Nutmeg Avios

British Airways to run a 777 to Madrid, offering Club World and First!

I ran a long article yesterday on ‘how to fly long haul planes on short haul redemptions’ – read it here.  This was mainly about ‘fifth freedom’ flights but also touched on some oneworld Heathrow flights which use long haul aircraft, mainly:

Selected Finnair flights to Helsinki using a brand new A350

Selected Iberia flights to Madrid using A330 / A340 aircraft

Both of these offer flat beds in business class and can be redeemed using Avios at the standard rates.  I have done both of these services – here is my review of Madrid to London on an Iberia A330 and here is my review of London to Helsinki on a Finnair A350.

By coincidence, British Airways has just announced a similar move of its own.


From 26th March, the 7.20am BA flight to Madrid will be operated by a Boeing 777.  The return leg leaves Madrid at 12.20.

This appears to be compensating for a Boeing 767 service which is being switched for an A321 and may therefore be a cargo issue.

(The Iberia long-haul flight usually leaves Heathrow at around 6.30pm, meaning it leaves Madrid around 4pm.)

If you book yourself on this flight, business class passengers will be sat in Club World and will get a flat bed.

Even better, British Airways Gold card holders are able to select seats in First Class albeit with the standard Club World service (which itself will be the standard Club Europe service).

Not a bad excuse for a weekend away next year ….

How to earn Avios with your Caffe Nero coffee and other High Street retailers
Bits: Regus Express to open in Heathrow T2 and T3, 20% off at Radisson Red Brussels
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  1. Do you think it will be possible to pay to select seats in First, or for status holders only?

  2. I would also caveat that standard practice in these circumstances is that the F cabin is only used if booked load warrants it. Also on ad-hoc uses of the 777 in Europe before WT+ has been either CE or ET

    So worse case you could allocate in F and be seat shifted to WT+ if CW was full at that point

    Though we will see in practice, my understanding this flight is well timed to connect with S.America flights so is usually very busy

    I wonder if BoB will be in place on these, will be a pain to swap out the bars and load the hardware

    • IFE will probably be disabled though as is usually the case when a mid-haul A321 runs a CE route (such as Rome).

  3. barry cutters says:

    i don’t understand the economy seating. it was showing a 2-4-2 layout all the way back to row 42?? all 777s in the fleet are 3x3x3 in the back to my knowledge , with some about to become 3-4-3.
    is the 2-4-2 a mistake?

    • Very odd.
      They’ve omitted the C & H seats but put in G.

      Having dug further what I see they’ve done is retain the seat numbering from Club & pulled it all the way back.

  4. LondonFoodie says:

    Just took the LHR-HEL yesterday and was very positively surprised to be on the A350. It is a fantastic product!

  5. OT – has everyone who has taken Qatar ‘R’ class flights had their miles and tier points? I flew my outgoing flight 3 days ago and they still haven’t posted. I know BA said they weren’t going to but then I’m sure I read people were getting them anyway

    • You should get them without problems but I believe that there is only one sweep for miles a week so be a little patient.

    • I got mine ok from flights in November. I believe they usually credit on Wednesday for Qatar.

      • Thanks guys. Last time I remember checking and they were there. Was only concerned because of the hysteria back in April!

    • They normally post on Wednesdays..

    • Interesting point you make here. I flew Zurich – Doha – Adelaide in November, with Qatar all “R” fares (boarding pass said “J” though). Fantastic experience on both the 787 and the A350 ,it was only 6 months old 🙂
      My points did not come through until I used the “missing points” feature on the exec club site. I think, coincidentally, the points turned up the next day (Wednesday).
      However what did worry me was the response from BA regarding all 4 flights…. “The flights do not qualify for TP or Avios”.
      If you use the BA miles calculator, they show as being eligible, so BA seem to be sending conflicting signals on this topic.

    • I had to submit a form for missing Avios/tier points after not getting anything…although my wife had got hers OK. Took about a week and they have just posted.

  6. Piero Tintori says:

    You can also fly on a A330 Aerlingus – Malaga including their business class offering.

  7. Piero Tintori says:

    You can also fly on a A330 Aerlingus Dublin – Malaga including their business class offering.

    • Didn’t know that ….. could be tempted.

      • Any idea how you book into business on this? The a330 seems to be the early flight, but nothing shows up for business class on the aer lingus website and no availability on first reward flights either. Can you book the flexible ticket (which is under €200 on the day I want to go) and select a seat up front?

  8. Is it Rob Junior pictured on the photo above?

    Wouah! Time is runing quickly.
    I remember him as a child pictured in the A380 emirates bar.

    I can see him being, in a not far future, the HFP consultant in teenagers’ point of vue ;-).
    But school studies is a top priority, first of course.

    • Yes, that is my 5 and a half year old. Pic taken last month. He just happens to be as tall as most 7 year olds.

      • He is going to be a tall man then!

        That’s fun to see him on a pic doumenting a post. It is another reason making your site genuine.

        And he plays very well his role. Ok I know he had probably not noticed you were taking a pic of him at that time.

        What a great HFP team (with Anika too)!

  9. OT: is there a current recommendation for best way to order foreign currencies? I think Rob said that the old Amex service which credited towards spending targets was withdrawn…?

    • No obviously lucrative option. I stick to ATM withdrawals via a Curve or Supercard.

      • Thanks for the reply – I tend to feel a bit twitchy with no cash at all, arriving in a new place, but I guess this is a bit irrational…

        • I like to have a small amount of foreign currency if going to a place I’ve never been before (to get us to the hotel so don’t have to queue at ATM) that usually get from bestforeignexchange in London.

        • No, rational. I have been stuffed with broken ATM machines at airports before now.

        • Johnnycl says:

          I’ve used Curve (as a debit card) before to collect pre-booked currency at Moneycorp.

        • That is good to know; I will try out this weekend at LGW.

      • For Curve if I have already used £200 monthly limit, can I still withdraw Euros (while in EU) at some modest charge?

  10. The 767 was still operating on the days i checked , along with the 777 on the later flight.

  11. Enjoyed the trips with my son gallivanting round Europe in the summer. Started in Inverness… Propeller Loganair Dublin, then a bog standard club BA flight to LHR, Iberia to Madrid in their lie flat club cabin and the LAN 787 to Frankfurt….no wonder it’s called the Dreamlner! . All in all, a very nice experience of the different types of aircraft and club cabins. And, thoroughly enjoyed the few days in Madrid and Frankfurt. I say…’Go for it!’

  12. I wonder if this is the first move in terms of withdrawal of the 767s from the fleet, the European ones being the last ones to go. Potentially a subfleet of (older?) 777s to be dumped on Euro network as a replacement?

  13. Hingeless says:

    Just tried a dummy booking, as a gold card holder I can only book rows 1-4.

    Another route that allows you to book F seats is Sydney to Tokyo on Qantas, if they have a 747 flying you can get an old F seat on business class ticket with no status. Qantas J food is as good as BA F food.

  14. Just made a BA holidays booking with the Iberia A330 and back on the 777. I was able to upgrade the 777 flight back using 7500 avios and £0 charge. Now settled into 1A for the flight. My best value First seat!

    • That sounds like great value! Was the upgrading something you did as part of the BA holidays booking process or later through the manage your booking portal?

  15. The MAD-LHR service in business on the A340 was excellent, they offer free wifi, full hot meal service and a few rounds of drinks. And a 1-2-1 configuration. I would avoid BA, Club Europe is an utter waste of time.