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Another new British Airways route – Oakland – and Avios availability again 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 from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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 (41)

  • lammy52 says:

    We flew into Oakland on a recent trip to West Coast. Great for San Francisco, only 30 minutes on train and also did car hire there. Very convenient.

  • sebastian says:

    I am liking more destinations opening up as it gives us more options to redeem, in particular New Orleans as this was a bugger to get too otherwise. My only slight issue is that all the new destinations don’t have any First cabins. For me, unless I am on a late flight in which I will sleep for most of the flight, I would prefer to avoid CW, owing to it’s cramped nature, and pay the additional avios to fly in First.

  • Sarah says:

    Oakland is very handy if you want to drive up to Napa, and I would imagine there are far fewer international arrivals than at SFO, so hopefully good for immigration

  • John says:

    You’ll be seeing a further burst of Willie activity in the next few days, Rob (so to speak).

    Under the terms of the takeover deal with the ROI government, EI has to launch another two transatlantic routes in 2017.

    Miami looks ready to go (perhaps somewhere like Dallas next?)

    With his mates at Qatar also busy, you’d wonder if WW is trying to establish dominance in Dublin as a hedge against LHR ever getting extra (competing against IAG) capacity!

  • aliks says:

    Happy days! we wanted to go to California next Easter, but didnt get in early enough to bag Virgin or BA reward flights.

    We were looking at Bognor as an alternative, but courtesy of HfP we are now the proud owners of a couple of business seats on the Gatwick – Oakland express next April (BAPP 2for1 150k Avios plus £1000 “tax”).

    Anyone know if there is an Avios way to fly Oakland to Phoenix (for the Grand Canyon)

    • Keith says:

      I used to visit several companies on the east side of the bay, and had to fly into SFO. I then went on to other parts of the US, and always used Oakland – much more convenient for all the businesses on that side.

      Aliks – I’d be very surprised if you can’t fly to Phoenix from Oakland, that’s one of the routes I used to do. Too many years ago to recommend specifics, I think it was SouthWest when I last went!

    • Nick OCallaghan says:

      Oakland Airport is mainly Southwest but American do fly from there to Phoenix….

  • Genghis says:

    Kind of on topic. HEL-LHR on AY, the A350 is flown on which services?

  • Simon Schus says:

    For a few months this year, I was living out about 1hour from Oakland in Sonoma, CA – Oakland and SFO are basically the same distance. Saying that, there is a much closer airport to Sonoma/Napa which is Santa Rosa Airport (STS). I think it might be domestic only but there are a few airlines that connect there from the hubs at a premium (Alaska, Delta, American) unless you want to take cheap cheap Spirit Airlines.

    A few little notes about Oakland though:
    – They have an Escape lounge opening soon; Escape as in MAG, as in the lounges in Manchester Airport. It was scheduled to open in the summer but has been pushed back; it wasn’t open at the start of October but I think it could be open now/soon. I don’t know if it is Priority Pass or not as this wasn’t listed when I spoke to them in October. Saying that, SFO has a few decent-enough lounges (including the AMEX Centurion Lounge that you can access in the United terminal).
    – They have Global Entry kiosks for entering the US via OAK (but note, there is no Global Entry enrolment centre so you can’t do interviews there).

    Re: Oakland-area to the Grand Canyon, we just drove from where we were living, stopping off in Los Angeles to see friends, as we were doing a crosscountry drive anyway. We ended up staying at a Holiday Inn Express in Williams, AZ which was perfect for the next morning drive to Grand Canyon (we got there at 8.30am, it was already getting busy when we left at 9.30/10am).

    I can understand why Oakland might be described as the New Jersey of the San Francisco Bay Area. It reminds me a bit of Luton or Gatwick vs SFO which is a bit more like Heathrow.

  • Simon Schus says:

    Also agree about it being less congested at OAK rather than SFO, though this can depend on whether it is gameday in the local area. For me, OAK is much less of a confusing drive to SFO, especially when you are coming from the North (also, one of the routes from the North through San Francisco and onto SFO has a toll – I don’t know about OAK).

    • Nick OCallaghan says:

      There are tolls on both the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate bridge when heading into SF from the east bay (oakland) and from the north (marin) – therefore you can avoid these by heading over to OAK and not going through the city at all….

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