Book it Danno! Tier point run to Honolulu and Hawaii with British Airways and US Airways.
- A Rock, A Hard Place and Tier Points
- To Birmingham Airport, Ryanair FR693 Birmingham to Dublin
- A morning around Dublin
- Dublin Airport, BA4467 Dublin Airport to London City Airport
- Travelodge, London City Airport
- A Morning at London City Airport
- British Airways BA001 London City Airport – Shannon, Shannon to New York-JFK
- Über Takes on Manhattan
- Holiday Inn Express, JFK
- JFK T8, US Airways Flight US510 New York JFK to Phoenix, Arizona
- US Airways Club/Admiral’s Club, US694 Phoenix Sky Harbour to Honolulu
- The Aston Beach Waikiki
- Travel Plus… Doing – Exploring the Diamond Head Trail
- Travel Plus… Doing – Pearl Harbour and The USS Arizona Memorial
- The joy of British Airways Rebooking
- Honolulu Airport, American Airline Lounge, US693 Honolulu International to Phoenix
- US425 Phoenix to New York-JFK, Economy Class
- JFK Omnishambles
- BA002 JFK to London City Airport
- Involuntary Downgrade Chaos
- BA4462 London City Airport to Dublin
- A Five Hour Dublin Layover
- BA0837 Dublin Airport to London Heathrow Airport in Club Europe
- Homeward bound
- Aftermath: Points and Reflections…
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to one of the longest trip reports I’ve written. Namely due to the many experiences in this trip, and also due to some of the things that happened both downroute and uproute. I’m not making much excuse for breaking it down to manageable chances (least of all, it’ll help my write the trip report).
There’s also a fair bit of anger that I’ll be getting out of my system in this trip report – laid squarely at two airlines. And you’d be surprised which airlines I leave my venom for.
A Rock, A Hard Place and Tier Points
The end of the the tier point year was nigh, and to me, I was prepared to drop to Silver happily at certain points of the year. However, I am a sucker for a bargain fare – or more appropriately, a good value fare.
British Airways were offering a business class ticket to Honolulu for ridiculous money on a an I7FARE basis in a business class . Now, normally – these aren’t too hot for Tier Point running or earning – except you did a tiny bit of digging, there was some real value to be had.
I Looked at some of the fares pretty dismissively – most would yield 600TP at best – until I read what some people were doing with fares departing from…
Oh you guessed it – Dublin.
These fares were slightly different – allowing for a €300 change fee, but also opening up certain routes – in particular, it allowed for a 8 segment fares – and added in one of my favourite British Airways services – BA001/2/3/4, opening up some mad tier point runs.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with these flight numbers, these flights were once the purview of Concorde and its services between Heathrow and New York. Today, these fight numbers are reserved for use with one of the smallest Airbus’s that go over the Atlantic – the Airbus A318.
Transatlantic flight with small aircraft are slowly becoming a thing, with WestJet operating a Boeing 737 and Air Canada running their London to St Johns service with an A319. Of course, there are bigger narrow bodies that do transatlantic runs (normally the preserve of the Boeing 757-200).
But a 32 seater across the pond is one of my ideas of luxury. And I’ll take that any day of the week.
To be honest, Hawaii and Honolulu were a bonus – allowing for six 210 tier point flights. With the additional flights, this would max out at 1340 Tier Points for the entire trip, plus a stupid amount of Avios.
And I mean 45,000 Avios and beyond.
I spent a serious amount of time with ITA search engine, finding combinable fares and routes until one popped out.
Then it was the matter of booking the fare.
And that was what I’d call a pain up the backside. No online travel agent or airline would price the fare.
With 2 hours left on the clock, a small realisation came to me – that this was a published non-mistake fare… and so, I did something rare.
I called the airline.
Of course, I had to the ring the US number for British Airways as the UK lines had been shut down for a while. The funny thing is, the US Number… diverts back to the United Kingdom (Newcastle) for sales.
I explained to the agent what i was after, feeding the agent the fare segment by segment the exact routing and flight numbers.
Initially, it priced out at €3800 – way over the target price. However, the agent had a good brain on him, as he re-priced the flights against I7SALE and the segments (which weren’t available on American Airlines, but were on US Airways).
The ticket priced at the expected €1726… or £1300ish or so. The hammer went down, and the ticket went into the booking queue.
The next morning, the BA ticket magically appeared in my inbox, ticketed and routed correctly. Not so bad for a tier point run considering I paid £1200 for LCY-JFK and back a couple of years ago.
Now, there was the matter of getting to Dublin to start the ticket off. And of course, it boils down to two carriers – Aer Lingus and Ryanair.
And as most of you know, I’d fly the Shamrock any day of the week.
However, the fares on Aer Lingus were remaining stubbornly high at £50 for a seat only fare. Reluctantly, I looked to Ryanair, who had an open flight and seats at £9.99 – or £10.19 with the credit card.
And in the end, O’Leary Inc won.
Initially, I didn’t choose a position-back fare on this tier point run, as I was intending to skip the last segment on this ticket (that and I a change between City and Heathrow Airport.
But the fickle hand of fate would rule that one – in a way I wouldn’t be happy about.
That’s for later.
However, a trip this length needs hotels. So, for London, I needed the cheapest option possible – which happened to be a 5 minute walk from London City Airport – the Travelodge London City. I’m all for cheap comfort, and this fits the bill nicely.
Honolulu was tough. For some odd reason – prices were all over the shop. In the end, I decided to go off-chain for once, with the Aston Waikiki Beach as the selection of the day. Least of all, it came it at just under £100 a night, but it was also near the beach. And yes, I plumped a few pennies extra for a beach view.
Hey – I’m in paradise. Might as well get a decent view to go with it.
The only hotel I left till late was the JFK area hotel – mainly because all the choices in the area were varying degrees of awful.
In the end, I went for the Holiday Inn Express. Not great, but I wasn’t in a position to moan as it was coming out as cash.
So, here’s the best laid plans of mice and men… and Kevin
However as a lot of you know, when I travel, trouble sometimes follows. It follows even more when I book business class. Those of you who were reading the blog in January will know what happened next. Those of you who didn’t. Expect chaos.
And I mean real chaos.
Even by my standards.
NEXT: Off we go… and Ryanair.
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