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Don’t waste Avios on Club Europe business class redemptions from London City Airport

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If you are a newcomer to the world of Avios, I generally recommend that you try Club Europe business class on short-haul redemptions from Heathrow or Gatwick.

I know that this view is not universally shared.

But, if you aren’t used to premium class travel, it opens your eyes to what you are missing.  For an extra 4,500 Avios – assuming you are flying to a country near the UK like Germany, the Netherlands or France – you would get:

Club Europe British Airways

Lounge access (I am very positive about the BA Heathrow lounges, unlike some people, and the new Gatwick lounges – if they ever reopen – are universally liked)

Dedicated check-in desks if you have luggage

Fast track security

Priority boarding

Seat at the front of the plane – and therefore also the first off, which speeds up immigration

Empty middle seat

Extra baggage allowance

Some food (once the current cardboard boxes are replaced with the normal offering, which shouldn’t be too long now) and premium drinks including all the champagne you can drink

I think that is EASILY worth an extra 4,500 Avios and £7.50 of tax on the outbound flight, especially if you don’t have British Airways status.  Coming back, it might not be such a good deal – you may or may not get fast track security and you may or may not find the lounge is good.  Outbound, though, I definitely recommend it.

Except …. if you are flying from London City.

I originally wrote this article in response to an email from a reader who had spent his Avios on Club Europe from London City on a flight to Spain.  Because Spain is further from London, the Club Europe premium is higher – 30,000 Avios per person return versus 15,000 Avios for Euro Traveller.

British Airways Embraer 190 London City

This is what you DON’T get if you redeem for Club Europe from London City:

A lounge – City Airport has no lounges, unless you pay £95 for the ‘be driven to your plane’ First Class lounge (which is very cool)

An empty middle seat – the Embraer 190 aircraft, as pictured above, have 2 x 2 seating

Priority boarding – it exists in theory, but the high percentage of status card holders flying out of City means that virtually every passenger on peak business routes qualifies for it anyway!

You DO get to sit at the front and you DO get better food, when a normal food service is operating.  The food is by far the best part of the London City British Airways experience.  As I wrote in this review, it is substantially better than what you get out of Heathrow, because there is no other point of difference between the two travel classes.  On the other hand, Economy passengers still get free snacks and free drinks out of London City.

The potential reason to redeem for Club Europe, if you don’t have unlimited Avios to spend, is if you need the additional Club Europe baggage allowance.

So, in summary – I do recommend that you redeem in Club Europe for short haul redemptions if you can, especially outbound and especially if you don’t have BA status.  

Just don’t do it from London City …. unless there are no other seats available or you have a lot of luggage.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

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. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 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 and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion 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 – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 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 (38)

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    In normal times I disagree. As you say the catering on the LCY routes is normally much nicer than the mainline routes (although currently that’s not the case) and so for me that makes it worth it. The lack of lounge at LCY is really the only thing that’s bad (in normal times) but people choose LCY for the location not the facilities. If you have a route served by multiple airports you can always fly out of LHR or LGW and back into LCY if it’s convenient for you.

    On board unfortunately no WiFi, but the seat pitch is better, the seat width is better. Combined with the better catering (in normal times) I’d say it’s a better experience even if someone else is sat next to you.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Ref the lounge – I’ll take a pret over most lounges anyway and LCY has plenty of seating with power, so it’s all good IMO

  • twoclicks says:

    I must say I disagree with this. If you travel very frequently you should choose based on convenience and if you live in East / Southeast London then why would you choose Heathrow if you could do LCY?
    No free middle seat – no problem, the seats are more comfortable anyway. In normal times, food is superior.
    Oh… and 20 min check in when you’re so busy you don’t need a lounge anyway.
    I agree with some re. boarding: get on first. Plenty of economy pax leave their luggage in club and wander down the back — get in first, put your hand luggage away then relax / work / whatever before the flight!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      That’s not what Rob is saying.

      He’s saying don’t fly CE instead of ET from LCY unless CE is all there is and LCY makes sense.

  • mr_jetlag says:

    The best use of LCY CE is when being offered last minute upgrades from Y work travel. I often got a chance to pick up tier points at around £2 or less.

  • Lady London says:

    Euuuughhghghgh !!
    Was that enough to restrain you from sending the pics to the Daily Mail ?

    • Lady London says:

      *above for TGLoyalty. The new site seems to lose the link to what is being replied to, very easily

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Daily Mail isn’t really my thing but 10k was enough as it was a c10% discount on what my return flight cost.

      Basically it was a superficial cleaning job and the salt/pepper sachets and chocolate unveiled themselves when I moved the seat forward. I’ve flown BA enough time to know I need to bring my own wipes so I cleaned it up and enjoyed the flight.

  • Peter says:

    It may still be worthwhile paying for Club Europe from LCY for the increased number of tier points – 40 vs 5, if I remember correctly from the last time I flew from LCY to EDI several years ago. They mount up if you make that journey frequently, for relatively little extra spend.

  • Richard says:

    Rob, absolutely spot on. The Embraer planes from LCY are more spacious in both classes, so it’s definitely the way to go. The only thing that has been a problem for me was when BA was using another airline instead of City Jet (I was enroute DUS), on-board service wasn’t so good but I expect that was a temporary switch.

  • Nigel Williams says:

    City Airport operates in the middle of a residential area. The booming Embraer aircraft arriving & departing pre-lockdown is a noise nuisance of the highest order for thousands of families who live here. Expansion underway for this site is a disgrace and another example of profit before people. Before anyone worries about the ongoing availability of free snacks, consider the daily and ongoing impact this site is having on others.

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