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British Airways confirms to HfP the A350 test flight dates to Madrid

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Since we had our first look at Club Suite on the new British Airways A350-1000 many of you have been asking when it will be scheduled for training flights to Madrid.

Various unconfirmed slots and dates have been floating around, but we have been hesitant to publish them.  The schedule has already been changed more than once and we didn’t want readers booking non-refundable tickets only to find themselves on a standard short-haul flight.

The good news is that British Airways has now told HfP which services to Madrid are currently planned to feature the A350.

BA A350 Arrival event

These dates still come with a health warning.  They could be changed for operational or scheduling reasons, or if any maintenance issues crop up.  If you book them for cash, you do so at your own risk and neither HfP nor BA will be responsible.  British Airways will not give you a refund simply because you are unhappy with the aircraft that is being flown.  The timetable does not show the A350 so you can’t claim you were downgraded.

The A350 will be used on BA464 (16.45 outbound) and BA465 (21.20 inbound) to and from Madrid every day from 6th to 31st August – except for the 13th, 23rd, 24th and 31st August.

BA456 (06.20 outbound) and BA457 (10.55 inbound) will also see the A350 on select days in August.  British Airways has declined to provide firm dates for these flights.  If you need to book a flight to or from Madrid anyway, however, it may be worth targeting these if BA464 / BA465 don’t work for you.

The aircraft is not yet appearing on seat maps and aircraft types are still displaying A320 family aircraft.  It is not clear if or when the seat maps will be updated.

As always, you should proceed with caution and the assumption that there may be last-minute changes to operating aircraft.

Booking the British Airways A350 flight to Madrid with Avios

If you are keen to try out the new Club Suite as soon as possible, your best option is to book an Avios redemption seat on one of the above services.

This gives you the flexibility to cancel from booking up to 24 hours in advance with only a small financial loss of £35 or the taxes you paid, whichever is lower, with your Avios fully refunded.  You would be protected from any planned changes to A350 scheduling, although not from any last minute swaps.

A return Avios ticket to Madrid would set you back 30,000 Avios and £50 in Club Europe.  There are several other pricing options including the new £1 + 40,000 Avios fare that we wrote about a few weeks ago.

British Airways A350 Club Suite seat

Whilst the A350 will be operating the flights, don’t forget that you will get the Club Europe soft product.  If you have ever flown the Boeing 777 that operates to Madrid you will know the drill: no pillows, blankets or amenity kits and the standard Club Europe food.

On the other hand, you will be paying the exact same Avios, taxes and charges as if you were on any other Heathrow to Madrid flight ….. so you may as well enjoy the new Club Suite!

Don’t forget that Iberia also runs a daily long-haul aircraft on the Heathrow to Madrid route.  It is usually an A340 although when Rob reviewed it back in 2013 it was an A330.  Rob reviewed it again last year when Iberia was testing its own A350 fleet.  You might want to mix and match your potential Club Suite flight with an Iberia flat bed on the way home. 

British Airways also runs a Boeing 777 on one daily flight so you could also mix and match Club Suite with the existing Club World seat.  These flights are run for cargo purposes and are very unlikely to be pulled at short notice.

Our coverage of the British Airways A350 will continue next week when we join Alex Cruz, the CEO of British Airways, on Monday’s inaugural flight.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2022)

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

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses.

There are special sign-up bonuses on both of the BA American Express cards until 28th February 2022. The bonus on the free card is doubled to 10,000 Avios and the bonus on the Premium Plus card is increased from 25,000 Avios to a huge 40,000 Avios.

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios (SPECIAL OFFER) and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 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

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 30,000 Avios.

30,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 4th February 2022.

Capital on Tap Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

30,000 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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 45,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

45,000 Avios is a special offer which runs to 28th February 2022.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

45,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

(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 (51)

  • Andrew says:


  • Rob says:

    Rhys had a year in Baltimore. You should hear Anika now too ….

  • JShank says:

    off topic – how long is it on average for HSBC Premier welcome points to clear? I’m being quoted 60 days after your initial 3 month period? Seperately there’s a 25% bonus for points transfers to avios atm so keen to speed that up if I can before the offer closes on Aug 31st

    • Waddle says:

      Re: 25% bonus
      Is there? Where are you seeing this? I don’t seem to have it or can’t see it. Could it be targeted?

    • Genghis says:

      I got the card in early Jan. A statement was generated almost straight away for the £195 fee. I hit the target spend and the 40k HSBC points posted on the next statement in Feb.

    • Russell Evans says:

      Really interested to know where this is written – been holding out to see if they do an “annual” 25% bonus for August as they have done in previous years

  • Tilly71 says:

    OT but sort of connected:
    Amex transfers to BA AVIOS, how long are transfers taking recently as it’s been 5 days since and nothing yet for us?

    • Andy says:

      Usually happens in one or two days for me from Amex Plat MR account. This was the case in July.

    • Boris says:

      Done 3 small transfer in the last 2 weeks and the points have been visible within 2 days after the day of transfer

  • ruben says:

    OT booked some flights from London to Tokyo on AMEX PLAT for the family. They might not be able to travel because of the extreme heat out there at the moment. Would I be able to claim cancellation through the insurance? If yes how make the claim. I’m unable to register an account on the AXA insurance webpage from the AMEX site.

    • Rob says:

      No chance (in my view) unless the Foreign Office advises against it, which is extremely unlikely.

      • ruben says:

        thank you all for your responses. Will try with the GP and try my luck as I have two young kids…

    • marcw says:

      Well… you should have checked earlier whether Summer is a good time to visit Japan. It is known to get extremely hot there… it’s not unusual.

      No chance claiming it through insurance.

    • Andy says:

      It’s not unusual to see temperatures in Japan reach 35-40C in Summer. Even Cambridge was almost 39C this summer. It’s not that unbearable and Japan has air conditioning everywhere.

      • Genghis says:

        It’s a “different kind of heat”. I find UK high 30s not too bad, Egypt high 40s unbearable and Japan high 30s very sweaty (though I feel good for it). No chance IMO with the travel insurance though…

        • Waribai says:

          This year though has been exceptionally hot. On Saturday just gone there were real feels in Fukuoka of 42c. It was really unbearable. Even Holkaido has had record breaking temperatures. We did a day trip to Otaru from Sapporo last week and we just couldn’t walk around. Everyone was crowded into the museums and shops!

  • Barry cutters says:

    Off topic

    Need some area recommendations for japan for a trip to RWC in sept.

    Will be arriving to Tokyo day before opening ceromany for 4 nights then heading to Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe region for 5 nights . Followed byb3 nights in Tokyo again at the end .

    Travelling business in cathey A350 out of Gatwick

    Best areas to stay in these locations would be much appreciated.

    Have loads of nights and over a million IHG points . But biggest priority is staying in best area.
    Travelling as 2 32 year old that like a drink and rugby .

    • SimonW says:

      Go to Geronimo’s in Roppongi. Ask for Yoshi. Tell him you are thirsty. Cancel all plans for the next 24 hours. Good luck.

  • Karen Meldrum says:

    Anyone know how many tier points you’d get for these flights to Madrid if you paid for them?

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