Iberia Plus Says Adios To Reward Flight Savers

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British Airways and Iberia have both had Reward Flight Savers, where the taxes and fees are capped for European award tickets. If the airlines would charge the full YQ’s on award tickets, they would be sometimes higher than paid tickets on the very same routes.

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Iberia Plus sent out very innocent sounding email yesterday with a headline “Coja aire, respire y vuele lejos estas vacaciones”. Note that this was only sent to those that have Spanish as their preferred form of language.

British Airways Buy Avios Campaign: Get Up To 29% Bonus

British Airways has a new campaign for buying Avios between May 17 and June 13, 2013. You can get maximum of 7000 bonus Avios for buying 24,000 Avios. You can access this offer on BA’s website here.

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If you buy the maximum number of Avios allowed per year, the price of 31,000 Avios is $685. The price of Avios under this offer is 2.2 cents.

IAG Buys Vueling, Etihad Invests To Jet & Singapore Airlines Ups Its Share Of Virgin Australia

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It has been quite a 24 hours in the airline acquisition market; IAG ups its share of Vueling to 91% (read more here), Etihad buys 24% share of Jet Airways of India (read more here), and Singapore Airlines doubles its stake on Virgin Australia to 19.9% (read more here).

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IAG’s Purchase Of Vueling

Marriott Rewards’ Newest Partner Iberia Avios

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Marriott Rewards just announced their latest airline partner Iberia. You can now earn Iberia Avios for your Marriott stays, although this makes very little sense.

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Iberia is part of IAG (International Airlines Group), as is British Airways. You have been able to earn BA Avios for your Marriott stays for a long time. You can freely transfer Avios between Avios, BA Avios and Iberia Avios, so there has been a way to earn Iberia Avios for your stays for a long time.

Bonus American Airlines Miles Or British Airways Avios For Transatlantic Travel This Spring

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American Airlines and British Airways (and likely Iberia as well) have new bonus offers for transatlantic travel between March 18 and May 31, 2013. You can access AA’s offer here and BA’s offer here.

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You will get 20K bonus miles per round trip that is ticketed in first/business/high economy on American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia or OpenSkies between United States or Canada and Europe. The American’s offer is also valid for Mexico. Note that you AAdvantage account needs to be in United States, Canada or Mexico to be eligible for this offer. BA’s offer is only valid for Executive Club members whose address is in the United States or Canada.

British Airways Introduces Fares Without Checked Bag – Becoming No Frills Airline?

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British Airways has introduced fares out from London Gatwick to Amsterdam, Jersey, Dubrovnik, Turin and Tunis on a “trial” bases starting on travel from February 26, 2013. Previously, the airline has advertised being a full service airline with no add ons required for checked bags and on board refreshments even on short haul routes.

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Thing to note that this only affects the above five routes from London Gatwick on a trial base. If this trial is successful, I wouldn’t be surprised this to spread to all shorthaul destinations server from Gatwick and eventually from London Heathrow as well. There is very little information that you can find about this trial on BA.com. Here’s link to a PDF that is aimed for travel agents that tries to explain the rationale behind this decision.

Oneworld Alliance Carrier Bonuses for Malaysia Airlines Flights Feb 15 to Apr 15

Most of the Oneworld alliance airlines are offering double award miles on Malaysia Airlines flights between February 15 to April 15, 2013. Some of the programs require you to register for this promotion in advance while others have enrolled all their members.

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Malaysia Airlines joined the Oneworld Alliance on February 1, 2013. You can take advantage of alliance wide status benefits that you may have with one of the members when flying on Malaysia.

Buying Avios And Getting 25% Bonus?

British Airways has just sent out an offer email for Executive Club members and offering up to 25% bonus on purchased Avios through March 28, 2013. You can access this offer here.

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You need to purchase the maximum allowed per calendar year (24K) to be eligible for the 25% bonus.

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The price of an Avios under this offer is 2.28 US cents each. The transaction is handled by Points.com.

Financial Times Article About Problematic Airline Rebrands

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There was an interesting piece about some recent airline rebrands in the Financial Times. You can access the article here.

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People have very strong opinions about the recent AA’s rebranding and about United’s attempt to mix and match part Continental’s & United’s former branding. This is a very good and short read. You should check it out.

Extra Baggage Allowance & Fast Track Security New Oneworld Emerald Benefits

Oneworld alliance top tier frequent fliers have been in disadvantage compared to their Star Alliance equivalent ones when it came to extra luggage allowance based on the frequent flier status.

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Now, Oneworld alliance has announced that both extra luggage allowance (one piece or extra 20 kilos) will apply across all Oneworld alliance carriers and passengers will also have an access to fast track security lanes where available.

Crediting Le Club Accorhotel Points to Iberia Avios

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Iberia is one of the better airline partners of the Le Club Accorhotels. The ability to choose Iberia Avios as your partner was recently put on hold, but is back up again.

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With most of the other airline programs (there are exceptions), you will earn ONE airline mile per TWO Le Club Accorhotels points. With Iberia this exchange rate is different, however. Every TWO Le Club Accorhotels points converts to FIVE Iberia Avios.

British Airways Avios 25% Hotel Points Conversion Bonus

British Airways is offering 25% bonus for converting hotel points to Avios. This offer is valid until January 13. There is no need to register for this offer and you can read more about it here.

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You can convert points from Starwood, Club Carlson, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Priority Club, and Shangri-La’s programs into Avios.

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Conclusion

Airlines tend to intermittently run promotions for hotel point conversion to their miles. These offers tend to vary. Would I convert any of my hotel points to Avios due to getting 25% conversion bonus? I absolutely would not, but it doesn’t mean that this promotion could not work for you.

Here are the terms and conditions of this offer:

  • This promotion is only open to Eligible Participants. An eligible participant is a person aged 18 or over and is a British Airways Executive Club Member (“BAEC”) (membership terms and conditions apply) and is enrolled and registered with one of the hotel partner loyalty programmes. By taking part in this promotion, Eligible Participants confirm that they accept the Terms and Conditions below.

  • Eligible Participants can earn up to 25% Bonus Avios between 13 December 2012 and 13 January 2013 for any qualifying hotel loyalty points converted into Avios. BAEC members must enrol via the hotel property links provided on http://www.britishairways.com/travel/points-to-avios/public/

  • To convert your points, please contact the hotel whose points you wish to convert to Avios.

  • Taxes, fees and charges remain payable by the BAEC member.

  • Bonus Avios can take 4-6 weeks to show on your account from the date of conversion. Once they have been credited, you can start redeeming them for flights, hotels and Avis car hire.· Bonus Avios is non-redeemable for cash and non-reversible.

  • Bonus Avios is issued subject to the BAEC Terms and Conditions http://www.britishairways.com/travel/termcn/public/en_gb and all passengers and baggage are subject to the general terms and conditions of carriage.

  • Reward flights are subject to availability and capacity control and availability may be limited at peak times.

  • Hotel loyalty scheme membership, and earning and redemption of points are subject to the Terms and Conditions of each specific hotel’s loyalty scheme in addition to British Airways Terms and Conditions, as applicable.

  • This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with any other British Airways offers or promotion.

  • Promoter reserves the right to withdraw the promotion or amend these terms and conditions without prior notice at any time, for whatever reason, and without any liability to customers for doing so.

  • This promotion shall be governed by the laws of England & Wales and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.

  • This promotion is provided by British Airways Plc Waterside, PO Box 365, Harmondsworth, UB7 0GB. Registered No. 1777777 England

British Airways Avios Award Booking Engine Update

British Airways has updated the award booking engine on britishairways.com to use the same engine that has been use on IAG’s Avios website. You no longer have to choose the engine to show partner airlines. They are now shown by default.

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You just have to bear in mind that BA charges awards by every single segment separately (some exceptions apply within Europe) and just combines the segment prices to come up with a total.

Here’s an example of the new booking engine for HEL-BKK one-way in Y

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Helsinki to Bangkok on a direct Finnair flight

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The price is rather reasonable 25K miles but around $160 of the $180 “taxes” are fuel surcharges

Helsinki to Bangkok on a British Airways flight via London

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The one-way is priced at 37500 miles and the “taxes” are $269.16.

Helsinki to Bangkok via London on Finnair/British Airways

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The miles required is the same as on the BA only flights but the “taxes” are $289.

Helsinki to Bangkok via Narita on Finnair/JAL

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BA wants 60K Avios and $347.35 for this combo.

Conclusion

The new award booking engine is better because it shows the partner airline inventory by default. You just have to make sure and check number of different options to find out the lowest price in Avios. As BA charges per segment, it is better to book a direct flight as a result.  People who are not living in Oneworld hub cities are basically screwed.

British Airways Avios One Year Anniversary: 25% Discounts on Awards Originating from London

British Airways and Iberia launched the Avios a year ago. British Airways Executive Club program went from being relatively good in long haul redemptions to being one for ok’ish awards in short-haul. The price of the long haul awards with multiple segments went through the roof.

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Now, British Airways is giving a 25% discount on the number of Avios needed for award trips in all cabins for trips originating in London until May 31, 2013. You need to make the award booking by 20th of November. Note that zones 1 to 3 are not included in this offer.

This discount also applies for points + money options & 2 for 1 vouchers that certain credit card holders get.

Searching for awards

I tried to do few searches for places like Cape Town, but couldn’t find any availability for first class seats. Then, I decided to check Mauritius, where BA flies from London Gatwick (leisure route obviously). I was able to find some availability in BA’s Club World business class cabin.

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The system was able to price out the Avios discount, that obviously doesn’t apply to the cash component of the ward that is fuel surcharge that goes directly to BA’s bottom line. You can read more about fuel surcharges and why airlines love them here. (One of the reasons is that they get to collect and keep them on “award” trips.)

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You can see the message that the award has been discounted. You just click the link and you will see a pop up with the price breakdown in Avios and the discount.

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You can click other link to get the cash price breakdown. As these awards are all originating from London, you are required to pay the APD (Air Passenger Duty) that is high on premium cabins. More than 60% of the taxes/fees is the BA’s fuel surcharge.

Conclusion

Personally, I have given up of trying to use Avios for long haul trips in premium cabins due to very high price in Avios combined with the (often) ridiculous fuel surcharge component. Avios can be quite valuable for short haul non-stop flights between expensive city pairs.

If you have access to those 2-4-1 vouchers, these Avios redemptions in premium cabins make more sense and even more now during the extra 25% discount.

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