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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)

  • Richard Thomas says:

    I very much hope the first class carriages on the new GWR trains are as pleasant as the current Heathrow Express – having experienced other GWR first class offerings I am not so optimistic!

    • Lady London says:

      +1 . err should that be -1

    • Obviously you’re referring to GWR local trains as GWR InterCity service have lovely first class seats. HEX was unique that its first class seats would have been excellent on a long distance train too.

      Unfortunately at my guess, at best we’ll have a Thameslink situation – ironing board seats in standard class (this is what these trains have now) and slightly better, but not amazing seats in first class. Worst case we could have ironing board seats in both classes with a bit of cloth indicating first class (this is the Gatwick Express now).

  • r* says:

    OT – Has anyone ever had problems with Amex MR Melia voucher redemptions? I called Melia central reservations and asked about using vouchers, they said I had to contact the hotel directly, who then said I couldnt use the vouchers for a reservation. How are you supposed to know where/when you can use Amex Melia vouchers? Do you actually have to ask each hotel until you find one that says yes and only then make the booking via reservations number?

    Additionally, its taken 3 months and 3 CS tickets to get the 20% discount vouchers added to my Melia account (they still havent been – someone on their phone line said they have an IT problem.. for 3 months?) They seem a complete shambles.

    • Rob says:

      The Melia question has come up before, never seen an answer though ……

    • will says:

      Word from melia is you now have to phone to get access to the vouchers until the IT is fixed.

      If you have a relative, with a birthday within the next few days, and they register a new melia account they’ll be given an option to choose a 20% voucher on their birthday – it’s in the form of a code 😉

    • Nick Burch says:

      Every time I’ve used one, I’ve rung up Melia to check availability (which varies quite a lot!), then ordered the voucher from Amex while on the phone, then completed the booking with Melia. Finally, on arrival at the hotel, bring the voucher and expect to spend an extra 5 minutes on checkin and checkout as they figure out where to record the details of it!

    • Mark1980 says:

      I’ve had loads of issues with the Amex Amex vouchers and several of the Melia call centre operators have no idea about the vouchers. However I have found the following to be true:
      1. Ring Melia reservations to check availability and then book.
      2. You don’t need to order the vouchers from Amex until you book.
      3. They seem to be only able to search availability / book in batches of 3 days, so if you ask them to check 4 days or more it will show no availability.
      4. The code on their system which they book into is XS so you need to ask them to search availability under that.

      Hope that helps.

  • Cate ⛱️ says:

    *checks calendar to see if April 1st yet*

  • Anna says:

    If you get chance, the FB BA Complaints page makes interesting reading, mainly because so many people haven’t got a clue about their passenger rights (or lack of). There’s one poster who had exactly the same downgrading experience as TripRep but chose not to travel at all and genuinely thought she would get all her money back.

    • Yuff says:

      What did happen to the compensation in the end or was it kept quiet.
      If I had been in triprep’s position I’m niot sure I would have gone on the trip. I wouldn’t fancy 10 hours in WTP, although to be fair I would try to avoid CW as well.

      • Anna says:

        But you would only have been entitled to 75% of the downgraded leg and would probably lose everything else, including your accommodation.

        TripRep got a settlement, the details were not disclosed but he has produced a guide on how to proceed if you suffer the same fate. There’s a link somewhere…!

      • TripRep says:

        Believe me, I was glad I took the downgrade and enjoyed my first 2 days in the Maldives (no further BA flights for 2 days and no guarantee of CW on that either). But yes I suppose I could of asked to fly me with Qatar.

    • Rob says:

      That is not an unreasonable assumption and actually would almost certainly win at arbitration.

      • Anna says:

        What, a downgraded person who chose not to fly at all would be entitled to a full cash refund of their ticket? CAA regulations allow for 75% refund of the downgraded leg only.

        • Cate ⛱️ says:

          Being downgraded is something that hasn’t happened to us so would be interested what the position is. Take it overbooking (F/biz?) or under booking in F/biz would are main drivers for this?

        • Rob says:

          That is compensation, which is different. If you buy a business class seat and the airline cannot offer that then surely you are due a refund.

          If you order a Mercedes S Class and you get an A Class because the garage oversold the S, are you suggesting you have no rights?!

        • Anna says:

          I would think the conditions of purchase are somewhat different – if you buy a car you have the right to a full refund within a certain period of time, surely when you agree to buy a “non-refundable” ticket that’s exactly what it
          is, non-refundable? I hate to defend BA but I would argue that your choice would be to accept the downgrade and statutory compensation, or request your preferred class of seat on an alternative flight. I can’t see that you’d be entitled to a complete cash refund of what you’ve paid. Though I’m happy to stand corrected!

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I disagree

          The traveller has purchased “business class travel” to a destination not “travel and possibly in a business class seat”. If the airline can’t provide you with what you purchased then I’d expect a full refund. The offer of a downgrade and compensation is their way of trying to salvage the situation and not lose the full fair.

          Now in most cases the 75% compensation and lower class of seat to still get you to your destination might be a fair trade but I don’t think that offer stops them being obliged to refund you if that’s not to your liking.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Also when it says “non-refundable” that’s if you wish to cancel of your own free will not if the airline stops flying there/oversells/makes significant flight time changes etc

    • Lady London says:

      And I don’t blame her for thinking that. J and F are marketed as completely different experiences and so I would think it perfectly reasonable to be able to cancel and get all your money back. I think the advertising makes it material to travel in the class booked and paid. Even if an airline such as British Airways seems to be getting away with insisting someone travel when downgraded. It seems that despite their marketing British Airways does not find what was bought and sold as J or F as technically essential.

      It’s shoddy. If I’m taking my loved one for a romantic break in the Maldives then a downgrade ruins the whole experience.
      A downgrade on the plane even makes other money spent for the hotel etc of lesser value. Because a downgrade such as British Airways has been doing, would cloud the whole experience.

      I think it’s quite reasonable for someone to be able to get all their money back plus a sweetener and travel on another airline or not at all, in the case of a downgrade.

      • Yuff says:

        I agree with your last paragraph and that’s what I would expect to receive.
        If I had the choice to fly business with Qatar and a sweetener for the inconvenience or wtp and a sweetener I’d take the Qatar option, no question!

  • Anthony Dunn says:

    As an aside: can you explain the fixation, fascination, determination to see BA downgraded? This has now taken on the self-same shoulder-chipped posture as those who denigrated the UK automotive industry for decades before contributing to its demise.

    Ask yourselves, with Brex**it heading towards us and the ability to compete internationally of CRITICAL importance, just what is it that the knockers wish to achieve here? Personally, I use BA, CX, AY, QF, QR and AA (all One World carriers) and find BA not to be the best but far from being the worst. It is interesting that there are just about no other cultures that I am aware of that appears to take such immense delight in tearing down its own companies and institutions as is found in what, for a short while longer, is the UK.

    Quite astonishing.

    • TripRep says:

      Anthony – my focus is to promote excellence and damn shoddiness.

      I don’t own BA or its parent company IAG, its therefore not mine to denigrate. BA have though behaved poorly with myself in the past, so there could be bias there. Maybe its just possible the majority of people use BA on here hence why you see more comments about them.

      I am against poor customer services, regardless of the company. I tend to give balanced reviews, promote great service and be critical when appropriate. Personally my recent trip to Singapore and returning from KL with BA was very good, particularly the level of service given to me by on CE domestic connections. As I mentioned at the time, I alsoeven got to sit on the flight deck of a 787 thanks to the fantastic pilots.

      I posted because I was reading this article on a BA promo, whilst seeing them mentioned on UK news channel and in my view they should be shamed for how they responded, only offering something substantial when it was going to be on TV.

      I feel this is constitent with my experience with BA, excellent front line crew, poor management practices.

    • Lady London says:

      Err…yes we can explain @Anthony Dunn why there might be an interest in seeing British Airways downgraded. Perhaps it’s because a number of us have ourselves been treated badly by them?

    • Alan says:

      The British car industry was not “talked down” – it produced sub-standard cars for years. It was miles behind the Japanese and German manufacturers and was probably on a par with the Italians in terms of build quality (but was way behind them on styling and driveability).

      I see no problem with calling out a company that takes its customers for granted and thinks it can get away with shoddy product “because its British”.

      Hopefully, with Brexit and the “ability to compete internationally of CRITICAL importance” the British companies will actually raise their game, not just expect to compete because no-one wants to criticize them

  • Jody says:

    Sorry, very off topic. Trying to book the premium security at Gatwick North for £1, but that offer seems to have gone? The article on here said it was available to book until 31st March. Have I just been unlucky and it has been pulled early?

    • Rob says:

      A handful of people had trouble seeing it even when logged in to MyGatwick. No logic I’m afraid.

    • Kinkell says:

      I went through Gatwick north bog standard security. 3 weeks ago……it was as slick as I’ve ever encountered. No queue, straight onto a belt, very polite staff. Done and dusted in what felt like seconds. Absolutely no complaints at all from me. Save your £1 !

      • Genghis says:

        And I went through Premium at South week before last and was as long as the standard queues. Save your money.

    • Olly says:


      I did it a few days ago and just done a couple of dummy runs for both terminals okay so you might find it okay if you try again.

  • Cat says:

    Hey, OT and slightly odd question – can the account holder on a BA AMEX 241 booking board the return flight without their companion there? I know it doesn’t work in reverse. I’m flying out with my sister, but she wants to take a different plane back – will this create problems for me?

    • TripRep says:

      IIRC I think someone on here has done that before, Rob may remember..

    • Genghis says:

      If saying using the 241 for a return but the people fly on different flights back to the UK, I don’t believe so. But you can use the 241 for a single ex-British Isles excl ROI.

      • Cat says:

        Genghis, that’s what I meant. My sister wants to travel back with her OH to help look after my niece on a Ryanair flight.

    • Darren says:

      Could you not 241 outbound only and return using avios only?

      • Cat says:

        I already booked it 5 months ago – my sister doesn’t want to leave her OH holding the baby (well, toddler) alone on Ryanair for both legs of the journey.

  • Alan says:

    Is anyone still seeing these flights as available? Have tried, Google Flights, Kayak, Opodo – all coming in at £3k+ from INV…

    • Rob says:

      Yes, they seem to have been pulled today.

      • Alan says:

        Ah, damn! At least have managed to find EDI-LHR-SFO in biz for £1,500 which although not nearly as good isn’t bad at all – trying to work out if I can tweak routing at all though.