Oneworld partners British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, and American Airlines are once again selling cheap business class tickets from Sofia to North America. Starting at €1,178, you can fly to various US destinations (or Toronto), as you can see here.
Such offers are very interesting for those who wish to get a status at the British Airways Executive Club. If you cleverly optimize the routing, you can earn up to 960 tier points for a roundtrip to the US west coast. That’s enough for the Silver status (Oneworld Sapphire) and even gets you very close to the Emerald status.
If you’re considering booking this offer, please be aware that:
- You can currently not enter the USA
- The flight schedules will most probably still be modified before your flight.
- American Airlines does not offer a refund if you wish to cancel your booking. You can merely rebook the flights, paying the price difference.
- We do not guarantee the correctness of our calculations, regarding the number of tier points.
Table of Contents
The Business Deal From Sofia
The mentioned deal from Sofia is valid for trips between November 2021 and March 2022. For roughly €1,200, you can fly in business class to e.g. Toronto, Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, … and back. All details about this deal are here:
Interestingly, this deal lets you have up to five layovers in each direction (which is almost necessary for some destinations). That means that we could have two layovers in Europe and two in North America to optimize the mileage.
Of course, you could fly to Los Angeles with a single layover in London. But you could also e.g. fly Sofia – London – Helsinki – New York – San Francisco – Los Angeles, like this:
The depicted connections could become stressful, especially the 90 minutes in New York, including immigration and re-checking your luggage. It is, however, possible to extend the layover to up to 24 hours, if you’d like to spend a bit more time in those cities.
Ideally, you should select
BOS-LAX for the transcontinental flight, as you’ll be seated in a real business class with lie-flat seats instead of the usual recliners in the domestic first class.
Until you’re actually flying, there will most probably be changes to the schedule. We don’t know if American Airlines would then again give you such an optimized routing. If you have a rather long layover, the chances should be quite good.
For the above example, you’d receive a total of 26,900 Avios and 960 tier points. This is the breakdown:
|SOF – LHR||1,902||80|
|LHR – HEL||1,435||80|
|HEL – JFK||5,133||140|
|JFK – SFO||2,686||140|
|SFO – LAX||461||40|
|LAX – PHX||461||40|
|PHX – JFK||2,686||140|
|JFK – HEL||6,159||140|
|HEL – LHR||2,870||80|
|LHR – SOF||3,170||80|
If you’re only looking to get the Silver status (Oneworld Sapphire), you could simply fly Sofia – London – New York – Los Angeles and get 720 tier points. But you can never have enough tier points. 😉
The high number of miles is due to the following factors:
- A business class flight between Sofia and London gets you 80 tier points
- You’ll get another 80 tier points for flights between Great Britain and Helsinki
- Some flights between the US east and west coast are over 2,000 miles long and thus count as long-haul flights, giving you 140 tier points instead of 40.
- Every additional segment within North America gets you 40 tier points.
Search & Book Using the Matrix
Booking this deal is a bit difficult. Generally, you can search for them on Google Flights (example), but you’ll be limited to 5 routes, which gets you a maximum of 880 tier points.
Searching with the Matrix (instructions) works better. The best way is to search for a cheap connection from Sofia to your desired destination on Google Flights and then adding additional layovers with the matrix. There, you can search for any specific flight number, airline, or layover airport. The connection shown in the screenshot was found using the following search parameters:
The Matrix’s search time is limited. Adding restrictions (e.g. specific flight numbers) will therefore often lead to better results than the open search. You should thus at least add the desired layover airport, airline, or at least alliance.
Booking on AA.com
Once you’ve found your desired routing, you’ll get to the next obstacle: unlike Google Flights, the Matrix does not offer a link to the booking site. You’ll need the browser plugin ITA Matrix Powertools for Firefox or for Google Chrome, which was developed by wheretocredit.
Once you’ve installed it, you’ll find a booking link in the right sidebar, which will redirect you to the booking on AA.com:
After being redirected, the flights will only cost €1,301:
Searching directly on American Airlines’ website usually doesn’t work very well. Using the matrix redirect is much better. You should, however, check that all the segments are correct, once you’ve been redirected.
Executive Club Status Requirements
To get a status at the Executive Club, you’ll have to fulfill the following requirements:
- Executive Club Bronze = Oneworld Ruby:
- 300 (possibly only 225) Tier Points + 2 flights with BA1
- Executive Club Silver = Oneworld Sapphire:
- 600 (possibly only 450) Tier Points + 4 flights with BA1
- Executive Club Gold = Oneworld Emerald:
- 1,500 (possibly 1,125) Tier Points + 4 flights with BA1
1 – According to Flyertalk, it’s enough for the flight to have a BA flight number, even if it’s operated by another airlines. This requirement would then be fulfilled, as two of the Finnair flights are BA codeshares.
For accounts with qualifying periods ending before June 2022, the requirements have been lowered by 25%. You’ll have to see if this applies to your own account.
Benefits of the Executive Club Silver Status
- Business class lounge access, incl. one guest
- Priority boarding
- Additional luggage allowance (except for some light fares)
- Priority luggage handling
- Preferred (often free) seat selection
Additionally, you’d get a bonus of 50% more Avios on all British Airways flights. Should you make it to the Oneworld Emerald, you’d even be allowed to access the first class lounges.