Discount Business Class Fares to Europe From $2,400 Roundtrip
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
British Airways is offering a summer sale through tomorrow for roundtrip business class flights from New York to the UK and Europe starting at $2,699 for travel between June 28-September 5, 2013, and other airlines have started matching.
The BA discount fares are available from New York (JFK as well as Newark) to London, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam and Rome. You must book by May 14, though.
So let’s say you wanted you wanted to make a big holiday out of the July 4 weekend (the holiday itself actually falls on a Thursday) and fly to the UK. I found plenty of roundtrip business class flights on both BA and American for a total of $2,692.
Not only that, but if you have the British Airways Visa Signature Card, you can use your 10% cardholder discount with promo code CARDOFFERU on the price quote page to get an additional 10% off, bringing your price down to $2,422!
Compare that to what fares are going for in June at around $4,657 and you’re getting a good 48% discount.
It’s still expensive, but if you’re considering a splurge it could be worth it. Not only that, but because this ticket is in the “I” fare code class, it is upgradeable, so if you buy business class tickets, on this route, you can upgrade to first class using just 20,000 Avios each way! An "I" fare also earns 100% EQM's on American and a 25% class-of-service bonus on award miles if you credit your BA flights to your American AAdvantage account. It also earns 1.5 Elite Qualifying Points per miles, which is rare for discounted fares, so this itinerary could give you a bump of 10,353 EQP's towards elite status requalification.
If you have American Express Membership Rewards points, there is currently a 35% transfer bonus now through June 7, 2013, so you would only need to transfer 15,000 Membership Rewards points for each upgrade (30,000 total for roundtrip). Comparable first class flights the same days going for $12,304 (with the same taxes and fees as the business class ticket - not that anyone would actually pay this much), so your Amex points would be worth an astounding 33 cents each!
It also looks like Air Canada, United, Delta, KLM and Air France are all matching the discount fares already, so if Oneworld isn’t your alliance, or you’d prefer flying a different carrier to rack up the miles there instead or to try another carrier’s business class (although British Airways is top of the heap, you have some other great options). Since American is also matching the sale, you could also use it as a way to try out American’s new 777-300ER flagship business class service, which I just enjoyed on my way back from Sao Paulo to New York last month.
Although the mid- to high-$2,000 range is not cheap by any means, compared to the usual fares on these routes, it’s a bargain, especially during the high summer travel season where business class travel slacks but economy travel picks up. Not to mention the fact that economy fares on the same flights are running about $1,454 - so you're paying $1,000 more total to fly business.
Combined with the 10% BA Visa cardholder discount and the excellent value of using Avios to upgrade, this could be a great way to get to Europe in business or first class for a fraction of the usual price.