British Airways launches flights to second Istanbul airport
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In a somewhat surprising move, British Airways has decided to launch flights to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport from Heathrow.
This is not the main new Istanbul Airport that opened a few years ago. British Airways continues to fly there multiple times a day.
Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport is on the Asian side of the city, about 30km south east. It mainly caters to low cost passengers and is a hub for Pegasus Airlines and AndoluJet. It is a relatively new airport, having opened in 2001 and with further redevelopment in 2009. Interestingly, it is the third busiest single runway airport in the world, behind Mumbai and London Gatwick, although a second one is being built.
The new British Airways flights will initially operate over the summer season, with the first flight on 1st June. It will operate four times per week on a Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Departure times vary on the day, but it is a morning flight out and an afternoon return.
The services uses an A320 aircraft. If you are looking for comfortable flights to Istanbul, you need to look at the Turkish Airlines flights from Heathrow. Three of the six daily services are on long haul aircraft.
What value does British Airways see in launching flights to Sabiha Gökçen? It seems an odd choice with no obvious proximity to the main holiday areas. Clearly British Airways thinks it is worth sending additional aircraft here versus other European destinations.
Flights are now on sale on ba.com and for Avios redemption. The Reward Flight Saver mid-price in business class is 18,350 Avios + £25 one-way. In Economy it is 10,750 Avios + £17.50.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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 Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios 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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
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
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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 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.