Excellent First Class reward availability to San Diego for Summer 2016

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British Airways announced yesterday that it is switching the San Diego route to a Boeing 777-300 from the start of the Summer timetable on March 27th.

The route is currently operated by a smaller Boeing 777-200.  Why is this important?  Because the 777-300 will feature First Class to San Diego for the first time.

Why is this especially important today?  Because First Class Avios redemptions to San Diego are currently wide open for Summer 2016.

British Airways

If you were thinking about a California holiday for next year, you should take a serious look at this.  You are VERY unlikely to see such good availability to other parts of the region.  It is easy to pick up connecting flights in San Diego to LA, San Francisco, Los Angeles etc.

On a handful of days there are FOUR First Class seats available for redemption.  There are, admittedly, some days with none at all ….. but you won’t have any trouble finding two seats.  At the time of writing, for example, there are four First Class seats going out on Saturday 11th June and returning Sunday 26th June.

The tax is £537 per person, return.  It needs 170,000 Avios per person off-peak and 200,000 Avios per person peak.

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  1. Gone are the days that we could fly Cathay First Class out of London for 150,000 Avios plus £300 in taxes.

    Even that level of award pricing was atrociously high for some of my US colleagues..

    • I’m still grieving for the BMI redemptions to KTM and MLE via seAsia. Talking of which, anybody wanting a cheap redemption to BKK might want to consider AA in J or F to Kolkata followed by a cheap revenue fare on AirAsia, Jet etc which is just a two hour flight. Big downside are the India visa issues.

      • Interesting. Getting an Indian visa is much easier now with the new system brought in recently.

        • Anyplace else in India to BKK inexpensive too, I just highlighted Kolkata as it’s close.Delhi to Bangkok is under £100 on Jet anytime I checked.

  2. Stay classy, San Diego.

    Oh, please yourselves! 🙂

  3. How can I check availability on the San Diego redempions? I’m trying to redeem miles via BA.com and the class dropdown from June 2016 only shows economy and business.

    • Hi David

      Book with miles your proposed dates, and once you get to the availability calendar, you will be able to pick first.

      • Thanks. Must have been a website glitch as mine is now showing First as well.

        • It isn’t a glitch. ba.com can only show 3 classes. If you don’t select ‘First’ (or Club World) you are shown the three cheapest classes which means First is not there.

  4. OT. And there we have QR now increasing it’s services from CPH etc from 11-14 times per week commencing Dec 2nd. A godsend for anyone considering ex EU. Doing our first ex EU next weekend from CPH. Will be an interesting experience.

    James 67 that’s a very good tip via India to BKK. Presume it’s on a BA service? Sri Lanka too is on our bucket list via India at some point in the future….

    • Yes Polly, BA fly to most major Indian cities so untill AA get rid of the 30k J sweetspot in the anticipated devaluation, direct with BA beats the indirect routes even though the latter have better products and services. You should note Sri Lanka does not come under the sweetspot with AA, it is Asia2 same as Thailand etc. Revenue fares seAsia-CMB-LHR remain great value on SriLankan but not quite as good as before they joined One World.

  5. I have a revenue booking in CW next summer. I’d like to upgrade to F with Avios or cash but can’t do so online.

    As it’s an ex-BGO booking (‘Viking’ fare), am I stuck? Thanks.

    • There used to be a rule which said that you can only upgrade flights if they were ticketed in the same country as your BA account is based. Not sure if this is still the case.

      No harm calling as long as First Class reward availability shows.

      • Thanks, Rob. It turns out that there’s no F award availability on our dates, even though the F cabin is wide open at the moment. There’s some sporadic availability on other dates but I’m pretty sure messing around with dates would be expensive as the tickets would be repriced. (It’s ex-SVG, not ex-BGO by the way.)

        The cash upgrade online would be over £4,900 for the two of us. I think I’ll sit this out and try a dummy revenue booking from time to time just in case.

        At least they didn’t dismiss the idea out of hand.

  6. OT: I just booked my very first CW ticket using the Lloyds upgrade voucher via Avios.com. I held my nerve for 3 weeks to get the return leg on the same ticket and managed to grab the final two CW seats on the outbound flight we wanted! I’ve now added the booking to the BA.com site and wanted to pay to ensure we got our seats together but it is not giving me the option to pay – just says seats available at check-in. We don’t have status but I thought you could pay an additional fee in order to secure your seats?? What are the rules for non-status flyers?

    • Yes, you can pay – although whether you should pay £60 per head each way is a different question. If you ring I’m sure they can do it.

      • I know you said before that someone on the day would probably switch with us but as it’s our first CW flight I would hate to be sitting away from my husband! I just saved about £265 in taxes by waiting for the return flights rather than booking 2 one ways. Not sure what to do??!!

        • In my experience the centre seats are usually last to go so it is diificult to forsee you will not get seats together. I’ve also noticed that flights booked far in advance are usually allocated good seats regardless of being redemptions or not. Personally, I wouldn’t pay either, I would take my chances and seek help from crew in reseating if it ever came to that.

        • OK thanks James67 – are you saying that because we have booked early that they would ‘provisionally allocate’ us 2 seats together although not confirmed and that when check in opens 24 hrs out there may be the offer of 2 seats together.

          Also as we have to fly from Edinburgh I was told today by Avios.com that you can add the return domestic flight leg at a different time so you don’t have to wait for that flight to become available if your domestic leg is connecting the next day. So I can book my free return back to Edinburgh tomorrow with no extra charge! Didn’t know you could do that!

        • Not saying exactly that, just that where my partner had a flight booked 11 months out a good seat was almost always earmarked already when it came to OLCI, usually window seat in front row. I am guessing if you are couple on same ticket you will get seated together but other couples could better advise on their experience. I had not heard previously about you other comments adding flights later., that’s interesting. However, given you are starting from EDI, that is one more reason not to pay for seat selection OLCI opens in advance of your Edinburgh flight and at same time you can select your longhaul seats giving you a few hours head start on those starting their journey in London for whom OLCI will open later.

        • Thanks again James67 – I will make a note to remember that I can book the long haul seats when the Edinburgh seats come up a few hours earlier – one advantage of being in the regions! Thanks also to Nick for your advice!
          I followed the last 2 CW seats on the 2nd flight of the day to Chicago sit there for about 2 weeks and they were still there at 8am this morning!!!

        • Well done on getting your booking and getting value from the Lloyds voucher! Sounds like you got the flights you wanted, which is fantastic.

          As regards paying for the seats: I wouldn’t. Unless you have lots of people in the cabin with status or paying the fee, you won’t be in a bad position when your ability to reserve opens 24 hours before the flight. I tend to keep an eye on the cabin in the Manage My Bookings section- unless it fills up early, just wait. Even in the event you are split from your husband, you might well find that one of your seat neighbours is travelling alone and happy to swap.

        • I would have thought avios.com do the same, as BAEC, and amend the taxes for the return leg instead of charging separately which is more expensive.
          I’ve got a Lloyds upgrade voucher, to use, but doubt I will be able to unfortunately.

        • No according to Avios.com they will NOT add a long haul return leg to an existing outbound flight the way BA do which is why I gambled and held out for the return flight to save money on taxes. I phoned a couple of times to ask the same question and was told I would have to cancel and start again with the risk of losing the outbound flight plus costs. However, I was told today that I could add the final domestic leg to the long haul flight when it comes available tomorrow. Fingers crossed it works!

        • Update: Just added the ‘free’ domestic leg no problem at Avios.com and got a £2.18 refund on taxes!

    • Liz. Glad you got those flights in the end!

  7. one of the dates I’m looking at has 5 seats available, so who knows how many they’ve opened up

  8. What a timely post! We’ve been looking for a long time to redeem points on that route in premium class. 3 seats booked today. Thanks.

  9. Hi all

    I also booked ex-OSL as part of the Viking error fare. I booked via aa.com, although they are BA flights. Is there any point trying to upgrade using Avios or is the rule about booking on BA.com strictly enforced? (The booking classes means that I wont be able to upgrade via American Airlines)


  10. Liz . We had a BA241 redemption in CW to BKK in August which was booked in Feb . Had the same concerns as yourself but not willing to pay the £60 reservation fee, No need to worry as we were seated together both ways. Thanks Rob our 1st redemption all down to HFP even bumped into a US Admiral in club lounge Sofitel Bangkok free due to Platinum status on a points run to keep his status .

    • Thanks Simon! Think we will hold out till OLCI as we can check in about 6 hrs before those who fly direct from London can, as James67 mentioned earlier!

  11. Hello –

    Thanks for this! There are some days even with SIX First class seats availability (e.g. LHR-SAN 14th May)

    I’m tempted to use my companion voucher but I have a few questions:
    1. Can I change the name of the companion later on?
    2. If I decide to cancel the trip (I think there is a £35 penalty), would I get my companion voucher and avios back?


  12. All I need now is a ticket for SDCC!

  13. I much preferred San Diego to LA, I would recommend it at least fo a few days there even if it isn’t your ultimate destination. You can get Amtrak Pacific Surfliner from San Diego to LA which is a great train ride it goes right along the coast most of the way.

    • I agree. It’s a lovely train ride and very well priced, even in business class. SD is a fantastic city.

  14. Hayden Pronto-Hussey says:

    Well after just the weekend and all the avaliabilty seems to have dried up. I use the Executive club flight finder and it show 0 seats for all months to San Diego between now and next August (as far as they book) am I missing something as I can’t believe it all went away so quickly….

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