Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Book British Airways to North America in First Class from £1,700

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British Airways has released a large number of seats from the UK to North America in First from £1,700.  It looks like you have to travel to Inverness in order to pay this little, however.

There is no Air Passenger Duty from Inverness, which saves £150 or so.  That doesn’t account for the entire fare difference as I show below.

A flight on 21st June from Inverness via London Heathrow to New York returning on 27th June costs just £1,796.

However, if you leave out the Inverness – Heathrow leg, you will pay almost twice as much.

The good news, if you are willing to travel to Inverness, is that you will earn 500 tier points for the whole trip (40 + 210 + 210 + 40).

A few other First Class fares I found include:

Inverness to Chicago at £1,696

Inverness to Boston at £1,746

Inverness to Philadelphia at £1,696

Availability for the cheap fares is pretty good.  The only rule seems to be that you stay away for a Saturday night.  The fare rules are not available via ITA Matrix so I can’t get the full details.  You may want to try pricing it up from your nearest BA regional departure to see what is available.

If you do want to fly direct from Heathrow to the U.S., it’s worth checking the BA low fare finder as you can find flights from Heathrow to Chicago, New York, Philadelphia or Boston in First from around £2,500.  Is it worth a £700 saving (and the sacrifice of 80 tier points from Inverness – Heathrow and back) to fly to Inverness first though ….?

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.

You can find out more about BA’s Inverness service and local attractions on ba.com here.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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

25,000 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 a huge range of valuable 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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.

Comments (165)

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

  • Anna says:

    BBC has just announced that BA have refunded the £780 Rachel Monk was charged for her replacement ticket, just before she was due to appear on TV to be interviewed.

    • Rob says:

      Funny that.

    • Lady London says:

      Did she go on TV anyway? I do hope so.

      When British Airways realises someone’s going to go public it seems their typical pattern is to make a gag order a condition of the deal. So they get away with it.

  • Matt says:

    *The Virgin Lounge in Melbourne is in Terminal 3 (domestic flights) not Termnal 2 which is international.

  • Lostantipod says:

    GWR are not fit to run a bath, let alone a train service. See the flak their helpdesk cops on a twitter on a daily basis this year : cancelled peak hour trains (“shortage of drivers”) , late trains, skipped stations, and chronic overcrowding (yet they crow in their PR about all the (hard as rocks) seats they added by purchasing new electro star rolling stock.

    I fear for the HEX as a reliable service going forward, I really do.

    • Billy says:

      Weird. GWR are rapidly becoming my favourite operator.

      Bizarrely though, South West Trains has gone down the pan since First took over. And fares have gone through the roof.

      One company controlling all trains FROM London to the South West and fares shoot up. Who would have thought?

    • Billy says:

      Weird. GWR are rapidly becoming my favourite operator. Mind you, look at the Twitter feed of ANY rail company…!

      Bizarrely though, South West Trains has gone down the pan since First took over. And fares have gone through the roof.

      One company controlling all trains FROM London to the South West and fares shoot up. Who would have thought?

  • Lukas says:

    Flights still available on BA website!!! Example date was 9-16 June

  • Manuel says:

    Who in his right mind would fly with EayJet or Ryanair anyways?

    As far as I understand it, EasyJet had several minor but relevant security breaches and there are upcoming strikes on Ryanair, so adherence to the itinerary is not guaranteed and passengers can get stranded. Therefore, the two are currently rated as not recommended. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    I’m following them on twitter (@avirate_aero) and Instagram (avirate.aero) and it turns out that they do the ratings from the point of view of the passengers, what I think is great, especially compared to sugarcoating skytrax…

    I’ve looked at their contact informations and can’t find nothing sketchy there. Office hours, address, telephone number, email, everything available and I couldn’t care less who their boss is, as long as they do a good job.

    The website could be spiced up a bit and seems quite pragmatic, but basically everything what you need to know is there and that’s what counts.

    I also had to search around first, and it’s probably because they’re still a new company, but if you Search “avirate ~ aviation” in google, there is already a lot to find.

    Hope my point of view helps.

  • Billy says:

    The BA exINV F fares have been around for at least six months. Mentioned on HfP and they’re pulled. Well done.

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

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