Over Easter, I will be answering a number of the reader questions that were submitted via this article. If you didn’t take part this time, don’t worry as I will be re-running this feature in the Summer. Feel free to expand on or critique my answer using the Comments section below!
Today’s question is from Ben who asked:
“I’ve got my (British Airways American Express) companion voucher and 100-120k Avios to spend, looking for flights in oct/nov… Any recommendations for destinations to look at? I’ve had very little success on the BA site. Do they release further reward seats at later points?”
The second part of the question has no simple answer. In general, BA has moved away somewhat from opening up a lot of redemption seats 355 days in advance to a more drip-drip approach.
This has some benefits – you don’t necessarily need to plan a year ahead – but does make planning more hit and miss as you’re finding.
The way around it is, in part, linked to the issue of where you want to go.
Let’s say you wanted to go to California. There are direct flights to San Francisco and LA, of course. However, BA also flies to San Diego and Las Vegas, and all four of these cities are a good place to start a California driving holiday.
Similarly, a driving holiday in New England is a great thing to do in October during the ‘leaf peeping’ season. Flying to Boston is the obvious thing to do, but you can also do it via New York (just get in the car at JFK and drive north, avoiding NYC itself) or even via Washington – a connecting flight is short and cheap using Avios.
Remember also that you can arrive and depart from a different airport with a 2-4-1 voucher, which gives more flexibility. Some car rental firms are also happy, especially in California, to let you drop the car at a different location without charging large penalties.
If you are fixed on a route and a date, then my advice is ‘get on the plane’. If all you can get is World Traveller Plus, then book that. You have your seats, you can focus on booking hotels etc, and if better seats open up in First or Club World then you can make the change easily.
(Remember also that, whilst you don’t have enough Avios to fly First to California, 120k IS enough for First Class one way and World Traveller Plus in the other direction. You need to ring BA to mix classes on a 2-4-1, it can’t be booked online.)
Other options for October?
Mexico is fantastic. A holiday mixing Mexico City with an internal flight to the coast for a few days is something everyone should do.
India is good at that time of year, with the heat subsiding. The Delhi – Agra – Jaipur – possibly Udaipur triangle is something to do once in your life.
Barbados is outside peak season then, and Barbados rarely (literally twice a century) gets hit by hurricanes.
The Middle East is still pleasantly warm.
I’m not sure about Asia in the Autumn, I can’t think of a holiday down there I have ever done at that time …
Please chip in with other suggestions for good October / November redemption destinations!