Why should you book with British Airways Holidays in the new BA sale?

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British Airways launched a new sale on Thursday offering savings on both premium flights and holiday packages which include a First or Business Class flight.

There are some decent prices and you have until 19th March to book.

You can see all deals available here. We focused on the flight-only deals in our previous article – see here.  Today I want to look at the BA Holidays offers.

Luxury holidays and city breaks with BA Holidays

The key thing to know about BA Holidays is that – due to the weird world of airline pricing – booking a flight and hotel, or flight and car hire, together can often work out cheaper than just booking a flight itself.

The reason for this is that all airlines, not just BA, make discounted tickets available to tour operators which can only be sold in conjunction with a car or hotel booking.  British Airways, Virgin and most other airlines have now decided that it is silly to subsidise independent tour operators when they could be running their own in-house package holiday business.

These are the ‘lead in’ deals in the current sale.  The travel dates required to get these prices are very narrow so treat them as ‘from’ prices rather than what you will pay:


Tenerife from £539 per person – Seven nights at the 4* Santa Barbara Golf & Ocean Golf Club Diamond Resort, travelling 1st June to 24th June with Club Europe return flights from London Gatwick

Venice from £299 per person – Three nights at the 4* Hotel Admiral, travelling 1st May to 27th May, with Club Europe return flights from Heathrow


New York from £1,399 per person – Four nights at the 4* Hotel Mela, travelling 3rd January to 31st January 2020, with Club World return flights from Heathrow

Las Vegas from £1,699 per person – Four nights at the 4* Luxor, travelling 3rd January to 31st January 2020, with Club World return flights from Gatwick

Orlando from £1,799 per person – Seven nights at the 4* Blue Heron Beach Resort, travelling between 3rd November – 12th December inclusive. Includes Club World return flights from London Gatwick.

Los Angeles from £1,699 per person – Five nights at the 4* Knotts Berry Farm Hotel, travelling between 3rd January – 31st January 20 inclusive. Includes Club World return flights from London Heathrow.

South Africa

Cape Town from £2,489 per person – Seven nights at the 5* Hilton Cape Town City Center, travelling 6th May to 29th May, with Club World return flights from Heathrow

These prices are based on two people sharing. Travel dates vary by destination.

Little known benefits of booking with BA Holidays

Benefit 1 – just pay a deposit now

As usual with BA Holidays you don’t have to pay in full when booking.  You can secure the deal with a small deposit, and then pay the balance five weeks before departure. This is a substantial extra benefit compared to just booking flights.

Benefit 2 – you get a degree of cancellation flexibility

If you only pay the deposit now, you can walk away from your booking at any point up to five weeks before departure, which is when the final payment is due.  You will lose your deposit but that is an excellent outcome compared to having to walk away from pre-paid non-refundable flights.

Benefit 3 – bonus Avios

You earn a bonus 1 Avios per £1 you spend when booking with BA Holidays. You can find out more on ba.com here.

This bonus is on top of the Avios and tier points you will earn from the flights which are the same as you would get for booking a ‘flight only’, and from your credit card. Remember that BA Holidays spending earns you double Avios (3 per £1) if you charge it to a British Airways Premium Plus American Express card.

A non-benefit – no OnBusiness points

The only downside of using BA Holidays is that the flights do not earn On Business points in BA’s small business loyalty scheme.

The BA luxury flights and holidays promo page is here. Remember that you need to book by midnight on Tuesday 19th March.

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 triple points – 3 per £1 – when you book flight tickets in a foreign currency, because it triggers both the ‘double points for airline spend’ and the ‘double points for foreign spend’ bonuses.

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

The British Airways 'Landor' Boeing 747 retro livery takes off
Important dates for your diary - offers about to close which you shouldn't miss (March '19)

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  1. Sadly most of these options involve flying the dreadful club world / business cabin on BA.

    I prefer to fly on AA in business – a far superior product.

    • Frenske says:

      That means flying to dreadful holiday destinations or have dreadful stopovers.

    • TheSkintTraveller says:

      Possible to upgrade to F using minimal avios as cash paid ticket.

    • Nick_C says:

      In previous BA sales, the sale prices have applied to AA flights as well. I see that is not the case this time. For example, JFK is £1300 on BA but £2466 on AA.

      Don’t know how this works for the airlines with revenue pooling?

      If the prices were the same, I would happily take an indirect flight to travel with AA. I find its nice to break the journey, and some people value the additional tier points.

      • I find that ex UK AA fares in PE and J are typically much more expensive that the equivalent on AA. IMO AA is far superior in both cabins but I am prepared to tolerate BA when I am making such significant savings.

      • Prins Polo says:

        I think this applies not only to BA Holidays but more generally follows some recent change to the transatlantic JV as now a lot of, if not most, AA flights have different prices than BA flights (at least on the LHR-JFK route) and they used to be pretty much identical in the past. I’ve noticed this particularly for the premium economy fares recently (obviously, AA didn’t have PE until recently).

    • Lady London says:

      Very nicely written article, Anika. I just get really annoyed that all the deals require 2 persons travelling…. not even sure that’s technically legal.

      • I don’t think they do require 2 people to travel, I’ve booked packages for either myself or my OH (either flight plus hotel or flight plus car) to use when the other one of us is travelling on a 2 4 1 with our son and not been charged disproportionately. I think they use the “based on 2 people” line just to cover themselves legally for hotels which do charge single supplements and that kind of thing. However, the hotel we’re staying in in August charges by the night, so my OH is the guest named on the booking but any number of people can check in up to maximum occupancy.

      • RussellH says:

        I would guess that it could only be seen as discriminatory if they completely refused a booking for a single person.
        But being single is not a protected characteristic under Discrimination law.

    • Don’t be so pompous, your ‘dread’ of BA Club would be most ordinary person’s dream.

  2. nigel whitehouse says:

    can anyone tell me, if i book these BA special deal tickets can i change the name of the person flying at a later date ? the booking on ba says “Your ticket conditions Changes to your ticket
    No changes permitted. No upgrades permitted”

    thanks in advance

    • Jonathan says:

      Yes. I bought 2 F tickets in the sale last year with car hire but had to cancel due to wife’s work commitments. Changed names to my parents 4 weeks before departure (after balance paid) for the very surprisingly low price of £25pp!

  3. I’m very happy with the BA holidays ski deal we got yesterday to Vancouver, with the return in First being only £200 on top of the CW price. The down side is not being able to have the hotel status benefits so we picked a hotel which we really like but have no status with the group.

    • Bolsdon says:

      Although this is normal, I have had status recognised and actually some points for incidentals occasionally by sending an email to the hotel. Recently Radisson Jersey credited the night’s as well…

      • Doug M says:

        You can always hope for an error. 3rd party booking, but at checkin to an Embassy Suites in Minneapolis I was offered some points in exchange for housekeeping. Gladly accepted as I tend to be a tidy person anyway and it was only 3 nights. What posted was the bonus and the full points for the stay.

  4. Another plus is that you can amend the bookings for a minimal fee, where in other circumstances you might be looking at chucking away the whole ticket. I added a night to an Edinburgh trip a couple of years back and the cost of changes for two plus a night in a hotel was under £100.

    On the flip side I’m told these tickets don’t behave as normal in irrops so they can’t be readily endorsed over to other carriers etc.

  5. Andy S says:

    I know this is about BA holidays but you also mention Virgin holidays in the text. Does virgin have the same advantages of paying just deposit to start with ?

    • Matt B says:

      Yes a friend has been organising a stag trip to Vegas through Virgin holidays and only had to pay a deposit up front.

  6. MAY L LIM says:

    What about tier points?
    Do you get the full tier points for the flight or that flight fare class?
    Where can you see the fare class, if so?

  7. The Savage Squirrel says:

    LOL at the headline prices. You’d have to be pretty weird to value comfort enough to spend about an extra £1000 each on flying CW rather than econ’ for 18 hours total, but then stay in either the Luxor or the Blue Heron (both adequate but elderly), when a lot less than £1000 extra in that direction will get you in some excellent accomodation – that you use for 168 hours rather than 18.

    • Lady London says:

      Hi Savage Squirrel

      normally I agree with everything you say.
      But if you’ve ever sat 24-32 hours total one way on a 2-flight hop down to Aus/NZ on anything other than the top 3 or so airlines that make Economy bearable, believe me if you can possibly find the money £1000 sounds cheap to not do that kind of run in Economy..

      And I say that as someone who is either flying on Business, or very very skint! 🙂

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        I Agree with you about the Aus flight. Only done the Aus flight once in econ (and it was on top 3 carriers) – and with young children and it was still tough. I’d have taken £1000 each upgrade instantly – unfortunately it was £6000 each which is a bit out of my league. Although when young children are involved, direct-as-possible routing, minimal easy transfers and to/from airport journeys do become just as, or even more important as the onboard experience.

        However this is a 9 hr USA flight so my point stands – if your budget is constrained then £1000 extra thrown at a week’s hotel stay will get you a lot more luxury and for far longer than £1000 thrown at a flight. So you should really only look at upgrading flights once you’ve upgraded to your preferred accomodation level. Taking Vegas,, just an extra £150 total cost would upgrade you from Luxor to superior Planet Ho or Mirage while £300 extra gets you in the Waldorf/Astoria (which is basically a Mandarin Oriental that has just changed branding). I can’t see anyone who is prepared to pay for CW not doing this – and if you really can’t you’d be better off reducing to Premium Econ’ so you can.

        Really I was just saying they’ve obviously put the bottom level of accomodation in to get the lowest possible headline price for links and adverts but it’s false advertising. It doesn’t fit in the “luxury” holidays tag at all I’ll bet it’s never actually been booked. 😀

        • Kevin C says:

          Similarly, don’t book the Knotts Berry Farm hotel and think you’ll be staying in Los Angeles. It’s fine if you mainly want to go for rollercoasters.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I think booking the cheapest hotel or car with the flights is so you throw them away and only use the cheaper flights?

          Ofcourse it could be much better to upgrade your hotel for a couple £100

        • Doug M says:

          The problem with greater LA area is traffic. Getting anywhere in a reasonable time is impossible. Knotts Berry Farm and OC area would take forever up to Hollywood or Santa Monica.

      • Where is best to stay a few nights in LA?

        (Will be driving north via coastline thereafter)

        • Shoestring says:

          San Francisco

        • We’ve stayed at the Hilton checkers downtown, which was a good base for travelling down to Anaheim etc. And only 10-15 minute drive to Hollywood. Getting to Santa Barbara / Venice Beach was a bit of a pain in rush hour (which is about 3pm-8pm!?).

          We’ve also stayed at the Hotel Californian in Santa Barbara, which was a great base for a drive up highway 1.

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          Yes, LA is awful, while heading north of there is great. Just get off the plane and drive to Santa Barbara and go from there. The Eagle Inn is a very pleasant place to stay in Santa Barbara.

        • Kevin C says:

          What do you like doing?

          West Hollywood is a good base. Santa Monica if you want to be by the sea. Four Seasons Beverly Hills or Chateau Marmont if you have a lot of money and want to see film stars at breakfast. I’m also fond of the Beverly Hilton.

        • Thanks guys!

          Great tips….although Eagle Inn possibly more my budget! (any more hotel tips…heading north to SF)?

  8. OT Looking at an Ex EU from DUB as these prices are crazy high still, something odd I noticed on the Tier Point Calculator is that DUB>DFW doesn’t show up as anything even though AA fly there. Is that their IT being crap and would TP’s still be awarded?

    • Richard says:

      Yes to TPs, yes to rubbish IT – I assume they don’t have an army of staff proactively checking the changes to which routes changes all members of the alliance are making.

    • Doug M says:

      It’s not crap IT. The AA DUB to DFW doesn’t start until June. It’s a new route using a 787 and it’s just not been loaded into the calculator yet.

      • Graham Walsh says:

        Got it. I’m looking for July so makes sense that I can book it. Also anyone booked via AA USA site as seems to work out cheaper via USD.

        • Doug M says:

          I’ll be on it 16th July, then onward to LAS. Booked through Amex travel for £1280 with BA flight numbers, extra Avios so best for me. Amex travel because I had the £200 offer and used it for this. Originally was leaving DUB at 14:10 then AA changed to 15:45, hope they don’t move the time again, they already messed up my initial DFW connection, don’t want it to get any later.

  9. Can a journey starting in Europe e.g MAD-LON-LAX return be booked as a BA Holiday to take advantage of the deposit payment?

  10. Is it possible to us a BA 241 voucher on a BA holidays redemption (or even 2 vouchers)?

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