Business Class $408 one-way Europe to USA

TAP Portgal Business Class Seat

Early this morning, German-language blog You Have Been Upgraded wrote about an incredible fare — which I assumed was a mistake — from several Scandinavian cities to the US: from about $775 round trip in business class or $408 one-way from Europe to the US. This morning, I booked a one-way business class ticket from Oslo, Norway to Boston for what I expect will be a net of just 18,980 Membership Rewards. — and I’ll earn about 10,00 airline miles on top of that. You may remember that last month, I booked a 9-bedroom estate in the English countryside for 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points per night (and Greg did, too!) — I’ll be using this fare sale to get home.

I assumed this was a mistake — and it may very well be a mistake fare that gets cancelled. However, I found this interesting tidbit here on TAP Portugal’s site:


TAP’s new fares now apply to intercontinental flights. Now you can choose how to fly wherever you want and only pay what you need!

From the DISCOUNT fare for those looking for the lowest price, through BASIC, CLASSIC and PLUS, which are perfect for the whole family, to EXECUTIVE and TOP EXECUTIVE, for those who travel all the time.

To find out which is best for your trip, see the new intercontinental fares that come into force from April 4, 2017 for journeys from September 1, 2017, as well as the fares to Europe and North Africa, which have been in force since October 2016.

How do you travel?


Could it be that they are really intending to charge under $800 round trip?

It seems doubtful. Still, the fare I’ve booked is available everywhere, including on TAP’s site:

TAP 775 round trip

“Executive” means business class. “Top executive” is the fully-flexible fare that charges no fee for changes/cancellations. These “Executive” fares allow change/cancellation for a fee.

Here is the calendar for one-ways in business class from Oslo to Boston in September and October — click the image to go to Google Flights:

Oslo to Boston September and October

And here are round trip prices:

Oslo to Boston Round Trip Sept and Oct

These fares appear available through the end of the schedule and are even widely available during the holidays:

OSL-BOS holidays

And it’s not just Boston. New York is available most weekdays as well:

OSL-NYC

But I live in the US….

Most readers are likely based in North America and some may wonder about the utility of a business class fare that starts in Europe. I often keep my eye out for fare sales — whether on money or miles — with the knowledge that I can sometimes piece together a trip that works out much better by taking advantage of the right deals and award chart sweet spots.

In this case, I saw an opportunity to take advantage of low-cost competition to Europe from the East Coast. As an East Coast resident, I always have trouble justifying the use of miles to get to Europe. European budget carriers WOW and Norwegian have expanded their reach in the US, and as a result we have recently seen one-way fares to Europe offered as low as $62 one way (from Orlando in that case, $69 one-way from upstate NY). Readers based in cities like Baltimore, New York, or Boston can regularly find one-way tickets to Europe for under $200. In fact, here are one-ways from Boston to Oslo in September and October in economy class. That $160 fare is for a nonstop on discount carrier Norwegian:

BOS-OSL

Copenhagen was available for the same price. Yes, Norwegian is a discount carrier that will add on fees. I’ll use my Chase Ritz-Carlton card to pay for those fees and then get them reimbursed as part of the annual $300 travel credit (find more information about that card on our Best Offers page).  While I don’t typically use miles to fly to and from Europe, I certainly do prefer a business class seat when I can get it. For a combined total that will likely be under $600, and a ride home in relative comfort, this seemed like too good of a deal to pass up.

Amex Travel with Business Platinum for the win

Of course, I’m not going to spend $600 out of pocket, because what makes this deal truly smoking is the ability to pay with points and get half back. Greg has written extensively about how much he’s loving the 50% points rebate with the Amex Business Platinum card. I was thrilled when I found the one-way I wanted on AmexTravel.com:

Amex Travel TAP Portugal

I paid 41,256 points today and I expect to receive a rebate of 20,628 points for a net cost of 20,628 points. However, Greg previously reported that it’s possible that we may be able to expect to earn 4x points on the price of the ticket when using a Platinum card as the payment method associated with the points. See his post to read more about why and how. Based on that logic, I think it’s likely that I will receive about 1,650 points from purchasing the fare (based on an actual price of $412.56). That would make for a final net cost of 18,978 Membership Rewards points for a one-way business class ticket from Oslo to Boston! Based on this review from The Points Guy and this article from One Mile at a Time, I expect that the flight from Lisbon to Boston will be in a flat-bed seat!

Would you care for a stopover?

Before I booked my flight, I took a look at the detailed fare rules. It turns out that this fare allows 1 stopover for free and 1 additional for another $75. Since I had to connect in Lisbon anyway (and the connection would have been overnight), I booked a stopover for a couple of days in Lisbon on the way to Boston — for no increase in fare!

And it earns miles, too

Based on the Z (OSL-LIS) and J (LIS-BOS) fare classes I found these tickets to be by searching with ITA Matrix, I expect this fare to earn 200% mileage in several programs. That would equal just shy of 10,000 earned redeemable miles one-way.

TAP Portugal Where to Credit

From wheretocredit.com — this is J-class. Z-class was very similar (also 200% on Avianca, Air Canada, and others)

Tallying it up

If this holds up, I’m going to pay less than $200 plus 18,978 Membership Rewards points and expect to earn 10,000 miles — and that will get me to Olso, Lisbon, and back to Boston. Not all miles and points are equal, but if we ignore differences for a moment and consider a “net” 8,978 points and $200 cash, that’s an absolute steal. Fuel surcharges alone on some carriers would be more. This might be a complete mistake and the airline may cancel everyone’s tickets — don’t make nonrefundable lodging arrangements based on what could be a cancelled ticket. But if it holds up, it would be a great redemption.

But the cottage is in the UK…..

Of course, I didn’t book a cottage is Oslo — I booked one in England. Luckily, flights within Europe can be very reasonable. Here is September and October from Oslo to London:

OSL-LON

The flight back to Oslo will be a little more expensive, but I’m seeing round trips for $106. Alternatively, a one-way using British Airways Avios would be 6500 Avios + $23 — but that’s a terrible value for the Avios.

Final Tally

In the end, my total out of pocket cost for the flights should be less than $300 and 9,000 net “miles” and I’ll visit Norway, Portugal, and England — and hopefully get to fly home in a flat bed. Of course, that’s assuming the fare holds. We’ll see!

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

More articles by Nick Reyes »

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Comments

  1. I thought about this, but you have 6-7hrs flying (LON-OSL-LIS) before you finally get a good seat. You would fly LON-BOS in that time.

    • Definitely — if you’re only looking to fly to BOS, that makes sense. We’ll stop a couple of days each in Oslo and Lisbon since the ticket to Oslo will be independent and the ticket to BOS allows the free stopover in Lisbon.

  2. Thanks! Just snagged OSL-JFK for $408. I get an error message when I try to pick seats. That makes me a bit nervous.

  3. Amazed this fare is still available. I booked 2 one-ways OSL-BOS and plan on using miles to get me over there. The taxes are heavy for the Europe-USA portion so this can almost be thought of as a $300 ticket when comparing to what an award would cost you (add +/- $100 in taxes/fees to the number of miles required). Outbound from the US is usually only $5.60 or whatever. I for one think this is a great deal and thanks for sending it out! I flew on lie flat TAP a few months ago and consider it a highly competitive product. The service wasn’t the best but the seat and food were good. Hopefully they honor these.

  4. It’s the Trump slump. The world is full of beautiful places to travel to that are much friendlier to visitors where you know for sure you will not be required to give the passwords of your phone, email, Facebook, Instagram etc. at the border, and full of places to do business without the risk that your corporate secrets (emails, files) are snooped at the border. Most don’t practice “extreme vetting”.

    Low demand for travel = low prices n the short term, followed.by route cancellations.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/trump-slump-travel-ban-muslims-us-tourism-holidays-foreign-visitors-a7666461.html

    I assume you’re a US citizen, so it’s what you (or the majority of your peers) voted for.

  5. Can you tell me how I would credit the miles earned to United? I have never done this – possibly because I never actually buy a ticket 🙂

    • I sure can. However, before I do, let me ask a rhetorical: Are you sure you want to credit to United?

      Here’s why I ask: This fare will only earn 125% mileage flown with United. It’ll earn 200% with Air Canada Aeroplan.

      If you are flying a one-way, that’s about 5,000 flown miles between Oslo and either Boston (a hair less) or New York (a hair more). That means a one-way will earn about 6,250 United miles or 10,000 Air Canada miles. A round trip would therefore earn about 12,500 United miles or about 20,000 Air Canada miles.

      Within the continental US and Canada, 20k Air Canada miles will get you a round trip short-haul premium economy saver flight on United. Air Canada is also a Membership Rewards transfer partner. That round trip will get you most of the way to a round trip domestic economy saver ticket on United (which costs 25k miles whether United miles or Air Canada miles). In other words, if you’re going to use the miles to travel domestically within the United States, the award charts are almost identical, but you’d earn a lot more miles crediting to Air Canada.

      If you wanted to travel somewhere like Europe, Air Canada’s awards are less miles than United’s. There are some partners with fuel surcharges, so it’s not completely cut-and-dry….but I think most people would do better crediting to Air Canada than United (again, since Air Canada is a Membership Rewards transfer partner, it’s easy to top off your account to complete an award).

      Another similarly good option would be Avianca, which would also give you 200% mileage credit.

      All that said, I know there are only so many hours in a day and maybe you don’t want to delve into learning how to redeem with those programs and just want to credit to something familiar — no shame there. So let’s answer your question:

      1. Go to TAP’s website (https://www.flytap.com/en-us/).
      2. Find the green box on the right side that says “Manage Reservation” and click it.
      3. Select “Change/View”.
      4. Enter confirmation code and last name
      5. Click proceed on the pop-up
      6. Scroll down to where it shows the passenger(s)
      7. Click the “modify” button under passenger names that looks like it has a bathroom sign.
      8. On the next page, under each passenger’s name, you should see a drop-down that says “Card 1 Frequent Flyer Airline:”. Choose your preferred airline program. Enter your membership number in the box to the right.
      9. Click the green “continue” button the right.

      I haven’t actually bothered doing it myself yet, so I’m not sure what will happen next. When I try to select seats, it gives me a red error message — but then, when I go back to the home page and enter my confirmation code again, it shows my seats selected on the itinerary — so it’s working. I booked a few flights for me and for others, so I’ve selected seats for everyone today.

      To select seats, back on the main booking confirmation page (where you clicked the “Modify” bathroom-sign-looking-button, you can click a green button at the top right that says “Manage Booking” and then choose “Additional Services”. From there, you can pick your seats. Again, it’ll give you an error message, but if you pull up your itinerary again it should show the seats selected. It gives you the option to add lounge access (for $0.00). It wouldn’t let me go through with it if trying to add lounge access in Oslo, but I was able to add it in Lisbon. I’d have assumed that was automatic with your boarding pass — I wouldn’t think you need to choose it there, but I did anyway.

      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks for the very detailed response!

        While trying to book, I find I can get a great deal, but most of the cheaper flights LIS-NYC are the angled-flat seats version of the A330-200. I found one in my date range that is the nicer version but no overnight in Lisbon (and not a good selection of seats for a couple).

        I’ll keep trying ….

        • Are you basing that on the airline seat map or something else? I found the airline seat map (the one on TAP Portugal’s site) to be different from the one I saw on SeatGuru.

          That said, I did book into Boston because the dates I needed were all more expensive into NYC.

          As for no overnight in Lisbon, a stopover is free. Just book yourself from Oslo to Lisbon a day or two earlier. This doesn’t solve your dilemma if the seat selection for the two of you isn’t what you want, but for example, I’m flying into Lisbon on Thursday. I’m flying Lisbon-Boston on Saturday — that way I’ll have Thursday evening and all day Friday in Lisbon. The price is the same — just take your cheap day to NYC and book the Oslo-Lisbon leg for a couple of days before that (there is plenty of availability on the OSL-LIS leg).

          Best of luck! I can’t believe it’s still alive 🙂

  6. Did you book the stopover online? When I go to the TAP Portugal website and try to book Oslo to Boston with a 2-day stopover in Lisbon, the only stopover booking options are round-trip. Do you have to call in to book a stopover on a one-way?

    • Sorry, didn’t see your post earlier. I booked mine through Amex travel and just chose the multi-city tool. Not sure if there was a multi-city tool on TAP Portugal site, but there should be a multi-city tool on almost any online travel agency like Priceline Expedia Etc. Then you just put in you’re different cities and dates and build multiple flights. It should price the same with one stopover in Lisbon.

    • I was able to get this on TAP by first going to google/flights and setting up my multi-city, business class and then click the link to TAP.

      In the end I decided to not complete the booking on the TAP site but rather did the AMEX 50% points back option like Nick suggested – so it looks like 21,894 MR points per person for Business Class OSL-LIS-JFK (stopover for 2 nights in LIS and the lie-flat seats to JFK).

      This will be a great return route from our UK trip, adding the Northern Lights in Tromso and a short time in Lisbon because we love that city. When you compare a return from England the fees alone normally cost more!

      I was able to select the seats on the LIS-JFK leg but not on the OSL-LIS portion, not sure why yet. Still need to credit the miles earned to … maybe Avianca as I just got their credit card and 60K miles.

      NICK: THANKS A TON FOR YOUR RESPONSES ABOVE – I THINK YOU STEERED ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

  7. One last question: Is the 50% back on MR points automatic? I don’t see anywhere to enroll.
    I have an AMEX Bus Platinum card and went through the links to use my MR points to make the reservation.

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