BA rejigs Middle East schedules – outstanding Avios availability on new flights
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British Airways has announced a shake-up of its services to the Middle East. This is either crazy or ambitious, depending on how you see it, as they are throwing in more resources whilst competing with the (frankly superior) offerings of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar.
The good news is that you can find EXCELLENT Avios availability on the new services to Muscat and Doha.
How good? Well, on 16th November for example, there are 9+ Avios seats to Muscat in World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World and ‘just’ 7 Avios seats available in First Class! Doha is identical! 9+, 9+, 9+ and 7.
Cash tickets are also cheap. Until the BA sale ends on Tuesday, you can book World Traveller Plus from £599 and Club World from £1,107 to either Muscat or Doha. Travel dates are limited though – the Club World fare is only available for two weeks over Christmas and New Year.
Let’s take a step back and look at what is happening.
At present, British Airways flies from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi, with a stopover, and then continues to Muscat.
This is ending on 30th October. Going forward:
the daily British Airways Abu Dhabi service will depart two hours later than usual, at 11.45 (it remains a 787 route). It will not continue to Muscat.
a new ‘five days a week’ direct service to Muscat is launched, departing Heathrow at 19.50 and arriving in Oman at 07.05. This will be a four class Boeing 777.
At present, BA flies from Heathrow to Bahrain, with a stopover, and then continues to Doha.
This is ending on 30th October. Going forward:
the daily British Airways Bahrain service will depart at 13.25 (it will be a four class 777 route). It will not continue to Doha.
a new daily direct service to Doha is launched, departing Heathrow at 22.30 and arriving in Qatar at 08.05. This will be a four class Boeing 777.
I’m not hugely sure these moves make sense:
Can BA win enough business from Oman Air to fill an overnight Muscat service?
Can BA win enough business from Qatar’s six daily London services to fill an overnight Doha service?
More interestingly, is moving the Abu Dhabi flight back from 09.35 (landing 19.50) to 11.45 a good move? A lot of passengers on that flight are heading to Dubai because the first BA Dubai service doesn’t depart until 13.10 (landing 23.15). Anyone who wants to arrive in the Middle East at a sensible time will now be forced onto Emirates or Etihad.
These are long term questions though. In the short term, I recommend you take a look for Avios availability from November onwards on the new Muscat and Doha services.
Remember that you can use Avios on Qatar Airways to hop from Doha to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah or elsewhere in the region. I’ve never been to Oman but the high end hotel scene there is meant to be good.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2023)
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 Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
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
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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
40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.