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We’ve seen incredible deals on Oneworld flights booked through British Airways, such as this $1,058 round-trip fare — in business class. Does that sound a bit too good to be true? Well, in some regards, it is — you do need to jump through some hoops in order to score the cheapest business-class flights, taking advantage of discounts from AARP and Visa. But once you figure out how it’s done (and I’m going to show you right here and now), you’ll be booking these super-cheap fares in no time.
The biggest savings comes in the form of a $400 discount for AARP members. The $400 discount applies to business and first-class bookings, though you can also save $130 on premium economy and $65 on economy flights, so this discount could be worth exploring regardless of your class of travel. Fortunately, anyone can join AARP, and it’s cheap to do so.
As of this writing, AARP’s membership rates are as follows:
- $16 for one year
- $43 for three years ($14.34 per year)
- $63 for five years ($12.60 per year)
- $17 for one year (Canada and Mexico)
- $28 for one year (other countries)
While the $400 AARP discount does expire from time to time, British Airways has extended the deal each year. The current offer is valid through March 31, 2017. Since I don’t expect this to go away anytime soon, I opted to purchase a five-year membership for $63. After you apply (here), you’ll visit this page to book your BA flights. This discount applies to any BA and partner flights that you can book online, so it can be used on flights operated by American Airlines, Iberia and OpenSkies as well.
This $400 discount can be paired with a 10% discount, offered by Visa. Technically, this discount only applies when you’re paying with the British Airways Visa Signature Card, but I’ve heard reports of it working with other Visa cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Unfortunately this offer is a bit more restrictive, as it can only be applied to flights operated by British Airways or OpenSkies. Additionally, while it has been renewed each year, the current iteration is only valid for travel beginning now through December 31, 2016, so if you’re booking a flight in 2017, you’ll be able to use the $400 AARP discount, but not this additional 10%. To take advantage, simply select BA or OpenSkies flights and enter the CARDOFFERU code at checkout.
Here’s how to apply both discounts to your flights:
1. Visit this page and log in to your AARP account or register for a new account.
2. Click through to British Airways’ site.
3. Enter your origin, destination, dates and class of service and begin your search on BA’s site.
4. Select your flights. Note that you should see the AARP discount applied at this stage, but not the 10% Visa discount. Only flights operated by British Airways will be eligible for the additional 10%, so choose your flights carefully.
5. Select your return flight and click Continue to move to the payment page.
6. Confirm the flight and fare details.
You can also compare the fare to a direct British Airways booking, which should be exactly $400 more expensive:
7. Scroll down and apply the 10% Visa discount code CARDOFFERU.
8. Confirm the new price with the 10% discount applied.
As you can see, the code took $225.35 off the ticket price:
9. Add passenger details and click through to the payment page.
10. Skip the seat selection, unless you don’t mind paying hundreds of dollars in additional fees. You can select seats for free at check-in.
11. Select your payment method (with the code applied, Visa is the only option) and purchase your flights.
While the final price is still above $2,000 with the example above, note that British Airways was not running a sale when I completed this sample booking. When additional discounts are available, it’s not unusual to walk away with a business-class fare of $1,500 or so round-trip. Be sure to add your frequent flyer information (you can credit to BA or partner programs, such as American AAdvantage) and sign up for any relevant promotions before you fly.
Have you booked a flight with BA’s $400 and 10% discounts?
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
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