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A member of our Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook group reported a great business class fare deal today from Budapest, Hungary to many US cities for less than $1500 round trip on oneworld airlines. Note that this fare only works flying round trip from Budapest to the US and back to Europe, but I find this type of thing to be useful for someone planning two trips to Europe since this could cover your flight home from Europe on trip #1 and your flight to Europe for trip #2 (leaving you a one-way to book separately to complete each round trip.
- Fly round trip in business class on oneworld carries from Budapest to many cities in the US (and perhaps open jaw to return to a different European city) from the $1300’s or even a bit less
- Use Google Flights to search for prices
Again, this can be useful for people looking to visit Europe a couple of times. Note that as reported by this member of FMI, it will even work on open jaw flights, so you can “return” to a different city in Europe than Budapest.
The exciting thing here is that this deal works to many cities, not just places like New York or Chicago. For instance, here is Budapest to Albany departing Europe in May on Finnair for the long-haul and returning to Europe on British Airways in July for a total of $1384 round trip.
You should be able to find that fare through credit card portals, meaning that it should be bookable for about 93K Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you have the Sapphire Reserve card or a net cost of less than 90K Amex Membership Rewards points if you use points from a Business Platinum card and you’re eligible for the 35% pay-with-points rebate.
Again it is worth noting that you can do as well or maybe even better with open-jaws. For instance, here is the same outbound option from Budapest to Albany in May with a “return” to Europe that goes from Chicago to Milan in July for $1291 round trip.
That would bring the net cost after rebate to less than 84K Membership Rewards points per passenger. Considering that you’ll earn miles on these paid business class tickets to book, that’s an excellent deal. Based on Alaska’s current earning charts, you’d earn at least 250% of mileage flown on the British Airways and at least 125% mileage flown on the Finnair segments (or at least 150% of mileage flown crediting to American). You could of course credit segments to different programs as you see fit.
On my “round trip” British Airways business class itineraries this summer/fall, my family members each earned almost 20K Alaska miles on the round trips. Depending on where you credit and which flights you take, you may earn less — but with round trips between the US and Europe running at least 7,000 miles or so in most cases with this deal, you should have no trouble earning a decent chunk of miles to offset cost even further.
I feel like British Airways business class doesn’t have the most exciting reputation in the blogosphere, but I found it surprisingly nice. The suites were comfortable enough and the doors closed. My 2yr old fell asleep in about 90 seconds after reclining the bed and closing the suite door. Service was friendly and food was decent. It didn’t rock my world, but I’d certainly fly with them again.
I haven’t yet flown Finnair’s new weird business class seat, but despite the initial skepticism all reports I’ve read from those who have actually flown in it have been quite positive. At these prices, I’d just be happy to have transatlantic business class.
Overall, this can be a great deal for those able to piece this together with other awards / tickets, particularly since I see these prices on certain days of the week even during peak summertime weeks.
(H/T: Bob in Frequent Miler Insiders)
This is great, but I need it departing a week from Thursday!
1. If booked as a r/t with the west bound flight in this AAdvantage year but the return to Europe after February, will the west bound LPs post right away?
2. If one booked this without a perfect understanding of when you would actually want to use the return-to-Europe flight is it possible to change the second leg, at least the date, after you’ve started travel?
3. Do you know the earliest date for these fares?
4. What is the worst (longest) routing one could construct?
I’m sorry for the delayed response – I had voice-typed a response while walking through an airport and I guess I never hit “post comment”. My fault! (I typed the post itself from a flight)
Unfortunately, I didn’t have many answers for you, but here’s what I know:
1) Points usually post within about a week of segment flown. You can credit different segments to different programs if you want. So no, the west bound LPs won’t post until you actually fly next year. If you want them to post during the current AAdvantage year, you’ll need the return to be by the end of February. Points are usually backdated to the date of the flight, so if you fly during the last week of February and it doesn’t post until March, it should still count as earned in February.
2) You’d have to read the fare rules (somewhere in the booking flow there is usually a box you can expand or a spot to click to see fare rules). I think it is generally true that on paid flights, you’ll be subject to any difference in fare, the fare rules will just tell you whether or not you’ll pay an additional fee on top of that difference and how much it may be. In other words, you can’t do what you want to do (presumably you want to be able to change the return for free once you actually figure plans, but you’d be on the hook for the difference in fare which could be substantial). The exception here is in a schedule change situation. When there is a significant schedule change, many airlines will offer far greater flexibility in changing to other flights on their own metal without a fee. That said, if you’re on a ticket booked through Amex Travel and your ticket includes travel on (for example) both American and British Airways and BA makes a schedule change to change one leg of your trip, I don’t know how easy it is going to be in terms of getting that changed (versus a completely BA itinerary that you’ve booked through BA where they control the ticket and inventory for the entire trip and can just put you on whatever they need to). At the very least, you are probably in for more hassle than you want, so I’d only book this if you can find something you’d be reasonably confident you can use (or that you’d be pretty willing to plan your travels around). This is why I didn’t book this — I actually need a return from Europe for a trip where I’ve booked the outbound and a hotel and I’m open to a second trip to Europe, but I had no idea when and where yet and didn’t have the time to pour into figuring that out yesterday.
3) No, but if you just click through to Google Flights and change the dates, it should populate calendar pricing and be pretty easy to see when they start (or at least it would have been — not sure if this is dead).
4) Sorry, no idea. I guess if that’s your game you’d be best off looking for flights to/from small west coast cities where you know you’ll need a connection or two to get to the international gateway. Like San Luis Obispo to Istanbul for the return or something. I didn’t try that and can’t recall whether or not AA serves SBO airport, but I guess if you’re looking to stretch things out you’d want to look at stuff like that.
Thanks for the extensive response.
I wouldn’t be looking to get the return flight credited before I took them, my question was more about whether the first flight (Europe to US) would credit after I took it and before the return flight, or whether the entire itinerary would have to be complete before even the first flights credited. From your response I understand that they’re likely to credit in about a week after they’re flown, even if I haven’t “returned” yet.
And I see I needed the second cup of coffee this morning – you made the question clear, I overcomplicated it and forgot the west bound is outbound in this case. Yes, those will post when you fly, you don’t need to have completed the round trip.
Thanks. I have enough experience to know this works fine domestically when flying and crediting the same airline, I think I was wondering whether there are any complexities when crediting a partner.
You have intuited, I think, my “game” is satisfying this pathological craving AA (ironic acronym, in this context) has created in me for Loyalty Points. I’m returning from Scandinavia in a little less than two weeks and could easily kick off some kind of journey like this if it’s available when I’m ready to book the return. I had been playing around with HEL-DOH-CAI-DOH-JFK but it’s still just too much for me to pay.
Finnair’s new business class seat isn’t so good for side sleepers. You hit the corner of the IFE monitor ever time you roll over. And that vertical bar that encroached on the foot area only makes it worse.
Seemingly things such a design conscious airline should have identified and corrected before roll out.