First Club Europe Experience

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Old Jul 3, 18, 11:56 am
  #31  
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Having status certainly helps if you fly economy a lot. Not so much if you normally fly Biz class anyway.
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Old Jul 3, 18, 1:25 pm
  #32  
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Originally Posted by TWCLAM View Post
We are considering do a Y trip to DME next year as it's super cheap if you use avios & Russia has been on my bucket list for some years but that then fills me with fear that she will only want 1st after that and I'm definitely not rich enough for that to become a habit.
I used points and a 241 to book the LHR-DME and found it a good use of points. It's falls into a much lower points boundary so first is definitely achievable even with just supermarket spending. Availability seems to be ok. I would say book it while it exists because I feel F is on its way out on this route (not sure what others think). I know it's a long way from the best F product out there, but it's sooo cheep. I was worried last time about using non refundable hotel rates given I would be loath to go if they rejigged the flights and tried to rebook me in J (which has happened several times on reward bookings booked well in advance) but I got away with it.

I feel quite the Russophile now having been on holiday there four times, so I am probably biased.
Quick weekend in Moscow to see the ballet (using up a Marriott hotel reward, Bolshoi ballet, winter)
Trans-Siberian (bucket list. Bolshoi ballet, using a Hilton hotel reward in Moscow and a Marriott one in Irkutsk, spring)
Moscow, Golden Ring and St Petersburg (BA 241 reward booking giving daddy DS free trip of a lifetime/ box at the Michailkovsky ballet, summer)
Visa free visit to St Petersburg on the ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn (Kirov ballet, food and lots of snow, winter)
They were all good in different ways, but you can probably spot a theme
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Old Jul 3, 18, 2:27 pm
  #33  
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Originally Posted by HIDDY View Post
Having status certainly helps if you fly economy a lot. Not so much if you normally fly Biz class anyway.
Looks like we will be traveling Club a lot more now, so I guess status will just happen.
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Old Jul 3, 18, 2:27 pm
  #34  
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Originally Posted by DeathSlam View Post
I used points and a 241 to book the LHR-DME and found it a good use of points. It's falls into a much lower points boundary so first is definitely achievable even with just supermarket spending. Availability seems to be ok. I would say book it while it exists because I feel F is on its way out on this route (not sure what others think). I know it's a long way from the best F product out there, but it's sooo cheep. I was worried last time about using non refundable hotel rates given I would be loath to go if they rejigged the flights and tried to rebook me in J (which has happened several times on reward bookings booked well in advance) but I got away with it.

I feel quite the Russophile now having been on holiday there four times, so I am probably biased.
Quick weekend in Moscow to see the ballet (using up a Marriott hotel reward, Bolshoi ballet, winter)
Trans-Siberian (bucket list. Bolshoi ballet, using a Hilton hotel reward in Moscow and a Marriott one in Irkutsk, spring)
Moscow, Golden Ring and St Petersburg (BA 241 reward booking giving daddy DS free trip of a lifetime/ box at the Michailkovsky ballet, summer)
Visa free visit to St Petersburg on the ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn (Kirov ballet, food and lots of snow, winter)
They were all good in different ways, but you can probably spot a theme
How was the visa application process like?
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Old Jul 3, 18, 2:38 pm
  #35  
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It used to be easier but now they require biometrics. Luckily they have a MAN office so it wasn't like I had to make a trip to London. On the ferry it was simplicity itself. Book tour with ferry operator < 72 hours no visa required. (only by boat to St Pete's though). Full page visa, delivered in about a week from visit to processing centre. I won't lie, it's a time consuming pain getting a visa but unless you are a journalist or military I suspect you won't have too many problems if you just follow the instructions.
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Old Jul 3, 18, 3:25 pm
  #36  
 
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DME is a good call as a cheap way to experience First on avios. It's a reward flight saver flight, so cash outlay is minimal.

Also agree with @DeathSlam that's it's probably on its last legs as a First route, so if you are interested get in there quick. It's a hangover from a time where the economy and competitive landscape were in a different place. I suspect it's partly the cargo (which I think has traditionally been strong to Moscow, flowers and so forth) that is supporting it.

Russia is a great destination. I hadn't been for years (having worked in Moscow for a patch around ten years ago), and I really enjoyed it as a brief stop before starting my trans-siberian a few months back. But the visa is not only a little painful, but also expensive. An agency can help here (I used Real Russia and the service was good, but you cant avoid having your biometrics done in person). Hotels can be eyewatering in Moscow as well!! So it's not a cheap option when you add everything together.

If you are going to look more seriously at it, one idea would be to fly to St Petersburg, take the train to Moscow and then come back. The trains (particularly this one - it's a flagship route) are very good. If part of the idea is to enjoy the First experience, the outbound from LHR is usually a fairly early start, so you get three and a half hours onboard and a fancy breakfast. On the way back, it's an afternoon flight and you can enjoy a fuller meal experience.

For a nice east european break for a fraction, though Talinn can't be beat. Also Kiev is visa free.

Don't want to hijack this thread anymore, so I'll stop!

Last edited by Woodbinerich; Jul 3, 18 at 3:31 pm
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Old Jul 3, 18, 3:40 pm
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Woodbinerich View Post
DME is a good call as a cheap way to experience First on avios. I
If you are going to look more seriously at it, one idea would be to fly to St Petersburg, take the train to Moscow and then come back.
My only query would be that I don't think there is an F offering to LED which is why I flew to DME and went backwards and forwards to St Pete's rather than the other way round, Only did it so P could experience F. I might actually have preferred to take the train out and fly back from HEL if you have to get a visa anyway.
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Old Jul 3, 18, 3:47 pm
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Originally Posted by DeathSlam View Post
My only query would be that I don't think there is an F offering to LED which is why I flew to DME and went backwards and forwards to St Pete's rather than the other way round, Only did it so P could experience F. I might actually have preferred to take the train out and fly back from HEL if you have to get a visa anyway.
i was thinking a one way redemption in F from DME and a one way in CE to LED but thinking about it a bit more , doing the LHR flight out means you can enjoy he Concorde room, albeit a bit early in the morning.
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Old Jul 3, 18, 3:47 pm
  #39  
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[QUOTE=Woodbinerich;29934790]trans-siberian a few months back. /QUOTE]
Which one did you do? I did the Mongolian China route rather than the Vladivostok. I don't regret it I think it is the most interesting.
I am thinking of going back and doing North Korea then Vlad-MOS.
(Sorry for continuing to hijack OP but did seem interested in Russian travel)
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Old Jul 3, 18, 3:52 pm
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Woodbinerich View Post
Concorde room, albeit a bit early in the morning.
Breakfast is the best meal of the day (see other threads) and for CCR that would go in spades for me. (I'm afraid I'm the guy ordering the fourth set of toast)
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Old Jul 3, 18, 4:06 pm
  #41  
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Hijack away, we all in here for information share.
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Old Jul 3, 18, 4:07 pm
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[QUOTE=DeathSlam;29934885]
Originally Posted by Woodbinerich View Post
trans-siberian a few months back. /QUOTE]
Which one did you do? I did the Mongolian China route rather than the Vladivostok. I don't regret it I think it is the most interesting.
I am thinking of going back and doing North Korea then Vlad-MOS.
(Sorry for continuing to hijack OP but did seem interested in Russian travel)
I did the same. Likewise Iím thinking about the all Russian one back , but maybe Kamchatka or more China first. Very happy if you want to compare notes on trip planning some time!!
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Old Jul 3, 18, 4:08 pm
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by TheOldMan View Post
Yes, once you have experienced business class you never want to return to economy.
Relax, they still feed you on some european airlines. Seriously LX and LH I cannot see a difference between Economy and Business, except a salad in Business instead of a Sandwich!

With BA the difference is having to carry your own food + drink on board vs not having to in CE!
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Old Jul 3, 18, 4:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Jacques Ferreira View Post
Hijack away, we all in here for information share.
We may get told off for going off topic. Visitors in the future will be looking for Club Europe info and get a long thread on Russian holidays!!
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Old Jul 3, 18, 5:22 pm
  #45  
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Might not be so long. I'm locked in to St Ts for the 13th
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