British Airways guarantees to release at least 2 Club World and 4 World Traveller seats on every long haul flight for Avios redemption. These are made available as soon as tickets for the flight go on sale, which is at midnight 355 days before departure.
(Further Avios redemption seats in Club World and World Traveller, as well as seats in First and World Traveller Plus, are likely to be made available later on. This is a random process, however, driven by how well the flight is selling.)
These seats do not seem to be immediately available via ba.com because of the way the site is updated. They are available on the dot of midnight (or 1am during British Summer Time) to anyone who calls BA.
The problem, if you are determined to snag seats on a particular flight, is that the UK call centres are not open at midnight.
I recently ran an article to promote a website which will give you the telephone numbers of BA call centres around the world which are currently open. It looks like you might not need it any longer.
According to a few recent experiences of Head for Points readers, the USA call centres are now refusing to process 2-4-1 bookings during hours when the UK call centre is closed. Whether this applies to both UK and US based BA account holders is still not clear – I have heard stories both ways.
The excuse being given is that this is somehow ‘fairer’. It isn’t, because the seats become available for online booking in the early morning irrespective of whether the call centre will book them.
This means that anyone wanting to add a return leg to an existing one-way 241 booking is at a 5-6 hour disadvantage to anyone who is not using a voucher. The latter can book online during the night whilst the former needs to wait until the UK call centre opens at 6am.
I’m not sure how this will play itself out. I can understand that the overseas call centres are fed up with an influx of calls at midnight UK time, especially as that may be a peak time in their own time zones.
This will clearly make it harder for some people to snag the 241 return flights they wanted, but how many remains to be seen. I don’t have any skin in this game – I have only ever once booked an Avios redemption at 355 days in advance. As a family of four, the release of two Club World seats doesn’t excite me much.
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