Bits: Seven new BA short haul routes, the best Virgin Atlantic redemption

News in brief:

New BA short haul routes

British Airways has added seven new short haul routes from London Heathrow to their Summer 2017 season.

Included is one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve been to: Tallinn in Estonia. (Here is my review of the Hilton Tallinn Park and a photo from my trip is below.)

In total there will be six new routes from Terminal 5 and one new route from Terminal 3.

Terminal 5:

  • Brindisi (Tuesdays and Saturdays)
  • Montpellier (Wednesdays and Saturdays)
  • Murcia (Tuesdays and Saturdays)
  • Nantes (Wednesdays and Saturdays)
  • Tallinn (Tuesdays and Saturdays)
  • Zakynthos (Wednesdays and Saturdays)

Terminal 3:

  • Pula (Tuesdays and Saturdays)

Cash and Avios redemption seats are available for booking at

tallinn estonia old town view point

The best Virgin Atlantic redemption

Head for Points dedicated a lot of time this week to analysing the changes to Virgin Flying Club.

What we didn’t point out at the time is that there is one ‘no brainer’ best redemption out there.

It is illegal to add any sort of fuel surcharge to flights which are booked from Hong Kong.  This does not apply to return tickets which start elsewhere, however.  Your ticket must start in Hong Kong.

After 16th January, a one-way redemption from Hong Kong to London will cost, off peak:

12,500 Flying Club miles + £35 in Economy

22,500 Flying Club miles + £35 in Premium Economy

57,500 Flying Club miles + £35 in Upper Class

You really can’t argue with that.  You obviously need to get to Hong Kong in the first place, as those are one way prices to get back to London, but this flight would be a great addition to a round the world itinerary.

PS.  It is also illegal to add fuel surcharges to flights departing Brazil, which makes one way Avios redemptions from Brazil to London (on BA) or Madrid (on Iberia) also a great deal.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

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  1. Nicholas Martin says:

    Hi, when you say it’s illegal to add fuel surcharges for flights ex HKG that’s not entirely correct. Several airlines as of October 2016 including Cathay and Hong Kong Airlines have re-introduced these surchages – rumour has it due to some poor hedges made on the oil price.

    • Shun Nam says:

      No, fuel surcharges imposed by CX and HX are only applicable for bookings originating from out ports other than Hong Kong. For itineraries starting from Hong Kong, there is still no fuel surcharge as restricted by the policy.

  2. Nicholas Martin says:

    Hi, when you say it’s illegal to add fuel surcharges for flights ex HKG that’s not entirely correct. Several airlines as of October 2016 including Cathay and Hong Kong Airlines have re-introduced these surchages – rumour has it’s due to some poor hedges made on the oil price.

  3. Sandgrounder says:

    I have a Virgin redemption from Hong Kong booked for next April. Flying out on an Avios Cathay ticket, which is a great low tax and charges option, especially ex-Europe.

  4. Just punched a few samples flights into the virgin “book flights with points” page for next feb and its coming up with the Hong Kong to LHR for 25k points, not 12,500 . . . what am I missing folks?

  5. Thaks to QR and crash in Egyptian pound, you can book flights from CAI return to exotic places for much less now.
    as an example, CAI-TYO in april 2017 for £650 return in Business Class

  6. Does anyone have any tips on finding out how many tier points for new routes such as the Tallinn one that does not show in the BA Tier point calculator at the moment? Thanks.

  7. Agree with Hong Kong option and always seems to be availability in UC. Given how easy it is to collect FC miles the HKG route seems like a real winner to me.

  8. As this is Bits, here’s an O/T

    Hilton 40% AsiaPac sale coming, 4 day booking Window Mon-Thu

    Hoping Bali is on there.

    • Was literally seconds away from pulling the trigger on an Intercontinental Bali booking! Will wait till Monday morning now – would prefer the IC to the Conrad but if it’s 40% of the advance booking price or anywhere near that could be a big incentive to swap. Thanks for the heads up!

      • Genghis has been to Bali a few times, there’s also a new Hilton (rebranding) opening soon…

        • Genghis says:

          I’ve only been once before when I was a poor student, had no money and stayed in a place with bed bugs!

          We’re going in April next year via SIN and back from KUL (transfers on Air Asia who I rate highly) and staying in Ubud for a few days followed by a week at the Conrad. Conrad was reasonably priced (was tactical with the room so should get upgraded to something decent) and get other diamond benefits.

          Here’s a decent, albeit a few years old, review I found useful:

        • James6y says:

          AirAsia moving to KLIA1 🙂

        • Genghis says:

          Leo and Anon – when are you headed to Bali?

        • Be careful in the sea in Bali – they pump raw sewage into it. I went swimming on the beach at the IC on day 2 and spent the rest of the holiday in bed vomiting (from both ends). Unlikely foot poisoning as ate exactly the same as my partner.

          Personally very unimpressed with the place – stayed 3 nights at the IC, 3 nights at the Conrad. Not safe to go wandering out of either hotel at night.

        • I’m spending 4 days in Ubud and the last 3 days at the Oberoi. I’m looking for somewhere in between – flying Cathay J via HKG on the Gatwick a350. I’m leaning towards the IC partially because of the beach even though I wasn’t expecting to swim in the sea. Even if you disliked both which did you dislike least?!

        • Visited Bali in August. Ubud is very nice and not as touristy. We stayed at Alam Ubud (booked through Kaligo using virgin miles). It was rather nice and great scenery with rice terraces. Another highlight in Ubud was visting the monkey forest.

  9. Peter Taysum says:

    I’ve got 12000 Avios for an ISA (thanks Rob) I’m tempted to go economy long haul for this (never thought I’d say that after finding HfP!) any advice n how to pick up the extra 500 points I’d need?


    • Peter Taysum says:

      Virgin Points, sorry…

    • Amex, Heathrow Rewards, join eRewards and do 1 survey (do they have that?)

      • Peter Taysum says:

        That’ll do nicely. E-rewards isn’t showing as a partner (I don’t really like them for obvious reasons, but they stopped me losing some Accor points, so I’ve kept my account active)

        • They are definitely a partner. They show up quite clearly as of 5 minutes ago. I always credit them to Flying Club.

  10. Great heads up! Managed to book 8 seats in August to Pula in Croatia. There was also lots of seats to Zakynthos.

  11. TGLoyalty says:

    OT Any signs of a winter SPG AMEX Promo?

    • I was thinking the same… normally about now.. but I’ve just got our new Nectar cards through and a new BAPP’s through so will have to rinse through £8k in the next two months already!

      Even Mrs Danksy will struggle with that!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Was hoping to top up SPG and take advantage of my 50% points deal but just checked and I’ve been slashed to 25%.

        Some goings on with this deal!

        • I think same thing happened for me – was 50% now 30%….

        • Scallder says:

          Wife has been dropped from 50% to 25% as well. I only ever got 25% and has stayed as that. Will definitely be looking at contacting SPG

  12. Thanks for the tip about Hong Kong. Been trying to get hubby home from CNS for his dad’s 90th and can do all the other legs on Cathay but I’d forgotten about Virgin – and we’ve got a fair few we accumulated for a Virgin trip to SYD before they canned the route. So hubby now booked in UC on a day which works….

  13. Scottydogg says:

    Ive got 40,000 virgin points , and my plan is / was to book a Premier Economy back from Hong Kong in March currently selling at 40,000 , now , do I wait until after the 16th of January and hope that there is redemption option available , or do I book now to make sure I get it .
    Im not flexible on dates so need to get on to a certain flight

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