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

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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 (February 2023)

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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) 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 £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

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

  • 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!

  • 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 🙂

  • will says:

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

  • uk1 says:

    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 ….

  • 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.)

    • Mike says:

      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.

        • Rob says:

          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.

  • 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…

    • Zild says:

      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!

  • James says:

    I don’t want to fly BA business class as it’s crap compared to the competition so if F rewards are removed I’m absolutely dropping my collecting of Avios and thus the use of Avios’ partners and I can shop around more freely without factoring Avios into the equation.

    This needs a statement from BA. Now.

    I’m sure that Cruz has been employed to degrade BA’s reputation.

  • Vivian says:

    sorry O/T but no “bits” today…just had to share this

    I hope this doesn’t happen to any of us!

    • Tilly says:

      Haha! Excellent. I’ll be sure to keep all windows shut at our hotel when we’re in Canada next month.

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

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