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Update: A quick addition to this post: Frequent Miler Insider Maruo alerted us to the fact that the AARP discount works on the itineraries with Aer Lingus, dropping the prices on those Chicago-London flights to $1356 when purchased directly from British Airways. See this post for details on how this works and then read on below the screen shot for the full original post.
There appears to be a bit of a business class fare sale going on this morning. Let me start this out by saying that there are many cities available with pricing in the $1500’s / $1600’s that are also available via credit card portals from around 105K points round trip (and you may earn as many as 21,000 Alaska Airlines miles on the oneworld fares). The cheapest headline fare comes via a small online travel agency and includes a short-haul economy class flight on either end, with the trans-Atlantic flights marked in business class. I have no idea as to how reputable that OTA is, but whether you chance it with that really cheap cash fare or go for one of the other multitude of deals, there are a bunch of fantastic fares available to Europe through Christmas and into early January.
- There are terrific business class fares available right now from many US cities to Europe, including:
- Chicago to London from $1561 (or possibly from $1,072 as shown below)
- San Francisco to Amsterdam from $1619 (note that booking direct is $1684)
- More cities possible like San Francisco, New York, Miami, and Chicago to cities like Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Zurich, and Luxembourg.
- Direct link to Google Flights
- Direct link to cheapest fare via SkyScanner
I saw this morning that Premium-Flights posted on Flyertalk about a business class deal from Chicago to London on oneworld from $1599, though I found the pricing from $1556 — or just over 105K Ultimate Rewards points round trip if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This cheap pricing is valid during the fall and up through Christmas week and into early January — and I think you would earn around 20,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles on those Chicago-London fares on British Airways and Aer Lingus.
Then I noticed that that God Save the Points posted a SkyTeam sale from Premium-Flights that includes several US cities in the $1600’s round trip, including from San Francisco, New York, Miami, and Chicago to cities like Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Zurich, and Luxembourg. Gilbert has the details and links to that pricing in his post. The key to note is that the cheapest fares on those are via Skyscanner — though even if you buy direct from the airlines for a bit more, many of them are still excellent (and available via credit card portals). It’s amazing to see pricing like this, even during Christmas week:
These are all terrific prices for business class fares. I recently noted in discussion about using Ultimate Rewards points for grocery purchases that you can sometimes find round trip business class from the US to Europe in the $1800-$2,000 range — this is even better and not common (of course, in a post-COVID world, who knows what “normal” prices will look like).
Flying out of Chicago on a mix of one-world carriers, you can get round trip business class to London from about $1556 via British Airways or $1561 via other OTAs or just over 105K points round trip through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. On the way to London, it looks like you have a number of airline options (including British Airways). On the return journey, I think you’ll have to fly Aer Lingus for the cheapest prices.
Either way, the price is right. Here is a look at Chicago to London (entered in Google Flights as Chicago (ORD) to London-Gatwick (LGW), though there were also some Heathrow options)
While the Flyertalk thread indicated that this might error out on the British Airways site, I had no problem pricing it there, in this case taking the direct flight from Chicago to London and Aer Lingus back:
Pricing via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal was a few bucks more expensive even on connecting itineraries, but it’s hard to argue with 105K round trip for paid business class that earns miles:
It looks like the flights all book into I-class. Alaska Airlines offers 250% mileage flown on British Airways for I-class and 225% mileage flown on Aer Lingus for that class of service (before any elite status bonuses). That should come to around 21,000 miles earned round trip depending on your route. Not all miles are created equally, but Alaska Mileage Plan miles are (at least at the moment) quite valuable. A net ~84K miles round trip to Europe in business class looks like a terrific deal. In fact, given the mileage earnings at play here, I’d say it may not be irrational to hold Ultimate Rewards for an opportunity like this. British Airways isn’t the most highly-regarded business class in the sky, but Aer Lingus looks nice and either way you’ll be getting a flat bed across the Atlantic, which is a great deal for the price.
But for the adventurous among us, those same dates above can be booked via a small OTA shown at Skyscanner for just 855 Great British Pounds (about $1,072 at the time of wiriting) round trip.
I’ve never booked with Travel2be and can not at all vouch for them. I followed that fare all the way to the payment page (turning down every possible type of add-on fee you can imagine in the process). It does not confirm the fare class anywhere in the process (apart from saying that the long-haul flights are in business class). When I click the fare rules, it only tells me that the tickets are nonrefundable.
That doesn’t inspire confidence that there isn’t some type of mistake at play here. Still, those willing to gamble some time tied up in a chargeback situation down the road might be willing to take the plunge for such a cheap price.
Again, there are lots of other opportunities out there. For example, here is San Francisco to Amsterdam on KLM via the Ultimate Rewards portal for just 112K points round trip with the Sapphire Reserve (note that it shows Virgin Atlantic, but says it is operated by KLM and it is a nonstop).
There are many other cities available, so if you are willing to accept the risk of booking a ticket to Europe this fall/winter, it is worth searching your desired city pairs on Google Flights to find the best deals there. Then you can either plug the same dates into Skyscanner to save a bit more or put them into the Ultimate Rewards portal to use Chase points. Note that those with the Amex Business Platinum could take advantage of the 35% pay-with-points rebate to potentially pay a few thousand fewer points after rebate.