Back in the early 2000s SWISS was famous for its very generous award availability in First Class and many people in the UK enjoyed access to these awards via the ludicrously lucrative BMI Diamond Club program.
As an added kicker, there was a high chance that your award ticket in SWISS would actually credit as a revenue ticket into BMI, giving you almost enough miles back to cover the cost of the flight!
Unfortunately since then two things have happened: BMI has ceased to exist after being subsumed by BA and SWISS have completely shut down First Class award availability for all but the highest tier elites in their mileage program.
As such, SWISS had enjoyed a status alongside Garuda and Air France as something of a white whale for those of us involved in the world of miles and points. These are the ever elusive airlines that every AVGeek wants to fly but few ever can.
However in the last 2 years SWISS have begun to periodically offer some very competitive cash fares and when I caught sight of the opportunity to fly both the old (A330) and new (B777) product in the space of a weekend – with six hours to enjoy the ZRH lounge – I couldn’t resist!
As is often the case, the airline product and my available holiday allocation were the determinants of my destination. Let’s be honest, I probably would have flown to Mogadishu if it meant being able to try a new First Class Cabin and not take too much time off work.
Thankfully my destination was rather more palatable, the other Big M: Montreal. Best of all, I was able to lock in a superb rate at the W Hotel. 270CAD per night, including free breakfast a 120CAD dining/spa credit and late checkout (by booking through a Virtuoso travel advisor). Additionally I secured a suite upgrade for 37.50CAD under a special promo for the city of Montreal’s 375th anniversary. Let’s face it, it would have been rude to stay in any old room when flying First Class 😜
Since I went on the trip the latest sale prices have come down even further, to a near ludicrous £1400 from LHR-ZRH-PVG round trip! However at the time I was willing to pay £1989.55 for the chance to experience this rare beast on LCY-ZRH-YUL and back.
Not the cheapest of weekend trips by any means but given what I was getting in return this seemed like as good a deal as I could possibly hope to piece together ex London. Was it worth it? Read on to find out 😉