Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

British Airways announces new Pittsburgh route with excellent Avios availability

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

British Airways has announced a new route to Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh will become the 26th (!) US city to be served by British Airways.  It has flown the route in the past but the service was discontinued in 1999.

The route will launch on 2nd April 2019 and will operate four days per week, all year round.

British Airways announces new Pittsburgh route

It will operate from Heathrow Terminal 5 and will use a new Boeing 787-8, which means there will not be any First Class seating.

The new flights will run on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with BA0171 departing from London Heathrow at 5pm and landing into Pittsburgh at 8.15pm.  BA0170 will leave Pittsburgh at 9.50pm, arriving into London at 10.25am the following day.

Apparently ….

Harper’s Bazaar named Pittsburgh one of the “Best Places to Travel in 2017”.

Visitors can also explore the Carnegie Museums of Art, Natural History and Science, meander around the Botanical Gardens or soak up the lively strip district. Pittsburgh has also been labelled the ‘Best Sports City in the US’, and is home to three professional teams, the Steelers (American football), the Penguins (ice hockey), and the Pirates (baseball). The Steelers became the first team in NFL history to win six Super Bowl titles.

Pittsburgh is the ‘City of Bridges’, with more than any other city in the world at nearly 450.

The area is also home to 90 universities, colleges and career training schools and has one of the fastest growing millennial markets in America.

As usual with new routes, Avios availablity will be excellent.  The route was only opened up for sale yesterday and at a minimum the guaranteed two Club World and four World Traveller seats will be available on each flight.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) 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.

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 (49)

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

  • Roger says:

    Quiet thread hence OT
    How do you tackle with positive balance on credit card account?
    Is asking for refund a good idea of wait out and spend it over next couple of months.

    • Genghis says:

      If significant, ask for a refund.

      • RIccatti says:

        Depends on the card issuer. MBNA normally refunds without a question, UK AMEX will eat your soul if checks are triggered.

        • Bagoly says:

          I have had UK Amex send money back to account from which direct debit settles it without my asking – only a few hundred, and after two months inactivity.

    • RIccatti says:

      UK AMEX is a pain. They WILL check if there was a charge from the same retailer, for the same amount.

      If they can’t identify the charge for which the refunded money came (and it can happen at their backoffice processing in India), eg partial refunds, the money will be deducted from your AMEX but not transferred to your bank account.

      The situation is irresolvable short of major written complaint and FOS complaint.

      • Genghis says:

        Agreed. At a hotel I used an Amex Plat as the guarantee card and then paid with a different non-Amex card. I made a complaint to the hotel and they agreed to a partial refund but amounts were refunded to the now cancelled Plat. Amex questioned why there was no debit to the corresponding credit so I had to write a letter and attach all receipts etc. Eventually I got my refund after about 6 weeks

        • Roger says:

          This is Creation IHG so not too sure how they will handle this.

      • John says:

        This isn’t my experience though the amount was small. My wife bought something on a non-Amex and accidentally refunded it to an Amex, and the shop didn’t notice. The only thing Amex did was take away some MR points!

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Had that as and old card had been cancelled and the shop said they would just refund any card then.

          I contacted Amex and they gave me my MR back.

      • Andrew says:

        What can happen is employees attempt to embezzle their employers by refunding non-existant transactions to their own cards.

        So if there isn’t a matching transaction, it should flag up as fraud.

        I had this issue recently when I bought a faulty item from WDF on Amex. Apparently they can’t refund to Amex on postal returns, so a £900 credit was made to my Debit card instead. This flagged as fraud so was ring-fenced, it took a 2 minute call to my bank and they were satisfied it was normal.

        (You’re Posting Comments too quickly Slow Down just flashed up there from HfP – Either I’m typing too quickly or one of my 12,000 colleagues who share this IP address is also commenting!)

      • Nick says:

        I find that they are normally happy to transfer a credit from one of my cards to another. Of course only helpful if you have more than one Amex.

      • RIccatti says:

        Fraud is one thing, but the main cause is AML (anti money laundering) regulations.

        Once AMEX UK identifies a large credit/refund (without a corresponding debit/transaction), they can’t simply leave the credit on account. They can’t forward funds to your bank account either — the funds go into limbo.

        The only thing they can do is to refund the funds back the source of payment.

        I had a major issue with Balance Transfers, for example.

        Creation IHG would be very similar in terms of dealing with returning cash from refunds. The solution is to open Curve account, link up Creation IHG and..

  • Roger says:

    Any idea of any increased signup bonus on Nectar card?

  • Craig says:

    OT: Is anyone else missing points balances and progress bars from Amex this morning?

  • KBuffett says:

    Whilst we are talking about credit cards, I have a question about preloading or paying off credit cards before the due date. I have a Hilton Barclaycard and have already hit my limit for this month. Can I pay this off early and then max it out again to pay HMRC (via Curve) and all the points?
    I think I read on here previously that this not allowed.

    • Genghis says:

      It’s allowed. From experience.

    • Mark says:

      One problem that can arise is if the card is paid off by direct debit, set to pay in full. HSBC, for example, will still take the full statement balance oot of the DD, meaning it takes a month or so to work through.

    • Rob says:

      Depends on issuer is the not hugely helpful answer. MBNA was always ok.

    • Andrew says:

      As soon as an entry is posted to the ledger (ie not a pending transaction), it’s absolutely fine to drop a payment across to your account. You have created a debt and you are entitled to settle your debts.

      If you are a bit quick, John Lewis Partnership Cards are an example of this, and send a payment whilst it is still pending, then I’ve known the Faster Payment to be rejected.

      The Direct Debit element is only really an issue if you happen to pre-settle at the very same instant that the Statement is generated – even then some companies will reduce the DD collected if settlement is made between the statement date and the extract for the DD run.

    • Peter K says:

      I did this a lot with Barclaycard Hilton card, then just asked for a higher limit. Paint of early is not an issue and it does reduce down any DD in place.

    • sunguy says:

      Barclaycard will not allow you to overpay …

      I pay my balance off monthly, I *always* have to take the balance and then find the authorisations that have not yet been finalised and take them off before I have an amount I am allowed to pay.

      Ive tried on the app and on the website – it just wont let you do it.

      You could try just sending the amount via a bank transfer rather than paying via the app/website, but who knows if they will accept it!

    • the_real_a says:

      Yes i do this very often and have done so for a decade or more. I have never experienced any issue whatsoever. This is favorable if you are trying to massage your credit reports, so that you are showing a zero balance (thus no utilised credit) when they report your account once a month.

      • Genghis says:

        Isn’t no utilised credit supposedly worse that a middling amount of used credit?

  • HayMow says:

    For architecture fans new route this is great news – Frank Lloyd Wright’s spectacular Fallingwater is only an hour from Pittsburgh (+half hour from the airport) and has been on my bucket list for a while – this would definitely make it easier to visit 🙂

    • Alan says:

      Wow, looks impressive and worth a visit!

      • HayMow says:

        Exactly what I thought! Apparently you may have to book q far ahead to get the tour you particularly want – and there is some accommodation on the way back to Pittsburgh you can stay at, which was also designed by Lloyd Wright: Duncan House at Polymath Park and some other buildings, plus a restaurant.

    • FromPittsburgh says:

      Definitely a great addition to the route network, even if surprising. Pittsburgh has been lacking international connections since 2004, but routes to Paris (DL, seasonal for the last 5-6 years), FRA (Condor, new summer 2018) and KEF (WOW, started 2017) are apparently doing well. BA is reportedly getting $3 mln over two years to start this route. I highly recommend a visit – in addition to Fallingwater, there is the Andy Warhol museum, some other great museums, history, universities, professional sports, and some very good hotels, and all very affordable by big city prices. It’s also the setting for August Wilson’s drama, for fans of his work (Fences). Finally, only a four hour drive from Washington, DC and around 7-8 hours from NY, for those contemplating a US road trip.

      But I grew up and have family there, so I’m biased!

      • FromPittsburgh says:

        Andy Warhol museum:
        For hotels, try the Kimpton.

      • HayMow says:

        Great info from a local @FromPittsburgh! Sounds like Pennsylvania decided to throw a load of money at boosting Pittsburgh/PA tourism – and why not – $3m can’t be such a big deal if it drives a huge rise in tourist dollars as a result. I wonder if that means they have to keep it running for min.2 years or have a break option if it performs poorly (thinking ahead, if I can’t make it in 2019!). Good to know about the FRA route too – tho I’ll start with trying to use my Amex 241 on BA first 🙂 I do like a Kimpton (and affordability) – more good news. Not far to Ohio, where we have several friends, either. Will check out Fences (not on my Netflix or Amazon Prime sadly and can’t figure out how to tell if it’s on Now TV without signing up 😉 ). Thanks

  • Optimus Prime says:

    OT – how long does an Amex to BA points transfer when linking an account for the first time?

  • Lemeng says:

    BA’s withdrawal from Pittsburgh in 1999 was a boon to Virgin as it released a US gateway city under the rules of the Bermuda II air services agreement then in force. Virgin picked up the designation in order to start its successful Gatwick-Las Vegas route.

    Now BA is going back to Pittsburgh, no doubt lured by financial incentives from the airport there. Pittsburgh is very active in incentivising new routes, giving large bungs to Qatar Airways to start cargo flights – which have so far hugely underperformed their plan. It will be interesting to see whether BA makes a success of the route or pulls out again when the financial incentives run out.

    • FromPittsburgh says:

      I too am somewhat skeptical such a large premium cabin will work. I was anticipating the likes of EI to DUB on a 757 / A321LR, or Primera to STN.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        Pittsburgh has a population of some 300,000 and appears to be a neither business nor leisure, a hick destination in the middle of pretty much nowhere. Yet a further example of the transatlantic focus both BA and Virgin with their Delta tie up are relentlessly pursuing rather than competing with the ME3 and others going eastward. Sad.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Qatar is persevering with Cardiff despite poor sales so far…

        • Jimbob says:

          I suspect Qatar persevering with Cardiff might have something to do with the Welsh Government being overly generous.

          Interestingly Welsh Government has refused to divulge the agreement they have with Qatar, some much for being open and transparent.

          • Rob says:

            £5m, either the Qatar CEO or the First Minister said so at the press conference for the launch, which I was at. Not sure if it was meant to be a secret or not.

  • bumpmad says:

    Annoying this wasn’t Cincinnati…. still the largest US city not served directly from the UK.. 🙁

    • sunguy says:

      In some ways I aggree with the CVG bit – but having worked alot in Cincy, the extra tier points you get…for the 2nd flight…..besides, previously it was Delta….and from LGW….(so of absolutely no use to BA followers).

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.