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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.

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How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2021)

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There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

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You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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(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 (80)

  • Atif says:

    Am only 30 miles away from Inverness

  • 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!