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Old Feb 7th 2010, 4:10 am   #1
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Cool Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

If you're fed up of Aussie airfares then the following represents a real bargain, well it does even if you're not fed up of Aussie airfares!

I recently flew back to the UK for Xmas and took advantage of a frequent flyer program promotion through which I paid about A$2500 for return business class airfares from Melbourne to Edinburgh. I travelled Melbourne to Frankfurt on Thai and then on the short European connection on Lufthansa. My seats were booked on Dec 18th and I travelled on Dec 23rd - at the time the cheapest available economy fare was around A$2800.

To my surprise, the promotion is running again...I thought I'd share the details this time for anyone who is interested!

Here's how it works:
  • Sign up for US Airways frequent flyer program (each person travelling) - Dividend Miles
  • US Airways is a member of Star Alliance allowing you to get frequent flyer seats on US Airways, United, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Thai, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Continental, Swiss etc etc etc
  • Wait at least 11 days after you sign up - I think this is part of the T & Cs - then buy the miles you need
  • Until 31 March US Airways will give you 100% extra free on the miles you buy upto 50k...so buy 50k miles and get 100k!
  • You need 120k for a business class return to Europe - but a second member can 'gift' you miles and that figure is then also doubled. The second member gifts you 10k miles and you receive 20k.
  • Alternatively you can buy the 20k miles yourself but this will cost twice as much as gifting as no bonus applies

The primary reason this is such a good deal is the strength of the A$ - so get in quick as it's been dropping (or wait until it strengthens again)! The miles are priced in USD.

The cost to buy 100k and gift the 20k is just under USD1775. Taxes on my rtn flight amounted to USD450. Assuming an exchange rate of US$0.85 that comes to just over A$2600. Your credit card company will probably also sting you currency conversion fees for all transactions hence the approx figure of $2700 - $2800.

The gotchas:
  • There is no availability checking or online booking on the US Airways website - you will need to call them up. They can be fairly clueless especially for itineraries they aren't used to booking.
  • FF seats are limited - this is probably best for 2 people travelling at the most
  • You can all but forget about Singapore Airlines - they don't allow FF bookings in the premium cabins on the planes (A380 and nice 777) which fly to the UK and many of those on the Aus to Singapore legs
  • US Airways is probably repeating this offer because they want / need the cash - read into that what you will!
  • One way bookings cost the same number of miles as returns - hence this is not worth doing for a o/w.
  • As these are FF bookings you wont earn any miles - beggers can't be choosers!

I have found availability on Thai very easy to get and the product is very nice indeed - some European routes should be avoided due to older seats. Flying to London or Frankfurt is generally a safe bet.

If business isn't good enough for you....first class is 150k...also a steal!

Air NZ is supposed to be quite tricky to get availability on.

In GBP this prices up around GBP1400 which is also a great deal for business class, but not quite as much of a bargain as from this end.

Attached below is a screen grab of the costs to buy miles and a pic of the business seats on most Thai flights.

Hopefully this can get some of you a great trip somewhere!
Attached Thumbnails
Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx 00 - 00 rtn!-50k.png   Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx 00 - 00 rtn!-20k.png   Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx 00 - 00 rtn!-thai-business-class-seat.gif  
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Old Feb 7th 2010, 4:52 am   #2
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

Thanks for the tip BC. Have signed me and the wife up. Will wait 11 days before purchasing miles. How does it work out for economy class fares?
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Old Feb 7th 2010, 4:58 am   #3
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

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Originally Posted by Budawang View Post
Thanks for the tip BC. Have signed me and the wife up. Will wait 11 days before purchasing miles. How does it work out for economy class fares?
I don't think it's really worth it.

Economy is 100k, business 120k and first 150k. The only time economy might be worth a go would be peak times like Xmas...you'd probably end up saving several hundred $'s off those fares.

For ease of booking the flights for 2 people it's worthwhile having all the miles in one account. So for example you could buy your 50k+50k. Then your wife can gift you 50k+50k. Then you buy the remaining 40k you need. What I'm not clear about is if a third person can gift you 20k + 20k....it all gets too complicated and the T & Cs aren't clear!
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Old Feb 7th 2010, 8:02 am   #4
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

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I don't think it's really worth it.

Economy is 100k, business 120k and first 150k. The only time economy might be worth a go would be peak times like Xmas...you'd probably end up saving several hundred $'s off those fares.

For ease of booking the flights for 2 people it's worthwhile having all the miles in one account. So for example you could buy your 50k+50k. Then your wife can gift you 50k+50k. Then you buy the remaining 40k you need. What I'm not clear about is if a third person can gift you 20k + 20k....it all gets too complicated and the T & Cs aren't clear!
I guess there's nothing stopping you having more than one Dividend Miles membership account. Or at least you could sign up various relatives who would then "gift" you their miles. That sounds a bit too easy so there must be a catch.

It's really weird how there isn't much difference between economy and business. You often pay 3 times the amount for a business class ticket.

I'm getting disillusioned with the Qantas FF program and am thinking of getting a Star Alliance credit card. This Westpac Singapore Airlines AMEX Platinum card looks good:

http://info.westpac.com.au/singapore...mBenefits.aspx.

Only $125 fee in the first year, plus a 10,000 points joining bonus. However, it looks like their points don't get you as far as my Qantas points.
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Old Feb 10th 2010, 2:43 am   #5
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

I have to fly at short notice sometime in march or April

What are the best economy fares looking like during those times? Just wondering if 'upgrading' at this time of year is as worth it as it was for you when economy was so expensive due to christmas.

May well sign up anyway to give me the choice later
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Old Feb 10th 2010, 5:10 am   #6
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

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Originally Posted by Safin View Post
I have to fly at short notice sometime in march or April

What are the best economy fares looking like during those times? Just wondering if 'upgrading' at this time of year is as worth it as it was for you when economy was so expensive due to christmas.

May well sign up anyway to give me the choice later
One thing about reward flights though is flying at short notice is notoriously full as those fare buckets tend to get emptied pretty quickly on popular routes.
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Old Feb 10th 2010, 5:25 am   #7
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

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Originally Posted by Centurion View Post
One thing about reward flights though is flying at short notice is notoriously full as those fare buckets tend to get emptied pretty quickly on popular routes.
...but they also have a habit of becoming available at the last minute if seats remain unsold - not very good for forward planning though & a risky strategy. I was very surprised to get Xmas seats at the last minute though - particularly as the BA strike shennanigans were ongoing at the time.
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Old Feb 10th 2010, 6:11 am   #8
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

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Originally Posted by Safin View Post
I have to fly at short notice sometime in march or April

What are the best economy fares looking like during those times? Just wondering if 'upgrading' at this time of year is as worth it as it was for you when economy was so expensive due to christmas.

May well sign up anyway to give me the choice later
Only trouble with upgrading once, is that you kind of have to do it every other time
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Old Feb 10th 2010, 7:25 am   #9
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

Well I registered and will see whats available whenever I have to go and take my chances. It'll be a short trip of only a week maybe two at most so the idea of sleeping enroute and not wasting tiem with jetlag appealled. Usually I'll be aiming for a longer visit so it won't be so important
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Old Feb 10th 2010, 7:31 am   #10
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

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Originally Posted by Safin View Post
Well I registered and will see whats available whenever I have to go and take my chances. It'll be a short trip of only a week maybe two at most so the idea of sleeping enroute and not wasting tiem with jetlag appealled. Usually I'll be aiming for a longer visit so it won't be so important
I should also have mentioned - from what I gather they will hold seats for you even if you have zero miles - then go buy the miles and confirm later - within a few days of holding. That way there isn't a great deal of risk in shelling out the cash then never being able to get a seat.
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Old Feb 16th 2010, 8:20 pm   #11
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

A$ back above US$0.90....those points just got cheaper!
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Old Mar 7th 2010, 11:21 am   #12
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

Wow! Just did this! can't believe it. Couldn't get business as its so close to flying (2 weeks) but went for it and booked first class on Thai!!!!! What a bargain. Thanks BCworld
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Old Mar 7th 2010, 11:31 am   #13
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

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Wow! Just did this! can't believe it. Couldn't get business as its so close to flying (2 weeks) but went for it and booked first class on Thai!!!!! What a bargain. Thanks BCworld
That's SUPERB safin! Congratulations!!!

You have a lot to look forward to!

I've been watching the ex rate improve & will definitely be buying some points before the month is up.

Last edited by bcworld; Mar 7th 2010 at 11:59 am.
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Old Mar 7th 2010, 8:54 pm   #14
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

If I knew I'd fly again within 12 months there'd be no way I wouldn't buy more.

BTW the us airways phone number is a free one so if you're using skype of something similar it doesn't even cost you to call - just as well as i did it over and over til I got flights i was happy with. As bcworld said some agents are great but many thought BNE was in Iran!!
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Old Mar 7th 2010, 10:17 pm   #15
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Default Re: Business Class Airfares to UK / Europe - approx $2700 - $2800 rtn!

I wish I was travelling back as I'd give this a shot. Thai seem to be getting some very good reviews too. Thanks for the tips.
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