The US Bonanza – Starts Here…


First things first… this Bonanza was a lot crammed into a little time. The write up however is a lot with no cramming… sorry! So rather than the usual single post write up, I’ve split it up into days.

Select which section you’d like to see:

All Sections
Introduction / Planning The Trip
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8

Planning the trip

The US Bonanza started off in the same way all of my “don’t even ask” trips began… after a few glasses of champagne. This specific glass of champagne was being enjoyed on one of the Bahrain – Doha flights I’ve previously written about.

For a good few years the concept of YUP runs (pronounced Why-Up) was something that was talked about by quite a few like-minded travel gurus (read: geeks), and something that I had paid little attention to. But it was about time I looked into it a bit more.

It’s often the case that work travel policy is “Y only” (where Y is the fare-code for full fare Economy). This was certainly the case at my last company, although I did manage to find the odd work-around.

American Airlines YUP fares are interesting though. They are Y fares (you pay a full economy fare) but you are booked into the next cabin. On most domestic routes throughout the US, this is usually First Class (although some routes do have a Business cabin).

This is all very nice for US business folk travelling in First within their Economy travel policy, but what makes it interesting for members of the BA Executive Club is that they qualify for full First Class tier points (which count towards status). Flights over 2,000 miles are classed as long haul with BA, and earn you triple tier points.

So, suppose you know where you ultimately want to go in the US (e.g. Hawaii), the best thing to do is arrive as far away from it as possible (e.g. Boston), and then find the longest, most ridiculous way of getting there (e.g. via San Francisco and L.A.)… which is exactly what we did.

For somewhere in the region of £700, we booked tickets in First Class from Boston to San Francisco, on to Los Angeles, and then on to Hawaii… and then all the way back again.

So we had our US routing… now we just needed to get to Boston. Since my Bahrain/Doha travelling companion, Phil, had used his Gold Upgrade For 2 voucher on our trip out to Bahrain, I owed him a favour. To settle the debt, I used one of my BA miles two-for-one redemption vouchers to take us out to the US in BA First, and back in Club World.

In November 2006, British Airways started an 18 month programme to update all of their Club World cabins to New Club World – a significant upgrade to an already leading product. With the London – New York route being one of BA’s most important business commuter routes, this would be one of the first routes to receive the upgrades, and so we decided to make our return flight from New York JFK to try out the new product.

Boston to New York is a very short one-class hop, and added very little cost to the booking.

So, this makes our “don’t even ask” routing:

London – Boston (BA First Class)
Boston – San Francisco (AA First Class)
San Francisco – Los Angeles (AA First Class)
Los Angeles – Honolulu (AA First Class)
Honolulu – Los Angeles (AA First Class)
Los Angeles – San Francisco (AA First Class)
San Francisco – Boston (AA First Class)
Boston – New York (AA Economy)
New York – London (BA New Club World)

All that… in a week. We must be mad.