Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

When a British Airways ex-Europe trip goes to plan

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

Last August, I ran a story about British Airways offering Club World tickets to Australia for just £2,050.  The snag was that you had to start and end your journey in Oslo.

Reader David booked one of these tickets.  As readers often tell me that they are nervous about booking such tickets because they are worried about what might happen if things go wrong, I asked David to give me a quick run-down of how it went for him and his wife.

His routing generated a total of 640 tier points each, giving them British Airways Executive Club Silver status, and 40,000 Avios points!

A couple of days after I asked David to write this, reader Mark also got in touch to tell me about an ex-EU flight which went wrong!  I am also running that story today in a separate article.

GETTING TO OSLO AND BACK:

“We booked two single economy flights from Manchester to Oslo, outbound with SAS and inbound with Norwegian. Our luggage could not be booked through with either flight.

At Manchester we had our one and only disappointment of the holiday, we were declined entry to either of the lounges offered via Priority Pass as they were busy.

The SAS flight was mid morning, arriving in OSL early afternoon local time. Immigration was straight forward (Norway is not in the EU) as was luggage collection and customs, with most of the locals still in the duty free shop. It probably took us 40 minutes from leaving the plane to clearing customs.

Once landside, we were an hour early for check in for our British Airways flight so took the time to check out the airport and the hotel we had booked for the return leg.  There is free wifi in the terminal building, a few fast food outlets and a Starbucks, a large coffee was around £2.50.  Alcohol prices were eye watering.

British Airways check in was quick and easy, with luggage checked through to Sydney. We made to the security gates expecting to use the fast track lane, but were told BA did not pay for the privilege and were directed to the general queue.  This not an issue and proceeded though with minimal delay.

Lounge access was via the main Oslo lounge.  It was quiet and there was a reasonable selection of drinks and food available.

We then flew to Heathrow to pick up the flight we could have taken in the first place, had we been willing to pay an extra £1,400 each!

Oslo

OUR RETURN FLIGHT:

We started our return from Alice Springs.  The timing of our return flights gave us 23 hours in Sydney.  We expected that our bags would be checked through but as it was an overnight stop we had to collect our bags. We spent the night at the InterContinental on an ‘Into The Nights’ reward night.

Our return flight was otherwise uneventful apart from the dreaded internal security check at Terminal 5 in Heathrow which lived up to expectations.  We were held for about 15 minutes at the X-ray machine whilst four staff just stood around as the operator ran one bag of another passenger backwards and forwards through the machine discussing the picture with a supervisor.

We landed in OSL around 10.30am.  Again, we had a smooth journey through immigration and then joined the locals in the duty free shop, buying a bottle of wine to drink later in the hotel.  Our luggage was already on the carousel and then we were through customs and on the way to our hotel for the night.

Whilst same day flights were available back to Manchester, we decided to spend the night in Oslo anyway.

There are two hotels within the airport.  We stayed at the Park Inn which was about 300m away via a covered walk way. I had booked the hotel via HotelClub, we checked in prior to noon and I mentioned that I had Club Carlson Gold (via Amex Platinum).  The receptionist said I would not get points but did upgrade us to a corner room which was very comfortable and quiet. Again the price of alcohol was staggering – the cheapest house wine was £40 a bottle, a beer was nearly £10.

We did look at travelling into Oslo for the afternoon – the train runs directly from the airport and the journey is 20-30 minutes and about £17pp each way – but in the end just chilled at the hotel.

The next morning we flew back to Manchester with Norwegian.   Check in and security were smooth. Even though the ticket was under £40 we had an allowance of two checked bags. The flight was on time. Norwegian have free internet on board – there were some issues with it on our flight, but online browsing was possible. Inflight entertainment was available via the wifi on your own devices – it was quite strange watching the flight map on my iPad.

To sum up, we found that travelling ex Oslo was a smooth experience.  The extra flights and hotel cost less than £125 per person compared to a saving of £1400 per person over flying from Heathrow – and that ignores the cost of travelling to London from Manchester.  A little snow is expected in Oslo (we were there in March) and the airport operations are there to cope. We would not hesitate to book via Oslo again.”

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

Comments (32)

  • Simon Bostic says:

    I have a comment about same day positioning in these situations as we always book our Cape Town flights in BA Y class from either FRA, MAD, AMS and even BCN, for a lot less than if we booked ex-UK – and you get more Avios!

    It always works as long as you do make sure there is time for the connection on the outbound, especially if using an airline which has no agreement with BA. It does help though to book a BA service to position yourselves (often cheaply done on BA website using cash or Avios) to your “start” point before taking your OneWorld service back to LHR and onwards – then if the BA starter flight is late, you have a case for them to change your onward outbound and re-protect you. This happened to us once – it was obvious that the positioning flight to FRA was delayed and on explaining it to the agent, she simply changed the booking so our first flight was now LHR/CPT.

    This year flights in Y to CPT were £900 ex-LHR. We saw MAD/LHR/CPT/LHR/MAD for £490 when on BA.es! So we booked it but used an open jaw to return from BCN so the route became: MAD/LHR/CPT/LHR/BCN with the last sector taking place months later (next weekend actually) so we don’t waste it! We then booked another open jaw LHR/MAD//BCN/LHR to match the dates (£100 on BA.com) so what we got for our money was:
    1) a morning at the Prado in madrid
    2) BA flight to CPT with non-stop CPT/LHR flight on the i/b
    3) a weekend in BCN in June – all for £600!

    So to maximise, use open jaws and don’t book the last sector from LHR when on your way back on the same day – at least leaving a night and missing it the next day or better still, booking the last date to a lovely city in Europe for a nice short break!

    Good ruse – shall look out for more alerts on here.