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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 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 credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Until 9th April 2021, American Express is running the biggest sign-up bonuses ever seen on a UK payment card.

You will earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Platinum (apply here) and 50,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Gold (apply here) which is FREE for your first year. Points transfer 1:1 into Avios. Here are links to our reviews:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

100,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and a long list of travel ….. Read our full review

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

50,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and free for a year Read our full review

Here are your other options. There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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.

If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (44)

  • 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.

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