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I’m usually pretty surprised when I find a great Business Class fare originating out of the UK because, let’s face it, they’re not exactly common. Compared to the fantastic Qatar Airways deals that are available right now most Business Class fares out of the UK look very ordinary but, every now and again something amazing happens and an incredible fare appears out of the blue.
Today we have one such fare.
TAP Air Portugal has posted a fantastic Business Class fare for travel to Rio de Janeiro out of London (Heathrow or Gatwick) or Manchester airports. Just as with the great fare between the UK and New York that I wrote about at the beginning of the week these fares route through Lisbon or Porto and travelers have a choice of a stunning fare (which requires an overnight layover in Portugal) or an excellent fare (which gets you to/from Rio a lot quicker).
Headline Fare Rules
From what I can see there aren’t very many rules to consider:
- No set minimum stay criteria
- No set maximum stay criteria
- Unlimited free stopovers are permitted as long as they don’t exceed 120 hours
- Unlimited stopovers of any length are permitted at a cost of £75.00 each
- Accompanied children (under 12) with their own seat cost 75% of the adult fare
- Infants (under 2) traveling without his/her own seat costs 10% of the adult fare
There is no specified end date for this sale so the fares may be around for a while or may disappear at any time without notice.
Three of the more important things you need to know about these fares are…
- The cheapest fares on offer require an overnight layover in Portugal on the outbound flight
- The fares on offer for itineraries without long layovers are still excellent
- You should make sure you use the promo code TAP10 to get 10% off the quoted fare.
Here’s an example of a cheap fare out of London which requires an overnight layover on the outbound…
…and here’s an example of a slightly more expensive fare, this time out of Manchester, with considerably more favorable timings:
Routing & Aircraft
TAP is offering these Business Class fares out of London Heathrow, London Gatwick, and Manchester and all departure points will give you the option to connect to TAP’s new Airbus A330-900neo aircraft complete with new Business Class seating.
It shouldn’t really matter what aircraft you choose for the short-haul sectors as, unless you get lucky and find a widebody aircraft flying between the UK and Portugal, all the aircraft will offer the same disappointing Business Class cabin that most other European airlines offer on their short-haul routes.
Note: The fares and availability you see below are for itineraries out of London which do not require an overnight layover in Portugal. Availability for departures out of Manchester and availability for the cheapest fares (which require an overnight stop) look very similar to what you’ll find below.
Unlike the great TAP fare to New York (which is still available) this fare to Rio isn’t available until the end of January next year.
The incredible fare first appears around 27 of January…
….and is readily available throughout February and then all the way through to the end of the current booking period.
Finding The Fares
I used the ITA Matrix Search to find this fare and here’s an example of the parameters I used to find options where a long layover isn’t required:
If you want to search for the very cheapest fares which will require an overnight stop in Portugal, make sure you remove the “maxdur” commands from the search parameters (they limit journey time to 20 hours or less).
Booking The Fare
You can’t book this deal via the Matrix search so, once you’ve found dates that work for you, head over to the TAP Air Portugal booking page and proceed from there.
Make sure you remember to use the TAP10 promo code to get an extra 10% off your booking (see this post for more info).
Here’s an example of a ‘no stopover’ itinerary priced up with the promo code applied:
If you’d prefer to book a stopover visit Portugal (or if you’re just happy to take a cheaper fare at the expense of an overnight in Portugal) you should use the stopover option you’ll see appear on your screen when you search for fares.
Here’s an example of a result you’ll find when accepting/planning a stopover…
….and here’s the same fare once the TAP10 discount is factored in:
TAP displays the results of a stopover search in price order so you’ll have to scroll quite a way down the results page to find the ‘Executive’ (Business Class) fares.
Note: The 10% discount that the TAP10 code gives you will not be included in the search results but, once you select a fare that you like, the discount will be applied.
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 these TAP Business Class 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 over 23,000 miles – that’s why I would probably credit to Aeroplan or Singapore Airlines (but those are personal choices).
It’s very, very rare that we see a Business Class fare between the UK and Brazil as cheap as this and the fact that you can use this fare to attend Rio’s famous Carnival (scheduled for 21 – 29 February 2020) is just the icing on the cake.
I’m sure some people may be put off by the fact that this isn’t a fare that will credit to the British Airways Executive Club and to those people I’ll say this:
Do not behave in an irrational way (ignoring great deals) just because they won’t earn you Tier Points or Avios. That’s what BA wants you to do and is the whole the BAEC exists.
Great Business Class fares should, first and foremost, be about traveling to fantastic places around the world in comfort and in a relatively economical way. Their primary purpose should not be to boost a loyalty account balance or to push you towards airline status – those should be secondary considerations.
This is a truly fantastic fare and if you’ve been considering a trip to Brazil its a fare you should be seriously considering.