Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: Egypt follows India with new visa rules, new BA Gatwick to Vienna route

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

News in brief:

Egypt launches tough new visa regime

My article yesterday about the disproportionately tough new visa regime brought in with very little warning by India caused a lot of comment.

I hope no-one decided to swap their holiday plans from India to Egypt.  The military Government in Egypt announced yesterday that individual travellers would no longer be allowed to buy a visa on arrival.  Tour groups are exempt.

The change takes place on May 15th.  From that date, you will have to obtain a visa before you fly from the Egyptian Embassy.

Ironically, as Reuters mentioned in the same report, “Egypt hopes to generate $20 billion in revenue from tourism by 2020 by attracting 20 million visitors, new Tourism Minister Khaled Ramy told Reuters on Sunday at an international investment conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.”  Not behaving like this he won’t.

Cairo has also, in recent years, been one of the cheapest places in the world to buy a British Airways long-haul flight.  Buying a ticket out of Cairo was not only cheap but earned additional tier points, because the Cairo to London leg is treated as long haul.  This game may now be up, unless passengers in transit are still allowed to travel without a visa – and even then, doing a back-to-back flight to Cairo is not for the feint hearted.


New British Airways route to Vienna

BA announced yesterday that it will launch a new year-round route from Gatwick to Vienna.

Flights will start on September 17th.  There will be four flights per week during the Winter season (Monday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday) and six per week (not Saturday) during the Summer.

Redemption and cash flights can already be booked at  A redemption is 15,000 Avios points return in World Traveller and 30,000 in Club Europe.

Comments (10)

  • barnaby100 says:

    But if you go to Sharm you don’t need a visa if you stay in the resort.

    British nationals travelling to Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba resorts for up to 15 days receive a free entry permission stamp upon arrival. If you intend to travel out of these areas or stay longer than 15 days, you must get a visa

    So do you now need a visa for all visits? Not that I am planning on going as since the flights were cut back it is no longer a cheap option for a quick break as flights are generally pretty expensive to Sharm.

  • Andrew says:

    Disproportionately tough, even after so many comments pointed out the UK does the same thing, or worse, to its visitors?

    • froggitt says:

      Can’t see many Brits overstaying, claiming asylum, or trying to sign on down the local Cairo job centre though…..

  • Phillip says:

    There are obviously enough people in the mileage hobby fooking flights ex-Cairo to make Egypt think charging them for a visa will bring all that projected income!

  • Will says:

    Does this apply to Sharm etc. previously you didn’t need a visa to stay in Sharm on a two week holiday.

  • Trevor says:

    South African passport holders get a free visa in advance from the Egyptian embassy anyway, and for a family of 4, this adds up enough to make it worth the little effort, so no problem… oh, except the new queues rather than an empty space.

  • Brian says:

    Can’t seem to find any availability for the LGW – VIE route – surely it can’t all be taken…

    • Rob says:

      There was definitely economy availability last night – didn’t see any business class on the day I checked.

      • Brian says:

        Thanks – it was obviously a blip. Found availability for the dates I wanted after all. Thanks for the heads-up.

  • Andy says:

    The days of cheap fares ex CAI ebded about the same time as the replacement of decent Longhaul aircraft with 767 and a321. It can be I possible to fnd I inventory which is the key to cheap fares.