Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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 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 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 10,500 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

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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 (74)

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

  • Anna says:

    Re the platform – are we soon going to be able to have just one Avios account? I was going to close my household account as I will need to move some from BAEC later this year, but I’m wondering whether to bother now.

    • Rob says:

      Not fully clear yet. It is possible that remains but only as a redemption website with no ability to have an account as we currently know them.

    • ECR says:

      It is a frightening prospect if we lose the ability to book redemption flights through the BA site, and have to make them via the platform. Unless they have dramatically changed it recently it is a far inferior booking platform. You couldn’t do stopovers, which those of us in the regions invariably need to get a domestic connection. stopped being useful some years ago when the extra G booking class availability was removed.

      It also presumably means harmonisation between the IAG airlines meaning the end to any of the good deals with Iberia or Aer Lingus.

    • will says:

      I’m a big fan of seprate avios and BAEC accounts. My BAEC is a household account and my avios is not, allows me to get the benefits of pooling avios for access to redemptions in BAEC and then booking for others outside of the household and freinds list in

  • Catalan says:

    So there was no reason to panic in the first place then. Happy days

    • Rob says:

      BA is hyper-sensitive at the moment to bad media coverage. This wasn’t accidental.

      • Stu N says:

        If they switched off F redemptions pending a change in availability and/ or pricing, then risk of media picking up another bad news story plus pressure from commercial partners may well be enough to reverse decision.

        I’ve jumped on something for next spring that I’m fairly happy with – I can now try to improve my position knowing I have something locked in under existing rules.

      • James says:

        I’m glad you brought it to my attention Rob and am SURE it had an effect on the speed of either the fix or reversion.

        I’m hoping ‘fix’.

        But doubt it.

  • jameslon says:

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

    • KP says:

      does amex have such a sway over BA? I doubt

      • Rob says:

        Billings are over £1 billion per month. Let’s say £16-18 billion per year, of which 25% is on a BAPP. That is a potential 20 BILLION Avios per year purchased by Amex. Yes, I think they have some sway …..

        • Will P says:

          Wow, that’s some billing.

          Do they freely publish such figures or is that an educated guess?

          Any idea of the Avios conversion rate (ie. how many never get spent)?

  • 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.

  • Paul Stefan says:

    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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Rob says:

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

  • Hugh says:

    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?

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.