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How BA’s new Inverness route can save you £118 APD per long-haul redemption

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British Airways announced a new route to Inverness yesterday.  From 3rd May, BA will operate one flight a day from Heathrow to Inverness.

It will depart Heathrow at 9.55am, arriving at 11.30.  The return will depart at 12.10, arriving at Heathrow at 13.40.

You may not be interested in this.  You may be interested in the fact that this offers a clever way of avoiding Air Passenger Duty.

Inverness Airport

Air Passenger Duty is not levied on flights from Inverness or any airport further north.  Up until now, it was difficult to take advantage of this.  You would have needed to book a Flybe redemption from Inverness to an airport in the south and then (on the same ticket) book a long-haul flight from Heathrow or Gatwick.  This was messy.

You now have an interesting dilemma.  What would you do for £118?

£142 is now the maximum level of Air Passenger Duty in Club World or First.  If you fly from Heathrow, long haul, you will pay this.

If you start your journey in Inverness, you won’t.  You will, however, pay £24 in other charges so the saving is £118.

Domestic connections remain free on Avios redemptions.

Let’s imagine that you want to fly to New York return in World Traveller Plus.  The taxes and charges from Inverness are £273.  The taxes and charges if you start in Heathrow are £391.

A one-way ticket to Inverness is 4,000 or 4,500 Avios plus £17.50.

If you New York flight was, say, 6pm, you now have a choice.  You can redeem from London, pay £391 of taxes, and turn up at Heathrow in time for the 6pm departure.

Alternatively, you could arrive at Heathrow for 9.55am, fly to Inverness on an Avios redemption, fly back on the same plane to London and then fly on to New York at 6pm.  You will pay £273 of taxes (plus 4,000 Avios and £17.50 for the Inverness flight).

Is this worth it?  Well, it depends on the value of your time of course.  For novelty value, if I had nothing better to do that day, I may consider it.

If you live in Scotland, of course, this is an excellent result which suddenly makes your Avios redemptions far cheaper.

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 (78)

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

  • Joe says:

    Often book redemptions starting on CDG or AMS. Worth the extra avios imo to save some taxes. Inverness is another good option.

  • Kipto says:

    Jersey only connects to Gatwick though. It would take longer to get from Gatwick to Heathrow than Inverness to Heathrow.

    • Rob says:


      It has been available via Flybe from Inverness for a while as well, but also hugely impractical for a same day connection.

  • Michael says:

    Looks like BA hasn’t realised INV is part of the UK and is charging an extra 4000 avios for off-peak long haul economy redemptions to INV

  • Dom says:

    Sorry for the rant, but APD has to be one of the most damaging taxes ever to be in place in the UK.
    1. A pwc report (albeit before changes) claimed that it harmed the UK economy by up to 0.5% of GDP and 60k jobs due to its burden on international business travel and working families.
    2. When a significant number of flyers look to add up to two legs on to their journey to places like inverness in order to save money, it has completely the opposite effect of what it was intended to do, cut emissions.

    It’s about time the Chancellor grew some balls and scrapped this bad tax forever.

    • harry says:

      No it’s not. It’s an easy way to raise taxes from people who can afford to pay. Same as fuel duty. Impossible to avoid paying it (unless you go via Inverness lol).

      Goose, feathers, pluck etc – remember?

      We are still in the austerity times when we need to pay down Labour debt.

    • Callum says:

      1. It can “claim” anything it wants. Have you actually read it? While I’m just a layman, I can’t say I find their model particularly convincing. Their main claim is cheaper airfares would mean businesses can send their staff abroad more often and therefore expand. As anyone who follows airfares knows, they fluctuate by significantly more than the cost of APD so I don’t buy that argument at all. The entire report is full of “we think it might do….” or “xxxxx might happen”. Obviously it’s not just pulled out of thin air, but when their predicted gains are so marginal I hardly think it’s significant. (They think the country will be better off by £0.25bn a year (you’re ignoring the lost revenue from scrapping the tax) – pocket change in the grand scheme of things)

      2. A significant number of flyers don’t do that. Not that I think it’s strictly to cut emissions as such (it’s nowhere near high enough to do that) – more to compensate the country for the damage caused by the emissions, which is significant and isn’t cheap to repair (hence the reluctance by the government in recent months to fund these projects).

      Why exactly does the Chancellor need to “grow some balls” to cut this tax? If anything it’s the exact opposite – people would like him more if he scrapped it. so it requires more nerve to keep it.

      • Erico1875 says:

        Environment saving is all pretty much a waste of time now 🙁
        Only EU take it seriously USA/China never did anyway..
        Now India is investing heavily in coal fired power stations to meet their energy needs.
        TheirEnergy Minister was on TV the other night basically sticking 2 fingers up to any hope of saving the planet,.

  • Deenesh says:

    Am I missing something here? Home airport is KOI so INV is a great starting point for long haul redemptions. Having a play about with dates to JFK. 3/5/16 to 10/5/16. INV/LHR/JFK return in WTP is 60,000 + £273. EDI/LHR/JFK return in WTP is 52,000 + £367. Am I missing something really obvious here? Why are the Avios required higher from INV? Is this a glitch as the flight from INV is new? All flights are BA flight numbers and BA metal.

  • Sam wardill says:

    Business Traveller totally missed this angle when they reported the same story.

  • Mark says:

    Scottish residents aged over 60 get free bus travel anywhere in Scotland. Seat reservations (guaranteeing a specific service are available at minimal cost).

    The intercity busses are now full of old people going on trips!

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