Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Here is the proposed British Airways operational plan going forward

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

There is still a big question mark over how British Airways will operate for the next couple of months.  IAG, BA’s parent company, has said that it intends to ground 75% of flights from April but that number was not broken out between Iberia, BA, Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL.

On Wednesday I spoke to a friend who works at BA and he outlined the current thinking to me.  This is NOT heresay – I have seen written confirmation of what is outlined below.  That said, the situation is clearly moving quickly and this plan could easily end up on the back burner.

Long-haul flying:

75% of the long-haul schedule will be cancelled

The ONLY long-haul aircraft which will be flying are the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 fleets – these are generally smaller aircraft and very fuel efficient, with the newest interiors

The entire A380, Boeing 777 and Boeing 747 fleets are to be parked.  The 747 retirement plan has been accelerated and many of these aircraft will never fly again for BA.

Short-haul flying:

The medium-term position of short-haul routes is not clear.  A substantial number of services have already been cancelled but a core minimum is likely to remain if the Government allows.


Terminal 5C is to be closed.  This will be used to park aircraft (there are 22 stands available).

Short-haul aircraft are already being sent elsewhere where possible.  Aircraft are already parked at Glasgow, Southend, Norwich and Cardiff.

British Airways will leave Terminal 3, with all flights moved to Terminal 5.  (There are separate rumours that Terminal 4 will be closed entirely and the 50 or so daily flights moved to Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.)

The Concorde Room lounge in Terminal 5 will be closed (this happened yesterday) and parts of the Terminal 5 check-in and security areas closed.  We already know that the Galleries North and Terminal 5B Galleries lounges have closed.

As I said above, this plan may not survive a collision with reality, but as of a couple of days ago it was the current strategy.


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 (184)

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

  • Jeff says:

    Will BA use this time constructively?

    For example, to speed up the Club Suite upgrades, intensively clean all grounded aircraft, and now that lounges are closing, use this time to perform the upgrades that were already being planned?

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Where will the money to do all this come from, you know there is barely any revenue right? And someone else mentioned the factory can only make 3 suites a day. And who would invest in increasing that capacity right now? Plus that assumes people will be going to work in factories next week which is looking unlikely…

      • Rob says:

        Now is when you act. Any smart company will be doing deals now.

        Ryanair owes much of its success to the deal Boeing gave it for 200 x 737s in the weeks after 9/11. Even 15 years old their second hand value is probably more than they paid.

        • Spaghetti Town says:

          This epidemic may have saved the 737 max too. The pressure is off boeing.

        • ChrisBCN says:

          That’s for stuff that doesn’t need funding today though, different things.

      • will says:

        Contact the bank and government, tell them what you want to do, demonstrate it’s employing people now and its to build or improve capacity in the future so the future will bring in increased revenue to pay off the government backed loan.

        You have to believe in capitalism, and if capitalism fails the money you borrowed means nothing anyway along with the money you tried to protect so you really have nothing to lose.

  • Ben says:

    Regarding cancellations do the airlines HAVE to reimburse in cash? Vueling seem to only be offering vouchers

    Do they have to give cash if asked?

  • Nick Jablonski says:

    Quick question to you, Rob.

    I’m due to fly from Heathrow to Glasgow on Friday 27 March and back from Glasgow to Gatwick on the following Monday. B.A. have now told me that the return flight is cancelled, but not the outward flight. Where does that leave me as regards a full refund? I’d more or less accepted that I won’t be going, and had consigned myself to asking for a voucher, but when only half the flight is cancelled, do I still qualify for an automatic cash refund?

  • Bill B says:

    I live in New York and have a 241 BA/Chase Visa voucher expiring December 2020 which I used last October to book round-trip business class flights JFK-LHR, April 2nd through 21st.
    BA has now cancelled the outbound leg. How do I get the Avios back in my account, the taxes and fees refunded, and the voucher extended?
    Will there be any fees for this?

    • Rob says:

      No fees if the flight is cancelled. If you want the voucher extending now then you’ll need to call to trigger the cash refund. If you’re happy to wait a few months to extend it then take the refund online – the voucher will probably be extended anyway and if not you have plenty of time to call up and extend.

  • Harry T says:

    SeatSpy appears to be inventing a lot of First and Business Class availability that doesn’t exist. Reward Flight Finder is remaining accurate when compared to BAEC availability. Plenty of alerts from SeatSpy but none from RFF on the same routes.

    • Robert Norris says:

      Was going to post the same. Can’t imagine this is genuine; can you imagine BA would want their call centres flooded with attempted rewards bookings right now? I assume SeatSpy will put out some kind of correction shortly so people don’t call BA immediately?

  • James F says:

    Apologies if already dealt with, but I have had a CASH booking from LHR to MIA in F cancelled by BA in May. I click the refund option within manage my booking and it defaults to an application for a voucher – this despite the flight being cancelled!

    Do I really need to call them and spend hours on the phone to get them to process a refund?


    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      Yes. But it gave me the time to read the news and have my breakfast this morning!

    • Lyn says:

      I may be imagining it, but I thought someone (Shoestring perhaps?) said that the workaround in Rob’s “workaround article” might work also work with getting a refund for cash bookings? If so, it would be a comment under that article.. Sorry, I don’t have time to check it at the moment.

      • Shoestring says:

        it works for (nearly) all types of bookings

        not if you have used up the first leg, when you need to call

      • Rob says:

        It works BUT you still lose everything. All you get back is APD less the cancellation fee.

        • Genghis says:

          Incorrect. Get back full amount as BA cancelled. I did this yesterday.

          • Rob says:

            Yes, but that was a reply to a point on non-cancelled (by BA) flights.

    • Lady London says:

      As you will read from multiple comments across multiple articles in the past 1-3 days @James F (I can assure you that even a cursory look has all the information you need), it seems British Airways has deliberately changed their website to try to avoid giving customers their cash back when British Airways cancels their flight.

      This is completely illegal and the CAA has issued a reminder that passengers are entitled to cash back and do not have to accept a voucher. However it seems British Airways thinks they are above the law or they are doing this because they believe they will be punished more now if they give people their cash back, than at some later point if they do get punished (ever).

  • James Watson says:

    I think Qatar Airways are now trying to avoid refunding and sainted only offering the travel voucher. I’ve been holding out for cancellation of our ARN-SIN via DOH trip on 2nd April, as I wanted a cash refund as opposed to voucher Finally today a message popped up on my booking stating the return flight had been cancelled and…..

    “If you wish to cancel and refund your booking, please click the Request a refund button and fill up the refund form accordingly”.

    However on clicking the Request a Refund button it just takes you through to the page to request a voucher for future travel. Am I right in thinking that when QR cancel the outbound ex ARN, by EU law they have to offer a refund back to original payment method?

    • Lady London says:


      Make reasonable attempts to get them to return your cash, say 3 requests that you keep a record of, then turn to your credit card co and request s.75 refund or chargeback

      • James Watson says:

        QR customers tweeting their bookings have disappeared and no longer exist / are accessible and no ability to get through to customer service. Thank goodness I paid on my Amex Plat as I don’t see any refunds forthcoming from QR. For weeks they have been promoting free date changes but their IT does not permit that online and charges £300+ per person. The free date change has been withdrawn and it’s voucher only, if you still have a booking in existence to reference.

        • Lady London says:

          Just go to Amex Plat and request money back if you’ve made a reasonable number of attempts that you’ve kept a record of

    • Rob says:


  • Patrick says:

    Rob your article discussed LHR. Any crystal ball view on LGW long haul? As I believe most of these are 777, I would assume they are toast.

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.