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British Airways launches new route to Charleston, South Carolina – bookable now with Avios

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British Airways announced (yet another) new US route last night – Charleston, South Carolina.

It may prove a sound choice.  There are currently no flights, at all, between Europe and Charleston with most passengers flying to Atlanta.

This will change from 4th April when BA’s new service starts.  It is being broken in gradually with just two flights per week.  At present the service is only due to run for the Summer and will end on 24th October when the Winter timetable begins.

British Airways 787

Charleston has been voted ‘best small US city’ by readers of Conde Nast Traveller and Travel + Leisure magazine for the past eight years so it must have something going for it.

The flight will operate from Heathrow Terminal 5.

It will be flown with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner which means that it will be a three-class service.  (You will only find First Class on the longer – in both length and flight range – 787-9 version.)  By coincidence, Boeing is currently building the Boeing 787-10 in Charleston with twelve of them earmarked for delivery to BA between 2020 and 2023.

The flights will run on Thursdays and Sundays.  Flights will leave Heathrow at 5.20pm, arriving into Charleston at 9.20pm.  The return flight will depart Charleston at 10.50pm, arriving into London at 11.50am the following day.

Charleston takes the number of US destinations served by British Airways to a whopping 29, including the recently announced Pittsburgh service which also launches in April.

Tickets were due to be available from this morning at ba.com.  The guaranteed two Club World and four World Traveller seats will be available.  Whilst more seats are likely to come up as the months go by, as there are only two flights per week I suggest you move quickly if you want to guarantee an Avios redemption for Summer 2019.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 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

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.

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 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

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) 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 (59)

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

  • Nigel the pensioner says:

    Charleston (SC) is beautiful. Very similar to the rebuilt and much improved New Orleans. However the flight slots are rubbish and frankly will probably continue to enter via Houston rather than Atlanta as its way way cheaper with more avios redemptions available.

  • Jonathan says:

    It’s a lovely part of the States with great history & southern charm. I’m always surprised how little awareness Brits have of this part of the states as much nicer IMHO than Florida. I wouldn’t be rushing to visit in the summer though, hot & humid is an understatement! I can only hope that this doesn’t flop due to being introduced in the wrong season as would love to grab some Avios seats for November/December (unless this has been launched with a view to surviving predominantly off ex US passengers over the Summer).

  • Alan says:

    News also out on the US blogs re this new route – just as well BA have put up the YQ ex-US vs ex-UK given how many Avios they get for sign-up and transfer bonuses there!

    I’m off to Charleston next month although very poor Avios availability to anywhere nearby so having to opt for the reliable JFK route then Delta direct to Charleston. AA schedule for direct flights from JFK is dreadful, about one a week!

    • Rob says:

      Press release landed at 6.58pm last night which is weird even by BA standards.

      • Lady London says:

        I think I saw it by accident earlier in the day on one of the US blogs when I was searching for tips on how to make the Iberia booking engine work. So perhaps BA was forced to release it at that odd time as word was getting out.

  • Liz says:

    Can also confirm Charleston is a beautiful place as is Savannah. Almost every building is a historic one. Last Aug/Sept we drove right out up the coast and out on to the Outer Banks – the whole area is beautiful. Well worth a wee road trip. Also very hot even late Aug.

  • Wivus says:

    Good news if you travel often to Raleigh NC. A 4 hour drive or hour flight away. Sounds daft as there is a direct flight but if you have seen the prices AA charge for LHR to RDU it will definitely be a big saving.

    • Polly says:

      Agree, my OH paid well over 1k for a Y seat on AA. Wasn’t allowed to be in PE. Used our own aa miles to ug him on way home overnight. So yes, a pricey route.

  • Anna says:

    A welcome addition if it continues. Which zone does it fall into for avios purposes?

    • pauldb says:

      Unfortunately, at 4077 miles, it just falls into the more expensive US band: 75k e/w peak J.

  • Dace says:

    Just out of interest does anyone know why BA are now charging £614 in taxes and fees for a J flight?

    • Steve says:

      Because they can?

    • Adrian says:

      Yes, it’s too much. This was highlighted when I upgraded to F on my last flight, it was a few more Avios and I was expecting the taxes etc. to be higher, they were but only 40p! I now look for J that I can upgrade to F as I feel that’s the best value, it’s not always possible, but for the same money, it’s a no-brainer.

      • Lady London says:

        Yes. APD is the same for Premium Economy, Business and First. So if you’re already booked in one of these classes you should not pay any more “taxes” to upgrade.

        This is why Economy is mostly such bad value for redemptions. Between the greed surcharge er… sorry, ‘taxes’ charged by British Airways as well as having to pay the avios for your award ticket, and the cash price of regularly available cash fares, there’s often no daylight at all on Economy fares especially on routes where there is high volume or competition.

    • Anna says:

      I know! I’ve just paid £1289 in taxes for 2 x J redemption to the Caribbean next summer, £100 more than I’ve paid for a trip to NYC in May flying out in F and back in J!

    • PointsChaser says:

      The amount BA charge for a redemption is making me question is it worth playing this points game for anything less than a 2 4 1 first class long haul redemption? For single business class tickets you can normally pick up some good deals in sales.

      • Anna says:

        Me too, and if the points game is still active when the OH and I are back to travelling as a couple I will be doing this. With this in mind, an article on routes you can fly to in First would be very interesting!

        • Lady London says:

          A note of caution that we may be about to go into a massive ‘up’ cycle in the price of oil. This may mean that the nice cash fares including for J that we’ve been seeing in very recent years, will rapidly disappear.

          So points/miles/avios may become worth collecting again.

    • marcw says:

      Someone has to subsidise the 241 right?

      • Rob says:

        Surcharges have been whacked up following the oil price rise.

        • Lady London says:

          You mean some of the “Fuel Surcharge” was actually fuel?
          🙂

        • Mark says:

          Of course they went down significantly when the price of oil went down, right….?

        • marcw says:

          Total BS. How come can you then explain BA charges different taxes and fees between revenue and Avios tickets? (being only the fuel surcharge variable, as all others are fixed). Do Avios tickets have a greater fuel consumption?

    • Lady London says:

      Really? not sure even Lufthansa would have the brass neck to be that outrageous.
      That’s only about £200 sort of the occasional cash offer for business on the shorter East Coast routes. Why give them the avios as well?

      • Anna says:

        Yes…pick your routes carefully. However, the cash price on my half term (and Memorial weekend) NYC flights is currently just over £10k so I was happy to hand over 140,000 avios plus just under £1200 “fees”.

        • Lady London says:

          Wow. This is when using points (if you’re early enough to book while the seats are still there) can really pay off. You’re an example to all of us @Anna! 🙂

        • Anna says:

          All thanks to HFP!

  • Clarence says:

    We flew to ATL in F on a 241 in August and had a lovely week in Charleston before going to Florida to visit friends for another week. Charleston is not very big but has loads of great places to eat. The free trolleys are excellent value but we found the history the high point.
    Coming back from ATL the only lounge is the Club at ATL. Should have stayed in the main concourse as the food was terrible, our dog would even have had second thoughts and he isn’t fussy about what he eats.
    A week after coming home Avis sent us a bill for $150 for cleaning what they said was excess dirt in the back of the car, strange as we had nothing in the back. I queried the bill but they wouldn’t reduce it or cancel it so we will go to Charleston again but will probably not use Avis again even though the extra Avios through BA are good.

    • Chuckstar says:

      @clarence … ask for photos from Avis
      sounds odd, had a similar experience.

    • Anna says:

      Thanks for this – we are using Avis for the first time next year as part of a BA holiday, I will be sure to take pictures before we give the car back!

    • Jill (Kinkell) says:

      Use Alamo. . Rented with them twice for road trips in the USA. Will do it again for next years visit

    • Lady London says:

      Yes. This is something to be aware of. If you take out excess car hire insurance (Questor, insurance4carhire, bettersafe, etc.) these cover most forms of ‘damage’ a rental car company could try to blame you for. they include cover for things like roof and tyres, and sometimes misfuelling, that even the rental car company’s own daily insurance would not actually cover you for.

      However a very big ‘but’ with all of these is that they do not cover the interior of the car.

      So always be careful to check the interior of the car as well as the outside, when you pick up a rental car. You don’t want to be blamed for a cigarette burn and find not even the excess car hire insurance you took out, would cover you,

      I wish you luck in protesting this fraudulent claim by Avis.

    • the_real_a says:

      Yup take photos yourself on pick up and drop off – even if you make yourself look like an a** is the best protection for these “mistakes”.

      • Lady London says:

        I have been known to sometimes casually mention that I have done this when dropping off the car. Especially at a chaotic Firefly location in MXP T2. the one time I dared to try Firefly.

        I’ve scurried back mostly to Hertz since. But constant caution is the word for any car hire. I’m not sure if car hire companies, or estate agents, should have the prize for most dishonest companies!

    • Doug M says:

      I don’t think it’s Avis in particular, it’s car rental in general, and moody behaviour more likely linked to branch than company. Responses of I always use X they’re honest, suggest that person hasn’t used X often enough.
      But in general my own view is in the US big players like Hertz, Budget, Avis, National are generally all OK, and I’m yet to have a post rental claim made by them. Had a few scratch disputes on return, or fuel disputes, but always by remaining firm and calm they’ve been resolved properly, i.e. them accepting I’m right 🙂
      I guess mostly my rentals have been in large operations, and cars always seem to be collected and returned to artificially lit multi-storey locations where minor damage is very hard to see. I always wait with the car and get the closing receipt, that immediately gives you a starting point in any dispute as they do a walk around and check the boot etc.

      • Alan says:

        Agree, a lot comes down to rental location.

        Recent collection at Rochester – location shut before my (delayed) flight arrived, had to get taxi to hotel and back the following morning. They were immediately apologetic, upgraded me from a standard to a premium (Chrysler) and waived the $120 one-way fees so it ended up just costing my some Hertz points – pretty impressed with the customer service TBH. Did chuckle when I heard her on the phone to her manager about the “President’s Circle member” needing special treatment – shows worth collecting any free status that’s available 😀

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