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Lots of British Airways First Class and Club World US Avios flight availability

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EDIT, Thursday: a LOT of this availability has now been removed.  Was it a mistake – it was there for five days – or not?  We’ll probably never know.  Do keep checking as pockets do still seem to be there.

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):

British Airways First Class Avios availability

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:

and

and

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.

But 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.

Here is a random quote from New York to London, return, in First Class FOR ONE PERSON:
British Airways First Class Avios taxesand here is the ‘carrier imposed surcharge’ broken out FOR ONE PERSON:

British Airways First Class Avios taxes

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.

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

Comments (161)

  • Joe C says:

    Noticed this yesterday as had been thinking about a trip with my dad for next spring.

    Now booked on the Club World London City service to JFK and back from ORD in First on the A380. 236k Avios and £1.3k for the pair of us is great. Getting the Amtrak overnight Lakeshore service between New York and Chicago – can’t wait!

  • KBuffett says:

    How can I be sure I book on A380 or similar new plane?

    • Genghis says:

      I find x-ref to Expedia is easiest

    • Joe C says:

      Click on the flight number and it will tell you the type of plane – A380 does certain flights on ORD, BOS, LAX and SFO, possibly YVR as well

    • David says:

      What is a “similar new plane” to an A380?

      In any case, don’t book a ticket to JFK, or you’ll get a 747 or 777.

      • Nick_C says:

        Unless you go from LCY of course, when you are guaranteed to be on a 32 seat A318 offering a unique experience.

        • David says:

          Indeed, although to what extent G-EUNA (a 9 year old A318) meets the request of an “A380 or similar new aircraft” is debatable…

    • Rob says:

      Whilst others have given the answer, you need to remember that there is constant shuffling. This will increase as the A350 and Club Suite 777s come in and the 787s get fixed. Nothing is certain.

      That said, happy to get Upper Deck 747 to SFO and Upper Deck A380 back.

      • Kipto says:

        Rob, you’re very lucky to get four seats to SFO and back in club world using avios. Went two years ago and there were only two seats available each way. Had to split up but only two and a half hours between flights so bearable

  • Pgw says:

    Good article but it is a little misleading to speak of these charges in terms of US ‘residents’. It doesn’t matter where your home is as these crazy charges apply to anybody who books a trip starting in the US and includes both reward and revenue flights.

    • David says:

      Probably safe to say the majority of people booking return tickets originating in the US are US residents. It’s not like people will be doing positioning flights to take advantage of these carrier-imposed charges…

      • Pgw says:

        Indeed but I am merely clarifying that your residency is irrelevant. I have myself frequently redeemed 1 way redemptions from the US when I can’ find any with AAdvantage miles but I have never lived there. These charges have put a stop to that now!

    • Rob says:

      Misleading but easy to understand!

  • chelynnah says:

    Thanks for the heads up. I checked our outbound Toronto flights for next April and there was availability, so called to change our Business seats to First. They said there was some odd discrepancy on the taxes they wanted to charge me, so has escalated that to a different department to get the correct amount, but in the meantime the seats are allocated to my account. Fingers crossed the extra tax isn’t significant. When I upgraded the inbound when First showed up literally the day after I booked my return leg on Business there was no tax difference.

    Anyway, thanks so much for the site. Helpful as always 🙂

    • Lady London says:

      Hah! Any ‘discrepancy’ in ‘taxes’ quoted by British Airways between seats in F and seats in J on the same flight, is ALL British Airways’s own charges, money which British Airways keeps themselves, and is not taxes.

      Once you are out of Economy, into PY, J, or F, the taxes, i.e. real taxes and airport charges which BA is obliged to hand over, are pretty much the same amount in all these classes.

      I wish BA would try to charge me a ‘discrepancy’ between J And F taxes they want me to pay them. And i think i would report them to the regulator for fraudulent charging claiming they are charging amounts which are due as taxes when the are keeping the money for themselves. BA had to settle a case in the US about just this. And yet here they are, still calling their own charges ‘taxes’ to innocent punters. IMV it’s fraud.

      • chelynnah says:

        In this case the CS agent didn’t think it should be charged and has flagged it for follow up. She wouldn’t even tell me what it was as she was so convinced it was wrong. So fingers crossed it’s little to nothing. I was pretty sure there shouldn’t be much, is any, different between First and Business taxes.

      • chelynnah says:

        I just had to come back and update as I’m in a bit of a state of shock here. In a good way. I just got a call back from BA after they sent my change up the line to check the discrepancy in the ‘taxes and charges’ quote for the change from Business to First. Apparently it’s correct, and it wasn’t an additional charge – it was a refund of £460! She doesn’t know why, not it’s been confirmed as correct. She didn’t want to just go ahead and refund it the other day only to have it hit the next line and have them say it was wrong and take it back off me. So after paying the change fee, upgrading this leg of the trip has saved us £390 (for two people). Of course it’s cost the additional 18000 Avios, but we had that.

        So a quick thanks again for this post, as I wouldn’t have thought to check for those extra reward seats being available yet.

        • chelynnah says:

          Above reads ‘not it’s confirmed as correct’… it should say ‘but it’s confirmed’. I can’t see a way to edit

          • chelynnah says:

            And if anyone’s been reading this little bit, I’ve just been on the phone to BA as the change still has not been fully processed. Apparently when it was going through the system it got flagged and should have been a nil cost/refund booking as both myself and the original CS agent expected.

            However she did her due diligence by not telling me originally what the discrepancy was and sending it up the line for confirmation as she didn’t want exactly what’s happened to happen, where she told me a refund value and then it gets taken away. As they confirmed it was correct she was able to tell me so and went ahead and processed it.

            I know I don’t have a leg to stand on. I was expecting it to be the same fees/taxes, so I’ve just said how disappointed I am that the original agent did everything right so this didn’t happen. I said of course the fact that she’s done that means that I’d like the refund, but o get that it shouldn’t have happened. But what more could she have done?

            Anyway, the current agent I spoke to is going to follow it up and see what they have to say. I accept (and always have) that it may end up being nil, but it was a nice potential bonus while it lasted.

  • Tariq says:

    Managed to book F to BNA return for next April, last week. Took a while to get all the Avios transferring into BAEC and was surprised to see availability increase rather than decrease between first checking and finally booking!

  • David says:

    Noticed this myself on Sunday as always looking at the reward flight finder and grabbed 2 x First Class to LAX for this September with a 241 – Very Happy.

  • Anna says:

    I was tracking award releases closely for Easter 2020 and commented a few times on the surprisingly good availability. I got 3 F seats to Miami on the A380 which I’m looking forward to, as well as the Cathay lounge in T3. I am wondering as well whether this is a sign of a reduction in avios collecting in general given the greatly reduced earning opportunities recently (few people are as tenacious as Shoestring in this area!)

    • Doug M says:

      Perhaps just a reflection of how much they make from a ‘reward’ seat anyway. Someone is buying the Avios from them, those earned from flying aside, and then the YQ charges are getting into the zone of cheap ex-EU fares anyway.

      • Rob says:

        Avios and BA are totally separate inside IAG, money does change hands between the two companies at an agreed rate.

  • Steve says:

    BA related. How quickly does a 2-4-1 post after hitting 10k spend on BAPP? Does it go over to BAEC with the monthly points sweep or does it go over separately?