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Using AsiaMiles To Book British Airways: Epic Journey Part One

Around the time Bilt Rewards came onboard to sponsor our ToP DFW Meetup and give away 300,000 Bilt Rewards to 3 lucky meetup attendees, I knew my days working a full-time day job were numbered. Our Facebook group was growing exponentially and it was time for me to join Travel on Point(s) full time. At the same time, I happened to have Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles expiring in less than 2 weeks. I figured why not kill 3 birds with one stone! I would celebrate my move to a full-time job at ToP with a whirlwind trip, burn expiring AsiaMiles and would use the 100,000 Bilt Rewards that I received as part of the ToP team winnings from the DFW giveaway. Here is part one of my booking, using AsiaMiles to book British Airways.

My Game Plan For This Epic Journey

With no expectations in what, when, where or how I burned these Bilt Rewards, I decided it was time for an epic, once-in-a-lifetime trip! In total, I cover 5 continents, 9 countries and hit up 9 different cities. I will also log over 62 hours of flight time, and fly 29,000 nautical miles. That is all to be completed in only 11 days. I will blog each portion of the way and cover it on instagram. It is going to be a really busy 11 days! This trip is booked in 3 parts (plus all the hotels and fun). This trip really has a little bit of everything. Maximizing partner awards on airlines, finding insane cash prices on one of the most desired business class products in the world, maximizing transferrable currencies & more.

Here are some hints at the bookings I made for this trip:

  • Part One:
    • Burning Asia Miles On British Airways, But Not How You Would Think
  • Part Two:
    • Maximizing An Insane Cash Fare On One Of The Most Beloved Business Class Products
  • Part Three:
    • Burning 100,000 Bilt Rewards Points Hopping All Around The Middle East & Europe, Plus Getting Home
  • Part Four:
    • Tours, Activites, Hotels & Everything In-between

Using AsiaMiles To Book British Airways For Part One Of My Journey

London

Booking Flight #1 – Washington D.C. To London

From the Washington, D.C. area, AsiaMiles usually means flying British Airways or American Airlines, since all are part of OneWorld. I quickly settled on British Airways for an international trip. I can travel domestically anytime, right? This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so international it is! Anyone that has looked at a British flight, or an award flight through London Heathrow (LHR), knows that fuel surcharges (YQ) can quickly torpedo the value of an award booking. In fact, booking the (off-peak) trip I planned via British costs 125,000 points and $750+ in taxes. This is where AsiaMiles helps. AsiaMiles redemptions are based on zones, rather than mileage flown, and the taxes and fees are usually cheaper. As expected, I booked my trip with AsiaMiles for a fraction of what British Airways cost!

Here is what my flights would have cost booking them directly with British Airways and their Avios program:

So I am headed to London. Yay! But what else? The Dulles (IAD) to London Heathrow route is operated by an Airbus 380. While I love a double-decker airplane, BA has the old Club World seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. Not really appealing in today's world of suites, suites with doors, etc.

Luckily, British offers updated Club World business Club Suites on its Airbus 350-10 (35K) airplanes. These seats are more modern and are 1-2-1 reverse herringbone suites with doors. The problem is that British has very few of these airplanes and they are not available on many routes.

As of April 2023, British Airways flies the 35K with updated Club Suites on these routes:
  • London Heathrow to Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong to London Heathrow
  • London Heathrow to Las Vegas
  • Las Vegas to London Heathrow
  • London Heathrow to Accra
  • Accra to London Heathrow
  • London Heathrow to São Paulo
  • São Paulo to London Heathrow
  • London Heathrow to San Diego
  • San Diego to London Heathrow

Booking Flight #2 – London to São Paulo

Based on these routes, I quickly settled on São Paulo. The flights onward from Accra were not appealing and I was recently in Hong Kong. São Paulo is a great city for foodies and is a wonderful spot for Fifth Freedom routes. Sign me up! This flight is the 2nd longest British 35K flight in the world, ranging between 11:30 and 12:15 of flight time. For those curious, the longest British 35K flight is London Heathrow to Hong Kong, at 12:30. So I get to experience true Club World suites and have enough time to work, to sleep, and to enjoy the experience!

Using AsiaMiles To Book British Airways
Recent flight times from London Heathrow to São Paulo-Guarulhos. Courtesy of flightaware.com

Going The Long Way…

Instead of flying a traditional route to São Paulo from North America, I will connect in Europe. Yes, this is not the traditional way, but that is the theme of this trip! Nothing is normal and anything is possible.

Using AsiaMiles To Book British Airways
Map from gcmap.com IAD-GRU, total of 4,737 miles.

Instead of the traditional route, I will fly a British Airways A380 to London Heathrow. From there, I get approximately 12 hours to see London, eat some amazing food, and then head back to the airport for my 12 hour Club World suites flight to South America. The entire flight time is a touch over 19 hours and 9,540 nautical miles.

Using AsiaMiles To Book British Airways
Courtesy of gcmap.com IAD-LHR-GRU, total of 9,540 miles.

The Redemption

As mentioned earlier, I had expiring AsiaMiles that were perfect for this trip. 90,000 miles and $480~ to book this itinerary. 19 hours and almost 10,000 miles of fun. Plus, this is another flight on a double-decker A380 and a rare chance to fly a British A35K and the Club World Suites. Not only was this flight much cheaper than booking with other Oneworld carriers, but it sets the tone perfectly on my once-in-a-lifetime trip.

The Destination

São Paulo is a city we visited in January 2019. I swear it feels like a lifetime ago. We ate at a ToP 50 Restaurant in the world, D.O.M., and truly enjoyed it. I doubt I will go for that type of luxury this time, but I do plan to eat and drink my way through the city. My flight arrives at 6 a.m. and I am on the ground until the middle of the night. I hope to do and see many things in my few hours there. In a later post, I will discuss each of the hotels I selected along the way. After a whirlwind 20 hours on the ground in Brazil, I depart on a new itinerary and for a different continent.

Using AsiaMiles To Book British Airways: ToP Thoughts

Expect the unexpected, question the conventional, and (hopefully) prepared to be amazed. This once in a lifetime trip includes a little bit of everything. In this first part of a multi-part series, I booked a British Airways flight from D.C. to São Paulo, via London. I hope to eat my way around town in London, before hopping in a newish Club World Suites seat and head to South America to, you guessed it, eat my way around town! Follow along on my journey. I hope it is as fun for you as it has been planning it. I am glad I was able to burn those expiring AsiaMiles on a product I am so excited about trying out too. Sometimes need creates opportunity, if you are open to it.

Questions, comments, or reactions? Let us know over in our Facebook group.

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