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BOOK NOW: New British Airways Johannesburg service launched, wide open for Avios

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British Airways published a list of timetable changes on Tuesday which was not hugely exciting – so unexciting in fact that I was happy to wait until Thursday to publish it.

Something else seems to have slipped through the net, however, which is not listed on the document.

A new Heathrow to Johannesburg service is now available for booking on even though it has not been announced.  It will operate four days per week.

It is wide open for Avios availability, in Club World and World Traveller, for at least the guaranteed two / four seats.  In reality I can see up to six Club World seats on some dates.  There is also a lot of World Traveller Plus availability.

This means that both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have launched additional Johannesburg services in response to the cancellation of one of the South African Airways daily flights.  The SAA service is very good, however, as Anika’s SAA Business Class review here shows.

The service starts on 28th October at the start of the new timetable.

The outbound leaves Heathrow at 16.50, landing in Johannesburg at 05.50

The return is a day flight.  It leaves Johannesburg at 07.40 and lands at Heathrow at 17.15.

The outbound operates on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  Return flights are on the following day.

This is not just a Winter service.  It is timetabled through into the Spring timetable as well, so you can book as far out as early May 2019.

Avios availability to Johannesburg is generally very hard to get.  It is virtually impossible over Christmas and New Year (and, to be honest, the Club World Christmas week seats seem to have already gone – but, for eg, 19th December has 2 x Club World outbound showing, 23rd December has one).

Remember that if you want to go to Cape Town, you can book a connection on Avios on BA franchise Comair.  This cannot be booked with a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher however.

Pop over to and see what you can find.

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.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2022)

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

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £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 UK’s most valuable card perk – the 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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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 sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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 (8)

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

  • James says:

    Anyone know how many QMiles (Qatar) it is to book this in business class ?

  • Gav says:

    A lot.

  • Aliks says:

    I booked a 241 flight to Durban for March 2019 when BA announced the new direct flight last month, but decided last week that Jo’Burg would be better for the outbound flight. At that point in time BA was showing 6 Business class reward seats for lots of days in March so I guess availability in the South African autumn is less of a problem.
    My Jo’Burg flights are on Saturday at 15:45 landing at 10:45 the next day – bit more civilised than 05:50.
    What do people other people do when they arrive so early???

    • @mkcol says:

      Why on earth is it taking you so long to get to JNB from LHR?

      When I landed at SYD in May last year at crazy o’clock in the morning we went straight to the hotel in The Rocks, dumped our bags til room was ready to check-in & went straight out touristing. I believe we were strolling around Circular Quay by 0600 unimpeded by other tourists & it was utterly wonderful.

      • C says:

        I wondered that too! 15.45 is the time the new direct DUR flight leaves LHR… is it JNB via DUR?? Direct LHR-JNB overnight flights normally leaving in the evening and get in early morning. We booked LHR-DUR and get in at 05.35. Hoping we can just pick up the car and head up the coast to make a day of it! Anyone know if car hire return there is 24hr? Flight back leaves at 07.35 so hoping we just have a late night and drop the car off in the early hours!

      • Aliks says:

        My bad, the flight times are actually LHR 21:10 – 10:15 JNB

  • George says:

    Semi OT question. I’ve booked a LHR-SIN-LHR redemption in J using Lloyds upgrade voucher. I went in afterwards to see how much the cash far would have been and it’s showing an extortionate £4500+ in J but… £3900 in F.

    Is this a sign of overselling J? Should I be worried (or hopeful of an OpUp?)

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

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