Bargains: Virgin redemptions, BA Premium economy (upgradeable) + Qatar news

Redeeming using miles on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class availibilityUpper Class

Virgin last-minute cut price Upper Class redemptions

If you can squeeze in a last-minute flight to Miami and have some Virgin miles to burn there are some great value redemptions on offer with Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class. If you can fly between 14 February and 14 March it will only cost you 28500 miles each way in Upper Class to Miami which is a 40% discount. You will have to pay the usual taxes and charges though. If you want to travel before the 14 March but return after you will get the discounted rate on the outbound flight only.

It seems like Virgin could be struggling on the Miami route as this is the second promotion they have done this year. Earlier they were offering tickets in economy for just £50 for people that turned up to Waterloo station and could fly the next day. In fact, two Turning Left for less readers managed to snag tickets and had a fabulous weekend in Miami. The whole aircraft was almost empty which doesn’t paint a good picture of how Virgin are faring on this route.

I really like the Virgin service, particularly the Clubhouse lounge at Heathrow and the onboard service. The seats are flip over flatbeds with aisle access which some people find a bit narrow. I would prefer more of a recline when seated but generally I find it a comfortable enough seat.

BA: super cheap ex EU upgradeable fares to the US in Premium Economy

BA Premium Economy – World Traveller Plus

In an attempt to compete with Norwegians’s super cheap fares for their premium cabin, BA are offering some fantastically cheap deals to the Us from Scandinavia in World Traveller Plus. Norwegian does offer more than BA in its premium cabin with better legroom and lounge access included. However the cheap BA tickets are upgradeable with Avios so this could be a fantastic way to get a very cheap ticket tot the US.

Upgrading tickets with Avios used to be one of the BA sweet spots until the last devaluation which saw strange pricing quirks where off peak upgrades cost more than peaks ones. They are still worth considering despite the costs as you still get Avios ands tier points on your original ticket purchase. You would travel in economy from Scandinavia but then Word Traveller Plus from Heathrow to the US unless you upgraded.

Upgrades cost:

  • US East Coast off peak 48,000 return
  • US East Coast peak 40,000 return
  • US West Coast & Miami peak 60,000 return
  • US West Coast & Miami off peak 50,000 return

The rules

You must travel Thursday to Saturday on the transatlantic flights on the outbound and Saturday to Monday on the inbound flights. The flights are available from Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm. They are usually cheapest from Oslo but there is not a huge amount in it.

Travel dates are outbound until 18 March, 31 March to 13 June, 16 August to 9 October, 7 October to 10 December for the transatlantic sectors. Inbound until 28 March, then 10 April to 24 June, 24 August to 16 October or 14 October to 25 December.

You must fly on BA for the transatlantic sectors and stay a Saturday night.

The prices from Oslo return in World Traveller Plus are from:

  • Los Angeles £486
  • Miami £498
  • New York £499
  • San Francisco £494
 Flights can be booked as usual on ba.com.

Qatar Airways cuts lounge access for QMiles upgrades

Qatar business class review B787 A350

Qatar’s Doha Al Mourjan lounge

Qatar is one of the few airlines that does not allow access to its business class lounge Al Mourjan in Doha or the London lounge for oneworld passengers with status. Only business class passengers on Qatar are allowed to access the main lounge whilst status passengers have to use the oneworld business lounge in Doha. Now they have announced that if you upgrade your flight using QMiles you will no longer receive lounge access or the upgraded baggage allowance. Whilst this may help the crowding in their Doha lounge at peak times, I think this is poor form from Qatar. I can understand if the airline gives you a last minute upgrade for free but I view upgrades with miles as paid upgrades. You should be entitled to everything you would normally get or they should reduce the price of redemptions to a more reasonable level. The change took place on the 5 February.

This means that if you upgrade from economy to business class you would get no lounge access at all unless you already had status to allow you access to their business lounge. Similarly, if you upgraded from business to first you would only get access to the business class Al Mourjan lounge not the First Class lounge. However, this should not apply if buying a ticket in full with Q Miles or using Avios.

Qatar Airways reduces Cardiff service

Before it has even begun Qatar Airways has been forced to cut services from Cardiff due to delivery delays on its new A350-1000 aircraft orders. The service starts from 1 May and along with Edinburgh, has been offering some excellent value flights in the current companion sale. The service was due to be daily initially then reducing to 5 per week for the winter schedule this year. The flights will now operate 5 times a week until at least 18 June. The flights will operate on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday. If you are already booked on the Monday & Thursday flights you will be rebooked on the next available flight.

 

2 Comments on "Bargains: Virgin redemptions, BA Premium economy (upgradeable) + Qatar news"

  1. I think you could be right about load factors generally to/from Miami but as I understand it the outbound flight we were on (for £50 promo) was actually a positioning flight and the competition “winners” were the only revenue pax along with a few people on staff travel. The flight home was pretty full (regular service).

    Secondly, if the Cardiff service is going to be operated by A350-1000 then does that mean they will have Q Suites? (Or is it that the A350-1000 delays just have knock on availability issues for other aircraft types used on that route?

    • Hi. Thanks for the update on the Miami flight. That would explain the very low loadings that were showing up. They are using a B787 on Cardiff so no QSuites I’m afraid. The delay on the A350 means they are having to make what they already have go around hence the cuts to Cardiff. It will be interesting to see whether the route is successful and whether they are better prices than on the London route in the long term.

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