Great Value BA First Class Fares to US West Coast (+ Earn £800 Back in Miles!!!)

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British Airways is back again with some cracking First Class fares from London to the USA (specifically Portland, Oregon this time) – from £1,804 return. 

Availability is wide open at that price from the start of May to early October 2018. You can search on Google Flights or on the BA site.

Obviously £1,800 is a lot of money for a plane ticket, but compared to the ludicrous sums often charged for First Class, it’s a relative bargain. Besides, at least you can earn a stack of Miles!

The miles

It probably goes without saying that you can earn a healthy amount of Avios and Tier Points if you credit BA First Class flights to British Airways Executive Club. You can easily use the BA Avios calculator to calculate what you would get.

More interesting (in my view anyway!) is crediting BA flights to Alaska Mileage Plan. As you can see below, the earning rates for BA flights credited to Alaska are great, and First Class is no exception:

Yep – that means you earn 450% of flown Miles for the cheapest First Class tickets!

Let’s look at a comparison against how many Avios you would earn – and note that I value Alaska Miles as being worth 1.6-1.8p each, which is considerably more than the 1p I value Avios at.

There are a number of different routes you can choose from, which will impact the precise amount of Miles you’ll earn a little, but I’m going to stick with a straightforward London-San Francisco on BA, connecting to Portland with Alaska.

28,498 Avios (worth ~£285)


~50,200 Alaska Miles (worth £800+).

If you opt for Alaska Miles you would get nearly 45% of the cost of the ticket back in Miles – if you value them at a similar rate to me.

In case you’ve forgotten how good Alaska Miles are, 42,500 gets you a one-way on Cathay Pacific Business between anywhere in Europe and Hong Kong.

To work out how many flown miles a flight is, just head to Great Circle Mapper.

Bottom line

It’s difficult to argue that BA offers one of best First Class products in the world , but it’s still a comfortable and stylish way to fly (the champagne is genuinely world class!). These fares are lower than Business Class often is and you can earn a huge haul of Alaska Miles too!

Hat-tip: YHBU


  1. Antonio says

    “It’s difficult to argue that BA offers one of best First Class products in the world”

    It is indeed very difficult to argue this, as it’s completely untrue.

        • Joe Deeney says

          Quite a few things – I don’t think any airline does First Class perfectly in all departments, but with the exception of the champagne (Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle, which I prefer to the more expensive Dom/Krug/etc you find on other airlines), BA doesn’t really compete with the best in any department.

          Firstly, there are 14 seats which is a lot more than most First Class cabins these days (6-8 is more typical) and means service is understandably less personal. The seats themselves are fine, but lack privacy and the overall space you get is obviously a lot smaller than something like Etihad’s First Class ‘Apartments’. The food ranges from mediocre to terrible – other airlines consistently do better in Business Class. I usually quite like the cabin crew on BA flights actually, but a lot of people prefer the more polished service on Singapore etc. There’s no real ‘wow’ factor – compared with onboard showers, suites that turn into (sort of) double beds or even something ‘simple’ like a caviar service. The Concorde Room isn’t great, Particularly compared to Air France La Premiere Lounge in Paris, or Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. Service on the ground is pretty nonexistent too – no being driven up to the plane in a Porsche or escorted through the airport at speed in a golf buggy etc. (For the avoidance of doubt, I’m extremely aware of how silly all these ‘criticisms’ are 🙂 – but we are talking about tickets that can easily cost £8k+).

          Basically, BA First is undoubtedly a nice way to fly, but it lags behind the top airlines by quite a distance in almost every area.

          • Rolf says

            Thanks for the insight. Does it mean that even on first you have to track your own way in LHR? No guidance or fast laning?

          • Craig Sowerby says

            First Wing is excellent, but that’s also available to BA Gold / Oneworld Emerald members. Well worth the long walk from HEX/tube over to the First Wing.

            If you are actually travelling in First Class, you have to exit the “First” lounge and walk over to the Concorde lounge though.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Hi Winnie,

      No, unfortunately, you can’t convert Avios to Alaska Miles.

      When you book BA flights, you can choose which partner loyalty programme you want to credit the flights to – put in your alaska account details rather than your BA account details and you’ll earn Alaska Miles rather than Avios. This has to be done before you fly.

      • Winnie says

        Ah I see. Thanks!

        Unfortunately I’ve already been and back, but I will try this next time!

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