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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.

British Airways

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

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.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)

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 card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (39)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • RIccati says:

    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..

    • James67 says:

      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.

      • John G says:

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

        • James67 says:

          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.

  • Jimmy says:

    Stay classy, San Diego.

    Oh, please yourselves! 🙂

  • David says:

    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.

    • Mark says:

      Hi David

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

      • David says:

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

        • Rob says:

          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.

  • Polly says:

    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….

    • James67 says:

      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.

  • Roger says:

    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.

    • Rob says:

      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.

      • Roger says:

        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.

  • Liz says:

    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?

    • Rob says:

      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.

      • Liz says:

        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??!!

        • James67 says:

          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.

          • Liz says:

            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!

          • James67 says:

            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.

          • Liz says:

            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!!!

        • Nick says:

          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.

        • Jason says:

          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.

          • Liz says:

            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!

          • Liz says:

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

    • matt says:

      Liz. Glad you got those flights in the end!

  • Chris says:

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

  • Andrew says:

    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.

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