Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

If you’re wondering what a typical British Airways First Class menu has on it ….

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I am in Canada all week, helping my Mum realise an ambition to see Niagara Falls and chaperoning her to a family wedding next weekend.

We flew out to Toronto yesterday afternoon in British Airways First Class.  One thing about weddings is that you tend to know the date well in advance, so I had no trouble using a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher to get the seats as soon as they opened up 11 months ago.

British Airways First Class seat

I’m not going to write about the flight or The Concorde Room because I did a BA First Class review late last year and I don’t like repeating myself so quickly.  However, if you were wondering what the food is like in British Airways First Class, here is the menu we had:


Sesame seared tuna with a citrus salad and black olive tapenade (had this, it was OK but nothing more)

Wild mushroom and truffle mousse and cauliflower puree with a shimeji mushroom salad

A light cream soup of sweetcorn, red pepper and chives

Fresh seasonal salad with your choice of blue cheese dressing or classic vinaigrette

Main Courses

Seared filled of Aberdeen Angus beef with summer vegetables, fondant potatoes with horseradish and chive sauce

Sustainably sourced North Atlantic baked cod with orange and tarragon butter sauce and chervil creamed potatoes (had this, liked it, found the portion size small)

Spicy Szechuan-style chicken with fried beans and steamed rice

Warm seared tiger prawns on a sesame and fresh shredded vegetable salad with basil and ginger dressing

Bistro Selection

Penne pasta with red pepper, wild mushroom, fine beans and a creamy pesto sauce

British beef burger with Monterey Jack cheese, gherkin, tomato and chunky chips

A selection of biscuits

A selection of cheese and fruit


Raspberry delice and cannelloni with kumquat

Warm blueberry and nectarine crumble (had this, liked it, even the custard was decent!)

Madagascan vanilla ice cream

There is a cheese plate and fresh fruit option

There was also an amuse bouche at the start which was not explained to me!  I have absolutely no idea what it was, but it was very small ….

Toronto is not an A380 route so we did not get the option of the tasting menu which I experienced on my Los Angeles flight last year.

Overall, the food was acceptable but not great – especially in terms of portion size.  I rate the business class food I had on Qatar Airways and Etihad over the last year ahead of it, although BA does have a better drink selection.  For balance, I should say that Mum found it excellent.

Where it really went wrong was the ‘second meal’ snack.  These are the sandwiches you get – note that you get ALL of them:

Smoked salmon with horseradish and rocket

Ham with Pommery mustard

Hummus with piquillo pepper

Pickled cucumber with cream cheese

This is, I think, possibly the most random selection of sandwiches ever offered.  If Pret A Manger put that lot on the shelves they would be bust within a month.  I turned the sandwich selection down and went for the cake selection:

Chocolate and walnut brownie

Raspberry and orange Battenberg

Key lime cake

…. which was fine, except that each portion was the size of a 10p coin.  Is this a bizarre cost saving scheme or does BA really believe that micro portions are the way forward for First Class food?

No photos, before anyone asks.

Anyway, it is 2.55am in the UK and I am off to bed.  I will try to drop in some hotel reviews during the week as well as some coverage of Air Canada’s business class product which I will be flying twice.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2022)

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. 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 BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

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.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital on Tap Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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 card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (43)

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

  • John G says:

    I never understand why BA has a good vegetarian selection in all classes, except in First.

  • CV3V says:

    I am not BA’s biggest fan but they to get bashed from all directions, especially in comparison to the middle east carriers, . On recent F class flight I found the food to of a good standard and just the right amount, especially if combined with having had a meal in Concorde lounge or other F class lounge. Also the blueberry pancakes for breakfast are great. I also flew F with Cathay Pacific this year, and after having a breakfast in the lounge trying to eat the huge amount of food on the flight just wasn’t possible! Also although CX food looks good on the menu, something seems to go awry by the time it makes it to the table (usually with the main courses), I had one dish which wasn’t cooked all the way through (raw Chinese meatballs in First!), and another dish which was so tough it was almost impossible to eat. For both flights I have lots of photos if needed!

    With Emirates although the food is very good (even in economy) what you order is not necessary what they will serve you once they get all the orders in and then mix them up a bit. There is also the tale of the VS crew on a flight to Nigeria who forgot to take the cling film of the upper class meals before putting them in the oven to heat them up 

    • Nick says:

      I actually agree. BA First is, I think, a very comfortable way to fly. Business on and of the ME carriers is fantastic, and BA First is almost as good as that. Obviously the ME carriers have another gear to move to and BA do not, but on an absolute basis flying BA First is pretty damn fun.

      • Polly says:

        We really enjoy BA F plus lounges when we use our annual 241…. But when you can get an ex EU on QR J from CPH to HKT sub 1k, it was worth cancelling it and use it next year to KUL before it expires. To travel around Malaysia. This might be our future plan, to do an QR. ex EU J every second year to Asia, but will see how this one goes, to HKT. it’s our first time using ex EU, but we think the QR J product is on par, if not better than BA F. It’s certainly more spacious. And of course, it’s not direct. Also means maintaining our sliver.

        • Nick says:

          I’m bored of Avios now – the lack of availability, the CW product and the taxes make it a bit of a mug’s game for too many routes. Great for short-haul economy, and OK if you can get F with a 241, but I spend a lot longer playing with the ITA Matrix than I do the Avios availability map nowadays. The QR flights are, in every respect, better than anything BA could do. Cheaper, more fun, more comfortable, better lounges, better cabins, better IFE, better food, better everything. These discount QR routes are also a far, far better advert for their airline than Avios redemptions in CW are for BA. I do spend a long time looking for great cash business class fares with QR, but I know that unless it was seriously cheap, I would never pay cash for CW, and cash for F is just a silly idea. I would never have contemplated paying to fly in business until I tried QR. So I totally agree with you.

          What I was trying to get across though is just that if you take a look at a BA F cabin and ignore the price, competition etc it is undeniably a fantastic way to travel. There are better products out there at a fraction of the cost, but to pretend that it’s not pretty good fun to have a big comfy seat, a champagne menu and some decent food is pushing it too far really. That’s all.

          • DAZ says:

            Qatar Airways are brilliant, the lounge in Doha is out of this world with Krug on tap and fillet steak to order. The only problem is: I hate going through the the airport as the immigration/airport staff have about as much humour or normal human traits as the ebola virus. I will not spend money or stay over again in Doha for that reason.

          • Polly says:

            Nick, I agree completely with you. We love BA F and it is of course a luxurious way to travel. But actually collecting the avios, if you are not a frequently paid for by someone else biz traveller!, then it’s becoming much more hassle to get those avios for free. It can be quite exhausting, if it wasn’t for card bonus etc we just would not be able to do this hobby. It has become a great habit, hobby, whatever, but, and it’s a BIG but, being able to go ex EU on QR J, takes the absolute need for avios collection away now. Which is what we are slowly gearing towards. BUT only if we are heading Asia direction. If we need the east etc we still need BA flexibility, but availability is slim, which is frustrating. Avios use on Y within the EU is still fab, ESP for me hopping back and forth to Dublin, invaluable. Last minute flights or decisions cost a small fortune to Dublin, so we will continue to collect them when we can.
            Anyone notice huge BA ads in papers last week encouraging people to spend their avios. BA must be worrying about those millions of avios out there waiting to be spent after the Aer Lingus merger. Now, that they don’t want! Newly taken over planes flooded with avios pax!

    • Lady London says:

      VS stewardesses are all blonde, aren’t they?


  • Daftboy says:

    It’s interesting to see the frequent complaints (here, and on FT) about portion size. I have not left a longhaul BA flight hungry in recent memory, whether in CW or F; if anything I usually feel quite full after eating on board.

    I will tend to eat something in the lounge pre-flight (usually some soup and a sandwich, or a salad), so I am not ravenous by the time I board, and I generally find the portions to be right, particularly in F where the food is often a bit richer so you generally need less of it. If it’s an overnight I don’t take the breakfast, other than the smoothie in the small glass.

    But of course we are all different!

  • Keiths says:

    Recently on a BA First back from DXB I asked for one of the 4 selections, only to be told that only 4 of each are loaded and that means my choice was no longer available.

    I did enquire if I inadvertently was on a Code Share with Ryanair.

    • CV3V says:

      I read a trip report of someone in BA F who asked for the blueberry pancakes for breakfast only to be told that they only loaded one portion and that a Gold member (who knew the score) had pre-ordered it the evening before!

    • Steve says:

      I Recently was given 4500 avios on board for not getting first choice of main.

      • Kelly says:

        Say what!! I was given 5,000 avios as a way of an apology from BA from two meals which were uneatable in First Class and I had to fight to get the 5,000 points. I ended up eating jelly beans and popcorn as the gluten free meal was so appalling!

  • Ricky says:

    Welcome to Canada.

  • YL says:

    I am not BA’s biggest fan. However, recently I had nice flight in F on A380 from LHR-HKG.

    The food for dinner was actually quite good. I chose the normal menu instead of the Tasting menu, the portion was reasonable good, and food was nicely cooked and seasoned.
    My brother had the Tasting menu, and he said it was also good.

    The 1st class cabin was full, but the service was nice and friendly. The Inflight service manager was very friendly, so I guess she has set an example to the rest of the team.
    Maybe I have lower my expectation so much, I was actually quite surprised by the overall experience.

  • Kelly says:

    You don’t want to be gluten free in First Class from Hong Kong to London with BA, trust me…I ended up eating jelly beans and popcorn and all I got after complaining twice was 5,000 avios for the bad meals which were uneatable. Even the chef and cabin crew were disgusted and felt sorry for me.
    I thought the meal leaving London was bad (it was the same as the gluten free business class meal you get on short haul europe flights but with fancy china) but this was my hell from HK to LHR….

    and this is the BA response…

    Not impressed and not flying long haul with BA any time soon unless I pack a blooming gluten free picnic hamper! Strangely enough we flew Malaysia Airlines from HK to KL and the gluten free meal in business was a huge improvement not the gluten free meal that I had on BA in First Class.

    And this is definitely a reason to make sure that your BA profile is not stuck on gluten free…you don’t want one of these meals!

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