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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

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (April 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

25,000 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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

Huge 30,000 points bonus until 12th May 2024 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 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 (74)

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

  • Richard says:

    OT (no “Bits” today) — Are there any points bonuses currently available for adding partner cards to a Platinum or Gold account? There’s the usual online form to do so, but no promise of extra points.


    • Tilly says:

      I didn’t have anything to say they’d add points for adding a first supp card to my platinum after upgrading from gold but as soon as I added my husband as a supp card holder I got 5k MR post.

    • wally1976 says:

      Generally, it seems, for a first supplementary card you get 3k for gold and 5k for platinum but not guaranteed.

  • Prins Polo says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the change (to reinstate F availability) was triggered by Rob’s article. The great thing about HFP is that it’s very visible, the audience is wide, and the articles are often picked up by other media outlets. It is easier for BA to ignore a couple of disgruntled posters on Flyertalk than wide media coverage on HFP and in mainstream media. Thanks Rob!

  • Kerry Kenton-clarke says:

    It’s interesting to note that, as an example, checking First availability LHR/JFK via BARedemptionFinder shows all 2019 flights in grey (“available, but price unknown”) – but checking via BA Exec Club shows no First availability outbound on several of the February dates I checked (which showed as available on RedemptionFinder), although there were some dates showing available Outbound – a similar situation on inbound flights. It looks like there must be some incompatibility at present between BA and RedemptionFinder …? Comparing between the two sites for 2018 flights for LHR/JFK was more accurate, although I still found quite a few dates where RedemptionFinder showed availability whilst BA showed none.

    • John says:

      BARedemptionFinder while useful on occasion, is not without its flaws. It should have a specific search criteria for BA flights as opposed to other O/W carriers.

      e.g. search LHR-TYO might show 2 first class seats on a given date leaving the user (who is aiming to use a 241) delighted….until they search BA and find its a bloody JAL flight!

      Would be very easy to do….am sure the guy behind it can resolve this obvious flaw.

      • John says:

        Also, BARedemptionFinder should have the ability to search across two different classes on a return trip.

        e.g. out in F, back in J (without having to perform two separate searches and then having to perform amateur hour by having different browser windows open to match them up)

        and by extension….search open jaw returns (across two classes) e.g. outbound LHR-KUL in F, return HKG-LHR in J.

        Again, it’s an easy fix to rectify these obvious flaws.

        • Memesweeper says:

          > Again, it’s an easy fix to rectify these obvious flaws.

          It’s a great tool , it does what it does, it’s free in the basic form and , if it lacks a feature you need that’s not a ‘flaw’ IMO. You could scrape it and fix this ‘obvious’ flaw if you wished. I’d be delighted to see the URL for the fruits of your ‘easy’ labours published here tomorrow.

        • Stu N says:

          I think it plugs into the same data that the BA iOS app uses so that’s probably the source of the limitation. The iOS app only allows you to search for one way trips or simple returns (i.e. xxx-yyy-xxx in the same class both ways) but it is very quick to run a search for multiple cities and travel classes. When I’m actively looking for stuff I can whizz through my range of options in a couple of minutes on the train into work in the morning.

          The app – and so BA finder – should only show BA metal though; occasionally it has false positives which I assume are a time lag as the source data isn’t quite in real time but the booking page on is real time. You may be seeing this if someone has nabbed the newly released BA availability ahead of you but JAL has been sitting there throughout.

          In some ways I like that there is no 100% guaranteed easy way to find awards – the imperfections add to the sport and also reward those who have put a bit of effort into learning the tricks of the trade and are most keen to find seats.

  • Jon says:

    CW to the Caribbean looks like slim pickings and odd in places. There’s decent outbound availability for SLU but nothing inbound. I know the Caribbean is popular, but did it just get worse?

    • Louise says:

      No have been looking myself and availability been like that for late 2018/2019 early for a while

      • Lynx says:

        England tour the Caribbean next Feb/Mar, so I guess the tour operators may have reserved quite a few seats for the Barmy Army? I guess if you can afford to take a month or two off to follow the team you may well be able to afford F/J too.

  • TravellingJake says:

    Is it usual to struggle to find F seats on the A380? Seems every route for every date I’ve checked, can’t find F for avios on the A380.

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

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