Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Does HfP have an ‘anti-BA’ bias?

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

I received a private message via Flyertalk yesterday from a British Airways employee who said, to paraphrase, that he was fed up with the anti-BA bias that he felt runs through the site.

In my experience most BA employees are not hugely enamoured by everything done by their employer, so I wouldn’t want to dismiss his complaint on that basis.  In some ways, I am tempted to take it more seriously!

What pushed him over the edge was this line in my review of the Eurostar lounge at St Pancras yesterday:

British Airways A350

“There is also no shortage of reading material, which always wins brownie points with me, [and] which makes the weak British Airways Galleries selection look pitiful.”

Ironically, I received this message whilst sitting in a two hour meeting with a senior IAG employee who at no time expressed any issues with my content.

My response was this:

I need to use a common frame of reference for comparison purposes in reviews.  The logical comparison point is with British Airways because that is an airline that most HfP readers fly.  If I had compared the Eurostar magazine selection to the typical Singapore Airlines lounge magazine selection, it wouldn’t have meant much to 95% of the readers.

(I could, I admit, have pointed out that the breakfast on offer in the Eurostar lounge is far worse than the breakfast offered by British Airways – and I didn’t.  Magazines in lounges are a personal bug-bear of mine, however, as long-term readers will know.)

It makes no sense for me to run down British Airways.   Avios, and the fact that you can use Avios to redeem for aspirational flying experiences, is a key driver of this site.  If I was permanently criticising BA it would not be great for business.

I don’t think there is a single frequent flyer in the country who genuinely believes that British Airways is offering the market leading product compared to Qatar, Etihad, Emirates etc.  Even American Airlines, unbelievably (given its history), is now offering a business class product on most London flights which beats the BA seat on most criteria.  I would lose all of my credibility if my writing implied that BA could do no wrong.

I have 13 BA flights in my diary between now and mid-September …..

It is also true, to be honest, that criticism is easier to write, and more interesting to read, than praise.  However, for the record, here are a few things I honestly believe even though the general opinion out there is often the opposite:

Heathrow Terminal 5 is a fantastic facility

British Airways afternoon tea in Club Europe is OK and I’m not sure what would be a better option

The British Airways lounges at Heathrow are generally very good and are worth spending time in

The Club World cabin – irrespective of how you find the seats – on the new 787 aircraft is a very classy piece of work

The Avios booking system at is, in terms of ease of use and the number of partner airlines which can  be booked with it, almost best in class

Reward Flight Saver – and the BA short haul reward pricing structure in general – is a good idea and puts other frequent flyer programmes short haul pricing to shame

The guaranteed ‘4 + 2’ reward availability for Avios seats on BA is a genuine improvement (although 4 + 4 would be even better)

The British Airways Premium Plus American Express ‘2 for 1’ voucher is the most attractive credit card reward in the UK

I obviously need to have a lie down now after such a rare burst of BA enthusiasm 🙂

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 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 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

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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

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, £200 travel credit 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 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 (178)

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

  • steveh says:

    Another plus for BA is that they fly direct to places like Tokyo, where I travel regularly for work reasons. Yes I know JAL are great, and fly at better hours, but their WTP or Bus Class prices are much higher! And I can’t use an Amex 241 with JAL.

  • H says:

    Hi, I would like to ask some BA advice. I recently held a hold fare for ba where one pays 5 pounds to hold the seat but I realized that I had put the basic fare on hold (the hand baggage) fare rather than the plus which is just 20 pounds more per sector. Ticket was held but not issued. I called them and ask them to change it to a plus fare and then could issue it but they refused to help me do that, even though the ticket was not issued. (fares had gone up so could not just get another seat) Only way now if for me to purchase an extra bag each way at the cost of 40 pounds per sector rather than 40 in total. I am a ba silver card holder but had no joy when speaking to them over the phone. Any tips for how to be able to get the bags for cheaper?

  • AB says:

    There used to be a time when BA was indeed my preferred airline, that is no longer the case, in my book they are getting worse by the day, they are mimicking the likes of ryanair and easyjet when it comes to services offered and when it comes to prices they are far worse. I lost count how many times I tried to book a flight with BA and the difference to other airlines was so grand that I lost interest and moved on.
    Another issue with most airlines these days is the extortionate charges when you try to pay with a credit card, BA currently charges £10 for making a credit card payment, seriously? they claim is admin costs, no payment provider charges that much for a credit card transaction, in reality it costs pennies, and they want us to believe they are not using it as just another cash cow, what next? charge for oxygen in the cabin?
    BA is far less attractive that it once was, I have lost the love for them a very long time ago, and that is no other reason but they own fault.

    • Krisz says:

      I’m not going to debate with you over BA, but I would share my knowledge on credit card fees.
      1. Each business have specific deals with banks who provide the facility to the business to use a credit card so it is not easy to compare large companies.
      2. Debit card fees are set fees. i.e. each transaction is let say 10p, 20p, 50p, etc. each different debit card will be different fee i.e. visa debit, mc debit, visa business debit, foreign issues debit, etc. The only common will be that it’s a set fee.
      3. Credit card fees are always % of the transaction value. Ie Visa Credit card will be 2% MC credit card will be 2.1% Amex will be 3.4%. (these are just examples in reality they can be anything but usually around 2-3% Amex can be higher but nowadays you can make a deal with them as well)

      So based on this you can see that BA will prefer a debit card over a credit card as it would cost more. (and that is why a small local store on a 5 pounds transaction would prefer a credit card then a debit card and that is why they sometime set a minimum spend.) If you think that customers should be always charged by the actual cost I think it would be a nightmare as you wold never buy anything on credit card and you would never use AMEX 241 vouchers. A typical long haul business seat will cost let say 2000 pounds will have a 40 pounds credit card fee if we use a 2% example.

      I think what we have at the moment to pay 5-10 pounds for a credit card transaction fee and nothing to pay for a debit card is much better than paying actual costs.

  • Adam W says:

    It’s far more the pro-QR bias that concerns me.

    • Rob says:

      If you can find someone who has flown the A380, A350 or B787 in Business and didn’t like it, I will reconsider. The fact that you can get it for £800 to Asia is laughable, especially as you get BA Silver afterwards. What’s not to like? (Apart from the 20 meter high giant teddy bear at Hamad …..!)

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.