FARE ALERT: Brussels – Shanghai Roundtrip Business Class From $1,735 (BA/Virgin Atlantic)

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Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are both currently offering very good Business Class deals for travel between Brussels and Shanghai for travel though to the end of the current booking period.

Availability looks good and it’s easy to avoid long layovers so this should offer a nice opportunity to rack up some Virgin Atlantic or British Airways Tier Points or even credits towards American Airlines status (if you book the BA flights).

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Headline Fare Rules

The rules for the Virgin Atlantic and British Airways fares are very similar:

  • Reservations are needed 60 days before departure
  • A Saturday night stay is required
  • Maximum stay is 12 months
  • 3 stopovers allowed (Virgin Atlantic) or unlimited stopovers allowed (BA) – 2 at €100 each then €200
  • Accompanied children/infants with their own seat cost 75%/67% of the adult fare (VS/BA)
  • Accompanied infants (<2 years old) without their own seat cost 10% of the adult fare

There doesn’t appear to be a published end date for either of these fares so they may be around for a while or may disappear at any moment.

The British Airways fare is bookable via the British Airways website while the Virgin Atlantic fare will require a call to Virgin Atlantic (as the short-haul sectors are flown with BA) or may be found through some OTAs.

Fare Routing

Unsurprisingly, as both these fares are for flights on airlines based in the UK, the itineraries route through London Heathrow.

Here’s an example of a routing including Virgin Atlantic…

a screenshot of a flight schedule

…and here’s an all-British Airways routing:

a screenshot of a flight schedule

Fare Availability

I set the parameters of my search to eliminate long layovers and to avoid airport changes. Changing the search parameters to allow either (or both) of those will make the availability look different.

Virgin Atlantic is offering a reasonable fare in March….

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…but, courtesy of the 60-day advance purchase rule, the better fares don’t appear until April:

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Availability looks great in May….

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…and June….

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…and essentially looks the same for the July…

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…and September…..

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…while in October availability remains great but we see a new low price appear:

a screenshot of a flight schedule

The price on this route gets cheaper in November….

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….and this continues through December….

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…and into January:

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Finding The Fare

I used the Matrix ITA Airfare Search to find this deal – here’s an example set of parameters I used:a screenshot of a flight registration

If you wish to find more availability (and are prepared for longer layovers or overnight stops) simply avoid using the “maxdur” commands you see in the image above.

Note: if you attempt to limit the search results to just the Virgin Atlantic flights by using the VS+ commands you won’t see any results at all as the short-haul sectors are flown by BA and the VS+ command will exclude these.

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 British Airways or Virgin Atlantic.
  • If you’re using a credit card that gives you a bonus for all travel bookings you should be safe booking through most online travel agents or the airline directly.

For the Virgin Atlantic flights you’ll find that Google Flights recommends that you call the airline to book….a screenshot of a website

….and this is because the Virgin Atlantic website cannot book the short-haul British Airways sectors. If you try entering “Brussels” as a start point into the Virgin Atlantic search it doesn’t recognise the city:

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Things are more straightforward if you’re looking to book the British Airways flights – here’s an itinerary priced up on BA.com:

screens screenshot of a flight schedule

As long as you make sure you include a Saturday night in your trip you shouldn’t have any issues with finding the good deals.

Where To Credit The Flights

I suspect that most readers will be crediting the BA flights to the British Airways Executive Club (where you’ll earn at least 360 Tier points from just one trip) or, in the case of the Virgin Atlantic flights to the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club or Delta.

Wheretocredit.com will show you where the flights can be credited if you’re not sure of your options.

In the case of the British Airways flights you can also credit them to the American Airlines AAdvantage program where you’ll earn Elite Qualifying Miles & Dollars as well as Redeemable Miles based on the distance travelled (booking these fares via British Airways can be a very nice way to boost your progress to AAdvantage elite status).

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Flyers crediting this fare to American Airlines should earn a little under 24,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (25% of the way to top-tier status) and a little under 3,000 Elite Qualifying Dollars (~20% of the way to top-tier status) or, put another way, they’ll earn AAdvantage Gold status (oneworld Ruby) on this one trip.

Bottom Line

These fares aren’t stunning but they’re still very good indeed and I can’t remember the last time I found a good Virgin Atlantic fare for travel to Asia.

Don’t forget that no end date has been set for these fares so there’s no knowing how long they’ll hang around – if you find an itinerary that works for you and that’s at a price point you’re happy with I wouldn’t wait too long to book.