Qatar Business Class

British Airways launches Portland, Oregon (with lots of Avios availability!)

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

The rumours we had heard floating around this week were true.  British Airways has just announced that it is launching direct flights to Portland, Oregon in 2020.

The service will start on 1st June 2020, and is set to operate all year round. Here is the timetable:

BA299 departs Heathrow at 15:05, arrives in Portland at 16:55

BA298 departs Portland at 18:45 and arrives in London at 12:10 the following day

During the summer season (from 29th March 2020 until 25th October 2020) the flight will operate Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. During the winter season this will reduce to four weekly flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It will depart from Heathrow Terminal 5.

The service will use a 787-8 aircraft, which British Airways often uses to open new US routes. It is BA’s smallest long haul aircraft with Club, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller.

By the time you read this flights should be bookable for cash or Avios on the BA website here, with the guaranteed two Club World seats per flight.  As this is a new route availability should be wide open – if you were planning a trip to the US west coast next Summer but had failed to get the dates you wanted, this might be your best opportunity!

Unlike some of BA’s other recent route launches to the US it faces some direct competition. Delta Air Lines already operates a flight between Portland and London during the summer season, as well as to Amsterdam all year round.

Is Portland worth visiting?

For a start, it’s worth mentioning that Portland International Airport is itself a destination thanks to the famous airport carpet!

Portland is a fantastic place to visit. I was there in 2018 and there is plenty to do. The Pacific North West is one of my favourite parts of the US (and one of the few areas I would actually consider moving to). Portland is perfectly located for beaches, wine country, gigantic forests or even ski resorts.

Portland itself is known for its trendy vibe with craft beer breweries and fun places to eat. If you like ice cream I recommend Salt & Straw, a boutiquey Portland-based ice cream shop with some funky and fantastic flavours.

To the north, just inside the Washington border is Mount St Helens, an active volcano that had a major and tragic eruption in 1980.

Just east of Portland are the famous Multnomah Falls which are worth a look despite the mass of tourists that pilgrimage there. These photos are all my own:

multnomah falls oregon

To the west is the Oregon coast with Cannon Beach and its famous Haystack rock. Further down is Pacific City with an absolutely gigantic sand dune with fantastic views of the coast.

oregon coast

If you’re driving towards Northern California you also MUST stop at Crater Lake, an old collapsed volcano caldera that is now a large lake. It offers some of the most spectacular views you will ever see in your entire life and is well worth the beautiful drive.

crater lake oregon

If you are looking to take a trip to the US next Summer I would seriously consider flying to Portland.  It is a fantastic base to start from and with wide-open availability – at least for the next few hours – you will have your choice of travel dates.

You can book on ba.com here.

(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.)

Why are some Avios redemptions now cheaper on avios.com than ba.com?
Flying easyJet from Luton? I try the Signature ELITE lounge in the private jet terminal and get driven to my plane!

Click here to join the 14,500 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

IHG Your Rate
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. At £1399 return in Club World, you’re much better off just paying a cash ticket and reducing by Avios, rather than redeeming. The surcharges are so high that it makes it crazy to do anything else – plus you’ll earn a load of Avios back and 280 tier points.

    • Agreed! I’ve been on the look out for a decent club world fare to Vancouver. Have bitten the bullet on this & will hire a car to drive up. 320TPs because I’ve got a stop in Dallas on the way out.

  2. The other Kevin says:

    For us propeller-heads don’t forget about the “Spruce Goose” that’s in a museum not from Portland.
    Went to see it many years ago when it was in LA but would love to see it again.

  3. I suspect I will now be spending most of today looking into the feasibility of hiking trips in the vicinity of Portland for someone who can’t drive! Far more interesting than marking mock papers!

    • Just try a few lessons and a test. People that can’t drive fit right in on the roads, especially in the USA 🙂

    • Nick Burch says:

      You can do some fun walks right from the city centre, up into the Rose Test Garden then onwards, public transport at both ends. A lot of the stuff along the Columbia River probably does need a car ideally, though a bicycle might not be impossible

      If you can find a car-driving buddy, then there’s some excellent stuff around Mount Hood, and further afield down towards Bend. You could try both sides of the Cascades, the hiking on the east side is really different but stuff good, and much drier!

    • Lady London says:

      Even if it’s a bit hard to park a car in South London and a driving nightmare surely driving is a skill needed just in case for emergencies? Think of all the places you could explore Cat.

      Portland has really excellent transport but you really need a car outside it. Helps in the far ‘burbs too and to reach malls if you do any shopping for kit etc. Powell’s bookshop is a bit like Foyle’s used to be.

    • Lady London says:

      PS it rains all the time so choose your month carefully.

  4. Most definitely our favourite US destination….shame the word’s out !

    • Lady London says:

      That cow left the barn quite a few years ago now. Its not what it used to be but still a nice city. The weirdness is a bit fake now. It can’t compare to Europe. It used to feel a bit like a smaller but still hip version of SFO.

      • Lady London says:

        People are really really nice there. There are several major employers there, like Intel to the West, so healthy economy that supports quite a lot of Wholefood shops (my indicator of wealthy pretend healthiness). Read hotel reviews carefully.

        • No sales tax in Oregon either which helps (but there is over the river in Washington)

      • Your description or Portland pretty much matches mine of Austin.

        • Lady London says:

          Do you think BA is trying to be ‘hip’ then? Austin also recently opened. Charleston too.

          • Certainly all destinations of a certain type. Craft beer, gourmet coffee, Wholefoods, lifestyle aspirational.

            I can think of a time I would have slapped myself for using phrases like that, but couldn’t think of a better way of describing them.

            Also I was thinking of Charlotte rather than Charleston, but didn’t want to interrupt my cliched grouping of them.

          • What about Pittsburgh 😉

          • Also, as you mentioned SF I thought I’d throw my horror of that place these days. Can there be a better example in the USA of the extreme divide in society there. The volume of homeless, and the stupid house prices in SF. An example where public transport expansion has some very nasty outcomes. Good rail services mean all those tech multi-millionaires from San Jose area can now live in SF and easily commute.
            For me a city that has totally lost it’s vibe, and is a completely fake version of it’s former self. No wish to return anytime soon.

          • I’ve not been to Pittsburg since ‘94, before you were born I’d guess. A nice city that was having the downtown urban regeneration thing taking place. I do remember the surrounding area was beautiful. I understand it’s a decent city with good quality of life. Other US cities I’d rate as nice places to visit would be Denver, Dallas and Salt Lake City. Oddly I really dislike New Orleans, Atlanta is another I have no love for.

          • Lady London says:

            @Doug M when I see and hear about some of those cities (and see the increase in homelessness also in Portland) I hear the Simon & Garfunkel song about “off to look for America” in my head. Such true lyrics.

          • I hear you on that. I have a very mixed relationship with the USA. I’ve lived and worked in NYC. I love the place, yet every time I visit it makes me happy, angry and sad in different amounts.

          • Lady London says:

            Exactly.

  5. We visited in 2018 as part of a road trip in and out of Seattle. We were slightly disappointed with Portland itself, but the surrounding area is absolutely beautiful. We stayed in Dundee in Willamette Valley wine country for a couple of days then drove to Bend, Oregon for cycling and the total eclipse. Crater Lake but it was a bit of a disappointment as visibility was very poor due to wildfire smoke but what we saw was spectacular. I’d definitely go back to Oregon, just can’t justify it in 2020.

    PDX is also a gateway to Alaska and Hawaii; Alaskan (particularly post-Virgin America aquisition) and Delta both are very strong there so good competition and decent fares to the 49th and 50th states.

  6. We were there earlier this year and drove back to Portland from Yellowstone along the Columbia River Canyon, it is absolutely spectacular and would thoroughly recommend including this in any trip itinerary.

  7. Doug,

    A couple of differences between Austin and Portland:

    1) Austin is insufferably hot in the summer

    2) Portland is much more walkable. You really need a car in Austin, or anywhere in Texas.

    • No dispute from me. I was thinking purely in terms of what I call vibe, which is hard to describe. But specifically to Austin and Portland, they’re both more commercial and less real than they used to be, and both very happy to play the weird and charming card.

  8. Deryck Hall says:

    Downtown Portland disappointed us when we were there in late October. Stray too far on the excellent tram system and you quickly end up in Down and Out Town (by the main railway station).

    Would recommend a trip to Silverton to see a charming town and visit the Oregon Garden Resort (botanical gardens and chalets).

    Also worth vising is Salem, the State Capital. It has lots of interesting architecture and a series of nice parks.

    But beware. There is a lot of nothingness in Oregon. You can drive for miles without seeing another car, and towns are set far apart. For example, Crater Lake – a great national park – is miles from anywhere of any size.

    • Driving for miles without seeing another car is common across the US, not just Oregon!

      • One of the things I really like about. Although sadly quite an exaggeration. The truth is you’ll never really drive more than about 15 minutes before you see another car. Even in states like Montana and Wyoming your fellow man is sadly never too far away. Maybe serious hikers can escape people, but driving aimlessly down smaller roads is never that isolated.

    • rob(staaaar) says:

      Cool, thx for the heads-up.

  9. OT – Does anyone know if you can book 2 ANA business or first class seats using Virgin credit card 241 voucher (assuming I can find miles availability for LHR-TYO!). I have Virgin gold status but don’t know if the 241 will work on a partner airline. Thanks.

  10. Any idea whether the cash price will fall? Showing as a grand for return flights in August. Using max points only cuts it by 200 quid.

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.