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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 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 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)

  • Paddy says:

    Apologies, this is completely off topic – does anyone know whether Club World seat selection charges get refunded when upgrading the reward flight to First using more Avios?

  • Anna says:

    OT – does anyone know what the criteria are for getting into American Airlines Admirals lounges? We have 4 economy flights with AA inside the US this summer. I can’t find any reference to them via Priority Pass or Amex Platinum so I imagine you need to be travelling in Business or First, or have very high status (we’re only Blue)?

    • Rob says:

      BA Silver or above. Priority Pass should have an alternative lounge (and one which won’t charge for most food or drink as AA would).

      • Anna says:

        We’re flying in and out of Charlotte Douglas in North Carolina which only seems to have AA lounges. It’s a busy AA hub apparently so I thought there would be more lounges but apparently not! Also DCA (Ronald Reagan) only seems to have a Delta lounge which we also can’t access.

    • Jack says:

      I don’t know the exact criteria but even domestic First passengers don’t get access which I discovered having booked some tickets for May (same with Delta, I don’t think any of the main US airlines give lounge access for domestic First)

      I think you can buy one day passes at around $60 each….

      Detailed access info at:

      • Rob says:

        Even AA status pax in Economy don’t get access – you are expected to pay. But under oneworld rules BA members must get in!

      • Anna says:

        Thanks – I think it’ll just be cheaper to buy breakfast in the terminal!

        • Kevin says:

          I’ve been to an AA Lounge in Charlotte. I wouldn’t pay for access unless I had a very long layover.

    • Mike L says:

      Last year we had to show our onward BA F tickets at Atlanta to get into the lounge. We were on separate Biz (avios) tickets from Atlanta to Miami but this did not qualify for lounge access on its own. We were blue at that time.

  • Susan says:

    If Amex Plat already gives access to the next door plaza premium lounge I’m curious as to the rationale for opening an Amex lounge in Melbourne – although the more liberal guesting rules could be useful surely that is a straight additional cost for Amex with no great financial benefit.

    • Rob says:

      Agreed, it is a bit odd – unless they were paying Virgin so much ….

      • guesswho2000 says:

        One thought on this, there’s a lot of Amex cards here which provide limited access, and they all have annual fees. The Platinum fee is $1250 per year, and they may be trying to entice people to upgrade.

        For eg, my Amex Explorer is $395 per year, I can enter the Amex lounges twice per year for free. The email they send me announcing the lounge opening included a big old advert to upgrade to Platinum.

        Maybe they’re also trying to poach customers from QF/VA – Amex also offer partner cards for them, including lounge access for their respective pax. Interchange has recently been capped here, so there’s that potential issue too. Although I don’t think Amex cards are affected here in the same way as in the UK (as in the BA Amex being capped – I don’t think the same will apply to directly issues Qantas Amex cards, although it does to a NAB/ANZ/etc. QF Amex, which have now gone).

    • mark2 says:

      The Amex Centurion lounge in Seattle was amazing; in a completely different league from Plaza Premium.

    • Alan says:

      Plus PP already give two restaurant options in MEL.

      • Liz says:

        This is great for us as we will be passing through MEL twice in the next couple of months. Will be able to guest my sister and brother in law to the Plat lounge.

  • Jamie says:

    OT there are so many good deals here from BA.. any news of any deals for Mel to LHR?

  • Lewis says:

    Wonder if it gets any cheaper if you use BA holidays to throw in a hotel or hire car

  • steve says:

    I see no future for HEX when crossrail opens, both cheaper and goes into central london.

    • Tim says:

      HEX have track access rights for another decade or so (after all BAA paid for most of the branch line to the airport). I expect that once they have expired, it may be deemed that an enhanced Crossrail service to the airport is sufficient and that the two HEx Paddington platform are better allocated to commuter or Intercity services which will once again be bursting at the seems, the breathing space from Crossrail having been used up.

      • Michael Jennings says:

        The agreement with Network Rail guaranteeing track access expires in 2023. This announcement states that Great Western have agreed to take over and manage the service until 2028, so in effect this means that the deal has somehow been extended for five years. I think this is the key point.

        There are four parties involved here: Heathrow, Network Rail, Great Western, and TfL/Crossrail. TfL have made little secret of the fact that they would like the Heathrow Express to be replaced with more Crossrail services going to the airport. Heathrow Airport has always said that they want the premium Heathrow Express service to continue.

        This announcement says that Heathrow have agreed with Great Western to extend the service until 2028 under Great Western management, so have Heathrow found a way to do a deal with Great Western that means that Great Western’s track access deal with Network Rail will apply, and TfL can be bypassed?

        Presumably some more details of the story behind this will come out before too long.

      • Lady London says:

        I suspect any ‘breathing space’ will be taken up immediately just like the M25 was when it opened. (I am thinking of the section M40-M4 in particular). Once it opens new demand will fill it.

    • Tim says:

      I’d also add that HEx is experimenting with dropping their fares and cutting costs – getting GWR to manage the service is presumably connected with this.

    • IanMacK says:

      HEx deserve what’s coming – just been overcharging business travellers for far too long.
      Yes, HEx is a quick and very frequent service but the prices are just too high.
      More and more offers appearing – certainly for weekend travel and ‘pairs’
      Unless I have a strict time schedule I just use the Tube – yes it gets busy but so …

      • Lady London says:

        If only someone would sort out the big rip-off that is known as the Stansted Express too.

  • Leo says:

    I guess this is an ok deal if you live near INV or want the TPs. I just don’t think BA F is that impressive. I wouldn’t schlep to Inverness just to get into the F cabin TBH.

    • Rob says:

      Personally agree but some may like to wrap a little Scottish trip around it.

    • BP says:

      It’s only 3 hours from Glasgow, so it could work for some of us!

      • Anna says:

        I love Scotland and try and go every other year so at some point would definitely consider it. Is there any way of knowing when these offers come up other than from HFP?

      • Leo says:

        No I wouldn’t even bother with the extra 3 hours…

    • Darren says:

      Other regionals are showing good prices in CW. £1200ish to NYC on haven’t checked TA’s yet. But thinking of switching a reward flight to cash.

  • Alan says:

    Excellent review of new lounge on Points Hacks (Aussie blog) – definitely looks worth a visit!

    • Liz says:

      This says only for international passengers. We will be domestic passengers – I thought T1 and T2 were close together so we could walk to T2.

      • guesswho2000 says:

        The terminals are all next to each other and walkable. That said, once you’re past security I don’t think you can get to it.

        T1 is Qantas, T2 is all International, T3 is Virgin Australia and I forget T4 of the top of my head. I’ll be there in the morning, but in T1, so will have to save my Amex visit for now.

        • Michael Jennings says:

          T4 is the discount airlines terminal – domestic only.

          Australian airports segregate international and domestic travellers in a way which is unusual. Security requirements are quite different, too. (You can bring liquids in any amount through security for domestic flights, for instance, but not for international flights). There is no way you will be able to get from one to the other post-security.

          • Alan says:

            Indeed, there’s exit passport controls which you need to go through at the international terminal too, so it’s not just the higher security requirements.

        • Liz says:

          Bummer – that means we can’t even use the $36 credit at the 2 places to eat because they are at T2 as well. We are flying domestic with Qantas. Oh well – right place, wrong Terminal!