Posts in the “British Airways Executive Club” category...
by Continental Club on March 22, 2017 | Leave a comment • Tagged as: BA, BA First, BA First Wing, British Airways, British Airways First Class, British Airways The First Wing, First Wing, The First Wing
British Airways has released the first official details of ‘The First Wing‘ at its London Heathrow home. The First Wing will encompass and enlarge the existing First Class check in area at the South end of Terminal 5, linking through to new security channels which, for the first time, will allow eligible passengers direct access to the carrier’s Galleries First Lounge.
The First Wing will be open to members of the British Airways Executive Club at the Gold tier and above, as well as to Emerald cardholders of oneworld alliance frequent flyer programmes and, of course, to all those travelling in British Airways’ First Class. The latter will also enjoy direct access to The Concorde Room.
The check-in area is 250% larger than the original First Class zone, and The First Wing is defined by a three metre high and 29 metre long curved wall, which serves to guide passengers through to the lounge complex.
The First Wing is slated to open in early April 2017. For more information, visit ba.com.
by Continental Club on November 26, 2015 | Leave a comment • Tagged as: Avios, Avios Part Payment, BA, BA Discount Code, BA Discount Code 2015, BA Promo Code, BA Promo Code 2015, British Airways, British Airways Discount Code, British Airways Discount Code 2015, British Airways Promo Code, British Airways Promo Code 2015, British Airways Promotional Code, British Airways Promotional Code 2015
Although airline sales are not unusual, it’s less common for the promotional stars align to allow passengers to benefit from two offers on the same airline at the same time. However, British Airways Executive Club members who are already used to being able to use Avios points to ‘part pay’ for their tickets can double-dip this weekend, with the airline’s current fare offers combining with another Black Friday deal to make greater savings than are usually available with Avios contributions.
Avios part payment provides for a maximum £200 saving for 30,000 Avios under normal terms and conditions, however under the current promotion the saving is increased to £700 on a Club World return ticket – for the same 30,000 Avios contribution. In combination with this weekend’s sale, the effect can be to reduce the lowest fare to just £699 return:
The double dip works in World Traveller economy and World Traveller Plus premium economy too and, using the New York example, fares are from:
World Traveller £162 plus 15,000 Avios
World Traveller Plus £524 plus 15,000Avios
Destinations offered at the increased part payment saving rate are Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Washington (Baltimore), Denver, Dallas, Newark, Washington (Dulles), Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, San Francsico, San Jose, Nassau, Grand Cayman, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paolo, and bookings must be made by 23:59GMT on Monday 30th November 2015 – the same deadline as for the current sale fares.
Flights booked using Avios part payment earn Avios and Executive Club Tier Points at the same rates as without part payment, although they do not qualify for earnings in the British Airways OnBusiness SME loyalty programme.
Full details of the current fare sales which end at 23:59GMT on Monday 30th November 2015 can be found in our other articles:
To check all British Airways fares and availability, and in particular to locate the lowest available fare, use the British Airways Low Fare Finder at ba.com. For additional details regarding the Black Friday Avios Part Payment offer, visit this page at ba.com.
by Continental Club on April 7, 2015 | Leave a comment • Tagged as: Avios, Avios Longhaul Part Payment, Avios Part Payment, BA, BA Avios, BA Executive Club, BAEC, British Airways, British Airways Avios, British Airways Executive Club
British Airways has offered its Executive Club members the opportunity to redeem Avios points in part payment for many shorthaul tickets since October 2013. Prior to that time, the use of Avios required ‘redemption’ availability on the required flights; availability which many will know is often difficult to come-by.
The part payment system therefore allows more flexible use of Avios against a wide range of paid-for tickets, albeit at generally lower-value rates than outright redemptions or upgrades.
Until the 29th April 2015, BA is allowing Executive Club members to use Avios in part payment for longhaul flights as well, the second time it has run a longhaul part payment promotion. Unlike its last offer, however, the maximum part payment is now increased to 60,000 Avios for a £400 fare reduction on a Club World or First Class ticket.
The full list of longhaul part payment options is as follows:
|Avios part payment amount||Saving per person|
|World Traveller & World Traveller Plus||1,500 Avios||£10pp|
|Club World & First||4,500 Avios||£30pp|
The offer is available to members’ who are logged in to their Executive Club account, on flights departing from London Heathrow to anywhere on the longhaul network and from London City Airport to New York JFK, on British Airways flight-only bookings. The booking period is 1st April 2015 to the– 29th April 2015 for travel between 1st April 2015 – 1st April 2016. The maximum advertised discount may not be offered when making a booking, if the member’s Avios balance is insufficient.
The underlying ticket(s) purchased will continue to earn Avios and Tier Points at the same rate as they would had they been paid for entirely with cash.
For full details and to book, visit ba.com.
by Continental Club on January 28, 2015 | Leave a comment • Tagged as: Avios, Avios Changes, BA Exec Club Changes, BA Executive Club, BA Executive Club Changes, BAEC, BAEC Changes, British Airways, British Airways Executive Club, British Airways Executive Club Changes, Exec Club Changes, Execuitve Club, Executive Club Changes, Tier Point Changes, Tier Points
BA has this morning announced changes to its Executive Club loyalty programme, which will affect bookings made from 28th April 2015. Full details of all the variations to the earning of Avios and Tier Points, as well as the redemption of Avios for flight awards, are published at ba.com here:
In earning terms, probably the biggest changes are to the number of Avios earned on the cheapest Economy tickets (down from 100% of flown miles to 25% of flown miles) and also to the number of Tier Points earned on those tickets (down from 50% of full TPs to 25% TPs).
For those who have already achieved the Silver tier in the programme, the other major earning change is to the Avios Tier Bonus, which reduces from 100% of flown miles to 50% of flown miles. Taken within the broader picture of Tier Bonuses, this change arguably resolves an unusually generous bonus and sees a more logical ladder of bonuses from 25% for Bronze members, 50% for Silver and 100% for Gold members. Until these changes, Silver earnings were the same as Gold.
Other changes are likely to affect fewer members in terms of gross numbers, such as the realignment of Tier Point earning on the airline’s Club World London City Service to New York JFK. For some time, revenue flights on this service have earned Tier Points at the First Class-equivalent rate; this will now be brought back to the mainline Club World rate.
The number of Avios required to redeem for a flight will be changing, and for the first time the concept of peak and off-peak awards will be introduced. The new redemption table is as follows:
This system will also apply to redemptions on Iberia.
The ‘free’ UK domestic add-on for shorthaul (European) redemptions will be removed, and connecting flights will now be subject to an additional Avios collect. The situation for longhaul redemptions will remain the same, however, and UK domestic connections from British Airways longhaul itineraries will remain free of additional Avios requirement.
The range of Economy fare classes which are eligible for upgrade with Avios is being increased, so that instead of only the most flexible fare classes being eligible, all but the most inflexible will now be eligible.
A new undertaking is being made to release ‘a minimum of two Club World/Club Europe and four World Traveller/Euro Traveller reward seats on all British Airways operated flights that are offered for sale on ba.com (excluding subsidiaries and franchises).’
These minimum guaranteed reward seats will be made available 355 days before the flight and will remain available, if not booked, until 45 days before departure.
This latter caveat is particularly interesting, since it may effectively mean that short-notice Economy and Business Class redemptions may no longer be available.
The changes apply only to new bookings made from 28th April 2015. Bookings made before that date, even for travel after that date, will be subject to the current and not the new rules.
For more information relating to the changes, visit ba.com.
by Continental Club on October 27, 2014 | One comment • Tagged as: #helloweekend, BA Daytrips, BA Hello Weekend, British Airways, British Airways Daytrips, British Airways Hello Weekend, Hello Weekend
Early in 2014, and with great fanfare, British Airways launched its new weekend ‘day trip’ fares, offering passengers the opportunity to make (literally) flying visits to selected European destinations at comparatively bargain fares.
All went quiet from the airline’s marketing machine over the Summer, but the fares haven’t completely gone away; in fact, they’re showing signs of a stealthy comeback.
So, a couple of weeks ago, with fares of £44 each way to Madrid showing on ba.com, and with flight times offering almost twelve hours in the Spanish capital, Continental Club took the opportunity to see how popping to the Iberian peninsula for lunch might work in practice.
Better still, the application of 3,000 Avios to the booking lopped another £20 off the round-trip.
Firstly though, there’s no getting away from the fact that you’re going to have to start early. Very early. And secondly, there’s no luggage allowance beyond (BA’s generous) hand luggage limit. So, if you’re going to enjoy an unencumbered day, then your iPhone is going to be your camera, and your pictures aren’t going to trouble Mario Testino.
Luckily, we were holed-up in the Holiday Inn Ariel at London’s Heathrow Airport, a mere treble-glazing’s thickness away from Runway 27R. Heathrow’s first purpose-built hotel, opening in 1960, the Ariel has gained something of a cult following amongst idolisers of its quirky circular-structure and almost limitless coats of emulsion paint; indeed it’s open to question whether it’s now only the Dulux that’s holding the place together. Friendly, professional service and an almost Disney-esque eagerness to please marks the place out, as do often exceptionally-good weekend rates.
Given the rates, and the almost hysterically-early hour, it seemed prudent to fire up the Uber app and see whether one of the companies many cars might be circling nearby. Four minutes later, a Mercedes E-Class appeared, and off we set into the still (and still quiet) night for Terminal 5 and our Madrid-bound bird.
The fare came to £11, which would handily be only a £1 more than the free credit Uber offers when signing up to their service and using Continental Club’s promo code of w98js. Our Uber-virgin travelling companion generously picked up the tab for the ride.
At T5, the day had barely begun, and few fingerprints sullied the shiny screens of the self service check in machines.
Even Security was a haven of calm, a sight which would surely render a weekday passenger slack-jawed in disbelief.
While it’s true that part of the fun of the day was keeping the cost down to a level that makes suddenly deciding to pop over the Channel a realistic prospect, and doing it in a way that’s open to all, we couldn’t help but swiftly avail ourselves of the already-open Galleries South Lounge which, after all, is available to frequent flyers with shiny-enough cards, even on these cheapie-cheap-cheap tickets.
And so it was that we sailed into a lounge even quieter than Security, panicked at the limitless choice of where to sit…….
….and proceeded to do the only thing sensible so many hours before the first rays of sun would dare to peep over the horizon: inhale the entire contents of a coffee machine.
It’s the first flight of the day from T5, so it’s very soon time to head to the gate and board the Boeing 767 that’ll take us South. It’s all spick and span on board; a light cabin refresh a while ago (intended to spruce things up owing to the then delayed deliveries of the new 787 Dreamliners) is improved further by the seats all being even more freshly re-hided in the customary dark BA blue.
It wasn’t long until we were onboard and taxiing; no dilly-dallying at dawn – past the control tower that we’ve been up before – and out to the end of the runway.
On our way, there’s barely time to wolf down the potentially culinarily-calamitous but actually rather tasty complimentary Cumberland Sausage Croissant, a portion-controlled thimble of coffee and a quick cram of the Lonely Planet.
Once back on terra firma, Madrid Barajas Airport’s Terminal 4s welcomed us, and with the previous day’s siesta barely over, all was still quiet despite the clock having long-since struck nine.
A short walk and a lift from arrivals, and we reached the Metro platforms. Barajas has both subway and heavy rail lines, the latter being quicker but not quite matching our planned (and Lonely Planet inspired) itinerary. So, to the Metro it was, at 8 Euros for a tourist day ticket, with one handily awaiting our descent to track level.
We sat for a few minutes to gather more travellers, before the doors slid shut and we headed off towards the city in our air-conditioned subterranean ferrous worm.
Two changes later, and we break cover once more at Banco de Espana, about 40 minutes from leaving the airport.
Emerging from the station it’s a full-on, 360-degree immersion into some of Madrid’s most in-your-face architecture, from the bank itself to the Palace of Communications across the whirling plaza.
Turning right along the Paseo del Prado, it’s not long before we find ourselves bang in the middle of the stand-off between the city’s two most famous hotels – the Palace and the Ritz facing each other across the street in dignified defiance.
I see your Palace, and I raise your Ritz.
This early in proceedings, there’s only one sensible course of action, and that involves additional caffeine. A suitable streetside position was therefore assumed to consider the steely glares of the grand dames across the Paseo.
Loins girded, it’s all-too-soon time to press on, and no visit to Madrid could ignore the world-famous Museo del Prado. However, as its halls and galleries can provide hours (if not days) of interest, there’s simply not long enough to venture in. Instead, it’s a quick whizz-by the maze-topped main entrance.
Not that there’s nothing to see by passing-by; just behind the museum at the church of who-knows-what, there’s a mid morning marital going on, with a jolly nice jalopy in attendance.
Conveniently located just beyond the Prado’s portals, the Botanic Gardens make an enticing prospect as an alternative to walking with the traffic along the main thoroughfare towards Atocha. At 3 Euros for an adult entry, blooming flowerbeds at the gate and an imposing archway above, the gardens present an appealing prospect.
Be fooled not however, dear readers, for despite the vivacious beds at the gate, and the odd pleasant reflecting pool, a Spanish high-plain Summer does little for the horticultural exotica planted within. Most, it transpires, has been dessicated beyond identification by September.
Thank goodness for the dahlia display, which injected at least a little colour into the proceedings, before the dawning realisation that the linear gardens in fact have only one entrance and exit, and the pleasantly-pedestrian perambulation has to be retraced back to square one, to walk the road once more to to the South.
At the end of the Paseo del Prado stands the old station of Atocha, resplendent in its restored glory and fronting its modern successor. It was arguably ahead of its time, leading the way for the restoration of glorious and ancient termini such as Grand Central in New York and St Pancras in London.
It’s a stunning piece of glazed ironwork too, but unlike its American and British counterparts, its main space no longer directly serves its railway. In fact, in this regard, it’s much more akin to Manchester’s former Central Railway Station, latterly G-Mex and now once again known as Manchester Central – though these days that’s the name for its conference & events venue purpose.
Indeed, its ‘first of a kind’ status is perhaps betrayed by its slightly-odd contrivance as a hybrid tropical garden, turtle pool and general ‘tat’ market. Architecturally-stunning, but otherwise fairly useless.
Having been slightly disappointed by what had hitherto been something of a hoped-for highpoint of the day, the time came for the application of some soothing beer. And, thankfully, it being Spain there’s always the opportunity to take the taste away with some moreish morsels. In this case, a short walk along the Paseo Atocha brought us to Cerveceria San Andres, at the corner of Calle del Almendro and Cuesta San Pedro, and its outdoor terrace perfectly-placed for people-watching and a selection of croquetas the like of which neither Captain Birdseye nor Mister Findus could conceive.
Fortified, we marched onward to the Plaza Mayor, the 16th Century square noted for its nine entrances and 237 balconies.
For such an historic construction, first-time visitors may be more than a little surprised to discover that much of the square, at its upper levels, is residential.
In a city like Madrid, there’s only so far that you can go without food though (about 20 minutes, if you’re asking), and the Mercado de San Miguel is hot on the tourist trail for all manner of nourishments (and not a little hydration).
And, let’s face it; as pig products go, this is a reasonably good show.
From pork to palaces, and just beyond the Plaza Mayor and the Mercado is the Palacio Real de Madrid – the Royal Palace and official residence of Spain’s royal family. The gardens cascade down to the river and look across to the Casa de Campo to the West. Tours are available (and judging by the rather obvious amount of ‘deferred maintenance’ to the fabric of the building, they could do with your cash), but we have no time for such dalliances, and it’s a whistle-stop pass through the Plaza de Oriente in front for us.
Some thoughtful shading is welcome as we head towards the Puerta del Sol; madrileño late Summer sun can still be harsh.
But no amount of shading can provide the refreshment that only a purveyor of fine licensed victuals can; one like the highly-polished operation that is Taberna Ángel Sierra on the Calle de Gravina.
And just when you thought that no more could possibly be packed into the day, there’s still time for one last taste of the best that Madrid has to offer, even if it’s to be found in a building which lacks something of the classical elegance of the Mercado de San Miguel.
Yes, I’m afraid that it isn’t too harsh to compare the exterior (if not the interior) aesthetics of the Mercado San Anton to any common-or-garden gulag.
It is to the very great credit of the tenants and stallholders of the market that they have attempted to cloak the concrete in as much colour as they can, but when all’s said and done, there’s only so much that Astroturf can do to hide the hideousness of their surroundings.
So it’s just as well that in spite of the forbidding prospect of the place (or perhaps, in fact, because of it) that some of Madrid’s very finest food and drink is to be found cascading from its grey balconies.
And with the British Airways iPhone App lighting up our screens to push our boarding pass notifications through, we proved that there’s never not enough time for another platter of pork products and a medicinal bottle of Crianza.
Just 20 Euros lighter for the fun of this final flourish of late, late lunch, we rolled gently down the warm evening street to the Metro, and the opportunity for a short subterranean reflection on our thoroughly agreeable day out.
Once back at Barajas, there’s time for a quick heel-cooling in the Iberia Lounge at T4, a place that does not overburden itself with the provision of fine provender, beyond some darkly-suspicious looking baked goods and pasta which could (respectively) have easily been mistaken for ice hockey pucks and tripe-coloured shrapnel. Much better to stick to the safety of some crisps if a final exposure to pre-flight food is essential.
At least the views of the runway are pleasant – better than many an airport departure lounge bunker. And, lest we forget, it’s all still included in the day trip fare for holders of the requisite shiny airline card.
A dash down the jetty and we’re on board our white, red and blue bird ready for departure back to Blighty.
It’s a narrow-body Airbus A320 this time, unlike the twin-aisled Boeing 767 that operated our outbound, and it’s still flying the soon-to-be history ‘convertor’ seats which are being replaced at the rate of three ‘planes a week. It gives us a last chance to bag the first row of port side of the Economy cabin which, for reasons of aisle-kinking, trolley-pushing, knee-bashing avoidance, is also configured with Club Europe-style seating two-abreast.
Once airborne, there’s plenty of opportunity for (what some may consider the unnecessary) further application of solid and liquid swallowables, but since this whole venture was designed to scientifically test the full range of inclusions in an £88 escapade, we felt it our duty to indulge.
Truth be told, that flatbread was far better than it had any right to be for free, too.
There’s not a lot arriving at 22:20 on a Saturday, so we trickled quickly through T5 and, in the spirit of continued travel frugality, across to Bus Stand 6 for the imminent departure of the 423 to Hounslow via Harlington Corner.
Which, happily, is just where the Holiday Inn London Heathrow Ariel happened to find itself built and, even more handily, Transport for London included in its Heathrow Freeflow zone – making the bus ride completely complimentary.
And that, then, was that – home. One day, two flights, terrific food and still time for a nightcap back at the Ariel.
Continental Club paid £44 per person each way for a hand baggage only, day trip fare with British Airways, bookable online at ba.com.
We paid with a debit card to avoid the £5 per person credit card fee, and used 3,000 Avios to reduce the fare by an additional £20 roundtrip, making the net cost £68 each.
In Madrid, we each bought a one day Zone A Tourist Travel Pass for EUR8.40, which included Metro travel from and to the airport, and around the centre of the city on the Metro, buses and suburban trains if we’d wanted to.
We used London Bus service 423 within the Heathrow Freeflow zone to return to the hotel at no cost.
To search for day trip fares with British Airways when they’re not being actively marketed, check the Low Fare Finder at ba.com – remembering that you must select the same day for your outward and return flights for the special fares to show.
Flights offering day trip fares must be ‘combinable’ too, ie your outbound and inbound flights must arrive and depart with an interval greater than the minimum connection time at the destination airport. Which, of course, you’d be expecting anyway if you’re going for the day. Sometimes though, the tab at the top of the schedule and fares matrix on the results pages of ba.com may show a lower ‘lowest’ fare than any of those listed against specific flights below the tab. This occurs when there’s technically outbound fare availability, but no inbound flight which departs later enough the same day to be able to return on.
by Continental Club on June 30, 2014 | Leave a comment • Tagged as: Avios, Avios 50% Off, Avios Half Price Sale, BA 50% Avios Sale, BA Avios, BA Avios 2For1, BA Avios Sale, BA Half Price Avios Sale, BAEC Avios, BAEC Avios Sale, British Airways Avios
The sale features destinations in North, South and Central America, as well as selected Indian routes, Chengdu in China and Johannesburg in South Africa, travelling in World Traveller economy cabins.
Bookings must be made by 13th July 2014, for travel dates between 1st October 2014 and 28th February 2015. The period 18th December 2014 to 10th January 2014 is blacked out, and full taxes, fees and charges remain payable. British Airways American Express cardholders can use their 2-for-1 vouchers in conjunction with the promotion.
Although it’s generally-held that longhaul redemptions in non-premium cabins don’t represent the best ultimate value in £/Avios terms, there are times when a World Traveller Avios ticket can make practical sense – and even more so with 50% off the number of Avios required.
Travellers looking for booking flexibility and those only wishing to travel one-way may be particularly drawn to this promotion, as comparable revenue fares on such terms are usually at the top end of the fare range. Those with existing bookings at the full Avios rates who are considering cancelling and rebooking in the sale should be mindful that Avios ‘inventory’ is not always automatically returned to Avios availability upon cancellation; it can sometimes disappear completely. In such circumstances, subject to having enough available Avios, it may be prudent to make an additional booking at the new rates and then cancel the pre-existing one.
For more more sale details and to book, visit ba.com.
For a full list of destinations included in the sale, click ‘READ MORE’ below, or scroll down:
Members of the British Airways Executive Club can earn an additional 1,000 Avios per weekend night spent at Hilton Hotels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the latest joint promotion between the airline and the HHonors loyalty programme.
Registration is required prior to booking stays, which must be completed by 13th December 2013. A weekend night is defined as a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night (except in the Middle East, where Thursday nights may also qualify).
For full terms and conditions, promotion registration or to join Hilton HHonors, visit hiltonhonors.com/baweekend.