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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 (December 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.

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 unbeatable travel 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

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 £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 (44)

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

  • David says:

    Good to see BA back to Cologne after many years away.

  • Andrew Stock says:

    Good news, however BA has far more London to Dusseldorf flights. 3 from London City & 6 from Heathrow I think.

    You can get the train dirext from Dusseldorf airport to Koln HBF

    • 1nfrequent says:

      Just to add to this – be very careful at Dusseldorf airport station. There are gangs of pickpockets operating there – they crowd you as you go to board to do their thieving. Sadly my dad lost his wallet and my mum her purse during a trip there and they’d only been in the place for 30 minutes. The police were kind but there was little they could do other than take a report. Their advice was to wait to board a train until the crowds have dissipated – even if that means waiting until the last minute (not great advice for elderly parents though). I offer that up for whatever it’s worth.

      • Thomas Howard says:

        Is this one of the benefits of Merkels migrant policy? Every time I go to Germany now I usually see small fights breaking out in the streets. Never been involved but it’s not a place I’d go with anyone I felt the need to protect like kids or partner.

      • Sammyjlb says:

        Thankyou for posting this advice ! Off to Dusseldorf this weekend and really appreciate the tip ! So sorry to hear about your parents having had this experience though – very unpleasant x

      • Brasov says:

        I wonder whether it was the poorly lit station under the terminal or the nicer station which is a monorail ride away. I’m surprised as I haven’t seen anything like that in those places, it sounds like some of the gangs in Barcelona.

      • Alex Sm says:

        They should have been holding on to their belongings better – not all the countries in Europe are as non-chalanr as the UK…

  • Stu N says:

    OT- good value part cash part Avios redemptions on partners airlines.

    Just booked a Hong Kong to Singapore one way Avios redemption, flying Cathay in Business. Normally I ignore the part cash options as they are pretty poor deal. Here there was a sliding scale from £31 plus 20k Avios to £106 plus 11k Avios. The deals in the middle weren’t great but at the max cash element I’m spending £75 more but to saving 9k Avios so equivalent to buying at 0.83p. I’m a buyer at that price. (The cash price for the flights is about £1,400 so we are looking at 12p/ Avios in theory).

    Not sure how widespread this is but if you’re booking a partner redemption it’s worth looking at the pricing options.

    • Sapiens says:

      Agree Cathay can be excellent for this. If you care, be careful to ensure that you select a plane with the flat biz bed, and not the regional business offering (looks similar to BA WTP). Cathay serve the same SH/MH destinations with a mix of business class offerings.

      • Gavin says:

        Very easy to get substituted planes on the day on Cathay. Believe there isn’t first any more on the regional routes which used to indicate what sort of plane it would be.

        • Stu N says:

          @Gavin – we did Haneda to HKG in F this year which was exceptionally nice. Tokyo seems to be a rare example of F on regional routes and from what I could work out there is a F cabin every day but it is a mix of HND and NRT – flights. Very fortunately the HND flight worked out for us.

          SIN is business only. While flat beds would be nice, for 4 hours the recliners would do the job if we do get subbed.

      • Stu N says:

        Thanks – SIN is about a 50-50 mix but all A330 which makes it tricky to tell what set-up is scheduled. Fortunately Google Flights now tells you if it’s a recliner seat or lie flat seats. We have ended up on a flight with lie flats though timings and availability were the primary factors for us. Looking forward to Cathay business service and some Pier Lounge time.

        • Cat says:

          Enjoy! I love the Hong Kong Cathay lounges, especially the won ton soup at the noodle bar!

  • Simon says:

    Is the 2 Club Europe and 4 economy seat Avios release on all BA flights ?? BA Cityflyer from LCY seem to only release 2 and 2…..

  • qfx says:

    O/T – i have a great banner advert on HfP from Air Baltic looking for B737 Captains! Wont have to worry about the points game any longer. Not sure of their website’s homepage, i dont see no runway on the horizon, and they are flying low.

  • AndyR says:

    Check cash prices before using Avios for Cologne. Just booked a Friday to Sunday return in December for £49!

    • Nick says:

      Snap!! Can’t wait for BA to declare this an ‘error fare’ and cancel it ????

      • Alex says:

        Snap x3

      • the real harry1 says:

        It’s not an error price, that’s BA competing with the LCCs. On my regular routes there are regularly now amazingly cheap off-peak prices that simply didn’t exist 18 months ago.

        • Nick says:

          Harry what’s the best price you’ve found? I’ve been looking to go for a year but have never found anything (on BA) for less than £120 return. I’m willing to pay more to go from LHR not LTN but it’s still always more expensive than every other SH route!

        • Lady London says:

          That’s why checking a bag in short-haul Europe on British Airways is now something like £65. Which is a lot more than any LCC I’m aware of.

        • the real harry1 says:

          @Nick HBO something like £90 rtn on BA. LTN can be cheaper if you don’t mind getting up at the crack of dawn. But again, off peak.

          No good for me as I am school hols sort of guy 🙂

          My wife got decent prices from Luton for a ‘weekend’ (hmm, I don’t call that a weekend!), wedding in early September, something like your £120 and I was pretty pleased with that as she only decided quite late to go (she’ll basically arrive, sleep, go to wedding + food, sleep & home)

        • the real harry1 says:

          @Lady London – yes & no – if you pay when booking for Plus instead of HBO, it’s only about £15 ISTR – paying £65 later looks remiss 🙂

        • the real harry1 says:

          I see BA put the price difference Europe HBO vs Plus up to £19 (ie your checked bag), CBA to check more than my route but it would probably hold true across the board.

          And @Nick – £85 rtn in HBO

  • ChrisC says:

    The Christmas Markets start on Monday 26th November

  • Lady London says:

    Gotta say I find CGN an intensely boring city. I had the misfortune to have to visit there a few times when I was working for a very large telecom.

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

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