Today I want to give you an overview of how many Avios you need to upgrade your British Airways flight using Avios points.
The first thing I want to say is that this only applies to British Airways flights. With only a few rare exceptions, which are very unlikely to apply to you, you cannot use Avios to upgrade flights with any other airline.
Before we look at how many Avios are needed, you need to check if your ticket can be upgraded or not. Don’t assume that it is possible.
Here is a summary of the upgrade rules:
You can only upgrade to the next cabin up – it is not possible to jump from Premium Economy to First, for example
If you are travelling in economy, you must be on a flexible or “low” fare ticket to upgrade – “lowest” economy fares are barred from upgrading. You can read more about the British Airways fare classes here to check your status. However, if you bought a non-refundable British Airways economy ticket you should assume that it CANNOT be upgraded.
(In any event, economy tickets can only be upgraded to World Traveller Plus premium economy. This is a very small cabin and few redemption seats are made available.)
Any World Traveller Plus or Club World ticket, even if bought in a sale, is eligible to be upgraded with Avios
Extra taxes and charges may be required on top of the Avios needed
There MUST be Avios reward seats showing in the class you want to upgrade to
To be eligible for an Avios upgrade there must be reward availability in the selected cabin. British Airways guarantees to make four economy seats and two business seats open for Avios redemptions on every flight, but depending on the route you can often find additional availability. Search on ba.com for a ‘full’ Avios redemption in the higher cabin to ensure it can be done before you start wasting time trying to upgrade.
What does it cost to upgrade my flight with Avios points?
The cost of the upgrade is the difference between a standard Avios redemption in the two classes. A one-way peak Club World ticket to Dubai is 60,000 Avios for example, whilst World Traveller Plus is 40,000 Avios. It would therefore cost 20,000 Avios to upgrade the ticket.
This article shows the Avios needed for EVERY British Airways route – click here.
The table in that article is based on one-way flights. Look at how many Avios are needed for a full redemption in the cabin you are booked, look at how many are needed for a redemption in the next higher cabin, and work out the difference. That is the one-way cost of your upgrade.
Note that additional taxes and charges may be due when you upgrade. There is also additional UK Government Air Passenger Duty if you upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy, or from Economy to Business on short haul. There is no additional Air Passenger Duty if upgrading from Premium to Business or from Business to First.
Do I earn Avios and tier points based on the class I booked or the class I flew?
You will not earn Avios and tier points for the upgraded class. As this is an Avios upgrade, you will only earn Avios and tier points in line with the cash portion of the booking. If you bought a World Traveller Plus ticket and upgrade it to Club World, you only earn World Traveller Plus Avios and tier points back. You can read more about earning Avios and tier points on upgrades here.
(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works. You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )
(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 1.5 million monthly page views. Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios? Click here to read our latest news stories, click here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)
Get 20,000 Avios from Amex Gold, or 30,000 Avios from Amex Platinum! (January 2021 offer)
The sign-up bonus on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold converts to 20,000 Avios and the card is free for the first year!
You don’t qualify for the Amex Gold bonus if you have a British Airways American Express card. You DO qualify for the bonus on The Platinum Card, which converts into 30,000 Avios – find out more here:
If you have your own small business, the best way of earning Avios is via the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa. It has a sign-up bonus which converts to 10,000 Avios:
You can find out more about ALL UK credit cards which offer travel rewards in this article, updated monthly.