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Review: British Airways Business Class Vienna to London

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Our New Years trip through Europe had taken some twists and turns and looked to be winding down after an incredible stay at the Park Hyatt Vienna. What a gorgeous hotel.  As luck would have it, our trip continued on through London, the North of England, and Paris – what is this life?? – but Vienna was intended as our last stop before visiting some family in England. Because we’d booked so last minute, we were at the mercy of availability and the only seats that opened up from Vienna to London were in British Airways Club Europe.

Personally, I’m not a fan of using points to experience “premium” flights intra-europe as there isn’t much distinction between flying in Business Class vs Economy. Yes, you get some free food and drink, lounge access, but for a couple hour flight that rewards premium passengers with a blocked middle seat, I’d rather stretch my points further and fly economy twice.

The Deets:

  • When: January 2019
  • Where: Vienna to London
  • Aircraft: A320
  • Cabin: Club Europe ( Business Class )
  • Currency: 15k Avios per ticket + $35

 

Acquiring the points for booking

I used American Express Membership Rewards which instantly transferred to BA. While I booked for 15k, had I flown just a bit later in the month I’d have been able to book at a Saver rate of just 12,750 Avios. If you recall, Amex often offers transfer bonuses to BA and late last year they were offering a 40% bonus on transferred points – at 9k Amex points…it may be worth the extra points to fly biz over economy.

Currently I hold the following cards:

a screenshot of a coupon

Lounge:

You will gain access to the Air Lounge. However, if you’re a Priority Pass member…you’d have access anyways so the added value is nil for those in business who also carry a Priority Pass card.

a woman walking in a hallway

Boarding:

Funny thing…we “boarded” the bus first. Then road the bus out to the plane where I ended up being 3rd to last to get on the plane from that bus. Another one shortly followed that carried maybe another 20 people. Not exactly the intention of priority boarding I don’t think, but it gave me the opportunity to snap a cool pic of the plane from the tarmac. Just another reason why I don’t think it’s worth the premium

The Cabin

As you can see…it looks like economy

an airplane with people in the back

with a blocked center seat.

a plane with seats and windows

Food:

It’s a short flight and we had a nice, tasty snack. But…is it worth paying the premium? I could have had a decent meal at the airport – I would suggest doing this prior to security and not relying on the lounge to provide great quality or filling food. It was quite sparse.

a plate of food on a table

Arrival fast track – go here to read how you can get it at Heathrow

Fast track is incredible, but if you have status with BA or One World for that matter, you have access to fast track anywho…a nice benefit nonetheless

a postcard on a keyboard

Overall:

We booked this flight 2 days before departure and cash rates to get us to London direct and at a good time were outrageous. While I wouldn’t spend the extra points under ordinary circumstances, the cash rate was $1k for this flight. We’d never pay that, but it just goes to show how incredible transferrable points like Amex, Chase, Citi, and Capital One really can be when cash rates skyrocket.

We had a pleasant flight, but if you’re considering this as a luxurious option…I would mull it over and as I recommend to award clients…spend fewer points, reserve a emergency exit row, and rest easy that you aren’t really missing out on much by flying economy.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


4.8
4.8/5
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

*you may find an elevated offer walking into a branch – see below

Annual Fee

$95

Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
    • Some people have seen Chase branches offering the following:
      • 75k Ultimate Rewards After $4k spend in 3 months + 10k Ultimate Rewards after $6k in 6 months 
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • $95 Annual Fee

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 Comments

  • Mike Saint January 31, 2019

    Good post Miles. Your post is a good example why I keep a stash of BA Avios points at all times. I always transfer over 100k points when they do the 40% bonus once per year and although people say it’s never a good idea to transfer over points until you have a need for them, I find the 40% bonus to be too good of an offer to pass up.

    Intra Europe at the last minute is the best use of my Avios points I’ve found when prices skyrocket even if there is plenty of room.

    • Miles January 31, 2019

      Thanks so much! Short hauls are such great value

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