Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

British Airways applies to wet lease three Qatar Airways A330 aircraft

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

As cover for its troublesome Boeing 787-9 fleet, British Airways has applied to the CAA for permission to wet lease three Qatar Airways long-haul aircraft for the period of 1st June to 30th September.  A ‘wet lease’ is where the aircraft comes with crew.

There is no guarantee that the request will be granted.  My understanding is that BA has to show that there are no comparable aircraft available for wet lease within the EU.  Clearly BA pilots and cabin crew would only want the airline to use significantly lower-paid Qatar-based crew in exceptional circumstances.

The three aircraft involved are Airbus A330.

It is not clear what BA is getting.  Here is the ‘Our Fleet’ page of the Qatar Airways website but if you believe that then you will see that no A330 aircraft have fully flat Business Class seats.  That is not true.  In reality, most (all?) now have a fully flat seat in a 2 x 2 x 2 forward facing formation.

What IS certain is that there is no Premium Economy on these aircraft so anyone who has booked World Traveller Plus will have to accept a downgrade, a refund or a different flight.  As these aircraft will be used on flights departing in as little as three weeks, customers will struggle to find a replacement at a sensible price.

It is not clear at present which routes will use these aircraft.  As the Business Class cabin is small (5 rows) I doubt it will be a straight swap for routes currently flying the Boeing 787-9.  One option could be that the new aircraft go to Gatwick and are used on leisure routes, freeing up aircraft for use at Heathrow.

There is a little more information on FlightGlobal here.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 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

30,000 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel 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 (126)

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

  • John says:

    The “significantly lower paid Qatar based (flight deck) crew” receive tax free salaries, free accommodation and utilities, and private school fees for their children. My heart doesn’t bleed too much!

  • imbruce says:

    After using the rubbish Vinga lounge in Gothenburg(Sweden) on Monday, I don’t think that I will bother using lounges any more and I will cancel my Platinum Amex card.
    The lounge looked like a glorified cafeteria and it was supposed to be a quite lounge but it was far from it. The food selection for breakfast was average mainly cereals and cold meets and warm milk from the coffee machine. yuk.
    I have to say that I have disappointed in all of the lounges I have used recently, most
    have a poor selection of food and not very clean.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There and great and terrible examples

      Plaza premium lounges all over the world are very good for example.

      Most No. 1 I have used in the uk are nice places to relax

  • H says:

    OT – just booked a stay at JW Marriott Essex House New York using 120,000 Amex MR points—>60,000 SPG points—>180,000 Marriot Points. Cash rate to book was £4700 for five nights. Great redemption rate!! Arrive on the 14th. Hope the property lives up to the comments on here!

    • Luthar says:

      I’ve booked in for a stay in November for 45k SPG points and I’m also looking forward to it. I’m not gold/platinum though so will need to find breakfast elsewhere!

      • Cate says:

        Pehaps you could get that cheaper when the new Marriott rates come out in August? Maybe worth keeping an eye on just in case although there may be a big rush for the sweet spots!

    • Rob says:

      I should have been there from next Tue but had to cancel as I need to go to Atlanta in 2 weeks now.

  • meta says:

    O/T Anyone knows how far in advance Etihad opens Guest F awards? I can only see until 20 March 2019 and then it stops showing although there are Open seats after that until 6 April.

  • ChrisC says:

    Seems like there is no guarantee that you can fly on an actual BA plane these days due to the number of planes being brought into cover not only the 787 issue but also the need for BA to operate it’s own planes on the ex Monarch slots at LGW.

    So book BA and you end up on QR or EI or Titan …

  • Ben says:

    OT. I am trying to book flights from LAX to LAS using Avios but on the BA website does not show any availability for anyday. Is there a trick im missing here or is there just no flights available

    • Anna says:

      Which airline are you looking for? I would think American would be the most likely to fly that route but their redemption seats are released at different times to BA and go really fast. Also I’ve found on occasion that changing browser will show partner airline availability, no idea why!

      • Ben says:

        Yes, I was looking at AA but I didnt know if there was another way to search, as even when I tried to check and book with cash it still said they dont fly that route. Never mind, flights are not that expensive to will just pay cash.
        I wonder with BA Silver Status does that get you lounge access flying domestic with AA?

        • Genghis says:

          Perhaps look on Expedia first to see who flies that route.
          Under OW rules, BA silver+ get lounge access on AA domestics.

        • HAM76 says:

          Yes, you get lounge access to the Admiral‘s Club on domestic AA flight. You should also get two drink vouchers which is a hit or miss in many lounges. Make sure you ask for them and don‘t forget to tip a dollar or two for the free drink!

          You don‘t get lounge access on flights not operated by AA when there is no Admiral‘s Club. This, for instance, applies to AA flights operated by Alaska Air or Horizon and the Alaska Boardroom.

    • CV3V says:

      i am trying to book LAS to SFO and have similar problems, American don’t actually do a direct flight to SFO. So it looks like either Alaskan or United. I would like to try Alaskan for the sheer novelty, but United Economy Plus looks decent, and United First is selling at £200 one way which might be ok as i am planning on having a lot of luggage from outlet shopping!

      • Jovanna says:

        We did this last month – United First, SFO-LAS (£106) and Virgin America First, LAS-SFO (£110). Not really impressed with United. Pre-flight drink and then a snack and another drink during the flight. Wine was poor. Snack was a packet of crisps or Gummy Bears or a piece of fruit. VA was much better in every respect – cabin, crew, food, in-flight entertainment but that’s no longer an option.

        Used the Centurion Lounge at both airports. Both very good but crowded. Tried the United Club lounges at SFO but nothing special.

      • Anne says:

        We’ve booked Alaska for LAS-SFO next month. Got a very decent price for first one way, once I’d added baggage fees to the economy ticket there was hardly anything in it – from memory I think the price was £120 each plus of course a few avios for crediting to BAEC (no TP though). Looking forward to trying it out – looks like it may well be an ex-Virgin America plane.

      • JamesB says:

        Have you ever been to Yosemite? If not I I highly recomend you reduce LAS stay by one day and drive it with an overnight stay in or near the park.

  • Mzungu says:

    O/T: I’m getting close to triggering a Lloyds upgrade voucher, and Mrs Mzungu is not far behind (both got the cards just before the shutters came down). We’re unlikely to reach the threshold before 20th May, so I’m wondering how we’ll know if/when we receive vouchers.

    I’ve just re-read the email from Avios about the scheme closure, and it says “Any Upgrade Vouchers or Worldwide Companion Tickets you may have are still valid but won’t show in your British Airways Executive Club account online”

    I understand that Lloyds are pretty rubbish about advising when a voucher has been triggered, so any thoughts about how this will work?

    I’m assuming of course that vouchers will still be issued…


    • Mark says:

      I’m sure in the past I’ve eventually received a letter. You should also be able to add up your spend from past statements (which is really the only way to work how close you are to triggering the threshold), though its a bit of a pain.

      I guess you could periodically phone up the BA executive club once the transfer has gone through and ask them – might encourage them to make the necessary change to showing them online as with the Amex 2for1s. 🙂

    • Anna says:

      You can also ring Lloyds and ask them if they have applied the voucher to your account.

  • MattP says:

    What does this ETOPS-60 mean for routes? Will they fly further or will 787s stop flying certain routes altogether?

    • Rob says:

      You can never be more than 60 minutes from a runway that can handle a 787. Which is bad news, clearly.

      • Mark says:

        Probably worse news for other airlines. At least BA has a range of routes it can use them on, and they only make up a small proportion of the fleet. It is their 787-9s that are affected, of which BA currently has 17.

      • Lady London says:

        Wow. No wonder they are hiring planes in for Transatlantic then?

      • Ollie says:

        Could be worse – Air New Zealand must have planes that they cant use for anything but domestic.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.