Over the weekend, British Airways (BA) quietly launched some special business class offers for flights to Beijing or Shanghai – and they’re very good indeed.
You’d imagine that these cheap fares are linked to some sort of Chinese New Year promotion – unfortunately, we won’t know for certain as BA has bizarrely decided not to market these offers to their customers – I couldn’t even see any specific mention of the deal on the BA website.
How cheap are the offers?
The only place to spot these offers is via the BA Low Fare Finder tool:
As you can see the cheapest fares are being offered at just £1,009 return.
In order to get that price, your booking must be for a minimum of two people.
Here’s the price for two people travelling in business class to Beijing in April:
And here’s the price for two passengers flying Club World to Shanghai in October:
What if I want to travel solo?
The problem with these sort of deals – much like the companion fares that Qatar Airways seems to run with such regularity – is that they’re not much good for the solo traveller.
It isn’t all bad news though. A quick search on Google Flights reveals that bookings for just one person on BA can be had for roughly £1,300 – which is still a good price for direct business class flights to Asia from the UK. (That does assume you would choose to fly BA Club World of course! 🙂 )
These flights would earn 140 tier points each-way, taking you within touching distance of the 300 tier points needed for BA Bronze status. While Bronze doesn’t offer you too much, it does allow for seat selection seven days before departure. A useful perk if you don’t fancy shelling out £50 to £100 in advance to pre-select seats and don’t want to take your chances when online check-in opens.
A look at the BA Avios flight calculator shows that even a BA Executive Club Blue member would earn 15,160 Avios from a Beijing booking and 17,158 Avios on a Shanghai trip.
You could put those Avios towards the cost of upgrading one or even both legs of your flights to First. Beijing and Shangai both generally have good Avios availability in First and it would cost you roughly 25,000 Avios per person off-peak to upgrade one-way.
Just how good is this deal?
If we are talking about non-stop cash flights from the UK this offer is superb.
For perspective, usual cash prices for non-stop business class tickets to either Beijing or Shanghai tend to range from about £2,000 to £4,000 – with Shanghai being particularly pricey.
You also have to say this deal makes redeeming Avios look pretty poor value.
Here’s the cost of a (peak) Club World Avios redemption for two people to Shanghai:
As you can see it would cost 360,000 Avios + £1,079 in taxes. Even if you used a BA 2-4-1 voucher to reduce the cost to 180,000 Avios plus taxes, it still doesn’t look a great deal.
Given that you can buy two cash tickets for £2,016 under this offer, you would basically be redeeming 360,000 Avios, or at best 180,000 Avios, to save about £940.
That would give you a value of:
- 360,000 Avios – 0.25p per Avios – Awful value
- 180,000 Avios – 0.5p per Avios – Again, really poor.
How to book and get this price
You can book as normal on the BA website here.
Book by 21st February 2018
This offer is valid for travel between:
- 1st April 2018 to 30th April 2018
- 14th May 2018 to 31st May 2018
- 1st June 2018 to 7th July 2018
- 24th September 2018 to 4th October 2018
- 15th October 2018 to 31st October 2018
- 12th November 2018 to 6th December 2018
Remember: You must book for two passengers in order to get the ‘2 for 2018’ price.
This is a genuinely good deal. Availability at the headline £1,009 price seems to be pretty good and the fact that they are non-stop flights from the UK makes it better still.
I would definitely recommend swapping any existing Avios bookings you’ve already made for cash tickets using this offer. You can then use some of the Avios saved to upgrade to First.