Why you shouldn’t waste Avios on Club Europe business class redemptions from London City Airport

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If you are a newcomer to the world of Avios, I generally recommend that you try Club Europe business class on short-haul redemptions from Heathrow or Gatwick.

I know that this view is not universally shared!

But, if you aren’t used to premium class travel, it opens your eyes to what you are missing.  For an extra 4,500 Avios – assuming you are flying to a country near the UK like Germany, the Netherlands or France – you would get:

Lounge access (I am very positive about the BA Heathrow lounges, unlike some people, and the new Gatwick lounges seem to be universally liked)

Dedicated check-in desks if you have luggage

Fast track security

Priority boarding

Seat at the front of the plane – and therefore also the first off, which speeds up immigration

Empty middle seat

Extra baggage allowance

Some food (which has got a little better recently, although nowhere near as much as BA would like to think) and premium drinks including all the champagne you can drink

I think that is EASILY worth an extra 4,500 Avios and £7.50 of tax on the outbound flight, especially if you don’t have British Airways status.  Coming back, it might not be such a good deal – you may or may not get fast track security and you may or may not find the lounge is good.  Outbound, though, I definitely recommend it.

Except …. if you are flying from London City.

I originally wrote this article in response to an email from a reader who had spent his Avios on Club Europe from London City on a flight to Spain.  Because Spain is further from London, the Club Europe premium is higher – 30,000 Avios per person return versus 15,000 Avios for Euro Traveller.

British Airways Embraer 190 London City

This is what you DON’T get if you redeem for Club Europe from London City:

A lounge – City Airport has no lounges, unless you pay £35 to use the Business Lounge lounge in the Private Jet Centre or £95 for the ‘be driven to your plane’ First Class lounge 

An empty middle seat – the Embraer 190 aircraft, as pictured above, have 2 x 2 seating

Priority boarding – it exists in theory, but the high percentage of status card holders flying out of City means that virtually every passenger on peak business routes qualifies for it anyway!

You DO get to sit at the front and you DO get better food.  The food is by far the best part of the London City British Airways experience.  As I wrote in this review, it is substantially better than what you get out of Heathrow, because there is no other point of difference between the two travel classes.  On the other hand, Economy passengers still get free snacks and free drinks out of London City.

The potential reason to redeem for Club Europe, if you don’t have unlimited Avios to spend, is if you need the additional Club Europe baggage allowance.

So, in summary – I do recommend that you redeem in Club Europe for short haul redemptions if you can, especially outbound and especially if you don’t have BA status.   Just not from London City …. unless there are no other seats available or you have a lot of luggage.

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  1. On the shorter flights I wouldn’t avoid flying club Europe out of LCY if it meant getting the flight that I wanted. Same as any short haul when you have silver or above status.

  2. Disappointed in my recent LCY flights. Asked for my drink order then completely forgot to serve it, cold unsubstantial meals at dinner time when I was forced to fly CE due to ex-EU longhaul.

    Id pay more to sit in ET even on BA mainline.

    • if you dont have priority security, i wouldn’t put my preference on LHR. nor if you’re from where it’s easier to go to LCY than LHR (depending on the destination).

      long queue, no snacks at LHR vs short(er) queues, some plane food at LCY.
      With status your threshold should shift towards the west.

  3. Louise A says:

    Confused. Title says don’t waste Avois redemption on CE but text says it’s a good idea except from LCY where it’s a better product?

    • Peter 64K says:

      “Why you shouldn’t waste Avios on Club Europe redemptions from London City”.

      Where is your confusion? The title clearly says from London City. LCY is the code for London City airport.

      • Peter 64K says:

        And it’s only the food that is better from LCY, not the overall package, according to the article. 🤷‍♂️

  4. BA-Flyer says:

    Arrived in LCY last night at 19:30. We were kept waiting inside the plane for 15 minutes after the door had been opened. The line for immigration was so long it was backing along the corridor to gate 5. LCY is no longer the joy it once was.

  5. I think what people miss is that it makes Economy redemptions even better value from City. Usually fares are more expensive from City, you get a snack and a drink, you only have one other person in your row, all for 4500 avios. Or am I missing something?

    • Michael Jennings says:

      Yes, I agree. Economy redemptions from LCY are great value and they are the main way I spend Avios. It helps that I live much closer to LCY than LHR, so this also saves me an hour’s travel in each direction.

    • When it’s a route that flies from LHR or LGW as well as LCY, I’ve always found city airport prices to be competitive and sometimes cheaper.

  6. Rob – Priority check-in and boarding at City is for CE and Gold/ OneWorld Emerald only – Silvers and Bronzes get neither there. I’d agree City outbounds are a waste of money – only reason to do it is that it can be a very cheap source of tier points. Inbounds it’s worth looking into local airport set-ups.

    Gatwick departures has the biggest difference between CE/ status and non-status passenger experience. The business check-in hardly ever has queues and fast track security is very fast. Lounges are really good – a significant cut above LHR. The only downside is the layout of gates makes group boarding a bit of a mess.

  7. The way I see it is, why do you waste Avios on CE when you can fly economy from LCY?
    The biggest advantage is that LCY is so easy to reach, and quick, + no need to waste time arriving early. 30 minutes before flight departure is good enough

    • “The biggest advantage is that LCY is so easy to reach”
      I think that depends on where you are coming from.

  8. Crafty says:

    We redeemed in CE from LCY and agree with all of your “what you don’t get”, but still didn’t regret it, because it was cheaper than an economy cash ticket and there were no economy redemptions available!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I think Rob is talking about when you have a choice.

      If CE is the only choice on the flight you want then CE is best

  9. TGLoyalty says:

    If you have Silver or above when it comes to european trips the only reason to pick CE over ET is if it’s getting you cheap TP.

    It’s all about the exit row sets

  10. Bilbao, Spain is actually zone 1. Bargain.

  11. Chechire Pete says:

    Yeah, lounge niceties aside, it can be a Great a Tier poInt earner. Also at short notice it can mean the difference of paying circa £100 for a one way CE, versus Heathrow being x3 times the price. As for Avios redemption, useful for getting availability when Heathrow exhausted on that. I’d have worded the title more glass half full “LCY great fallback when Heathrow too expensive/no seats” rather than the glass half empty approach!

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