Updates to Vancouver Airport’s international flights are always interesting to me. This jolted me awake this morning, as British Airways is bringing their Airbus A380 to YVR for the 2016 Summer Schedule!
Normally, British Airways operates 10-14 weekly during the Summer in Vancouver, usually with a Boeing 747-400 and/or Boeing 777-200ER. British Airways’ configuration of the Airbus A380 houses 469 passengers, for a total of 3283 passengers maximum weekly capacity. A 12 weekly Boeing 747-400/777-200ER service would send anywhere between 3100 – 3800 passengers, so it’s actually not that much of an increase once BA closes the reservation for the second weekly service. The flight will run as BA84/85, as per AirlineRoute. The A380 service will start May 1:
BA085 LHR1715 – 1840YVR 388 D
BA084 YVR2050 – 1400+1LHR 388 D
I’ve flown their Boeing 747-400 First Class before, which I think is a decent business plus class product but not nearly as spacious as an international First Class product. British Airways’ Airbus A380 features an updated version of the First Class seat, so I’m definitely looking forward to try that out.
Redeeming for the British Airways A380 Vancouver Service
Award space is not bad compared to award availability normally on West Coast – London especially compared to the A380 routes to San Francisco and Los Angeles. There’s at least 1 First Class award seat 3/4 days of the week in May and June.
There’s also Club World (Business Class) awards available nearly every day, including the inaugural!
There are three main ways to redeem for this flight.
- Alaska Airlines MileagePlan
You will need 60,000 miles for a one-way business class redemption to Europe, and 70,000 for a one-way first class redemption, which can be ticketed online. The easiest way to earn Alaska miles quickly in Canada is by applying for the MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercard, offering 25,000 miles as a welcome bonus. Here’s the complete award chart.
The good thing about Alaska is that you’re allowed a stopover even on a one-way ticket, so theoretically you could fly Los Angeles to Vancouver on Alaska to tag on essentially a free one-way if you’re based in Vancouver.
- American AAdvantage
American requires 50,000 miles for Business Class and 62,500 for First Class to Europe. This is probably the cheapest redemption, and you could include partner oneworld segments if it fit into the itinerary. The best way to earn American Miles is through the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express, offering 20,000 Starwood Points as a bonus after completing minimum spend.
- British Airways Executive Club Avios
With the recent devaluation, there are now peak and non-peak prices for BA metal flights. For non-peak dates, business class is 62,500 Avios, and first is 85,000 Avios. For peak dates, it costs 75,000 and 100,000 miles for Club World and First respectively. The peak dates can be found when searching for reward flights on the BA Executive Club website.
The best way to earn British Airways Avios is actually through American Express Membership Rewards, as it’s currently offering a 25% bonus for transfer to Avios. These can be earned with the Gold Rewards card, the Platinum Card, and the Business Gold Rewards American Express, offering 25,000, 60,000, and 40,000 miles each.
Do keep in mind that all three miles above incur fuel surcharges. This would reach around $450 departing from North America.
While there are cheaper ways to use miles to fly to Europe, taking the direct flight from Vancouver to London maybe more convenient, especially when there’s at least nine business class award seats and two first class seats available during the peak travel season of summer.
As a Vancouverite, I am so happy seeing A380 service to my city!