Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

British Airways announces the routes to be flown by Qatar Airways aircraft

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

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, British Airways is leasing A330 aircraft from Qatar Airways in order to cover for its Boeing 787-9 fleet which requires substantial engine repairs.

We now know which routes are being flown by Qatar Airways.  This a wet lease, with Qatar Airways providing both the crew and the aircraft:

BA 157/156 – Heathrow to Kuwait (and return) – 9th June to 1st July

BA 79/80 – Heathrow to Muscat (and return) – 9th June to 21st August

BA 143/142 – Heathrow to Delhi (and return) – 9th June to 21st August

Operationally, this is a bit of a mess as these are two class aircraft:

First Class passengers will be downgraded to Business Class

Some Business Class passengers will be downgraded to Economy

World Traveller Plus passengers will be downgraded to Economy

If you are travelling on any of these services, you have the right to a refund or a rebooking on another BA flight.  This even applies if you are still travelling in the same cabin as your flight now has a different operator.

Seat selection on these flights appears to be free looking at the document sent around yesterday.  If you have paid for seating, you may be allowed a refund.   You are also unable to pre-order meals, or pay for the superior meals if you are in Economy. No Kosher food will be provided – you will get a fruit plate instead.  All meals will be halal.

Compensation payments are substantial:

First Class passengers who are downgraded will also receive, on top of the difference in fare or Avios, a £700 BA voucher or 140,000 Avios PER SECTOR.  That is a ludicrous 280,000 Avios return.

Club World passengers who are downgraded will also receive, on top of the difference in fare or Avios, a £400 BA voucher or 80,000 Avios PER SECTOR.

World Traveller Plus passengers who are downgraded will get NOTHING on top of the fare difference unless they have BA status.  Such passengers will receive 20,000 Avios PER SECTOR.

You will retain the lounge access you would have had before the downgrade, and will earn the Avios and tier points of the original ticket.

It is not clear how this compensation will work alongside any EC261 compensation.  You should be due 75% of the one-way cost of your ticket, including taxes.  However, looking at cases on Flyertalk it seems that BA likes to argue that, where a class of service is removed completely, this is a cancellation and not a downgrade.  You may therefore end up better off if you are downgraded from Business to Economy – since EU261 is clearly due here – than if you were swapped from First to Business or from World Traveller Plus to Economy.

Full details are on 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 (93)

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

  • Doug says:

    Mostly OT, but looking for advice on best for to treat my wife to 2 business class tickets for London > New York. Only have 120k Avios, regular BA Amex card.

    Moving flat soon so will incur 10k+ spend P/A soon. If you were me would you swap to the BA 241 card and seek to travel to NY via first class when I have sufficient Avios for a full redemption? Can’t find best way to redeem to NY.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, it is worth upgrading either just before or after you’re at £10k to trigger the voucher – you can downgrade after

      F on the overnight back is a bit of a waste as you will sleep for most of it, unless you take the day flight, so potentially do F out and CW back to save a few points.

      • Genghis says:

        Managed to get 64A to join my wife who was on a separate ticket in 64B last week on an overnight back. Very spacious. Never managed it before as normally blocked out due to bassinet (and usually have 62A/K 64K anyway…)

      • AndyW says:

        I did just this recently but would add you may want to factor in the cost of choosing a seat here if you have no status and are picky about where you are put. Using a 241 the extra avios for first would be around 20k to fly back first (seat selection included), seat selection in business is something like £160 for two.

  • Max says:

    Google Flights are showing good available at the sales prices with Oman but the Oman website is mostly showing only the higher fare classes.

  • Geoff says:

    OT re Curve debit card: A few transactions in the last few days with Curve, linked to my Tesco CC, have attracted the 3.99% cash fee charged by Tesco Bank. They have clearly been treated by Tesco as ‘cash’ when they were simple shop transactions for goods. Is this the new normal? If so then the Curve card is completely useless to me and presumably most others.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      Yeah, I have been wondering whether this is going to happen, particularly when doing the most egregious things with it, like paying off my Amex card. I’m presently using my Hilton Barclaycard as the underlying card and nothing like that has happened yet. I wonder if it will at some point though.

    • Cuchlainn says:

      +1 : withdrew £200 on 1/6/18 from Tesco ATM – 4/6/18 checked online and £7.98 “Cash transaction fee” !!!!

      Checked all recent Tesco correspondence and apparently cash withdrawals will incur a 3.99% fee from 1/6/18 and NO interest free period – – bye bye Curve card !!

  • Crafty says:

    OT: Can a holder of an Amex personal card e.g. PRG refer somebody for a Platinum Business card and receive referral points?

    • Crafty says:

      Semi-answered my own question – yes, the referee can click on a business card. Obviously can’t yet confirm that the points will post, but can’t see why not.

  • Axel says:


    HSBC Jade have dropped the Etihad Gold offer which was “immediate” sonetime after a F or J return flight.

    • Andrew M says:

      That would be bad news. Where did you hear it? My Etihad Gold was just renewed a few days ago thanks to Jade, despite me never having flown with them – ever.

      • Axel says:

        Relationship Manager

        Do you think the new Ten crowd will do a better job than the Quintel outfit?

        • Andrew M says:

          Quintessentially were pretty hopeless with my (very few) requests. They didn’t offer anything that I couldn’t have found with a 10 second web search.

          I’m just off the phone to Ten with a request related to a trip to the Far East in September. I’ll see what they come up with but the fact that the agent didn’t seem to know what ABTA and ATOL were wasn’t very reassuring.

          Where did you see the info about Etihad Gold and Jade? The HSBC website isn’t very up to date – it still talks about Quintessentially as their concierge provider.

        • Rob says:

          Very unlikely, but neither has a great reputation. That said, most people have unreasonable expectations of them.

    • Rob says:

      Whoa. I wanted that. Quintessentially has gone too.

      • Andrew M says:

        Ten seem to be a decent replacement from my limited research. They seem to have more of a travel angle than Q and operate on a no comission basis so any flight/hotel/package/tour commision they they receive should be deducted – in theory. We’ll see if that works in practice.

      • Lawro says:

        Letters sent out a couple of months ago. The official switchover day from Q to Ten was today…

      • Lawro says:

        @Rob 22:29 – Although they’re reluctant to admit it, there’s a big difference between the corporate and private memberships offered by these services. Hence the unreasonable expectations IMO.

        • Rob says:

          The difference is between genuinely rich people and those who are not but may have, say, Ten via work.

          If I run Chiltern Firehouse and Quintessentially ring to say that a Russian billionaire or famous actress wants a table, I will find one – they will either spend a lot or bring me PR. If Ten calls and says we have a corporate contract with Deloitte and they have an intern on £100 per week who would like to come along tonight, that table will not be appearing.

          Emyr at Bon Vivant also has a concierge arm. Amusingly we promised him lunch at Christmas but then totally failed to get into the Ivy City Garden for the agreed day. Emyr took pity on me and sorted it out for us!

    • Marcus says:

      What are the (official and unofficial) criteria for jade?

      • Rob says:

        Official is £500k with HSBC. Unofficial is £500k with HSBC AFAIK 🙂

        There has been a big push recently to sign up people who qualified but had never bothered. Looks like this has gone hand in hand with a reduction in benefits. The main benefit now appears to be saving £195 by getting the World Elite credit card for free, with another £60 saved on a supplementary.

        • Jake says:

          Is that 500k relationship (borrowings and deposits)? Or just deposits?

          • Rob says:

            No idea to be honest. I have a few Euros temporarily parked with HSBC which is why I was offered it last month.

      • Lawro says:

        Re Rob 6th June 09:08

        Right, I also meant the differences in service within each of those companies. Corporate v private membership at Q for example.

        • Lawro says:

          With HSBC Jade also falling on the corporate side of things, unfortunately.

  • Derek says:

    Dont know if BA are having to make longer term changes but BA are emailing out tomorrow with notice that they’re Suspending the Calgary route for Winter 18/19.

    Maybe they need the 787-8 for other routes? Or is Calgary not doing well in Winter?

  • Londonbus says:

    I’ve flown Oman a couple of times in cattle – RUH-MCT-BOM and RUH-MCT. Perfectly good airline, good service. They provide food in cattle which reminds me of BA 20 years ago,

  • James says:

    Related – Does anyone know if Qatar ever have more than 2 business class seats per flight available for award redemption ?

    Have some Garuda flights out to BKK in Dec returning just before NYE but thinking about binning that return and using some QMiles to get a Qatar flight back& stay a couple of extra months. There are three of us however.

    Having been horribly savaged by the appalling devaluation I want to get them used up too.
    Its either this or perhaps a few BA returns in J to Cairo for 100K QMiles & £300 taxes.


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.