Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

British Airways launches flights to Cologne – book your Avios Christmas Market trips now

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British Airways has announced a new route from London Gatwick to Cologne.

The service will launch on 16th November in order to catch the Christmas Market traffic.

Cologne is the 4th largest city in Germany, with its sightseeing attractions topped by the huge cathedral.  Business travellers will also appreciate the ability to reach the enormous Koelnmesse trade show complex.

The new route will operate four times per week, on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  It is currently only due to operate for the Winter timetable which runs until late March.

As usual, two Club Europe and four Euro Traveller seats have been made available on each flight for Avios redemptions.  If you want to book a Christmas Market trip then you should find good availability on prime dates if you take a look today.

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 from UK credit cards (October 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:

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

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.

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

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable 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 10,500 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.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

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 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 (44)

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

  • the real harry1 says:

    O/T IB – so many people complaining about no partner airline award flights available for the 90K promo points. I simply don’t think this is intended.

    If you remember, I commented a few days ago that with the IB new website refresh portal to buy reward flights, there was no partner (BA or otherwise) availability at all.

    I switched back to the old portal and was able to book my 2 return reward flights, on BA, no problem.

    I think it’s just this new website look/ development that is the issue & will get resolved.

    Are people now able to book hotels on IB with the 90K points?

    • Steve-B says:

      Agree, I was able to use my promo points for BA flights a few days ago, no problem.

    • Mark says:

      Wheres, the new / old portal?

      also do Iberia only release two biz seats like BA?

    • Frankie says:

      Harry. Have you booked your BA flights (on the Iberia site) direct from London and paid the hefty taxes and charges?

      • the real harry1 says:

        Yes – it was £143 for 2x Business (outward), + 2x Economy (homeward).

        Compared to BA direct I make it: 2x Business = £50, 2x Economy = £35 RFS fees.

        So I paid £58 extra. I can sort of justify it as follows:

        Free lounge x2 = £30
        Free F&B on board = £15
        [Other Business outward extras nice to have, no value attributed; I might actually use the extra luggage allowance because that half term it’s just my eldest son & myself, the other 2 kids decided to stay at home to revise for GCSEs/ see friends (they sometimes complain it’s too much hassle travelling out & back for 9 days break when 2 of them include travelling, I get the point – anyway, frees up some space in the car and we always have a huge backlog of things to take out to the place in the sun.]

        Anyway, a net £13 extra, I don’t mind that as with my IB points coming in @0.3p, these flights are much cheaper than I normally ‘pay’ just for economy flights.

        Why, do you think the IB fees are astronomical?

        • Frankie says:

          I didn’t realise you were only booking to Europe. I should have though. I thought you’d booked long haul BA from UK and hence much higher taxes and charges than booking long haul from Madrid. My confusion.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Aha. No LH for us until the kids have flown the nest, well, 2 of them, anyway. Can’t justify the cost when we have a place in the sun to maintain (and where we all love the holidays as well, no small consideration).

          My wife & I are great LH fliers so it’ll be straight back to Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and quite a few more in that direction from about 2022-23 🙂

    • Lady London says:

      Do you have the link to old portal then, please Harry?

      Tx for tip on luggage, I think difference on my main route fluctuates a big higher but it’s a good tip to not put myself in that position and buy Plus upfront.

      • the real harry1 says:

        it was this way, no particular tricks:
        log in
        use flight search box on left, input flight
        click ‘using Avios’
        click search
        takes you to another search box with same search details you just input
        click search again

  • Scott S says:

    Got an email a little while ago saying that I now had 9000 Avios from Iberia.

    Just need to figure out how to use them now and probably do regret, up to a point, not booking a few more flights.

    • the real harry1 says:

      You could have has 90K points for £200 🙂

      Not that I managed that lol

  • Mark says:

    Yep, got 90,000 for £212.20

  • Ian says:

    I looked at prices on the Cologne route for random dates early in December and the fare was around £79 return. Bear in mind though that the flights are from Gatwick and the timings are awful: leave at 06.50 and return at 22.00.
    Thanks also for the warning about the violence in Germany. We haven’t been there for a few years but there’s a continuing stream of worrying reports about this.

    • Neil Spellings says:

      Not sure which flight you were looking at..I just bagged some fights mid-December (Friday – Sunday) which depart LGW at 16.35 for £134 for the three of us (HBO fair)..paid the extra £5 to choose our seats so £164 in total. I think the base fare was showing as £4+tax.

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

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