Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Can you no longer ring British Airways at midnight to use a BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher?

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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.

Avios wing 7

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.

Take a look at this comment here and this comment here, for example.

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.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2024)

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

30,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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.

Comments (153)

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

  • Titus Adduxas says:

    I’ve just had this problem when I phoned on Saturday and Sunday this week to try and get the return part of my 241 from Miami. On both occasions despite being right on time they’d sold out! I was told that people book singles directly through the website using Avios so they didn’t need to call in. I’d got the outbounds easily enough by being online at midnight.

    It does seem strange that we can book our own outbounds but then have to phone in for the return legs a somewhat time consuming pastime at best, especially when you need to ring the following day for the Internal leg!

    Surely the computer boffins at BA could come up with a way for us to link our own return flights online, freeing up their staff and making us feel we’re on a level playing field.

  • Artem says:

    I am quite flexible on where to go but not on WHEN to go (as most people here probably)
    Would be nice to specify number of seats, cabin and dates required and get a list of destinations with Avios availablility.
    Is there such a tool?

  • James says:

    Is it also possible to downgrade class if necessary?

    I’d be looking for 4 x CW seats – one 241 voucher is mine, one belongs to the wife. If only 2 x CW seats are available T-355 and I choose to book 2 x CW and 2 x economy, is it possible to downgrade the 2 x CW to economy if more CW seats don’t open up?

    Or another scenario could be that I book 2 x CW and 2 x First @ T-355 then downgrade the 2 x First to CW if/when more CW seats open up.

  • David says:

    If I have two 241 vouchers as a result of BAPP 2 year validity (I’m thinking aloud here) does it make sense to book the outward flight with one voucher online at 00.00 t-355 days, and the inward online on another voucher (at 00.00 t-355 days) and then call up to cancel the latter and add to the former?

    Or is that ridiculous?!

  • barry cutters says:

    Just book the 2nd leg as a normal redemption at midnight.
    then call for them to add it to the first leg.

    Will they not refund additional points? I cant see why not . the taxes should be correct.

  • R.R. says:

    OT – can anyone refer me Tesco’s New current account, I believe there was a sign up bonus?
    Another Question – when I downgrade from Amex Platinum to Gold do I pay annual fee or is it free?

  • Liz says:

    Is there a list of destinations BA fly direct to and from. We are planning to go to Oz in May/Jun 2018 stopping in Singapore on the way in but are thinking we might need to get creative on the return trip so need a plan B and plan C.

    • Liz says:

      Thanks Mark, I found that page but that is for all one world partners – I found the Where We Fly page for BA only flights

  • Chris jones says:

    Tried to use my bank 2-4-1 for Christmas flight but trying to book is no use. Just had to book one way as flights gone.

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

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