for two tickets in business class.

    Aston100 1,501 posts

    You can also look at flying to Hong Kong/Singapore and from later in the year to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur and then cash flights to Tokyo. You may also look at Madrid-Tokyo (starts 27 October) for which you might also have enough Avios for two tickets in business class.

    I should know this: would starting in London cost significantly more than starting in Madrid, when using an Amex companion voucher on Iberia?
    Like is it worth the additional hassle of a positioning flight and possibly a hotel in both directions to save a few Avios and a few quid?
    I assume not worth starting from Madrid.

    Aston100 1,501 posts

    My edit disappeared.
    Seems to be a £382 per person difference when I did a dummy booking LHR > MEX (via MAD) vs MAD > Mex
    Hopefully that will extrapolate nicely to the Tokyo route when it launches.

    annabh 48 posts

    Best to do dummy bookings so LHR to Tokyo is 200000 Avios + £ 550.00 Madrid to Tokyo is 119000 return Avios + £ 195.90 so yes is £300 saving plus 80,000 less avios. I check via BA executive app first for availability and then use iPad for actually pricing.

    meta 1,465 posts

    Yep, it’s a significant saving, but you would need hotel both ways due to timings. It’s also a very long flight at 16hrs on the inbound. However, given the saving I’d do it.

    I do not see the value in using the voucher with BA much anymore, but that’s because of my personal circumstances. My partner is willing to take such detours and we don’t mind doing one, even two stops on the way. It’s perhaps not even about the saving, it’s a bit like an adventure. Slower travel is kinder to your body too. On a 16-hour flight, you could get eight hours of sleep.

    Gavin454 174 posts

    Looking at booking a one-way from Tokyo to London for next year (I’ve already booked the outbound on Finnair while they still allowed free connections from London, with points bought during the sale last year)

    Cost for Finnair is now approx. 80,500 Avios + £130

    Iberia is 66,000 Avios + £114 (business to MAD then economy to LON)

    However, Finnair is a reasonable timed connection in HEL while the Iberia flight arrives late and requires a hotel in MAD for the night. Overall the cost is probably the same. Iberia also leaves from NRT which is less convenient.

    Qatar is around 80,000 Avios + £200 but hard to find availability.

    BA and JAL are obviously direct but quite a lot more expensive than these options.

    meta 1,465 posts

    Finnair is also quite reasonable, but obviously you can’t use the 241 voucher.

    If you are staying in Shinjuku, NRT is as convenient as HND.

    Alex G 471 posts

    One thing to be aware of with Finnair is that the flights from Tokyo (they fly from both NRT and HND) arrive between 3am and 5am, but the lounge at HEL doesn’t open until 6am.

    RollyRollinson 1 post

    I am looking to fly to Tokyo from Madrid on the new Iberia route next March.

    The H4P review of Iberia’s new biz class offering was really good, does anyone know if the A350-900 that will serve the route has the new suites?

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2024/02/05/review-iberias-new-a350-next-business-class-from-madrid-to-bogota/comment-page-4/#comments

    yonasl 987 posts

    I am looking to fly to Tokyo from Madrid on the new Iberia route next March.

    The H4P review of Iberia’s new biz class offering was really good, does anyone know if the A350-900 that will serve the route has the new suites?

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2024/02/05/review-iberias-new-a350-next-business-class-from-madrid-to-bogota/comment-page-4/#comments

    The seat configuration is the same on both planes (old and new A350). Iberia changes them all the time so you won’t really know until the day of your flight (last minute changes are common). Don’t worry too much about door or no door, the seats are fairly similar and personally the old one feels more roomy when in bed mode.

    meta 1,465 posts

    One thing to be aware of with Finnair is that the flights from Tokyo (they fly from both NRT and HND) arrive between 3am and 5am, but the lounge at HEL doesn’t open until 6am.

    NRT arrives at 5am, but at 5:55 during summer. From HND, it’s 4:40am during summer and 4am during winter.

    Finnair also flies to/from Osaka and Nagoya (arriving to HEL at 5:30 and 5:55 respectively). It’s also a good option to mix and match so you don’t have to back track to Tokyo (saving on shinkansen or plane costs).

    Aston100 1,501 posts

    Is there an article about using the AmEx companion voucher on Iberia?

    I want to understand if the booking process is exactly the same as on BA: use the voucher online to book the outbound, and when the time comes, book inbound seats online at regular Avios price, and then phone BA to refund Avios and amend the taxes&charges?

    Also, can you use the voucher to book Iberia flights to/from Japan, but starting and/or ending in the UK? It didn’t seem to show me any availability when I tried, but I might be doing it wrong (or due to route popularity, may have been genuinely sold out). e.g. MAD > NRT // NRT > MAD > LHR

    Thanks.

    yonasl 987 posts

    Is there an article about using the AmEx companion voucher on Iberia?

    I want to understand if the booking process is exactly the same as on BA: use the voucher online to book the outbound, and when the time comes, book inbound seats online at regular Avios price, and then phone BA to refund Avios and amend the taxes&charges?

    Also, can you use the voucher to book Iberia flights to/from Japan, but starting and/or ending in the UK? It didn’t seem to show me any availability when I tried, but I might be doing it wrong (or due to route popularity, may have been genuinely sold out). e.g. MAD > NRT // NRT > MAD > LHR

    Thanks.

    You book the IB flight on the BA website as you would a BA flight so no difference really.

    You can do the trick of booking MAD-NRT and then NRT-MAD-LON on the way back and then asking BA to refund the avios (or over the phone so they do it on the previous booking). So yes, the BA method of booking one leg and then the other works exactly the same.

    If you have an IB Plus account you can check if there are seats on the IB website. IB only releases 2 business class seats per flight and do it a few days BEFORE they are available on the BA website. So they may be snapped before for such a popular route.

    meta 1,465 posts

    @Aston100 There is somewhere on the site. It’s not entirely the same because Iberia releases awards 360 days in advance and BA 355 days. And yes, could be it’s sold out.

    You can book MAD-NRT//NRT-LHR via MAD on 241 voucher, but it will require a phone call.

    Aston100 1,501 posts

    If you have an IB Plus account you can check if there are seats on the IB website. IB only releases 2 business class seats per flight and do it a few days BEFORE they are available on the BA website. So they may be snapped before for such a popular route.

    Thanks, so if I want to use a companion voucher, I will struggle with popular destinations at popular times of the year as they’ll be sold out through the Iberia site at t-360 before they become visible on BAEC at t-355?
    If so, I can definitely write Tokyo off then.

    meta 1,465 posts

    Tokyo from Madrid is not as popular. Try tracking reward inventory for a while before your intended dates, then you’ll see the patterns when it’s least popular. For example flying on Tuesday instead of the weekend and so on.

    yonasl 987 posts

    If you have an IB Plus account you can check if there are seats on the IB website. IB only releases 2 business class seats per flight and do it a few days BEFORE they are available on the BA website. So they may be snapped before for such a popular route.

    Thanks, so if I want to use a companion voucher, I will struggle with popular destinations at popular times of the year as they’ll be sold out through the Iberia site at t-360 before they become visible on BAEC at t-355?
    If so, I can definitely write Tokyo off then.

    I don’t think the demand from Spain to Tokyo is as high as UK to Tokyo (specially 360 days ahead!) The 241 voucher doe snot exists in Spain. I suppose you may still want to do this at midnight on the BA website and can still be lucky.

    Alex G 471 posts

    One thing to be aware of with Finnair is that the flights from Tokyo (they fly from both NRT and HND) arrive between 3am and 5am, but the lounge at HEL doesn’t open until 6am.

    NRT arrives at 5am, but at 5:55 during summer. From HND, it’s 4:40am during summer and 4am during winter.

    Finnair also flies to/from Osaka and Nagoya (arriving to HEL at 5:30 and 5:55 respectively). It’s also a good option to mix and match so you don’t have to back track to Tokyo (saving on shinkansen or plane costs).

    Yes, I’m on the HND flight at the end of May. It’s due to land at HEL at 04:40, but if you look at FR24 it often arrives an hour early. If I had had a choice, I would have travelled on one of the flights that arrived later, but it was a redemption and I was lucky to get it.

    Aston100 1,501 posts

    Tokyo from Madrid is not as popular. Try tracking reward inventory for a while before your intended dates, then you’ll see the patterns when it’s least popular. For example flying on Tuesday instead of the weekend and so on.

    Thanks and while that works for many people, I’m usually constrained by school holiday dates.

    NorthernLass 8,494 posts

    IB has different peak dates which can work in your favour.

    Aston100 1,501 posts

    IB has different peak dates which can work in your favour.

    Oh definitely.
    Last year, I had priced up a visit to Mexico for February half-term just gone.
    The price difference when compared to BA was ridiculous, especially if flying out of Madrid. I believe it was offpeak for Iberia which contributed to the price difference.

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