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An avid world traveller and an enthusiast of the aviation industry. Has been to over 50 countries, on paths well and less travelled. Always on the lookout for luxury travel at economy price.

Hilton Flash Sale 50% Off for Japan, Korea and Guam. Ends 24NOV2017.

Hilton has a 72 hour flash sale for its properties in Japan, South Korea and Guam, up to 50% off. Book before 24th November 2017, 2pm JST. Stays must be between 21st November 2017 and 30th June 2018. You must also be a Hilton Honors member. If you are not, it is easy to sign up and join online.

You can access the link for the flash sale here.

Regular travellers to this part of the world know that good hotels in Japan and Korea are very expensive, unless you have generous corporate rates. A 50% offer is a no brainer. Remember, rates are totally non-refundable.

See our review of Hilton Tokyo here.


Air Canada Releases Black Friday Sale – Good Fares To Asia. Book Before 26NOV2017.

Air Canada has launched its Black Friday sale today – actually bookable now until Sunday 26th November 2017 (11:59pm PDT).

Not seeing great deals for Canada domestic routes or inter-USA routes. But there are some great deals to ASIA.

From Vancouver, you can get economy flights to (dates dependent):
Hong Kong C$635 return
Shanghai C$605 return
Beijing C$619 return

Also, Vancouver to Dublin for C$687 return is a great deal.

30% Extra When You Convert RBC Reward Points to Avios, ends 31DEC2017

If you are based in Canada and have RBC credit cards that earn reward points, you can now convert the points into Avios for 30% more. For example, if you are converting 50,000 RBC points, you will get  65,000 Avios points. The ratio is usually one for one. The process is painless, and can be done entirely online. The offer is available until 31st December 2017.

Avios is the loyalty reward currency for British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus. Redeeming Avios points on British Airways for long haul flights attracts high taxes and fees, making it uneconomical, generally. However, Avios hits the sweet spot when it comes to redeeming short haul inter-European flights on British Airways, or short haul American Airlines flights, or domestic Japanese flights. They are really good value!

Air New Zealand Black Friday Sale £175 London to Los Angeles, £399 London to New Zealand Return

Air New Zealand has Black Friday (24th November 2017) sale.

Return fare from London to Los Angeles is £175.
Limited dates for Feb 2018 outbound, returning Feb and Mar 2018. Only the first 100 seats will get this price.
Outbound travel dates: 4/5/6/7/20/21/22/26/27/28 Feb 2018
Inbound travel dates: 11/12/13/14/15 Feb 2018 and 6/7/8/12/13 Mar 2018
Deal opens at 9am GMT Black Friday on airnewzealand.co.uk.

Return fare from London to New Zealand is £399.
Again, limited travel dates and seats. Only 50 seats available.
Outbound travel dates: 15/16/21/22/23 May 2018
Inbound travel dates: 28/29 May 2018 and 4/6/7 Jun 2018
Sale opens at 10am GMT Black Friday on www.airnewzealand.co.uk.

Excellent fares if you can get them! You must have all your dates in mind, and have to be super quick to get to the BUY button.

Tip: Use the Fare Hold feature – you do not have to complete the passenger details BUT you have to pay £25 extra!

Part 2: Repositioning – Go Where The Travel Deals Are

If your home airport is barren of great travel deals, you should start looking elsewhere. It is just like fishing. You can only get the fish where the fish are.

Starting and Ending Points
To get good deals, you must be prepared to fly from and to airports that are not your preferred points or not from where you are based. If you live in Seattle, you may have to start off from Los Angeles, Las Vegas or San Francisco. If London Heathrow is your home airport, you will find it very challenging to bag something good. You are more likely to find palatable deals from Dublin, Munich, Berlin, Stockholm, Oslo or Helsinki. Likewise, for your return points.

Regular flyers term this as “repositioning”. Repositioning involves taking you from your base to the departure airport to start your trip, and then from the arrival airport to your destination city – and vice versa. Occasionally, if you are lucky, there is no repositioning involved. Sometimes, only one way, but sometimes both ways.

Your home airport is London Heathrow and you want to end up in Vancouver. You found a great business class fare originating from Dublin to Los Angeles, and the return journey is from Los Angeles to London Heathrow. (DUB-LAX, LAX-LHR, this type of itinerary is frequently known as open jaw.) In this example, you need to reposition yourself from London to Dublin one way, then from Los Angeles to Vancouver return.

Repositioning adds to your overall travel costs. You have to factor this into your equation. The typical frequent flyers incur minimal cost for repositioning. The reason is because they usually use their frequent flyer points to get them where they need to be, and use hotel points for overnight stays if required.

Repositioning also requires extra travelling time. You must never plan your repositioning flights to immediately connect with the main flights. If your repositioning flight is delayed, you will be on your own. The airline is not going to help you because you are flying on separate tickets. You must build in more than adequate layover hours, 4-5 hours at least. Remember, when flying on separate tickets, the airline will not check through your baggage to your final point (but you may get lucky on the rare occasion). You will have to exit the arrival terminal and check in again. All these consume time.

It only makes sense if you are flying business class.

As repositioning incurs additional cost and time, you will find that it makes little sense to fly an economy deal. It is more suited for business or first class deals. To illustrate, say you bagged an economy fare for Los Angeles-London-Los Angeles for US$450, and you are based in Vancouver. You need to get to Los Angeles from Vancouver return, and if you cannot score a redemption flight, the cheapest paid return economy ticket might stretch to US$250, bringing the total to US$700 (or C$900). On a good day, you probably can get a published fare from Vancouver to London return for C$900. So, why bother with all the troubles? The situation is totally different if you scored a business class deal. The standard business class fare for Los Angeles-London-Los Angeles is in the region of US$4,500-5,000. If you scored the deal at US$1,500 business return, the repositioning cost of US$250 is insignificant. What awaits you later, principally, the lie-flat bed for 11 hours or so, will totally make up for the troubles. (Yes, make sure you choose the right aircraft type.)

Our position on repositioning: we use repositioning as the opportunity to discover a new city or to spend time at our favourite cities. We often stay overnight, or in the case of new cities, several nights. A word of advice – ensure that you have a comprehensive travel insurance to cover all eventualities.

Is it worth it? See our next installment in this series.

Part 1: Mistake Fares And Good Deals – Do They Exist?

“Mistake fares” are when you see insanely crazy fares on full service airlines. They are usually too good to be true. For example, Auckland, New Zealand to Oakland, California in business class return with Delta Airlines for a mere US$900. Or from Florence, Italy to Victoria, Seychelles, and returning from Seychelles to Dusseldorf, Germany, all for €596 in business class, operated by a combination of Air Seychelles and Etihad Airways (ticketed on Alitalia papers). Or a US$174 economy round trip fare from Dallas, Texas to Melbourne, Australia on Virgin Australia.

All these three examples were real and took place at various times in 2017. So, yes, they do exist. However, the outcome, whether you will fly or not, varies considerably.

Commonly, mistake fares are due to human error such as someone entering the digits wrongly, or the airline messes up complex routing rules, or it could simply be an IT glitch.

Airlines do not have to honour these mistake fares, and they can cancel your ticket or downgrade you anytime, right up to departure time. Until recently, the US Department of Transport (DoT) was in support of the customers for mistake fares, but not anymore. Now DoT only requires the airline to reimburse the customers for non-cancellable and verifiable expense items arising from the mistake.

If you find a mistake fare, please do not make onward arrangements such as connecting flights and booking hotel nights until you are very sure that the airline is honouring the fare.

The etiquette when finding and using a mistake fare is to lie low for a few days. Do not call the airline to alert them. When the dust settles, evaluate the situation again and take it from there. Invariably, which path the airline chooses, will depend on how much it values its reputation against the economic consequences. If you put the values in a chart, you will find that these two factors are almost inversely proportional to each other. But not always.

Spoiler alert. Of the three examples above, only one was honoured by the airlines. Delta Airlines cancelled all the bookings for Auckland-Oakland-Auckland after nine days, but reinstated them after public complaints; Alitalia cancelled all the bookings for the Florence-Seychelles-Dusseldorf after a week; and Virgin Australia pleaded ‘human error’ and cancelled all the tickets for the Dallas-Melbourne-Dallas after nine days.

Our position with mistake fares: if they fit our travel plans, we will not hesitate to go for them. We will certainly wait and see if the airline honours the ticket. If they do, then only we make our onward travel arrangements. If they do not, we see it as another booking that did not materialise, and just move on. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Is it worth it? See our next installment in this series.