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The series of great Business Class fares out of Europe continues today with an incredibly cheap deal to Sao Paulo published by TAP Air Portugal. Best of all (and unlike a lot of the other great Business Class fares I’ve written about recently) this fare is for non-stop travel.
Headline Fare Rules
TAP hasn’t actually published all that many rules with this fare. I haven’t seen any “book by” or “travel by” dates, there don’t seem to be any minimum or maximum stay criteria and the only real restrictions are the flights that can be taken,
- Outbound flight must be TP082 on Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri or Sun
- Return flight must be on TP089 on Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri or Sat
- Accompanied children/infants with their own sear cost 75% of the adult fare
- Accompanied infants without their own seat cost 10% of the adult fare
The good deals
The fare is for non-stop travel on TAP Air Portugal between Lisbon and Sao Paulo:
There are a couple of departure dates in January which offer a fantastic deal with this fare…
….while February sees the cost rise to over $1,700.
The sub $1,600 fare is back for a few days in March….
…and only one day in April…
…before disappearing entirely in June….
The sub $1,600 fare is back on a good number of days in August….
…and on slightly fewer days in September.
October shows a lot of availability….
…as does November….
….and December (although some of the dates towards the end of December are not yet bookable)
More often than not you’ll be offered a TAP A330-200 on the outbound flight and the new TAP A330-900neo on the return but, later in the year, you should be able to snag the new A330neo on both flights:
Both the older and the newer A330’s that operate this route offer modern true lie-flat Business Class cabins but one is better than the other.
The A330-200’s (usually found on the outbound flight) offer a seat map which looks like this:
The better seats here are the “throne seats” at 3J and 5J and, based on my experience of a similar cabin layout on a Malaysia Airlines 330, I’d choose the center seats over 3A and 5A which can feel a little claustrophobic.
The Business Class seat map of the newer A330-900neo looks like this:
And the images of the cabin published by TAP look like this:
For solo travelers the best seats here should be the ones on either side of the aircraft and closest to the windows (3A/K, 5A/K, 7A/K 9A/K) while the best seats for couples will be the center pair in rows 3, 5, 7 & 9.
The solo seats I’ve highlighted will be the most private while the center seats (for couples) are private and close enough together to make conversation easy.
One thing you should look out on this route is the TAP A340 which makes an occasional appearance:
As the seat map below shows….
…this aircraft offers an old-fashioned Business Class cabin with a 2-2-2 seating configuration and angle-flat seats. This is easily the weakest cabin TAP offers on this route and I would avoid it if possible.
Finding The Fare
You can use Google Flights to find these fares if that’s the search you’re used to using but I prefer to use the Matrix Search as it seems to show more flight options.
Here’s an example of the search parameters I used to find the good deals….
…but clearly you’ll need to tailor these to match your desired dates, destination, currency etc…
Booking The Fare
You can’t book the fares via the Matrix search so, once you’ve found dates that work for you, you should book via the route which is most beneficial to you.
By this I mean….
- If you’re using a credit card that gives you a bonus for booking directly with an airline you should make sure you book via TAP.
- If you’re using a credit card that gives you a bonus for all travel bookings booking you should be safe booking through most online travel agents or the airlines directly.
Here’s an example of an itinerary priced up on Google Flights and you’ll see that it’s actually pricing up a little cheaper than the Matrix search:
Where To Credit The Flights
TAP Portugal is a member of the Star Alliance so there’s a wide choice of loyalty programs to which its flights can be credited….but you need to be careful – you get a lot more credit with some programs than you do with others.
To give yourself all the information you need to make the best decision I suggest using the Wheretocredit tool and, just to give you an idea of the kind of options open to you, here are a few examples of what some of the loyalty programs will offer you.
- Aeroplan – 200% of distance flown
- Emirates Skywards – 150% of distance flown
- Miles & More – 200% of distance flown
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer – 150% of distance flown
- United MileagePlus – 125% of distance flown
Crediting these business class flights to one of the programs offering miles at a rate of 200% of the distance flown would see you earn almost 20,000 miles in – that’s why I would probably credit to Aeroplan or Singapore Airlines (but those are personal choices).
A sub $1,600 between Europe and South America is almost always a good deal but it becomes even better when it’s a non-stop itinerary like this one – if you have to position to Lisbon to catch this fare (as I suspect most readers will have to) you’ll probably only have a 1-stop itinerary in each direction (in total) and that’s pretty good going.
Make sure you avoid the A340 and you should find yourself in a pretty good Business Class cabin. If you book on to the newer A330-900neo you’ll be booking TAP’s best cabin and one that offers better seating than a significant number of high-profile airlines offer in the majority of their aircraft (like United, BA and Lufthansa).
Anyone tempted to book this?