Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Is it really cheaper or am I just splitting fares?

I am continuing to post here, but my main site is now: Come and visit!

Picture this scenario. You live in the Washington area, and next summer you would like to spend a few days in London, and then you would like to fly on to Greece. The plan looks like this. You will leave Washington on July 14, 2007. Then you will travel to Athens on July 21. You would like to stay there until August 5. There is a late flight out of Athens on August 5, and you can take the onward leg back to Washington on August 6.

Using the BA site and selecting the lowest possible and most restricted fare, This journey will set you back $2,294, and that includes $341.81 in taxes. Quite a lot!

Now there is nothing you can do about these dreadful taxes, but there are a few tricks you can do to play with the fare. Try this. Still using the BA site, book the Washington to London flight as one trip picking the very same flight, and the trip to London will cost $985.71, including taxes of $288.71. Then buy another ticket and book exactly the same flights to and from Athens. The total fare for the Athens trip will be GBP (British Pounds) 168.20 or $328.64 in US dollars. So the total for your trip will turn out to be $1,314.35 — a total savings of 979.65!

And if you worry that British Airways will use their computers to track you down and hate you for ever, you could always use another airline for the London to Washington leg. There are all sorts of airlines offering low cost trips out of London to many European airports.

For example, using EasyJet (, the trip to Greece from London’s Gatwick airport would cost GBP 150.52, and that includes a travel insurance policy as well as taxes.

Good luck searching for cheap flights. And remember that two tickets are often cheaper than one!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Redeeming miles on British Airways Executive Club

A slightly more detailed version of this post is posted on my new site:

Another work in progress on the new site is that you will be able to filter postings. For example, you can see only the airline-related postings.

This posting is probably useful only to British Airways Executive Club members who live in the United States.

Back in the “good old days,” it was pretty easy to rack up miles on British Airways.
First, they had household accounts, which allowed people living at the same address to pool their miles into a single account. As a result, even people who hardly ever traveled could collectively earn a free ticket.

Secondly, it was pretty cheap to buy tickets with miles. For example, 40,000 miles would buy a ticket from anywhere in the United States to anywhere in Europe. I once went from Washington (IAD) to Istanbul forjust 40,000 miles. I also once had a fabulous trip in First for 120,000 miles. My route was Washinton to London; London to Dubai; Dubai to Tehran; Tehran to Dubai; Dubai to London; London to Manchester; Manchester to London; London to Washington.

Third you could accumulate miles really fast using a Diners Club card. For every dollar you spent, you earned a mile. And every summer, British Airways used to have a two-for-one offer.
These happy days are over. British Airways now gives you only 25% of miles flown if you use a discount ticket. The number of miles required has risen massively. And the Diners Club offer in the summer gives you only 1.5 miles to the dollar. We are going to book some tickets to southern Europe sometime this summer (probably Athens), but each ticket is going to cost 65,000 miles.

It almost looks as if British Airways wants to hide free tickets on its web site. They advertise deals that allow you to pay part cash and part miles, and these are easy to find. They also seem to hid the chart that tells you how many miles you are going to need.

So here is the link for members (with a number/userID and PIN/password) wanting to get free tickets for their miles.

Friday, December 01, 2006

New Website!!!

Well as you may know, I have been really busy with other stuff. But one thing that I have accomplished is to establish, and that is where I will be blogging in the future.

I have teamed with my niece, Louisa.  The idea is to try and provide travel, food, and wine information from two entirely difference perspectives.