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You can now use Avios points to pay for BA seat reservations – but is it a good deal?

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British Airways went live yesterday with its well-trailed plan to allow you to use Avios to pay for seat reservations.

You can find out more on here.

It will be of particular benefit to those in the Blue tier” said James Hillier of the Executive Club in a statement of the blinkin’ obvious, given that all other Executive Club members receive free seat selection.

You won’t be surprised to hear that this is a terrible use of Avios.

Use Avios to pay for British Airways seat selection

I would also be surprised – and quite worried – if it proved popular.

People in the Blue tier are unlikely to have a large number of Avios and are unlikely to want to use up to 35,000 Avios to select a seat in advance for a return Club World flight.

What do BA seat reservations cost?

Full details are on here.

BA now uses dynamic pricing for seat selection.  Pricing varies by seat and by how many seats are available.

Here are the minimum charges, each way:

  • Short-haul economy – from £7
  • Long-haul economy – from £20
  • Long-haul economy exit row – from £50
  • World Traveller Plus – from £18
  • Short-haul business – from £14
  • Long-haul business – from £62 (upper deck seats on a Boeing 747 are £90+)

Seat selection in First Class is free.

Pay for British Airways seat reservations with Avios points

What is the value per Avios?

It is …. and no surprise …..

0.55p per Avios.

This is the same rate that Avios uses for most of its other non-flight redemptions, such as redeeming for wine, experiences, hotels etc.

0.55p per point is a bad dealAs I wrote here in my ‘what is an Avios worth?’ article, you should be looking at 1p to 1.5p per point.

You should never redeem Avios obtained via credit card spend, Tesco Clubcard, Heathrow Rewards etc at 0.55p per point.  You would have been far better off using a cashback credit card, using your Clubcard points for another transfer deal or using your Heathrow Rewards points for airport shopping.  You need to be getting at least 1p per Avios if you are transferring in points from other places.


I am fully in favour of giving people more way to use their Avios.  If you earned your Avios exclusively from flying, so they were effectively ‘free’, then even getting a poor 0.55p per point is worthwhile.  For everyone else, I would try to avoid this redemption option if you can.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (108)

  • Liz says:

    Enjoying our first experience of the Concord Room at T5 waiting for our flight to SIN and then on to Oz in a few days time. Looking forward to our first FIRST experience with BA – we are not frequent flyers so this is a real treat for us. Won’t be paying cash or Avios for our CW seats on the way back from SYD. Fingers crossed we get a seat together at T24hrz. Cheers! ✈️????

    • New Card says:

      Fantastic – enjoy!

    • Darren says:

      Sounds like a lovely trip Liz, hope you have a great time.

    • Tilly says:

      Hope you enjoy it Liz! We had our first First yesterday and loved it. Happy travels!

  • Mark says:

    I have to say now that we no longer have status certain Virgin UC redemptions are looking attractive over an Avios CW 2for1 / PE->CW upgrade.

    The slightly higher Tesco rate, regular Tesco conversion bonuses, lower redemption rates on some routes compared to CW, not needing to earn a voucher and free seat selection all adds up.

    With a 2for1 and no status it makes a BA F redemption rather more attractive on certain aircraft. I wouldn’t bother on the 8 seat 787-9 F cabin though as we like window seats, and you can’t get two window seats on the same side of the aircraft unless you’re gold or are very lucky at T-24. Worse, if you are able to select 1A or 1K they’re then liable to snatch it away from you close to departure leaving you potentially separated with no choice, which happened to us (as Silver status holders).

  • Keith C says:

    O/T but BA – I booked flights LHR to MIA for early next year on the BA website, B1526 (actually AA57) Business Class to MIA, and Premium on BA back to LHR. I’ve just received an e-mail saying that BA1526 is cancelled, and I’m now booked on a less suitable (actual BA) flight 3.5 hours later.

    AA57 is not cancelled. It is, at the least, disingenuous, to claim that BA1526 is cancelled. It is the code share arrangement that appears to have gone.

    Is this a common occurrence? I’m wondering whether it is worth my while trying to get BA to book me on to AA39 instead if that code share arrangement might also disappear.

    • Anna says:

      I can’t understand why the codeshare agreement would be terminated. BA do have a habit of cancelling flights though, but if you call them they are usually quite accommodating about putting you on an alternative if there are seats available.

      • Anna says:

        A One World alternative, that is!

      • Keith C says:

        Regarding BA1526 being ‘cancelled’. I have rung BA, they are adamant that BA1526 (actual AA57) is cancelled, and that AA have confirmed this. Hence I got myself booked onto BA1528 (actual AA39) instead.

        However, on the AA website, I’m now flying twice on the same day – on AA39 at 1105 hours, and on AA57 at 1235 hours, both LHR to MIA. The 2nd flight is shown as a return. Further, BA have, without telling me, reserved a seat on AA39, which I can change on the AA website, but ‘Manage My Booking’ won’t reflect this.

        I’m a leisure traveller, don’t fly often, and only booked Business from LHR to experience what is like on AA (since it is often spoken about favourably) and there were ‘cheap’ prices available. I booked this on the BA website since the return is with BA, and I could redeem and earn points. I really don’t want this hassle.

  • Rtid says:

    I have just used 2x 2-4-1 for us as a family of 4 from LHR to SIN

    I am BA blue. Seat selection on the upper deck is £100 each. I’d have to pay £800 in seat selections for the upper deck on a return trip!

    • Mark says:

      Which gets very close to the point where it would be cheaper to fly somewhere, e.g. on a Qatar business sale fare, to get enough tier points for Silver than pay the seat selection fees!

      • Polly says:

        Agree completely. One reason we cancelled a BA F 241 KUL a while back to buy EX EU CPH J QR Sale. Gave us our silver once we flew our 4 x BA sectors. If you can be flexible that us.

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