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 ba.com 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 from credit cards

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

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

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

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

Nectar American Express

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

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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)

  • JamesWag says:

    You report what BA do and if they do things which are negative (even if they spin it as an enhancement/improvement) then that’s how it should be reported.
    If you report things simply following a companies PR spin nonsense & don’t apply your own intellectual rigour to the subject a your readers will start deserting you.

    Also there is a general downward trend in the service & product offered by BA and its BA’s doing so they can’t blame us for thinking of them in that way.

    DO A BETTER JOB BA AND WE’LL ALL BE MORE POSITIVE !!

  • MadMike says:

    I find the BA experience very poor and certainly don’t think HFP telling it as it is is in any way biased against BA. In the past few years we have flown Club/First to Australia, North and South America and Far East and to be honest if it wasn’t for the Amex 241 we would actively avoid BA. We also buy long haul Club, alway non-BA when paying (Turkish, Qantas, Emirates, etc) and almost always comment on how much better the cabins, lounges, food etc are.

    Having said that obviously BA has a convenience factor flying to most destinations from the UK rather than going via another airline’s hub, I just wish the product was better.

  • Troll Basher says:

    Thank God you didn’t mention the bloody hats…

  • Swanhunter says:

    I’d say you are pretty balanced about BA (if a bit too much of an EK fan boy!).

  • Nick says:

    I have to admit, I do get a bit tired of people moaning about cw (on FT- I think hfp is a bit fairer).

    No, it is not best in class and yes, I would rather fly pretty much any airline that has 1-2-1 setup. But that doesn’t mean cw is bad- rather, I think it is more the case that QR and others are exceptional. The cw seat is more comfortable for sleeping in than the others I’ve tried, and the service is normally very good. They pour me wine whilst i watch a film and then get some sleep- it all seems pretty comfortable to me. The major weakness is the catering really. However, I still think cw is a very comfortable way to fly and that doesn’t change just because some airlines do it better.

  • Zild says:

    It seems like you are getting stung twice here Raffles.

    First, as you say, by using BA as a yardstick – and they are absolutely the best yardstick given your audience. It is not your fault if the other sevices you judge against BA happen to be better!

    Second, you report on many of the service changes that BA undertakes. Again, it is not your fault if these sevices are generally changing for the worse due to BA’s relentless cost-cutting.

    However to suggest you are anti-BA is absolutely ludicrous given the amount of business you bring them, relentlessly promoting their rewards program and new services (far more than those of other airlines, I would say) and directly influencing so many of your readers to fly BA more often. Ludicrous!

  • DM says:

    I also find you have a pro-BA bias (which is definately fine as the MO of this site and most readers heavily use BA).

    However I really disagree with these two points you make:

    <>
    **I find the booking system incredibly frustrating. Most airlines let you see a week or month’s worth of availability at a time. BA only shows one day, and worse it shows for the surrounding days “Check Availability” even if there is nothing available.

    <>
    **While the guarantee is great, it seems to fall short when booking long-haul less than 6 months in the future.

    • Genghis says:

      Have you tried using the ‘Reward Flight Finder’? Very easy to use and shows availability for the whole month in which you might want to travel.

    • mark2 says:

      re last point: if 4+2 are made available 11 months before flight date it would be surprising if they had not been taken after four months. Are you suggesting that every time they are booked another 4+2 should be made available?

  • Doug M says:

    I believe the ME3 are all state funded to some extent. I like BA, but I’m typically a WT or WT+ flyer, and my other airline experience has been largely Easyjet, Eurowings, United, Delta and American. The cheap Euro carriers are fine, they take you from A to B for a modest price typically, the 3 American carriers have all been poor for me. Rude disinterested staff, and in the case of AA, a proper stitch-up on their part over rerouting at their request, only to find a further segment cancelled, and a supervisor saying I don’t believe you. I have flown JetBlue a couple of times and was very impressed, good price for a nice seat and Direct TV. Few years back was sat on the tarmac at Reagan National watching a news report of a shotting at the Naval Yards opposite the airport, pilot announced a delay but wasn’t sure why at that point, obviously he didn’t have the news channel on.The limited CE flying I’ve done on BA has always been pleasant, but I’d never personally pay that sort of money for an empty seat next to me. As a last comment, would the ME3 be as good and reasonably priced if they’ve driven legacy airlines out of business?

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.