News & offers: BA changes upgrade policy, KLM, Finnair & Etihad sales & Heathrow Rewards Double value

Etihad business class studio A380 reviewEtihad business class studio bed

British Airways upgrade policy

Tomorrow I will be publishing a revised version of my article on upgrades where I will go into more detail about upgrades and BA in particular.  In the meantime, I thought it worth sharing some news from BA. It has long been known that if you order a special meal on BA then you will not be upgraded (although I would imagine it does occasionally happen on board when things go wrong). BA has now decided that they will no longer take that into account for upgrades if you order a special meal.

I wouldn’t get too excited as the chances of being upgraded are still slim but at least you can order your special meal in the knowledge it won’t affect your chances!

The best of the current business class sales

Finnair

Finnair UK sale

Finnair A350 Business class

The Finnair A350 is a good product with very similar seats to Qatar. You can read my review here.

If your priority is a direct flight to Asia and you want Avios your best bet is British Airways from Heathrow, but it is likely to be the most expensive. The product isn’t that great either, as the seats are a bit dated and not many have direct aisle access or you are stepped over by your neighbour. You will also earn fewer tier points and Avios but you should get there quicker.

If you don’t mind a connecting flight and are trying to get extra Avios and/or tier points, then either Qatar or Finnair are good options. See below for the tier point and miles comparison. The Finnair seat is not as comfortable as the Qatar one, and the onboard service is not in the same league either. However, given that there is no sign of a Qatar sale and you can start your journey from London, these offers are worth considering.

Tier point and Avios Comparison

The comparison takes London-Singapore return in business class as an example and assumes you do not have any more than blue status in the BAEC:

Qatar 

  • Tier points 140 x 4 = 560
  • Miles = 17778

BA

  • Tier points 160+160 = 320
  • Miles – 14402

Finnair

  • Tier points 80+140+140+80= 440
  • Miles = 17238

Prices and rules

The booking and travel periods are until further notice but some fares must be booked 60 days in advance.

A sample of the most interesting sale prices are below. The A350 aircraft currently flies once daily from Heathrow but check when you make the booking which aircraft it is. The routes in bold have the A350 from Helsinki:

  • Bangkok – £1,673
  • Beijing – £1,770
  • Delhi – £1,568
  • Hong Kong – £1,923
  • Seoul – £1,768
  • Singapore – £1,941
  • Shanghai – £1,755

You can find the offer page here.

Etihad

Etihad A380 Business class studio review Heathrow to Abu Dhabi

Etihad A380 Business class studio

Etihad’s best seats, the new Business Studios, are available on the A380 and B787 Dreamliners at the moment. Fortunately, the London to Abu Dhabi route currently has the A380. The Business Class Studio features a 22-inch wide seat that converts into a fully-flat bed of up to 6 feet and 8 inches. Each seat has direct aisle access, unlike British Airways. You can read my review of the Etihad business studio here.

The rest of Etihad’s fleet offer their older business class which still has fully flat beds.

Etihad sale prices aren’t fantastic from the UK compared to an ex EU on Qatar but in the absence of those offers, they are pretty good from the UK. I do like the price of the Bangkok and Hong Kong flights  as these are cheaper than most of the premium airlines but without the hassle of an ex EU.   Prices vary between London and Manchester so I have just included the cheapest option in each case.

Prices and rules

  • Abu Dhabi from £1,755 (London)
  • Bangkok from £1,503 (Manchester)
  • Hong Kong £1,693 (London)
  • Kuala Lumpur from £1,820 (Manchester)
  • Singapore from £1998 (London)
  • Sydney £2973 (Manchester)

 

  • Book by: 3 August 2018
  • Travel by: 21 June 2019
  • Credit miles: Air New Zealand, Alitalia,  All Nippon Airways,  American Airlines,  Asiana Airlines, Czech Airlines,  Etihad Airways,    Garuda Indonesia,Hainan Airlines, Jet Airways, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Philippine Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, South African Airways, SriLankan Airlines, Virgin Australia.

The Etihad sale page is here.

Air France

air france B787 dreamliner business class review

New Business class seat on Air France B787

Whilst you can’t collect Avios with Air France, with the looming purchase of a stake in Virgin by Air France/KLM you should soon be able to use Flying Blue miles on Virgin Atlantic as well as all the Sky Team airlines. For Air France long-haul business class, however, you need to be a bit wary. Air France’s old seats are angled lie flat with 2-2-2 or 2-3-2 configuration (B777). Most of their B777s now have the new seats and some of the A330s too. They do also have B787s that all have the new seats. You can tell which seats an aircraft has by the configuration. The new seats have a 1-2-1 configuration. You can view the seat map as part of the booking process on the AF website.You can read my review of the Air France B787 seat here.

Prices and rules

  • Bangkok £1,579
  • Cape Town from £2,269
  • Dubai from £1,219
  • Havana from £1,769
  • Ho Chi Minh City £1,509
  • Shanghai from £1,649
  • Seychelles from £1,899
  • Beijing from £1,819
  • Osaka from £1,759

 

  • Book by: 30 July 2018
  • Travel by: Varies
  • Credit to: Air France are a member of Skyteam alliance so you can credit the miles to any Skyteam partner. You could consider Delta as that lets you redeem on Virgin Atlantic as well as Sky Team. With Air France-KLM’s purchase of a stake in Virgin Atlantic, you should soon be able to redeem and collect miles across all 3 companies but it isn’t available yet. There are a couple of partner airlines of interest too, Malaysia Airlines and Alaska (can redeem both on BA).

You can find the Air France sale page here.

KLM

KLM B787 business class seats

KLM B787 business class seats

The main thing to be wary of with KLM is the variation of long-haul business class seats with the A330s still having very old-fashioned sloping seats. All that is about to change this year though. There will still be some variation across types but at least they will all have flat beds by autumn 2018.

The best offering is currently the B787 with the reverse herringbone seats. Next are the B747s that have been fitted with the new seats which do have some single window seats and finally will be the A330 in a 2-2-2 configuration. Four A330-300s are currently being refurbished with the last one expected to be completed in July 2018. KLM’s eight A330-200s will follow. Their refits are expected to be completed in October 2018. As well as 206cm fully flat beds the new seats with have HD quality entertainment with an 18″ screen.

Prices and rules

  • Credit to: KLM are a member of Skyteam alliance so you can credit the miles to any Skyteam partner. You could consider Delta as that lets you redeem on Virgin Atlantic as well as Sky Team. With Air France-KLM’s purchase of a stake in Virgin Atlantic, you should soon be able to redeem and collect miles across all 3 companies but it isn’t available yet. There are a couple of partner airlines of interest too, Malaysia Airlines and Alaska (can redeem both on BA).
  • Book by 30 July 2018
  • Travel by: Varies

 

  • Abu Dhabi from £ 1,249
  • Bangkok from £ 1,579
  • Beijing from £ 1,819
  • Dubai from £ 1,219
  • Muscat from £ 1,349
  • Shanghai £1,649
  • Havana from £1,769

You can find the KLM sale page here.

 

Heathrow Rewards offer double value when you cash in by 30 Julyheathrow rewards avios bonus

You can collect Heathrow Rewards on most purchases from Heathrow including parking, shopping and restaurants. You can then use the rewards for money off Heathrow shopping or parking and also you can transfer them into Avios or several other airline loyalty schemes. Normally you need 500 points to get a £5 shopping voucher or £10 off Heathrow official parking. If you haven’t joined yet, you can find out more here.

Until 30 July 2018 inclusive, 250 points (instead of 500) can be redeemed for a pre‑order £5 shopping voucher to spend at Heathrow. The vouchers can be spent at lots of different stores at Heathrow, not just World Duty-Free and you could combine this with the discount from the RED app I wrote about here. The vouchers are not the same as the instant rewards that you use by just handing over your card in the shop.

Vouchers are valid for a year so even if you are not travelling for a while it could be worth ordering them now with the special offer. Vouchers may take up to 28 days to arrive from time of ordering so I wouldn’t buy them unless you can use them more than a month from when you order them.

6 Comments on "News & offers: BA changes upgrade policy, KLM, Finnair & Etihad sales & Heathrow Rewards Double value"

  1. Hi – I think SIN is 160TP on BA ? No ? Giving 320. But anyway QR is the obvious way to go here – nearly hitting BA Silver in one go !

    • Yes, I must have been me automatically writing 140 without thinking about it since nearly all the other LH are that as I actually checked it online to get the number of Avios!

  2. Hi Michele, There are a couple of typo’s –
    not in the same leagure either. However, given that there is no sign of a Qatar sale and you can start your journey from London, these offers are wprth considering.
    Looking forward to reading the BA upgrade article, as I always order a SPML and have been told I can’t even buy the ‘pay for upgrade at check in’ because BA has already spent the money on my SPML in my lower cabin.
    Hope your surgery was a success. m.

    • Yes I am almost recovered now thanks Michael. Thanks for the corrections. I use two different grammer/spell checks and read it through myself but somehow they keep getting past it all!

  3. Barry Graham | 2 August 2018 at 1:54 pm | Reply

    I can’t believe BA is so open about this policy about special meals (which I know about since BA quoted it to me) that it’s common knowledge nor can I believe that they have had the chutzpah to deny someone an upgrade because of their religion (which is the case since the meals are often ordered because of religion).

    • Hi Barry. They give upgrades on all sorts of strange algorithms but they used to rule any special meals not just those for religion. This is very common practice as otherwise you end up with people not getting the service standard for the cabin they are in which the airlines don’t like. It has been common knowledge for years that airlines operated like this. Good on BA for changing it is what I say!

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