British Airways has announced some substantial changes to its Tel Aviv service – changes which are likely to substantially benefit Virgin Atlantic, assuming that the latter resumes flights as planned in April.
Tel Aviv is being downgraded from a long haul route to a short haul route.
Not only will it be on an A320 aircraft from now on, but from 2025 it will only earn short-haul tier points in British Airways Executive Club.
Here’s what will change.
Instead of a Boeing 787, which was being used before the flight suspension, services will resume using an A320 short haul aircraft.
This isn’t unusual for British Airways, of course. Larnaca, Cairo and Sharm are similarly lengthy flights which use a short haul aircraft.
The difference here, of course, is that none of those routes are competing with Virgin Atlantic which offers a long haul aircraft with Premium Economy and beds in Business Class. El Al also uses a long haul aircraft on one of its two daily Heathrow flights.
Tier points will drop to short haul levels, but only from 2025
The downgrade will see British Airways Executive Club tier points reduced on the Tel Aviv route.
From 30th March 2025 – so you have 14 months notice – the London to Tel Aviv route will earn:
- 80 tier points each way in Business Class (currently 140 tier points each way)
- 40 tier points each way in flexible Economy (currently 70 tier points each way)
- 10-20 tier points each way in no/semi flexible Economy (currently 20-35 tier points each way)
Tel Aviv flights will now stop in Larnaca for a crew change
The Independent reports that Tel Aviv flights will resume on 1st April – with a catch.
There will be just four flights per week, using an A320.
Outbound flights will stop at Larnaca in Cyprus for a crew change. Passengers will remain on the aircraft for the 45 minutes that this will take.
A new crew will fly the short hop between Larnaca and Tel Aviv.
The reason for this is that, if the landing has to be aborted at the last minute, the crew has enough flying hours left to return to London. Without this flexibility, BA would be forced to make emergency arrangements to land at an alternative airport outside Israel.
Return flights will operate non-stop from Tel Aviv to Heathrow.
Virgin Atlantic is also due to resume flights to Tel Aviv on 1st April. This will obviously use a long haul aircraft (Virgin Atlantic doesn’t have any options!). You may want to switch across if you are looking for Premium Economy or for a ‘proper’ long haul Business Class experience.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.