I’m happy to help with travel dilemmas whenever I can and encourage you to reach out with this Dear Deal Mommy series, at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as via Facebook or twitter.
Reader Kay reached out recently with the following (edited for clarity): I’m trying to get to London from the States, somewhat flexible dates. I have plenty of AMEX MR and some AA and United. The problem is my boyfriend is only interested in business class or higher. Can I still find decent deals in premium cabins, and if so, is the methodology still the same, i.e. use the ITA matrix, think outside the box, etc?
Kay’s question actually has 2 parts and I think both are useful when planning your own travels.
- Can I still find decent deals in premium cabins?
Yes! You have to be diligent and strike the moment you see a deal, but they do exist from time to time. In February a $1000 Business Class fare to London popped up for a few hours and last year I got to Rome for my solo Italy trip in business for $1400 round trip.To make sure you’re in the know when such deals break, be sure to be following my must read list on Twitter.
- How can I best use miles to get to London?
With London, the main tip is to never depart from LHR as your international gateway. The fees will kill you! Intra Europe fares can be dirt cheap so your goal with award tickets is to just get over the pond.I think the single best value to Europe is Aer Lingus to Dublin using Avios at only 50k RT from BOS or 80k from ORD in Business (1/2 that in coach). Avios transfer easily from American Express and you call British Airways to book the ticket. Tip: Make sure you have plenty of time when you call as BA is not known for speedy customer service. From Dublin we got to London for $50/ticket and got to enjoy Dublin for a night before coming home. Other useful booking strategies are laid out in this post about Camp Mom Asia 2015.
Kay got back to me and let me know she was able to successfully book Aer Lingus Boston to Dublin using Avios from American Express for 50K miles each. Made my day!
A note about credit card signups: I’m pretty conservative in giving advice. You can find the cards I mention through this link: Saverocity Credit Cards. The cards applied for through Saverocity earn commission, but Saverocity revenue from credit cards goes to charity. To make sure you’re getting the best signup offer at any given time, check this Flyertalk forum. If a better offer exists, you’ll find it in there. I usually recommend a convertible credit card first but in this specific case a Chase British Airways card each for you and a spouse would rack up 100k miles easily.
What would you add to my advice for a first-timer booking award tickets to London? Please share in the comments.
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