Phoenix Run Part 1, Introduction

The name “Phoenix Run” probably conjures images of some wizarding challenge from the world of Harry Potter. For avid BA frequent fliers and tier point collectors, it refers to a slightly exotic itinerary which has been available for some time at a very good price in business class. It involves a round trip starting in Bucharest and ending in Phoenix, Arizona, one of the desert states in the south-west of the US.

The right routing here is potentially tier point rich. Fly to one of the major East Coast US cities, take connecting flights in excess of 2000 miles to and from Phoenix, and with “positioning flights” in Club Europe to Bucharest at either side, it secures around 900 tier points. That’s 60% of the tier points needed to achieve BA Gold status on just one trip.

There are downsides though. Bucharest is further from London than more traditional ex-EU starting points such as Amsterdam or Dublin. A lot further in fact – it’s like adding a further trans-Atlantic crossing into the itinerary, and then a bit more. Another downside, and one which can badly affect any multi-leg itinerary, is the possibility of schedule changes, particularly if booked months in advance like this one was. Since booking, BA changed their Bucharest – Heathrow schedule moving the flight to late morning making the original itinerary impossible. And then American Airlines, who seem to have an even greater propensity for schedule changes, made a return connection in Los Angeles impossible, with a re-routing via Philadelphia the only other viable option. To add to the risk of a mis-connect, for the final leg I’d booked a back to back connection in Bucharest.

With a single day in Phoenix, and now a number of connections that are too tight for complete comfort, plus the need to be back on 31st December in time for New Year, the start of this trip is not looking as good as it might have!

Unlike Vegas though, on this trip I’m not going alone, so at least there’ll be a drinking buddy if the connections go to hell. Accompanying me is my close friend “Moff”. He enjoys flying, random trips and tier point runs, and is happy so long as he gets enough tier points each year to retain BA Executive Club Gold Status. The insanity to achieve Gold Guest List has not overtaken him, at least not just yet.

Like many good tier point runs, this one starts with an early evening positioning flight out of Heathrow Terminal 5, this time just after Christmas 2018…

Heathrow Terminal 5

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