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Bits: new Avios route to Oz with Qantas, Aer Lingus launches ‘no baggage’ long-haul fares

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News in brief:

Qantas and Emirates revamp their partnership

As the major partnership between Qantas and Emirates approaches the end of its original five year term, the two airlines have announced a five year extension – plus major changes in how it will work.

These are, I think, positive from a UK perspective.

At present, Qantas flies Sydney – Dubai – London Heathrow using an A380.  This service is to be scrapped from 25th March.

Instead, Qantas is launching Sydney – Singapore – London Heathrow using an A380.  The timings are virtually identical to the British Airways flight on the same route.

Avios seats might become slightly easier to get on the existing British Airways flight to Sydney, which goes via Singapore.  Some travellers will now choose Qantas over BA, either for just Heathrow to Singapore or all the way through.  The Qantas A380 offers First Class and Premium Economy, a la British Airways.

At the same time, the number of Avios seats to Dubai will drop – although this market is already well served by British Airways into both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Remember that Qantas is also launching its NON-STOP 17-hour flight from Heathrow to Perth in 2018.  This will use a new Boeing 787.

Even though Qantas will no longer fly via Dubai, you can still book Emirates flights via Dubai to Asia and Australasia as Qantas codeshares.  This means that they will continue to earn Avios and British Airways tier points, as this HFP article explains.

Qantas is making another change at the same time which may also impact your Avios redemption thinking.  Singapore to Melbourne is being upgraded to an A380 which means increased capacity and the introduction of First Class and premium economy.

The route map below, click to enlarge, shows the possible routes between the UK and Australia using Qantas and Emirates.  You are spoilt for choice.

Qantas Emirates route map

Aer Lingus launches ‘Saver’ long-haul tickets

In a sign of what may be coming to sister airline British Airways soon, Aer Lingus has launched ‘fewer frills’ ‘Saver’ tickets on some routes from Dublin to the USA.

This are currently priced at €80 less than a standard return ticket.  You DO still get free food but you won’t get a free suitcase, free seat selection or a blanket or headphones on board.

If you eventually end up checking in a suitcase then there is minimal saving here and, on West Coast routes, you will end up paying more in total.  Assuming that the majority of US leisure travellers will be checking in a case, this seems to be a move aimed mainly at positioning Aer Lingus alongside Norwegian, price wise, on flight comparison sites.

What is weird is that you need to stay away for a Saturday night in order to book a ‘Saver’ fare.  This is typical ‘legacy airline’ behaviour (Norwegian doesn’t do this).  And, as I said above, these fares are often not even cheaper if you end up checking luggage, which most people will.

You will still earn Avios on ‘Saver’ fares at the standard rate of 3 per €1 on the base fare.

You can find out more about long-haul ‘Saver’ tickets here.

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 (38)

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

  • Crafty says:

    OT: Looking at BA/AA flights to Florida in November. It seems to be about £200 cheaper if I book through TravelUp rather than directly with BA. Being new to this – what should I watch out for? Would the flights for example not be eligible to earn Avios?

    • Mikeact says:

      Never ceases to amaze me, suggest you read this first,

      • Crafty says:

        Thank you, but I don’t understand the relevance of your link to my question. I am a longtime reader of the website, and visit daily. I was asking specifically about aggregators like TravelUp, which appear to be significantly cheaper than booking directly with BA; I can’t understand from their website or from BA’s why the fares are lower, and what I would be sacrificing to benefit from these lower fares.

  • Kinkell says:

    Now,now @Mikeact. Be nice! We were all newbies at some point, seekng reassurances etc. And, there is a lot to get your head round in the beginning.

  • Alex Sm says:

    Why on Earth does Saturday night stay rule still exist? BA seem to be on of the few if not the only legacy carrier who still sticks to it. I recently went to Moscow for a midweek business trip (Tue to Thu) with BA charging eye-watering 600 quid in economy with no food and crappy A321 with Aeroflot ticket being £250 with hot food, A330 plane and better airport in Moscow…

    • Genghis says:

      I was there earlier in the week. £1,200 in Y or £1,400 in J. Chose J but I wasn’t paying…

  • Alex Sm says:

    Does anyone know what is the rationale of putting two competing services at the same time rather then spreading across the day (or at least by 1-2 hours) to better respond to customer needs and demand? In their greedy desire to compete they are simply causing frustration among passengers and pushing them away to third-party competitors with suitable flight timings

    • Rob says:

      I imagine there is a very tight window during which you can do this, since it requires Sydney and Heathrow to be open (both close overnight). There are actually 2 Qantas flights a day to Singapore (although only the A380 will continue to London) and 2 BA flights to Singapore so you have a bit of flexibility if you want a longer break in the middle.

      • Alex Sm says:

        I mean more in general – it’s often the case with other services too

        • Stu N says:

          Limited windows of operations and airlines trying to maximise utilisation of aircraft. Take Hong Kong as an example, both BA flights leave HKG around midnight to arrive back at 0530-0600 which is as early as possible wirh the curfews at Heathrow.

          The early flight leaves London around 1830 and the later one leaves around 2130, arriving around 1400 and 1700 respectively. Takes about three hours to turn a long haul plane around so in theory they could leave HKG at 1700 and 2000 respectively. This would get to LHR at 0000 and 0300 which isn’t allowed so they have to hang around on the ground at HKG to ensure they arrive in London in operating hours.

          Flight times are basically fixed – you can’t fly slower as that’s really inefficient and you can’t go faster because the plane won’t go any faster. Add this up across the network, balance outbound and inbound constraints and you end up with limited windows for your flights. So they all sort of go the same time.

  • Cuchlainn says:

    OT Qs please :
    Looking to use 1 of my BA 2-4-1 vouchers next July for Florida for my 25th Anniversary. Since I am coming from NI my home airports are either BHD, BFS or DUB at a push.
    1. Is my domestic connection to London included in the voucher ? ( Even if it is from DUB ? )
    2. Will my bags transfer on both legs if I am using same airport / BA metal ?
    3. Does the 2-4-1 allow me to use Aer Lingus as my domestic connection and would my transatlantic connection “carry over” for the domestic connection ? ( I anticipate a Mall overdose if previous trips are anything to go by !! )

    • Cuchlainn says:

      Oops – Q3 should be in relation to my baggage allowance carrying over..

    • Genghis says:

      1. Yes but 241 needs to be ex-UK
      2. Yes bags transfer
      3. BA metal only. Highest baggage allowance of all the sectors on all sectors

      • Cuchlainn says:

        Cheers Genghis – my problem is BA only fly BHD to LHR and then LGW to MCO ( still available for next July at present ). No other Florida airports are available for 2-4-1 mid-July flights !!
        Would this class as a connecting flight even though it is different airports ?
        I presume it is just the normal BA Customer Services I ring to try and book my 2-4-1 voucher, as I have no BA status at all ?

        • Alan says:

          Yes, they’ll let you book with an airport change in London as long as you have enough time for the connection (and you’ll need to sort bags yourself).

          Should be bookable online – we’re lucky with EDI to have all 3 BA London airports covered, and I certainly remember seeing options with airport changes when booking on the website.

          • Cuchlainn says:

            Super job Alan – thanks for update – will ring BA today and update HFP later.

          • Cuchlainn says:

            Alan ( and Genghis ),
            Booking accepted : BHD to LHR ( voluntary transfer via ourselves to LGW ) then LGW to MCO in WT+ . Return is MCO to LGW in Club World and LHR to BHD in CE – looking forward to it thanks.

          • Alan says:

            Fantastic, glad you got it sorted & thanks for feeding back!

  • Mark says:

    A little on the niche side but I think the opportunity to earn Avios and tier points on EK from LHR will disappear. I cannot see any codeshares via DXB offered on QF after 25th March – you can however still do this from European cities on the EK network

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

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