British Airways has opened up a LOT of Avios reward availability to North America for the Autumn and Spring in First Class and Club World.
If you were thinking about a trip, this may be a good time to lock something in. I’ve already booked for my family for next Easter.
Frankly, some of the availability is just silly. Take a look at this screenshot for London to New York JFK from early September (click to enlarge):
Of the four flights shown, one is showing 5 x First, two are showing 7 x First and the 14.25 is showing AT LEAST 10 x First, out of a 14 seat Boeing 747 cabin.
When ba.com does not show ‘x left’ it means that there are more than nine seats available.
Let’s look at this another way.
Here are screenshots from rewardflightfinder.com showing all the dates with TWO First Class seats available between London and New York. It is tight until the end of June, but from July:
You can get two First Class seats virtually every day. You won’t see any other US cities quite as good as this but availability to most of the East Coast is looking good in First Class for two people.
For the West Coast, the availability is mainly in Club World. I had NO trouble booking four Club World seats to San Francisco for my family over the Easter 2020 school holidays, using 2 x British Airways Premium Plus American Express 2-4-1 vouchers.
British Airways has whacked up surcharges for US residents …..
Part of the reason for this generosity may be the newly increased ‘taxes and charges’ bill for people who are starting a return flight from the USA. (All of the major airlines charge substantially higher taxes to US residents flying to Europe, rather than the other way round.)
The BA ‘fuel surcharge’ / ‘carrier imposed charge’ on a return First Class flight from the US to the UK is now $1,600. This is before you even get to Air Passenger Duty etc.
If you live in the US, you can make a SUBSTANTIAL saving on ‘taxes and charges’ by booking a redemption as 2 x one-way flights. This allows you to benefit from the cheaper rate for ex-London flights on the return leg.
In case you’re wondering, the equivalent figure for Club World is now $1,200 return for anyone flying to Europe from the US and back.
It is possible that this release of seats is some sort of error. BA won’t cancel your booking once it is made, however, so you might want to lock something in. All you are risking is the £35 per person cancellation fee – all of your Avios, taxes and 2-4-1 vouchers will be returned.
To maximise your miles when paying, your best bet is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card which earns double Avios (3 per £1) when you book at ba.com or via BA Holidays. You do not get double Avios if you book with the free British Airways American Express card.
Another option is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 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 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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.