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Another new British Airways route – Oakland – and Avios availability wide open

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a burst of British Airways long-haul activity.

First we had New Orleans, then we had Fort Lauderdale, and yesterday we saw the launch of a new British Airways route from London Gatwick to Oakland in California.

British Airways BA 777X 777 9X

This is a bit of a surprise:

For a start, it is being flown from Gatwick and not Heathrow

Secondly, the new San Jose route is ‘underperforming’ so the rationale for adding more California capacity is not clear

Thirdly, this is a route – like Fort Lauderdale – which Norwegian is already happily running from Gatwick.  The new BA CEO Alex Cruz has spoken in internal staff videos about his obsession with Norwegian and their low long-haul cost base, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes sense to attack them head on.

Oakland really means ‘another San Francisco flight’

Oakland is, basically, another flight to San Francisco.  Even the British Airways press office could only find one thing to recommend doing in Oakland which is to visit the Coliseum, home of the local NFL team.

The photograph supplied by BA:

oakland British Airways

…. also looks a lot like San Francisco and very little like Oakland to me.  This is not surprising as San Francisco is only a 30 minute train ride or a 35 minute car ride away.  It is probably a good place to start a fly drive holiday.

The flight will be operated by a Boeing 777-200ER.

It will initially depart four days per week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, switching to Monday / Wednesday / Saturday in winter. It will be a three class service with no First Class.

Services start on 28th March.  All flights have been loaded with at least four economy and two Club World seats available for Avios redemptions.  If you had been thinking of California for next summer but had not found availability, you should jump in today whilst the initial wave of seats are still showing.

There were also seven new short-haul routes launched yesterday which we will cover in a couple of days.  Tallinn was the stand-out.


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 (41)

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

  • pauldb says:

    Maybe we should think about it as a marking of Norwegian, or a shot across the bows. If BA can show Norwegian it can prevent them setting their own profitable yields at FLL & OAK, without a major impact on its MIA/SFO yields, it will make Norwegian think twice about expanding into other secondary edge-of -major-destination airports. It might even be worth the BA/AA JV suffering a loss to achieve that (though if it’s that clear cut then airports like OAK are being stupid letting BA in to destroy the economics for everyone).

  • Nick OCallaghan says:

    Oakland International Airport is closer to downtown SF and my apartment than SFO! And with the BART train now open at Oakland airport, it definitely is another flight to San Francisco. Downtown Oakland is like a ghost town at weekends and after 5pm……

  • Keith M says:

    How do you view the reward flight availability for Oakland on the BA site unless I am being stupid!

    • Genghis says:

      I’ve just had a play around to look for LIM flights and that’s not on the reward availability checker either…

  • Clive says:

    OT but if the news is correct BA have removed Qatar R class earning for TPs and Avios immediately. Calculator not showing R class as earning and no “cool off” period so not sure what will happen to existing bookings.

    • Polly says:

      Clive, this is a very serious issue indeed. Especially for those biz travellers who can’t quite make their 600 TPs to retain silver. Very helpful for my OH BA work travel, as silver benefits v helpful at busy times. It seem peevish, almost vindictive on BA s part, as we are still,paying good money for those tickets.

  • Chris says:

    I can’t find Oakland (or OAK) on Reward Flight Finder (claims BA does not fly there). Am I doing something wrong?

    • Genghis says:

      It seems new routes have not been loaded on there. Go to ‘book’ and pump in some dates and you should see availability.

  • Chris says:

    Thanks. I’ll take a look there. Chris

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

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