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.
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 ba.com 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.
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 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.
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
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.
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.
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.)