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Avios First Class availability to the Americas, Asia and Africa is back!

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It’s back!

Four days after British Airways removed all Avios availability in First Class to the Americas, Asia and Africa, the seats have returned.

It isn’t clear what is going on.  However, my article on its removal on Monday was the most read article on Head for Points – ever.  Including our email list, the article had over 50,000 views.  It was also picked up by the press.

So, error or not?  Is it possible that all First Class availability from 1st January could be pulled at the same time to the Americas, Asia and Africa – but not the Caribbean or Middle East – by mistake?  It seems very unlikely.

My best guess is that BA did this in advance of something but that something is not ready.  The big shake-up of the platform isn’t happening for another 4-6 weeks, for a start.

It would, of course, be easier if BA acted like most other UK travel loyalty schemes and showed me what they were planning in advance of it being announced, but they don’t.  I could at least then calm nerves if there is no genuine reason to worry, even if I can’t say what is going on.

All I can say, short term, is that if you were planning on any BA First Class redemptions for 2019 – remembering that you only book until late March at the moment – you do it sooner rather than later, just in case.

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  1. Stu N says:

    Also worth pointing out that availability is increasing throughout the day.

    For example at lunchtime Tokyo was 4 outbound/ 4 return for March 19 for 2 adults in F. It’s now 5 out/ 8 in.

    Singapore went from 0/1 to 0/0 to 1/1.

  2. II would not ber surprised if Amex had something to do with BA reinstating the F availability today

    • Ruth4325 says:

      Agree…plus if they have been reading HFP and Flyertalk they’ll have seen the potential negative PR heading their way…

  3. Simon says:

    OT – anybody know if a VS economy light ticket can be changed/upgraded to an economy classic? Booked via Amex Travel and it just said ‘Economy’. Should have read the small print in more detail.

  4. Dave R says:

    If I search for F availability on baredemptionfinder, it now shows available days but says “available, but price unknown” for any days in 2019.

    Anyone know why this could be?

    • Geoff says:

      Simply because BA have not published which days are peak and off-peak.

    • If you search on it prices correctly. With no calendar it needs Tim to manually make a list of dates.

  5. Due to pouncing on Robs alert the other week of a bargain MAN > AKL Q cash flight with QR I have 300,000 more than I expected so have been contemplating how best to spend them and was in a mild panic over the weekend. I don’t really want to use them prior to March 19 though. Can someone remind me how much I lose if I grab F flights whilst they are available and then change them to something more suitable later in the year?

  6. Steve says:

    This is what I think happened: something has been deployed last week (6pm a day before the long weekend) and key people went on holidays. Wouldn’t be the first corporation this happened to. Also, I believe, no one in here has any trust in BA being able to do some consistent ‘agile’ management of these situations. That would explain the absolutely no PR around it, but if there would be any that would mean that actually, something bad happened. That never happens to us! Anyway, fix has been deployed. Everything is ok. No one is responsible for anything. Let’s tweak these numbers a little bit and we actually over-delivered for 2018 already. Bravo. Well done everyone. Short week! The pub, early Thursday!

  7. Peter Sharp says:

    Maybe they took all the comfortable seats out of the planes to replace all the cheap hard seats on the Thameslink class 700 trains which are now running all the way through from Brighton to Cambridge and Horsham to Peterborough.

    • Brighton Belle says:

      I feel that pain

      • David says:

        Controversial, but I actually prefer them…the old style make my bad back worse but the new 700’s are ok. Very pleased they brought them in for my Hove – LBG commute 🙂

  8. Out of interest is there an example of an airline loyalty scheme which blocks first class for redemptions?

  9. What concerns me is if there is a move to remove redemption function on BA,com to is that currently we are unable to transfer between accounts on several of our BA household accounts to and from Avios – something that wasn’t a problem until recently. I wonder how smooth any transition will be particullarly if you have an “extended” BA household “family”. I hope that if there is such a move they give the option to consolidate by agreement all householder accounts into the head account at no transfer costs and then transfer that account ove to Avios, Still it is early days ….

  10. Bosco says:

    Aren’t you a bit embarrassed that your most read article was a jump the gun conspiracy theory that proved to be a damp squib?

    • AndyGWP says:

      Not sure waiting a few days before publishing anything is jumping the gun. I think most people would prefer to have issues highlighted and it’s a key reminder that change is the biggest risk to points collection.

      (Anyways, for all we know, the article triggered a quick fix, so could’ve been worth it regardless.)

    • Bosco your comment could almost be taken as being a criticism rather than being appreciative of the hard work that Rob does for us all.

      • AAlsc says:

        Could be taken as criticism? That was how it was intended I would imagine! Also, let’s not forget that quite frankly BA are under no obligation whatsoever to drip feed changes to their programme to anybody in advance and the comment “be easier if BA acted like most other UK travel loyalty schemes and showed me” is coming across as some sort of flying Messiah complex.

        • It simply makes sense, given how much negative publicity towards BA my article on Monday caused.

          You ALWAYS brief the media in advance about what you are doing if you are sensible, under an embargo if necessary.That is how you manage the story.

          When Hilton makes changes, for eg, Mark Weinstein – who runs HH – calls me and we chat about what they are doing and why. It tends to result in more favourable coverage too because I understand, even if I don’t agree, where they are coming from.

    • George says:

      I wouldn’t be embarassed. Media exposure to issues like this is what usually triggers a response, be it a simple statement, or, a correction with no explanation offered.

  11. Polly says:

    Just be glad it proved to be a damp Squid! A lot of people can actually get on and book their trips now. It’s hard work collecting to an F 241 redemption, so yes it would have affected many of the readers.
    Then comes along a great Qatar J ex EU sale, and some end up cancelling their F 241 tickets!…it’s a fun game but nail biting to say the least…

    • Be glad IF it proves to be a damp squib*. I still suspect this is a precursor to negative changes coming between now and 2019… If I had enough points to redeem for First I would be doing so ASAP.

      Squib, not squid. Not sure of the origin but I presume it is related to the usage of the word as a small explosive charge, which would indeed suffer from being damp. A squid lives in water and so should always be damp!

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