Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

I try out the BA 2119 virtual reality flying experience at the Saatchi Gallery

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

On Tuesday, Rob and I went to the media opening of BA 2119: Flight of the Future, the exhibition that British Airways is putting on at the Saatchi Gallery on Kings Road as part of its BA100 birthday celebrations.

It is a relatively small exhibition of work from graduate students at the Royal College of Arts which proposes a variety of technologies that might shape air travel in one hundred years’ time.

Whilst it was great to talk to the students and discuss their proposals, don’t expect any of these concepts to appear on your next British Airways flight.  Many are as futuristic as flying cars were in the 1950s – highly conceptual and futuristic to the extent that they may literally never fly.

Trying out the BA2119 Virtual Reality experience

Let’s get to the fun stuff though.

At the centre of the exhibition is a virtual reality experience.  It takes you on a journey through the history of human flight, from Leonardo Da Vinci’s failed flying experiments to the windy beaches of Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, the first flights at what became Heathrow, Concorde and the new British Airways A350.

The experience puts you in the pilot’s chair – literally – on many of these aircraft, allowing you to soar (briefly) through various landscapes. It is enhanced by smell-o-vision, wind simulators and a moving platform in the style of a simulator.  The photo above shows me giving it a go.

This is how it looks from the outside:

Whilst the exhibition is free, the VR experience is £20.  You may find this too steep for what is an 11 minute experience (ignore the 8 mins figure on the ticketing page) and it’s a shame it doesn’t go on longer.  It is genuinely quite fun to ‘fly’ through the different landscapes.

You can book it online at the BA 2119 website here, picking a specific time slot.  The exhibition runs until the 26th August.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2023)

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

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

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

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) 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.

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

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 10,500 Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 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

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus 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 (8)

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

  • Caroline says:

    I’ve booked a couple of these. Couldn’t get two Together so assume it’s because only one at a time?

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      Surely not a good use of an Amex 241 in any case?

    • Rhys says:

      Correct, one at a time

      • Frankie says:

        Is that you on the VR experience Rhys? Do you sit on that seat as well as stand for the eight minute experience? And does the stand swivel around and move you about? Do other people stare at you while you’re on it? Thanks in advance for answering these questions 🙂

        • Rhys says:

          It is me! You start off leaning into the support and then halfway through you sit down. Yes, the platform moves a little, it’s quite fun. People can’t really see you unless they go to the back where you get in – it’s hidden by the giant egg otherwise.

  • youngtraveller says:

    I wonder if the 20 pounds count as ba.com spend for the 1,000 bonus Avios with Amex

  • tony says:

    I visited this at the weekend, so 4 days after public opening. The exhibit was already looking quite tired with things not working properly, letters missing etc. It’s also very ‘out there’ in terms of future thinking. We’re not talking about a 2.0 lumbar support or a 30″ TV screen here, more eating 3d printed jelly and living in a small flexible pod for the entire flight.

    What ‘we'(?) might think of more important/realistic – a 4hr flight at 100k ft from London to Australia where you were decanted on a plinth directly from lounge to plane – got a little airtime, but perhaps I’m just not cultural enough to get the most out of this exhibition.

    My kids both enjoyed the VR experience, but I didn’t partake. Presumably the review above was on a press day as conversation about the concepts from the futurologists was non-existent, simply because none of them were there. If you do head down to the Kings Road, manage your expectations accordingly.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.