Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

BREAKTHROUGH: See ALL BA Avios seats from London, for dates you choose, in one click

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If you know where you want to go and when you want to go, the process for booking Avios redemptions is good.  Compared to other airlines and other alliances, the Avios seat booking system on ba.com works well in terms of the number of airlines it shows online (virtually all of them) and how you search.

EDIT, March 2022: If you found this article via Google, hello!  Since we published it, ‘BA Redemption Finder’ has become ‘Reward Flight Finder’ – the links below still work.  However, we now recommend that you look at SeatSpy – see this HfP article – which is more comprehensive and usually more accurate in its BA data.

If your plans are fluid, however, it is not as good.

A year ago, Head for Points reader Tim launched “BA Redemption Finder”.  This sits at www.baredemptionfinder.com.  BA, for clarity, is supportive of Tim’s efforts and is happy to see the site operate.

“BA Redemption Finder” is the quickest way of checking Avios availability for British Airways flights.

The best bit is that the site is free.  It is a website not an app, but is optimised for both mobile and desktop.  It is simplicity itself.  Type in where you want to fly from, where you want to fly to, how many seats and what cabin and you will see – instantly – full availability for the next 355 days.  On mobile it looks like this:

BA Redemption Finder

Here are some results for two Club World seats from Heathrow to Tokyo – on the actual site, you get the full year on one scrolling screen.  Dark blue means it is a peak date, light blue means it is off-peak pricing.  The left column is outbound, the right is return – click to enlarge:

BA Redemption Finder

It gets even better.  You can set up email alerts for a fee of £3 per month.   Set a date range, route, class and number of passengers and you will be notified when seats become available.  Free email alerts are also available if you happy with less frequent notifications – although you may lose the seats.

The site is so smart that it even shows the extra economy Avios seats made available to BA Gold members.

There are a few issues:

It cannot handle connections, only direct point to point searches

It does not show oneworld partner airlines – so it is best used to check availability when you want to use an Amex 2-4-1 voucher.  If you are not using a 2-4-1 voucher you should use ba.com instead as it will show you Qatar, Finnair, Royal Jordanian, American etc as well.

There is still a slight delay on the data feed compared to real time availability, but very modest

These are mainly trivial points, however, in the context of what is an amazingly fast and usable site.

BA Redemption Finder has now got even better

Tim has just launched a new feature which turns the app on its head.

You can now search BY DATE.  The site will show you EVERY BA route which has Avios availability in the class of your choice for those dates.

Let’s look at half-term next February, which for us is Saturday 16th February to Sunday 24th February.

Step 1: Go to baredemptionfinder.com and select “I don’t know where I want to go” from the home page

Step 2: Select your dates, number of seats and travel class (I want 4 people in Business) and run the search

BA Redemption Finder

Step 3: Sort the results as you wish – if you want to go long-haul, reorder the results by “Distance (most to least)” or “Avios required (most to least)” and vice versa for short haul

And then you get a screen of results:

BA Redemption Finder

Obviously you still need to do some work.  As well as searching Saturday to Sunday, I would also want to check Saturday to Saturday, or possibly Friday (after school in the evening) to Sunday.  I would also want to look at First Class.

There is no option to mix classes, so if you would be happy with that you’d need to do separate one-way searches and try to match places where you can get, say, Business outbound and First back.

This is a real breakthrough for everyone who complains “I can’t find anywhere to go”.  If you are restricted on when you can travel, this service will solve your problems.

This new feature is currently free

Tim is planning to make this a paid-for feature at some point, not surprisingly.  For now, however, it is totally free.  Give it a try.

PS.  I was talking to Tim about this new feature last week and he said that he wrote the code over a weekend, whilst his wife was away with friends.  Let’s put this in perspective.  British Airways has a massive IT team and a massive budget and cannot deliver a feature like this.  One guy, working alone, is able to develop it over a weekend ……

You can take a look at BA Redemption Finder here.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 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. 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 BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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 BA Amex American Express card

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.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 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 (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital on Tap Visa card

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 card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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.

(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 (190)

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

  • wetboy1uk says:

    Not as good as possibly suggested – tells me that the route LGW to FLL is not available for BA redemptions.,

  • Alex says:

    OT – if I pay for something abroad whilst still in the UK (e.g. buying something from an overseas shop over the phone) with my Amex gold/plat card, do I still get charged the 3% fee?
    Thanks

    • Mark says:

      yes if it is charged in a foreign currency, only if they charge you in £ you wouldn’t get charged.

    • KevMc says:

      Yes – the fee is for transactions in a foreign currency, not in a foreign country.

    • Lady London says:

      Yes. Every card does this so far as I can tell.

      Paypal’s and Amazon’s rates seem to be slightly better. I let my card do it because there’s not much in it. And when I dump the card I can mention an outrageous FX charge is part of the reason why !

      • Genghis says:

        Only slight difference I think is Creation’s definition of “abroad” for double points being physically abroad, not say $ in London.

        • Alex says:

          Just spoke to Creation on the phone, they said no if it’s in foreign currency you will be charged 3%

        • Genghis says:

          Indeed. Charged 3% but only get single points. Depends how it all gets booked.

      • Neil Spellings says:

        Not “every card” adds FX fees.

        Halifax, Curve and Revout are ones that spring to mind. I’m sure there are more. Search MoneySavingExpert site for more examples

    • Alex says:

      Thanks all 🙂

  • Ben says:

    OT: can anyone confirm that a 2-leg journey with AA will earn the same avios and tier points as two point to point journeys using BA’s avios calucator? I know it works this way for BA themselves, but unsure if the same applies to partner airlines.

    E.g.
    FLL – CLT 948 avios, 40 tier points
    CLT – LGA 815 avios, 40 tier points
    So 80 tier points in total?

    This would be a tier point run as there are more efficient ways to get from Miami area to New York, but for 80 tier points the price I’m looking at would make it worth it.

  • lev441 says:

    O/T – Was looking through avios redemptions for CW to NYC over Xmas holidays and the taxes and surcharges are now £650 per ticket… I’m sure last October I paid around £530….

    • Anna says:

      Yes, they’ve been hiked quite a bit this year. I personally suspect that BA want to a) make as much money as possible out of redemptions and b) actually squeeze some customers out of the market. I’m going to be looking very carefully at cash prices in future and only using long haul redemptions when there’s a big saving to be made.

      • Anna says:

        Though on the plus side, it might put Americans off using BA for redemptions, accustomed as they are to paying nominal fees!

      • lev441 says:

        It’s crazy – Just checked Virgin and they are at £645.00 too….

        Going to be concentrating on hotel points in 2019 I think…

      • Nick says:

        Or even c) because BA wants to raise charges for commercial customers and redemptions are just a happy (for them) coincidence. Remember that corporate deals don’t offer their discounts on carrier charges and you’ll see exactly why it’s in their interests to raise them higher. They obviously won’t be complaining about Avios customers getting hit, but it’s caught-in-the-crossfire rather than being the actual target.

    • marcw says:

      Well, somehow the 241 need to be subsidised.

    • TM says:

      Fly Iberia if you can – not ideal if you have a 2-4-1 however.

      68k return in off peak, in a better 1-2-1 business cabin, with lower taxes (I think £250.)

  • Lady London says:

    Well actually in a sense, British Airways do do married segments for Avios.

    I used to find a lot, that searching for x to Lon got me nothing, but searching for x to somewhere else that BA would route via London, miraculously produced the flights available including the one that had not shown up just searching for an end destination of London. This was not a one-off it was frequent and over a period. I can only explain it by some use of married segment as it didn’t seem to work if you wanted a stopover – had to be less than 2359 for it to see it as one route and for the BA system to cough up the avios seat I was looking for.

    I’ll bet BA is still operating that way now, too

  • Tom says:

    Does it only work with flights FROM London, and not TO London?

  • Vijay says:

    I bought a holiday package to New York with hotel and economy flights when there was a sale, I wanted to find out is it possible to upgrade my flights to premium economy using avios from march 14th – 19th?

    If someone could give me some advice on this I would really appreciate this.

    • Anna says:

      If it’s not possible to do it via the “Manage my booking” page, they might do this over the phone for you. I am assuming there would need to be redemption availability in PE though.

      • Vijay says:

        Hi Anna

        Thanks for your response, I tried to go through the app in “manage my booking” and “upgrade with avios” it just says “sorry we are unable to change or cancel your booking online” I need to call in which is a bit frustrating considering you got to jump through all the hoops. I called up last time and it’s annoying to have to do that every day to find avios seats/redemption

    • Rob says:

      You probably can’t. The cheapest economy ticket types cannot be upgraded even if there is Avios available in World Traveller Plus. Unfortunately your BA Holidays receipt is unlikely the show the exact ticket sub-class so (assuming there is Avios availability in WTP for the upgrade to work) you need to call BA to try. My guess is that it won’t work however.

    • Sam says:

      It might be possible with a fare adjustment for the difference between the lowest band and the upgradable ticket but would have to be by phone.

  • Rob says:

    Totally fine.

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