The British Airways Winter sale ends tomorrow. As I will remind you, the short-haul deals are pretty good and the long-haul deals are pretty average. You can also double up with the American Express cashback or bonus Avios deal currently available to many of us.
A reminder of the American Express deal
There are two variants:
£15 cashback when you spend £100+ at ba.com by 30th January
1,500 Avios – added to your BA Amex balance and transferred to BA with your normal Avios for card spending – when you spend £100+ at ba.com by 30th January
Both offers were only valid for the first 20,000 people to save them to their card. This target appears to have been reached so you may no longer see it as available. You need to look under the ‘Offers’ tab of your online BA Amex statement page at the Amex website here.
Remember that the offer will pay out on redemption bookings as long as the taxes are over £100. I imagine that it will also trigger if you pay £100 towards any BA Holidays package you have booked. It will NOT work if you buy £100 of Avios via ba.com. This is because ‘buy Avios’ transactions are purchased by points.com and you will see their name on your Amex statement.
If your booking is very close to £100, remember that you can make a small charitable donation to Flying Start or to offset your CO2 emissions. This is worth doing if your ticket is more than £85 but below £100. I imagine the Flying Start donation can also be treated as gift aid.
A reminder of the short haul BA deals
The highlight of the entire British Airways sale is the incredibly low Club Europe fares out of London Gatwick.
In fact, these are the cheapest Club Europe fares I have ever seen. Back in October 2015 BA ran a flash sale offering seats at £150 return, but some of these deals beat that. The lowest fare was to Nurmberg for £114 but that was for early January only.
More mainstream destinations are also very cheap. Barcelona is £160 return in Club Europe from London Gatwick.
The maths is compelling:
You get 80 tier points for the flight, so at well under £2 per tier point this is worth considering for no other reason than it is a cheap way to earn or retain status. As I note below, Catania is £215 return for 160 tier points.
Even a British Airways Blue member would earn 2,150 Avios for a return flight to Barcelona, so that is at least £20 of value coming straight back
You will get access to the impressive new British Airways Galleries lounges at Gatwick which we reviewed here
You will get the other benefits of Club Europe – fast track security (which works well at Gatwick), priority boarding, empty middle seat, a free meal and all the champagne you can get through
This is what I see for travel between February and April for under £200 in Club Europe. Remember that a 2-night minimum stay or a Saturday night may be required:
- Alicante from £200 return
- Amsterdam from £180 return
- Barcelona from £160 return
- Bilbao from £198 return
- Bordeaux from £136 return
- Friedrichshafen from £148 return
- Geneva from £186 return
- Genoa from £146 return
- Innsbruck from £188 return
- Limoges from £144 return
- Luxembourg from £158 return
- Lyon from £170 return
- Malaga from £180 return
- Nice from £180 return
- Nuremberg from £148
- Pisa from £196 return
- Porto from £190 return
- Rome from £200 return
- Salzburg from £180 return
- Seville from £210 return
- Turin from £160 return
- Venice from £180 return
- Verona from £170 return
If you are after tier points, you should take a look at Catania in Sicily. This is a 160 tier points route and is selling for as low as £215 return in May, June and July. My article listing all of the 160 tier point Club Europe routes is here.
You should also have a look at the BA Holidays website here and do a dummy booking with a hotel or car hire added. You might find it gets even cheaper.
A reminder of the long haul BA deals
The long-haul sale deals are less interesting. The home page is here. Remember that tomorrow is the last day to book.
Travel dates vary by route so take a look at the small print at the bottom of the sale website. In general, you can book until early December 2018. There seem to be fewer date restrictions than usual.
The easiest way to check out the best prices to a specific destination is with the British Airways Low Fare Finder tool on ba.com. This will show you the cheapest price on any route, in any class, on month by month basis. If you can be flexible with dates, there are some decent fares available.
In general, the premium deals are more expensive than the last sale, but some First Class deals are attractive.
As usual I strongly recommend also getting a price via the BA Holidays website here. Packaging a hotel and flight, or a car and a flight, can sometimes cost less than the flight itself.
Economy and Premium Economy deals
If you are looking for a real bargain then I suggest looking at World Traveller (Economy) and World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) fares which are down sharply, especially to the US and Middle East. We don’t really focus on those much on HFP but I would highlight:
- Boston – £306 World Traveller / £749 World Traveller Plus
- Chicago – £394 World Traveller / £755 World Traveller Plus
- Montreal – £406 World Traveller / £731 World Traveller Plus
- San Jose (US) – £442 World Traveller / £781 World Traveller Plus
- Bermuda – £578 World Traveller / £928 World Traveller Plus
- Lima – £483 World Traveller / £855 World Traveller Plus
- St Lucia – £488 World Traveller / £789 World Traveller Plus
- Abu Dhabi – £317 World Traveller / £567 World Traveller Plus
- Muscat – £298 World Traveller / £508 World Traveller Plus
- Male – £726 World Traveller / £1220 World Traveller Plus
- Shanghai – £415 World Traveller / £806 World Traveller Plus
Remember that World Traveller Plus fares can be upgraded to Club World with Avios, either during the booking process (use ‘Book and Upgrade’) or later. There must be Avios availability for redemption seats in Club World for you to do this.
The cost is the difference between a Club World and World Traveller Plus redemption. You can look up Avios pricing by route in this article.
Premium sale deals
As I said above, the deals are not as good as they were in the Summer sale. However, there are some excellent First Class offers. In general, these are priced at roughly £400 above the equivalent Club World fare.
Here are some major destinations, priced as Club World and First:
Boston £1364 / £1787
Chicago £1473 / £1896
Fort Lauderdale £1686 / £2122
Montreal £1410 / No First
New York £1387 / £1790
Philadelphia £1370 / £1787
Kingston £1189 / No First
Punta Cana £1284 / No First
Abu Dhabi £1247 / £1680
Dubai £1497 / £2138
Muscat £1098 / £1630
Shanghai £1890 / £2442
In general, Asia prices are not too attractive – even Bangkok, widely discounted by everyone at the moment, is still £1698 in Club World. South Africa is also very high (£2854 Club World to Jo’burg, more to Cape Town).
If you were looking at Dubai, remember that Abu Dhabi is cheaper and it is a £40 / 1 hour taxi ride from the airport to Jumeirah. That is only a little longer and a little more expensive than the ride from Dubai International. It is worth taking a serious look at Muscat, however, as the fares are even cheaper and Oman has some good hotels.
And don’t forget ….
Remember that ‘Part Pay With Avios’ can be used with these fares. The maximum discount at present is £250 for 45,500 Avios points per return flight in Club World and £300 for 55,000 Avios in First – which is pretty terrible, to be honest. You can learn more about ‘Part Pay With Avios’, including the rates for other cabins, on this special page of ba.com.
Don’t forget to compare pricing with BA Holidays too. Their home page is here.
The best thing to do if you are interested is to pop over to ba.com and have a look around, starting with the Low Fare Finder. The full sale details are here. The sale ends tomorrow, Tuesday 30th January.
To maximise your miles when paying, your best bet is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card which earns double Avios (3 per £1) when you book at ba.com or via BA Holidays. You do not get double Avios if you book with the free British Airways American Express card.
Another option is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2023)
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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.
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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.