Talk about niche – this is it. But many people would rather cease many things in life than to give up their British Airways Gold or Silver Executive Club privileges, and for those who find themselves struggling for ways to do so, given a complete lack of any normal travel patterns, there’s a great fare out there which gets you nearly all the way to the reduce qualifying criteria of Gold for 2021, and well past Silver in one go.
It’s still not cheap at £1300, and involves a few wait and see’s, but hey, it might be just the ticket for you, literally. Oh, and it’s in business class all the way.
Update: this fare has now been pulled from the system, but read up to see how to maximize the next one to come along, which surely won’t be long!
Europe to Hawaii In Business Class
British Airways and American Airlines are partner across the Atlantic as part of a joint venture, which means you can earn points on BA while flying AA, and vice versa.
Right now, American Airlines has a fare from Paris to Hawaii, which allows you to fly on many BA and American flights en-route to Hawaii. If you play your cards cleverly, you can work in some amazing connections which add mega tier points.
That’s right, for each flight over 2,500 miles of distance in business class, you earn 140 tier points. For shorter flights it’s typically 40. Here’s the ultimate guide to tier points for a little refresher to maximize your booking.
Hawaii means you can earn 140+140+140 each way, stopping in New York and LA en route, or more, plus the connections in Europe, for a smooth 920 tier points. Plus, you end up in Hawaii, a vacation paradise, where you can luxuriate before return.
And of course, you can upgrade these flights to first, if you book with American and have any American Airlines miles, or book with BA and have any Avios.
Lowered Qualifications And Red Flags
As a side note; British Airways lowered the qualification criteria to earn elite status in 2021. Earning Gold will require 1125 tier points instead of 1500. With 920, or more, from this flight alone… yeah. And Silver, you’ll make that a few times over.
Now, the obvious red flags.
America is currently closed to UK visitors, and well, now, most of the world is too. But that will change, and these fares aren’t for immediate travel. In fact, they’re for Spring 2021, and credible sources continue to say that the US will open to UK and European visitors long before that date.
By spring, more people should be vaccinated, which is vital. Hawaii currently requires all tourist visitors to present a negative covid-19 PCR test taken before departure to skip quarantine. For planning purposes, Kauai is currently opted out of this, which means any plans to Kauai would require quarantine.
So yes – this is a huge punt. You may not be allowed to enter the country, and the world may not be any better than it is today. The fare is available between December 22nd and January 6th, and again in the Spring of 2021 for departures between April 4th and 19th.
However, an optimist believes both of those things will resolve themselves, and if you investigate each airline’s travel flex policies, you should still have a voucher for the full amount, for a later date in the worst case. Plus, if they cancel any of your flights, you should be able to move for free, or select even better flights.
Actually Booking These Flights
Once you’ve read the complete bible on earning tier points, and you’re planning your trip, it all comes down to making the best connections work for you. My best advice is to start on Google Flights, and find dates where the fare exists.
Then, you’ll want to switch to a multi city booking on Google Flights or American Airlines, to try and build in optimal connections, with as many 140 tier point legs. To do this, you search PAR-LON, then LON-NYC, then NYC-LAX, or NYC-MIA-LAX, then LAX-HNL. You can then do the same for the return.
Stops under 24 hours won’t break the fare, so if you could fly from London to New York and get in at 11AM, and depart New York for LA before 11AM, you can get a night in the city in between.
Here’s an example to get you started, and how the fields are broken up. British Airways should be able to book this over the phone, which would be advantageous if you want to do any upgrading using Avios. If you’re fine in business class, American can book this online from your Google Flights link.
I’ve got CDG-LHR (40 tier points), LHR-JFK (140 tier points), JFK-LAX (140 tier points), LAX to HNL (140 tier points), and then the same thing in reverse. It could be padded out with more, but that’s actually a really comfortable way to break up the flying.
Yes, it may amount to two days of flying. But in the comfort of a bed, it could be much worse. And like I said, this isn’t for most people, but for anyone who’s hellbent on their Gold card remaining in tact, who won’t have usual travel patterns, it’s a great way to make things work and lock in another year of Gold.