Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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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 from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2024)

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

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

30,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

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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.

American Express Business Platinum

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American Express Business Gold

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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (37)

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

  • Clive says:

    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…?

    • Rob says:

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

      • Clive says:

        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…

        • Genghis says:

          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.

        • Rob says:

          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.

      • Roger says:

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

  • Neil says:

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

  • Kinkell says:

    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!’

  • Scott says:

    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?

  • 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.

  • Neil says:

    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!

    • Barras says:

      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?

  • Nick says:

    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.

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

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