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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)

  • The Gatwick Express being run by the Southern franchise hasn’t worked particularly well. They now have trains with the same ironing board seats as Southern, just in red. The only positive I can see is if the fares are reduced to be closer to Crossrail but the Gatwick Express still remains charged at a premium despite being run by the same company that operates Thameslink and Southern

  • Olly says:

    I am seeking advice regarding Amex referrals please folks. Can I refer my wife who has her own Gold Rewards card as well as being a supplementary card holder to my Platinum to get 18,000 points referral?

    • Olly says:

      ……. and then for her to churn straight away, obviously!

    • Anna says:

      You can certainly refer her for cards she doesn’t already have (I think you can have max 2 credit cards and 2 charge cards with Amex). Sign up bonuses will depend on whether she’s had them within the last six months.

  • Anna says:

    OT – F & F (Tesco clothing) are doing some decent discounts, e.g. £15 off £75 spend, plus 4 avios per £1 if you order via I’ve just stocked up on cheap T-shirts and other holiday bits. Their kids’ stuff is also quite good.

  • david says:

    Its just chapter XXXXXVIII of the chronicles of rip-off Britain. I am not well off and before finding this site I travelled to the USA I have had to do exactly what you said numerous times.

    • david says:

      Whoa where did that comment go?! I replied the above to his message about why we have to fly from Europe and not direct from London to save £££s

      • Was that the one with a lot of (self censored) bad language? I guess it was deleted because although it was self censored it was still unnecessary so was deleted as a pointless rant.

        I was going to say to that comment things are priced as to what the market will tolerate. Therefore BA believe they can charge these prices direct from LHR because people pay for the convenience. If you want to start from London there’s a lot of cheap options available to you, most will involve a connection (e.g. KLM via AMS, EK via DXB, etc).

        Inverness has just launched an increased schedule so presumably BA wants to promote these flights.

        If I had the time to take advantage of these flights I’d make the most of it by spending some time in Inverness. Before the trip I’d try and get a Reward Flight Saver to Inverness. On the way back I’d look at getting the Highland Chieftain (in 1st class – it’s the name of the daily Virgin Trains East Coast service from Inverness) back after a day or two in the highlands. I’ve not done this trip yet but the views are meant to be spectacular and if you book in first class you’ll get breakfast too. If you like trains you could also use the sleeper to get up to Inverness. If you don’t want to get the Highland Chieftain all the way to London you could always change at Edinburgh for a flight to add a bit of variety.

    • Thomas Howard says:

      And less than a week after they left a BBC reporter on a plane for 100mins after losing his wheelchair

      • Alan says:

        They made a bit of a mess up with my wife’s wheelchair when we came back from Barcelona a couple of years back. Couldn’t get it to the plane, we had to collect it at a meeting point inside the terminal building. Fortunately, my wife could walk a little so we eventually got to the meeting point. Still had a further 20 minute wait for her chair to arrive though.

      • Anthony Dunn says:

        Err, is it not the responsibility of the airport to ensure wheelchair access to/from aircraft using their airport?

        • Alan says:

          BA staff took the wheelchair at aircraft door in BCN and returned it at LHR. Whether it’s the airline or airports responsibility I couldn’t say.

          BA staff took it, BA flew it to LHR, and BA staff returned it (eventually) so I blamed BA.

    • Anna says:

      Yes, this was first posted on the Facebook BA complaints page (started by disgruntled customers, not BA!). It’s rightly caused a lot of outrage, though it’s full of stories about passengers of all nationalities being treated badly, there is some real hostility to BA out there!

  • TripRep says:

    Here’s the link to the live TV programme, see from 10:08am, pretty ugly for BA IMHO.

  • TripRep says:

    BA downgraded in quality rating by US Airline Quality firm Avirate as a result of this case, a further poor performance could see them slip to 2*.

    I have to say, Rachel comes across as an incredibly determined character, more power to her for fighting BA on this.

    • sunguy says:

      There are 2 problems here….

      The first is that Rachel bought basic non-changable/non-refundable “cheap” tickets and unfortunately, its not BAs fault that one of her carers decided to leave the job before taking the flight.

      The second is that BA have quite a number of front line agents (on the non exec lines) who are extremely dismissive of any request and very much of a “computer says no” mentality.

      Realistically, I very much would have hoped that an escalation to a manager would have produced some sence in this issue, however, I think that it all probably went too far in the wrong direction for someone to “over rule” other managers and now its got to this point.

      I completely agree with the problems of name changes creating a secondary ticketing market, however, BA should look on a case-by-case basis and something like this should pretty much be a no-brainer.

      But the problem is that once you start, where do you stop ? What about the honeymoon couple that never make it to the altar and the bride to be and her maid of honour want to go instead?

      This opens up a whole can of worms……if you arent careful, you will endup with folks booking flights in a sale in January, “officially unable to use them”, selling them (for a profit) on ebay a few weeks before the flights are due to takeoff…..and the excuse – “my employer wont let me take the time off”…. if BA then refuse, they turn out with some sob story like “I work in the NHS and its just too busy to let me go and BA refuse to let me change the flights or change the name so that my friends can go instead”….

      Therein lies the whole problem…….except in this case, they REALLY should have just done it once proof of her care requirements was established.

      • Anna says:

        Disabled people are protected by the Equality Act – honeymoon couples aren’t. I’m sure Rachel could provide medical evidence that she needs two companions to travel with her and that should surely be sufficient to allay BA’s concerns about the secondary ticket market.

        • Nick says:

          She should have called up immediately after booking and had the PNR annotated to reflect the fact it’s for her and a carer. There’s no official policy but that way at least when this became necessary later it would have been clearer what was going on.

        • Matt says:

          Surely everyone is covered by he equality act. That is the point of it right?!

      • william merrett says:

        As far as a secondary ticket market is concerned surely if you limit name changes to bookings consiting of a min of 2 people and max 1 name change per booking then you at least ensure that one of the people who originally booked travels, I’d personally also make it a requirement that you are an exec club member (no status required) in order to do this as if someone was doing something silly you could easily flag persistent behaviour.

        I think it’s reasonable to allow someone who booked a flight with a partner and they subsequently separated to be allowed to change the person they travel with once per booking.

  • Alan says:

    Who does the actual rating? Is it feedback from travellers or Avirate themselves?

    • Prins Polo says:

      and the TripRep website (blog?) has an impressive total of two trip reports, both reviews of the Conrad Maldives…

      • Nick says:

        Your point? He’s an established and likeable member of the community here and has contributed quite a lot over the last few years. If he’s chosen to share two reviews of his favourite hotel, then so what?

      • Anna says:

        We all know our rights on involuntary downgrading thanks to TripRep!

    • Tyler says:

      I’ve been watching AviRate for quite a while now and have figured out 2 things: 1. They do reviews themselves, which are obviously stricter than skytrax. 2. It appears to be a very young company that is slowly growing and being publicly noticed.
      What stands out the most are the differences in the results compared to skytrax. And it is well known that skytrax cuddles with the airlines rather than rating airlines from the passengers point of view.