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 ba.com 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 ba.com 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 ba.com 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 from UK credit cards (September 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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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.
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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.