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Use Avios on the new AA Birmingham and Edinburgh to New York routes

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In a major boost for anyone looking to use Avios points for long-haul flights from regional airports, American Airlines has announced new routes from Birmingham International and Edinburgh to New York.

Flights will launch on May 8th next year and will operate daily.

From Birmingham, the outbound will leave Birmingham at 10am to arrive in New York at a convenient 12.55 whilst the return will be an overnight flight at 7pm, landing at 7.10am.

From Edinburgh, you will depart at 9.15am to arrive at 11.50am.  The return will depart at 7.10pm to arrive at 7.15am.

The bad news is that both flights will be operated with an older single-aisle Boeing 757.  This will have 22 business class and 160 economy class seats.

These are unlikely to be fully lie-flat seats in business, albeit for a day flight that will not be a major issue.  I am assuming it is the ‘angled’ lie flat version. I think if I lived near Birmingham or Edinburgh I would be happy to fly this 757 outbound rather than waste hours connecting at Heathrow purely to get a fully flat seat on a twin-aisle plane.  Coming back overnight is a different matter although the convenience may still outweigh the poorer product.

I ran the numbers on Birmingham.  There are plenty of economy seats at 40,000 Avios return plus £335 of tax and spurious charges.  If you have any American Airlines miles, the cost would be 60,000 AA miles plus £98.

Business class redemptions seem to be restricted to Saturdays for much of the time – the easiest way to see what is available is to search at (you don’t need to log in) and then plug the dates into  American wants 100,000 AA miles and £169 whilst British Airways wants 80,000 Avios and £512.

It is not clear if the Edinburgh service will be a replacement for the existing US Airways flight (US has now merged with American) from Philadelphia to Edinburgh which usually runs during the Summer.

If you have Star Alliance miles, remember that United also flies from Edinburgh and Birmingham to Newark.

In other route news, American is adding a service from Frankfurt to Miami from May 14th.  This will offer another redemption option for anyone struggling to find seats on the existing BA and AA services. 

American is also adding a second Los Angeles to Heathrow service from late March, taking the combined total of BA and AA services to LA to four per day.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)

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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £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.

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

30,000 points and unbeatable travel 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.

Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) 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 (31)

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

  • JD says:

    I used to fly the GLA to Newark route on the old Continental route. While the 757’s are not the nicest plane to fly in the convenience factor of flying from a local airport cannot be beat. Plus the option of connecting to other cities once you arrive (I used to fly to Austin).

    Another thing to point out is the route is around an hour shorter than flying from London. Especially the return leg as you hit the jet stream.

  • Lady London says:

    Trains from London Euston to Birmingham Airport scheduled journey is 1 hour 18mins. That’s less time than it takes me to get to Stansted or City. I live close-ish to Heathrow and even I’m tempted by these flights.

    For me these timings are particularly appealing as they will give me a decent choice of US domestic connections. Arriving at 6pm or so or later, on a lot of routes out of New York there’s maybe 0 or 1 flight only left in the day connecting onwards. This will make many routes feasible for me.

  • JDuncan says:

    Living 15 miles from BHX, and having just flown back from MIA on a 14 year old 777-223, i think i would have a hard time selling this flight to the rest of the family in terms of ease of travel toofrom the airport.

    We travel frequently to the US (always in economy) and the level of service and IFE on American were years (probably about 14) behind what is offered on BA out of LHR. If it comes to choice out of BHX the United offering into Newark has great IFE, and on new planes – this would be my choice.


  • James67 says:

    AA supposedly going to change longhaul 757s with a321s but that will not be anytime soon. Would be better if they and United picked up a330neo instead. Never like flying anymore than 4 hours in narrowbody.

    IIRC United also introduced EDI to ORD this summer

  • Kai says:

    Raffles, did you receive East Coast’s email about their point devaluation? It’s not massive but still I will redeem my points for 4 x first class tickets before it happens in January!

  • Alan says:

    Just to highlight that the United option from EDI has fully flat BusinessFirst beds – redemption availability is hard to find though in my experience (plus I hate having to pay APD and tend to be more tempted by an ex-EU outbound :D)

    • James67 says:

      Smith review on transfer of taxation to Scotland is being lobbied to include APD with a view to abolishing it alltogether. Apparently it raises only £200M in Scotland, about 1/15 of UK total so hopefully it will come to pass. Hopefully too it would have positive effect in getting this adsurd tax abolished or at least reduced UK-wide. In worst case scenario it would offer more iptions for positioning flights and would benefit those in northen England who could get to GLA and EDI as easily as LHR. Would hurt Newcastle and Manchester though so that is where pressure would come from for reform in England too. LHR focussed travel and expansion has been a thorn for many years. I don’t understand why governments have never used APD as a tool to develop regional airports at expense of London.

      • Alan says:

        Interesting – would definitely be nice to see this 😀 Impressed with all the expansion going on at EDI.

        • James67 says:

          Was never keen on the presecurity areas at EDI. Reminded me of old LHR T2, low ceilings, dark and dismal. Personally I would have preferred to see a new Scotland airport someplacd near Falkirk with high speed rail connections from Edinburgh and Glasgow.

          • Alan says:

            The new area is pretty open and bright – they’re testing it on and off at times just now.

            Agree a centrally placed one with excellent transport links would have had the biggest draw for carriers too, unfortunately seems unlikely now. I always wish they’d add a train stop for trains from the North/East of Scotland at the end of the runway – would have been much cheaper than the tram 😉

          • James67 says:

            Yes, the transport is a pain. After i move from west to Edinburgh they finally introduce bus from Glasgow to Edinburgh airport. Trams seem totally pointless to me, they take longer than bus.

  • Amelia says:

    Great news, live in Birmingham but always favour LHR as we prefer to land in JFK over EWR due to staying in Brooklyn. This gives us more options, not fussed about the 757 for an East Coast hop either.

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