Thursday, April 17, 2014

Summer business class fares to Europe

People have all different kinds of goals when it comes to collecting points for travel. In my case, I'm a big fan of flying in business class on long-haul flights, but I'm not a big fan of spending the $6000+ that usually costs. To that end, this summer and last I spent a great deal of time and energy planning summer mileage award trips to Europe from New York. In both cases I had very specific dates, flights, and destinations in mind, so the advance planning was necessary.

Two years ago, however, I actually paid to fly to Europe in business class (on a Singapore Airlines A380, no less). I've noticed a trend over the years that most airlines seem to offer some kind of a business class fare sale between the US and Europe during the summer when business-related travel is low and vacation travel is at its peak. In the case of that A380 trip, the business-class seat was almost the same price as an economy seat on the same flight! The fact that I was flexible about dates and destinations made it possible to not only fly in style, but also earn miles in the process. I used my Amex Gold card and got 4 Amex points per dollar (11,000 points) PLUS another 9600 United miles for the actual flight – so I alllmost earned an entire free US domestic flight from one paid trip to Europe.

Business class on Singapore A380, JFK to Frankfurt…

With more and more airlines now adding very high fuel surcharges onto reward tickets, I'll definitely be giving more thought to my future summer travel plans. In the case of this summer's trip, my round-trip business class flight to London has nearly $1200 of fuel charges on top of the 75,000 points i had to spend. And while those charges are steep, they don't hurt so bad when you know you're getting a ticket that would have otherwise cost $7000, but when you see summer business-class fare specials like these for $1900, it hurts quite a bit.

Hopefully I'll have some more flexibility summer 2015 so I can take advantage of the sales. As far as this summer goes, I was trying to accomplish two things: attend my friends birthday party in Spain, and fly on one of the most unique flights in normal commercial service — British Airways' London City service. BA flies a tiny A318 between JFK and London's City airport. The plane is entirely business-class and only has 8 rows! This is probably as close to a private jet as I will ever get!


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