Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

British Airways launches ‘no suitcase’ fares from Gatwick – first step to a low-cost model?

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

For some time, there has a been a view that – in a continued attempt to make BA’s Gatwick operation profitable – it would move towards more of an easyJet approach to life.

Gatwick already has ‘self bag tag’ machines, where you need to print your own baggage tag before taking it to the desk.

And now ….

British Airways 747

British Airways has launched ‘hand baggage only’ fares from Gatwick. Initially, they are only available on the Amsterdam, Dubrovnok, Jersey, Tunis and Turin flights, from February 26th. Other routes will follow later.

Hand-baggage will remain free.

The discount is £10-£11 each way. Does this really reflect BA’s costs for handling a case? And is this even a real discount, or have the fares with a case actually been bumped up by £10-£11?

What is not clear is the position of Gold and equivalent oneworld status card holders, who theoretically get an extra free item of checked baggage. Does this mean you can book one of these fares and still check a suitcase? This does not seem to have been fully thought through.

Given that Heathrow will not be adopting this policy, it could all go horribly wrong. Let’s see.

Ironically, the one bit of the low cost model I would like to see BA bring in – buy on board food – has not happened. Frankly, given the choice, I would rather pay for something from an easyJet style food menu than be given a free cup of tea and a ‘savoury snack’ with no option of getting anything better ….

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (20)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Paul Goffin says:

    BA have confirmed in the t&c’s that if gold or silver card holders book a ‘hand baggage only’ fare they won’t be able to check a bag for free.

  • Tom says:

    More pressure on hand luggage stowage on short haul..just what we need!

  • jms says:

    If you proceed with a booking, this message pops up:

    The baggage allowance for this fare is:

    1 piece of hand baggage, plus 1 laptop sized bag or handbag
    A collapsible pushchair and one car seat if you are travelling with small children or an infant
    No checked baggage. Executive Club Gold, Silver and oneworld equivalent members’ additional checked baggage allowance does not apply to this fare.

  • Andy S says:

    Just done a quick search on the LGW to AMS route, BA want £38.79 yet easyjet want £43.99 on 04/03/2013

  • Johnny5a says:

    What will happen if they run out of overhead locker space? I assume this will be the start of cabin baggage size enforcement. My Samsonite is precisely the size of the sizer frame, more often I’ve seen bags much bigger! than mine being dragged onto the flight. More recently Tunis!

    • Andy S says:

      Never seen BA ever actually check cabin baggage size, guess they will have to start checking hand luggage size now

  • Blackberryaddict says:

    “And is this even a real discount, or have the fares with a case actually been bumped up by £10-£11?”

    Having had a look on the LGW-AMS – they are indeed cheaper than before. It changes the equation a little vs the Reward Flight Saver tickets – I’ve just cancelled an Avios booking and bought the hand-luggage only tickets.

    • Andy S says:

      At £39 its better to pay cash than use avios points at these prices plus you earn the standard rate of avios at points for economy – not reduced!

      • Raffles says:

        That’s a fair point … AMS is a poor use of Avios even with RFS at these levels, unless you need flexibility.

        Let’s see if those fares stay so low, though!

        • Blackberryaddict says:

          Yes, so that what I did. But I was miles rich and cash poor, and needed 4 tickets. It was marginal anyway, but with these fares the margin slipped away.

  • World Traveller says:

    BA introduced the ‘self bag tag’ option at London City quite some time ago. It surprises me why it’s taken airlines so long to introduce this when Swissair and Sabena were doing it back in 2000.

    The no suitcase fare is actually BA copying Air France’s Mini fares which they launched back in January. “With our Mini offer you will enjoy a simplified service at great fare, starting from 50 EUR* one way.”

    If you buy this fare and then decide you want to take luggage you can providing you pay – online before departure for €15 or at the airport for €30.

    You don’t get Flying Blue Miles whilst you do get Avios & status points with BA’s no suitcase fare.

  • Thunderbirds says:

    I think that BA should continue to un-bundle their prices which is what is happening here. To a large extent Low Cost airline simply means no legacy costs, it has nothing really to do with levels of (paid for) service.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.