I’m Going To London For Thanksgiving!

Filed Under: British Airways, Great Deals

Wow, what a morning!

Amazing oneworld transatlantic business class sale

This morning Tiffany wrote about the amazing British Airways transatlantic business class fare sale, whereby British Airways is advertising $2,015 roundtrip business class fares between the US and Europe. However, in reality the fares are considerably lower than that, and are more like ~$1,800.


But it gets even better than that. If you’re eligible for the AARP discount (as discussed in this post) that knocks the fare down a further $400. And then if you have the British Airways Visa Card you get a further 10% discount. In the end, this means fares between the US and London are running ~$1,250 per person roundtrip, which is an incredible value.

Keep in mind that on top of that:


Why the timing of this was perfect

I’ve been planning on going to London for Thanksgiving, and literally last night was sitting in bed flustered at the lack of award options. Thanksgiving is generally an off peak time for transatlantic travel, but there still wasn’t much award space.

And for that matter, awards to London aren’t ever cheap. At a minimum you’re stuck paying the UK Air Passenger Duty, which is ~$250 for business class flights departing London. But beyond that, if you’re flying British Airways you’re stuck paying fuel surcharges on award tickets, which can total ~$1,000 roundtrip.

So I was about to throw in the towel, until this morning when I saw this fare sale. I decided to book British Airways business class roundtrip between Los Angeles and London. While I’ve reviewed British Airways first class several times, I’ve yet to review their business class, so I’m quite excited about doing that.


For my ~$1,250 ticket I’m earning:

  • ~11,000 elite qualifying miles
  • ~16,500 elite qualifying points
  • 52,500 redeemable miles (27,500 redeemable miles for being an Executive Platinum member, plus 25,000 bonus miles as part of the transatlantic bonus)

When you factor in that I’d pay the ~$250 UK Air Passenger Duty even on an award ticket, that makes the “real cost” of the ticket ~$1,000. And I value the 52,500 miles at ~$945.


Lastly, keep in mind that you can upgrade British Airways business class tickets to first class quite inexpensively with Avios, assuming there’s availability.

Bottom line

This is one of the best sales I’ve seen so far, though in general these types of sales come around pretty frequently. In a way it sort of shifts the value of using miles for travel to Europe.

If you can plan at the right time (we see these sales at least every couple of months), you can almost always fly to Europe in business class quite inexpensively. If you place any value to your miles (which you should), you’re better off paying cash than redeeming points, in these instances.

That being said, this might be the last go around where we can get it quite this cheap. The AARP discount expires for bookings as of October 31, 2015, and we haven’t heard yet whether it’ll be renewed or not (for a while the discount even seemed to be gone).

In the meantime, I’m certainly looking forward to reviewing British Airways business class on two plane types on my ~$1,250 ticket, which will earn me over 50,000 AAdvantage redeemable miles.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this sale, I’d recommend booking sooner rather than later. The sale is valid through tomorrow, though availability on the more desirable flights might disappear prior to then.


Have you taken advantage of British Airways’ business class fare sale?

  1. @ Andrew — Well in my case I don’t plan on upgrading because I haven’t reviewed British Airways business class before, and that’s a priority for me. But you should still be able to upgrade and then switch your frequent flyer number to AAdvantage.

  2. Ben, Tiffany amazing deal!
    I learnt my lesson last time when you posted a deal as good as this, so I just booked two trips LAX-LHR next year to see my family, with AA for $1.6k each!!

    Thank you 🙂

  3. Be glad of the J review – but you do know we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here? Or even really know what it is. I’m surprised I must say because I got the impression you aren’t keen on us Brits (or is that just BA? Or LHR?). I know you like One Direction.

  4. Stackable with pay w/Avios AND a $400 discount for AARP members (any age eligible, $16 per year fee). I booked a r/t from SFO for May 2016: $455 all in.

    Pretty unbelievable.

  5. I went to LA in July. I flew with AA and BA. As far as I am concerned, I’d always go with AA when travelling alone (Had 4J <3). I find BA seats to be more comfortable and food to be better. I experienced better crew on AA. Waiting for your review!

  6. “you’re better off redeeming points than paying cash” Shouldn’t that be the other way round, or am I missing something?

  7. Does any know if I purchase the AARP now can I use the discount right away to purchase this great price from the West coast to London??

  8. AK, I don’t know … I just booked one for myself. I would imagine if your other traveller’s are on your household BA account, it may work.

  9. Leo yes, I just signed up for AARP this AM when I found out about this fare sale. Another Boarding Area post mentioned it.

  10. Can you confirm whether BA allows for free cancellation within 24 hours? Want to book now but my wife is out of pocket for the next 3 hours! Afraid i’ll lose it.

  11. Matt B – from the USA yes, that’s FAA requirement I think. Only issue is you can’t do it online and BA hold times suck. But I was able to cancel mine, and already have the confirmation email. I waited around 40 mins I believe.

  12. @Lucky: the 10% discount only works for trips where the outbound flight is by December 31 2015, not for later. I just realized this when looking at the details of the promotion code
    “cardofferu” on the British Airways site. In fact, it gives you an error message if you try to apply it for a flight that starts later.

  13. AARP works just fine into March 2016 🙂 Just booked a couple of trips. Throw in 30k Avios and you’re down to $448.- return trip 😀

  14. So BA has two flights a day to LHR from SFO. One on a 747, other on the 380. Which one has the better business class cabin?

  15. Can anyone care to elaborate on the best overall products here from NYC?

    BA 747
    AA 777
    BA 777
    BA A318

    Also is there an easy way to tell which version of the 777 I am looking at for the AA flights? Thanks!!!!!

  16. Incredible deal! $448 rdtp in Business class to London. IAH-LHR
    $1600 – AARP discount – 30K Avios points ($764 discount) = AMAZING TRIP

  17. Booked LAX-LHR return for May 2016. $455 all in. (Combined pay w/Avios and $400 AARP discount). Outbound on BA, inbound on AA.

    Just as I was about to drop the equivalent $ in taxes on a one-way ORD-ZRH-TXL (LH M&M business class redemption).

    Good timing!!

  18. @Matt:

    I prefer the later flight out of SFO for more sleep opportunity. Anyway, 747 has more seats with extra leg room. A380 will be less crusty.

  19. Lucky,
    Can you give a breakdown of your mileage calculations? I’m having a hard time following your math, not sure what I’m missing.

  20. AARP discount works past March. Just booked SFO-LHR April 27-May 11 for $1219.

    Two weekends of Premier League matches!

  21. Ben,

    We had tickets for Thanksgiving paid from Mia to Lhr. The price was about 2k for two people on AA. We applied for Upgrades using miles and cash. We looked at the numbers. I was able to get two confirmed business class seats for about $1,200 each. We couldn’t get the Avios thing to work from Miami but still, if it had worked that would have been another $1,500 off the price. Figured if we went the original route it would have been another $1,400 ($350 each leg each person) and 100k in miles for the upgrades. Total cost $3,380.80 and the 100k miles. And that didn’t guarantee getting the upgrades.

    Now for a total of $2,390.00 (something close) we have business class and assigned seats. We signed up for the 25k business class bonus along with the 3k bonus each way just for flying a premium cabin. I was also able to get a friend from Iad to Lhr for $446 in business class at the same time. An amazing deal.

    P.S, Bring warm clothes. The coldest I think I’ve ever been has been a November in London.

  22. Booked LAX-LHR-LAX, flying out on Saturday and return on Sunday.
    Ben, if I arrive at LHR at 10am, then fly back to LAX at 2pm, it is considered a transit and I don’t have to clear the customs, right?

  23. I booked an amazing fare from IAD to LHR! Thanks Lucky! Quick question – I wanted the AA 25k promo points and EXP miles, so i put in my AA number, but i think i want to try to upgrade with avios to First class – is there a way to change it to my BA FF number, get the upgrade and then change it back to AA for the points, or is this not a good idea?

  24. The latest iteration of the rear facing window seat in BA biz is one of my favourite seats in the sky. Looking forward to seeing what you think.

  25. I will soon have 800K Avios in my BA family account. Booked two tickets LAX-LHR for March 2016. Booking with Avios is pretty much impossible even at Gold. And with the extras, why bother? Cashed in 60,000 Avios and just about cut the cost in half. $800 per ticket. I like to think of this as booking a Club ticket for 60,000 without fees! We earn 49,000 Avios for this booking so the ultimate hit to my balance is negligible. For me, the Tier Points are more important: 280. This booking takes me halfway to Gold through November 2017. Qantas First at TBIT awaits!

  26. HELP !

    So If i Buy BA flights LAX-LHR-JFK flying on BA flight numbers and have the miles credited to my AAdvantage account booked in I class each direct, does that qualify for the 25,000 Bonus.

    I know it does not qualify for the extra 3000 direction each way as its in I class.
    More concerned about the 25,000 extra.

  27. @Luck – I can’t believe I’m giving you advice but on BA J make sure you sit at a back window or back middle seat so you don’t have to climb over anyone and they don’t have to climb over you. At the window you have the side bin but middle seat on upper deck A380 is very cosy with the dividers up. It’s almost like a Singapore A380 seat!

  28. I have an AARP acct, If I book two tickets on BA will the 400 discount apply for both tickets, or just the one in my name? Or does each ticket have to have a separate AARP account, meaning making separate bookings?

  29. Paul–
    I am Gold and Manage My Booking shows I earn 27K. My Silver companion earns 22K (rounded).
    I have also been checking for trips with connections to Continental Europe and the prices are very cheap. If I burn up another 60K , in Feb 2016. We can get to Paris for $2,400 in Club. Cheaper than two WT+ tickets–our usual cabin.
    One more thing, when I tried to reserve seats on the website, it was charging me! An hour later, I went to the BA iPad App and the seat reservation was free. On our flights, every seat on the A380 upper deck was available.

  30. Tried booking tickets for July 2016, the CARDOFFERU code was rejected, says it’s outside the period.

  31. Lucky , I’m kinda slow with the whole mileage calculations. If I book a ticket on BA paid business and want miles to go to my AA account will I end up also with the flight miles and the bonus (business class bonus and 25000 bonus) or will I only receive flight miles ? Is this a bad idea and should I just get BA miles?

  32. @ Steve R — You can book for anyone, and for multiple people using a single AARP account. It works the same way as a shopping portal, essentially.

  33. I booked SFO-JFK-MAD on American metal in January, round trip biz class for a total of $275 after AARP discount and 30000 Avios that had been languishing in my account.

    Might I be able to use AA SWUs on these flights?

  34. Can someone please tell me why I can’t see the pay with Avios option for 30k points when I’m departing from Seattle to Lon? The most it offers is 7500 Avios for $75. Doesn’t seem to be an issue when I tried departing from SFO or JFK. Both those offered the 30k for $766 option. Thanks!

  35. @michelle

    The special avios promotion is only valid on the following routes –

    “We are delighted to be able to offer these Avios part payment savings from both London Heathrow and City to the below selected destinations:
    Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Bangkok, Beijing, Bengaluru, Chengdu Shuangliu, Chicago, Dallas – Forth Worth, Delhi Indira Ghandi International, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston, Hyderabad, JFK, Kuala Lumpur International, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Montreal, Mumbai, Newark, Philadelphia International, San Francisco International, Seoul, Shanghai Pudong, Singapore Changi, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington.”

  36. Lucky,

    Just booked JFK-EDI-JFK on both BA and AA. I opted to use cash and Avios and AARP and got a killer rate, so thanks as always! Will I still be eligible for both mileage bonus offer? Fare class is “I”. As far as I can tell it looks like I should still be eligible even though I partially paid with Avios. Thoughts?

    Thanks Lucky!

  37. Any thoughts on why I can’t click through to the payment screen at ba.com on 20 attempts using multiple browsers and computers, with or without the AARP discount but choosing partial payment with Avios (there are more than enough points in our household account). I’ve been trying since last night.

  38. I would like to check out potential open dates as I am very flexible, But I do not have many BA points until I transfer from Chase rewards which is an instant transfer. However, I do not want to transfer unless I see seats that are open at the correct price. I want to combine the AARP discount and use 30,000 poinst for the $400 for points credit, and combine the two discounts. However, without points in my BA account first, I am unable to search for open dates and best cost. Any suggestions on how to find out what dates are available and total cost BEFORE I transfer points from chase rewards to BA? thanks in advance!

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