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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 (click to enlarge).

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

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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Comments (168)

  • Jo says:

    OT: is there any FX transfer service that takes amex? I have had no luck with azimo/transferwise/revolut

    • Czechoslovakia says:

      None that I’m aware of. Happy to be proved wrong though. Although I’m sure, even there are any, the fee’s / rate spread would be massive.
      You could perhaps pay azimo et al via Billhop? But afraid Billhop would not transfer in the required 24hr window to keep the rate.

  • Jk says:

    Virgin lounge is actually in terminal 3 next door. They are all connected landside, so it’s only a 3 minute walk away, but it’s before security so more useful for domestic departures. I wouldn’t use it for international if I had access elsewhere.

  • Michael C says:

    Not that I’ll be doing it, but for the Inverness trip, could you get off at LHR on the way back?!

    • Rob says:

      On hand baggage, yes.

    • david says:

      I have found if the connection is min 7hrs on way back at LHR, you can ask for luggage to go ‘sightseeing’. And ‘unfortunately’ missed your connection to INV due to ‘traffic’.

      • Ben says:

        But be careful as Rob as warned of people doing this too often can have their accounts shut down

        • Ben says:

          Sorry, I just read the rest of the comments and I can see its being discussed down below.

  • Charlie says:

    Those First flights appear to be even cheaper if you look at Kayak et al.

  • JoshBosh says:

    On the cheap business fares from Inverness, you save again by doing doing a multi city trip inv-usa usa-lon

  • Freddy Mac says:

    Is it possible to book the Inverness-JFK ticket but just join/leave at Heathrow?

    • Cal says:

      Not on the outbound, if you have no checked bags then you can leave LHR on the inbound.

      • Susan says:

        Not officially you can’t but who’s to say you didn’t have an “emergency” in London that prevented onwards travel? The old trick used to be to book with an airport change in London which therefore required bags to be collected at the arriving airport. There was some chatter on FT that BA was cracking down on this by repricing such tickets after the fact – they certainly went after an independent TA some of whose customers had done this a few times.

        • shd says:

          I don’t think there’s a credible report of BA going after a passenger for a reprice. BA *did* make an example of one TA, but that was the TA’s problem.

          • Rob says:

            I have seen numerous examples of this, they are just not publicised as BA only bills TAs and not individuals. Do it 3-4 times in a year and your BAEC account may be closed. Zero risk on 1-2 and I have done that myself.

        • Intentionally Blank says:

          I was in FlightCentre last week, and they’ve had a circular email sent to “warn” customers that they may not get the points, etc, if they don’t complete a trip. I’m with Rob. Don’t abuse it

          • Rob says:

            The customer WILL get the points. But FlightCentre might get a £2000 bill from BA. In fact, it isn’t even a bill – BA just tells FlightCentre it is taking £2000 off the next commission payment, no discussion.

  • Matt says:

    To report some positive news on BA in light of all the usual negativity, myself and partner were upgraded at the gate at Kuala Lumpar on Monday from Club World to First Class. I’m guessing the flight was oversold in the lower cabins, but what was very unexpected about our upgrade was we were travelling on Avios 2-4-1 redemptions. Also I only have silver status and my partner is only blue! Lucky I guess? I also thought the 787 first class product was fantastic. Only issue is now after a couple first class trips I don’t want to slum it in club world anymore haha.

    • Gumshoe says:

      Which is probably exactly why you were upgraded!

      BA seem to target op-ups at people they think might never have considered booking a higher cabin but, having sampled it for free, would in the future.

      • HAM76 says:

        They were successful with me… Started in the 90ties in economy and are now paying for First. Devaluing CW did help, too, though.

    • Chris R says:

      Great to hear of a 2 4 1 upgrade after all the doom and gloom of targeted downgrades. Well done !

      • john says:

        My brother and his partner were travelling on a 241 in CW back from Chile last week and they couldn’t do online check in (app said no) and then had delays getting to the airport and arrived 1-minute after checkin closed. Check-in basically told them tough, you’re late. After some tears and having some luck in finding the captain of the flight (who was checking in some luggage and thought it ridiculous that checkin wouldn’t let customers check-in but staff could) he re-opened the flight. They were allocated some seats in WTP, but when they got to the gate, their seats had been re-allocated to someone else. The helpful captain had waited around and arranged for them to be rebooked on business on Iberia the next day with an overnight stay at the Marriott. Whilst they were waiting for this to be arranged, it turned out that 2 passengers hadn’t shown up at the gate and they were offloaded and my brother and his partner got a couple of WT seats. Apparently both the captain and CSD filed reports about this.. will see what comes of it in terms of compensation..

        • Ben says:

          Wow what a stressful few hours that must have been. Going, then not, going again, only to be in WT. Good luck to your brother.

        • Gumshoe says:

          If they were late for check-in, I wouldn’t have thought they’d be due any compensation for the downgrade. BA were quite within their rights to give their seats away to someone else.

        • john says:

          From what I got told they were at checking approx 1hr15mins before the flight was due to leave and that it might have closed early, but I’m not certain they weren’t there after it was supposed to closed.. website says 1hr before for long haul apart from Jeddah (90mins). Traffic was the reason for the delay getting to check-in, (also why the captain and some cabin crew were also ‘late’).

          I would probably argue in that situation that they ‘arrived’ at check-in 24hrs before the flight having attempted online check-in which wouldn’t work (possibly due to oversold flight?), and therefore BA should be more lenient.. but I guess outsourced check-in staff don’t have that ability.

      • Nick says:

        More people get upgraded than downgraded on 2-4-1s, they just tend to shout about it less! Thanks for sharing.

    • Luke says:

      My first and very likely last taste of BA WT+ class last week – return flight for both of us (cash ticket!!) was downgraded at the airport to economy with laughable 75£ prepaid card compensation for each ticket,cabin crew in WT+ worse than ryanair…awful premium experience…BTW Is BA supposed to offer sparkling wine in WT+? On my outbound flight, left hand side of WT+ cabin was offered bubbles, right hand side was not…guess, where I was sitting 🙁

      • Alan says:

        As I understand it, you are entitled to a lot more compensation than that, but I think an expert will be along shortly.

      • Rob says:

        Deleted as nonsense

        • Alan says:

          Ah thanks Rob. I thought the compensation for downgrade was a % of the flight cost not a fixed 600 Euro. Must have mis-remembered.

          • Rob says:

            No, you’re right and I’m wrong. Sorry. Should not type in airport cafes. You get 75% of the one way price.

        • Alan says:

          Thanks for coming back with that. My memory still works in parts then.

        • Luke says:

          Thanks guys for advice. I filed complain to BA, so hopefully they will get back to at some point this year with some reasonable solution.

  • Doreen says:

    A few days ago I found First to Portland from London in July for 1902 GBP (thanks FT) … LHR – SEA – PDX and return on the 380 from SFO. Connections with Alaska Air which I presume will give TPs & Avios (there was also an option via PHL which would increase the TPs)

    • Nick says:

      AS gives Avios but not TPs. You need AA to get both.

      • Doreen says:

        Thanks for the clarification Nick – guess I can live without those 80 TPS given the sub 2k price 🙂