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 pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

British Airways leases Qatar Airways 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 (May 2023)

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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is doubled to a crazy 50,000 Avios! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard is doubled to 10,000 Avios. Apply here.

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

CRAZY 50,000 Avios for signing up (to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (only to 30th May) 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

25,000 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 £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

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

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.

  • Alex says:

    OT: I’m thinking of getting the Premium BA Amex to get the 2-4-1 voucher. I would probably use the card to buy 100k Avios which would bring me to 1600GBP spend. Does that count as BA spend (ie 3x avios) ? The idea is to fly west coast return in F — I already have enough for 1 way, but thinking it’s actually a good value deal with the sign-up bonus and the voucher.

    Also, any idea if there will be another bonused Avios sale in the year? Might wait for that…

    • Jonny says:

      no it won’t, will appear as “” I believe

      • Stu N says:

        Yes – it definitely comes through as at standard rate.

    • @andrewseftel says:

      Bonus points only apply to flights and holidays bought from BA

  • Crafty says:

    OT: Very odd one, and interesting in current privacy climate. I’ve just been on Radisson Rewards live chat. I wrote a follow up question in the box, but didn’t submit it immediately as I wanted to wait until the agent finished her previous answer. But the agent then responded to my follow up question – before I’d even asked it! This demonstrates that they have visibility of what you are typing into the box, as you are writing it – in advance of your having submitted it. So be careful what you say! Surveillance economy indeed…

  • Stu says:


    Anyone flown Hainan airlines before? do they accumulate Tier points for BAEC?

  • Ammar says:

    OT – I have £200 pounds of Heathrow Reward Vouchers ( i converted my points last year during a promo), not got a chance to pop down to Heathrow before they expire in June, so have recruited a family member who is travelling to use them instead – will they be ok in the shop to use all these vouchers without me being physically present? Any experience, looking to make this process as smooth as possible, so if any shops are easier to deal with eg Dixons Travel vs Tiffanys let me know…thanks

    • Rob says:

      My wife has used mine, no issue and diff surname on credit card.

  • Ammar says:

    Also as a reference point – I am sure many are aware but I booked a bonus points package to try hit one of my last IHG accelerate targets last month to hit the overall bonus but booked a Bonus points package rather than a YOUR RATE BONUS POINTS PACKAGE so missed out on 15k IHG points!
    Hope this helps others during the current accelerate……
    Never the less, i have complained to IHG but not hopeful for an outcome, what is more annoying is the CP Beijing i booked via the app (part of my accelerate) did not have any YOUR RATE BONUS PACKAGE, only bonus points package!

    • Luke says:

      I had the same problem last year, exchanged a few emails with IHG and 4 months later all points (both target and achievement) reached my account. I caught them on wording – in my case target headline was saying YOUR RATE BONUS PACKAGE, but when you clicked on target detail, there was no mention of your rate bonus package at all, just saying bonus package rate…good luck

  • C says:

    OT, and this might just be my own incompetence, but i can’t seem to search the BA website for flights between Hong Kong and Tokyo. The idea would be to redeem Avios against a Cathay or JAL flight, which i understood was possible via BA, but the website has just come back with error messages for over a week. Is this something that needs to be done over the phone?

    • Stu N says:

      You need to make sure you’re looking for award flights using the “standard Avios search” option. The reward flight finder tool only shows BA metal.

      Also I found I occasionally got more results looking at HKG-NRT and HKG-HND airport codes separately, compared to HKG-TYO as a generic city code.

      CX J is fabulous – worth trying to make sure you get a long haul aircraft with flat beds rather than a regional one with angle-flats. Apparently if the flight has F and PE its long haul, it not regional.

      CX F is easily the best flight I have taken in every respect – if you have the Avios and can find availability I would totally recommend it.

      • C says:

        Excellent, thanks.

        • JamesB says:

          I do not know your big picture but if you are looking at multi-city around Asia to include TYO you should consider X-TYO-Y in JAL business using Alaska MP if you have a means of getting the miles.

    • CV3V says:

      As Stu says, if you can get CX F availability go for it, did HKG to LHR in F and still the best flight i have ever done. The level of service was embarrassingly good, 2 crew for 6 passengers, and the CSM as cover if needed! They apologised for the ice cream being frozen too hard, and made up a basket of snacks whilst the ice cream softened – imagine that on BA. They also apologised for not topping up my champagne glass for the caviar, and did i want another serving of caviar. I actually emailed CX to say what a great flight i had, they responded by pretty much saying ‘yeah, its supposed to be good, its first class’.

      CX in J is also very good, good service and a really good seat.

      • Stu N says:

        I really want to do proper CX F long haul after HND-HKG. I’d defer our annual 2-4-1 by 6-12 months to make it happen.

        The “regional” version was a slimmed down version of long haul. For this our cabin director apologised but that was wholly unnecessary. This limited service meant no caviar, sleep suit or amenity kit but one coped.

        They still fitted in a welcome drink (super vintage champagne), full Kaiseki (Japanese tasting menu with matched drinks) and some fine digestifs. An excellent use of 30k Avios and about £100.

        If you don’t have the Avios or it’s not available J is still very, very good but actually I would probably pay full price for Avios to redeem this.

    • Curious says:

      JAL are great too. Fab cabin crew

      • YL says:

        I second that JAL are great too!!
        I love CX F, but last month I flew long haul JAL F for the first time, and it was the best F experience I ever had.

        The quality of the food and drink, the presentation of the food, the service were just outstanding! + free WiFi

  • Will says:

    Hope they block it for the sake of not exploiting cheap labour. Just saying.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Cheaper, they still get a fair wage tax free and very nice accommodation fully paid for

      I’m sure a lot of them don’t feel exploited

      • Rob says:

        Given that they probably earn 10x the average Qatari wage I’m sure they are delighted.

        Someone told me this week that he had a private butler in a super luxury hotel in the Middle East who told the guest he was paid the equivalent of $5 per day.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Agree service staff, mostly foreigners, are poorly paid but it’s not the average Qatari wage as the true locals are extremely well paid in all sectors.

          You’ll also hear as many stories of very generous tips/gifts as you do of extremely poor treatment of maids etc

          Also Seems like wages depend upon which country their passport is from so it’s not entirely fair.

  • Ian says:

    We’ll be in Aberdeen next month so look forward to using the new lounge – and will report here unless a review has already been done by then.

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.