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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)

  • mike says:

    out of interest rob why do you choose club world when you travel as a foursome, I thought I remember reading that now your kids are a little older that you can do first?

  • Alex says:

    Sorry as no bits OT; Is the Amex Gold card now really 4x on restaurant/dining or is the “global” not really global at all

  • Nick says:

    Semi OT: I have a Lloyd’s Avios Upgrade Voucher expiring at the end of July, know where I want to go with it but would probably be more in September 2020. Does anyone please know if it’s possible to book the route for earlier dates and then reschedule once availability opens?

    Related: I have a premerger Marriott travel certificate due to expire in August, I have in my head hearing that calling to convert to the new categories certicate extends the expiry – is anyone able to confirm please?

    • Jamie says:

      Tickets are valid for 365 days from the date of the initial booking. So if you book using Avios Lloyds Voucher today, whilst you can pay to change the flight date, you won’t be able to change the flight to a date beyond 5th June 2020.

      • Mikeact says:

        I’ve just booked one of my Lloyds vouchers before it expired last week, 31st. Booked Santorini via helpful call centre, one way late next May. We may or may not go, but in that particular zone there are many alternative options to choose from. To change destination and/or date is dead easy, as long as we travel before the end of next May. A small but important point to note, you cannot move out of the zone you’ve booked, whether that’s a quick weekend to Paris or over to the States e.g. So if thinking of a long term booking like us, you need to think carefully about your destination options, assuming you want to retain the Lloyds voucher.

    • Mikeact says:

      See my reply below. If I were you, book now to where you want to go, as far out as possible within the 365 day window.
      And then keep a close eye on the dates you actually want…..call quickly to get you ticket/s changed.
      Definitely worth a shot.

  • David says:

    @Rob. Bitcoin ads – seriously?

    • Rob Mc says:

      The ads are from Google advertising not Rob.. hence why most of them appear to be for fraudulent things…Martin Lewis appears in many of my ads on the site.

      • David says:

        Understood that, but thought Rob had the ability to weed out questionable ones.

        Happy to click though if it earns him a few quid, but would prefer something relevant.

        • Rob says:

          We block stuff quite aggressively but we need to see it ourselves first! All of the Martin Lewis / Ant and Dec type ones had been blocked, I thought, although the people behind them can always set up new Google accounts.

          This is one downside of more restrictive cookie tracking rules. If Google can’t see from your computer what sort of websites you visit, they don’t know what sort of ads to show you so they fall back on default rubbish.

          • Lady London says:

            I once lost a job for telling the partner Of a private equity house that a website could see which other websites you’d been looking at.

            Times have changed.

          • Rob says:

            Was probably me or one of my ex-colleagues 🙂

            When we wanted to get rid of someone we’d do a trawl of their internet history to find something which breached company policy.

          • Lady London says:

            Close. It was a major house.

          • Charlieface says:

            That’s what adblocker is for. Until Google and the others start blocking stupid ads, I will carry on using it. Likewise 3rd-party cookies, if they wouldn’t abuse them I would allow them.
            Granted I don’t block HFP but it’s the only exception I have, other websites that complain about adblock I just dump.

          • Lady London says:

            + 1

  • Paul Stevens says:

    OT but slightly related: I booked a BA 2-4-1 return to Tokyo in CW. I stupidly delayed when F was available. I was hoping that it would become available closer to the time and I could upgrade with avios. No reward seats have become available. Is it possible to upgrade with cash?

    • Rob says:

      Potentially on the day for cash, yes (or, if the current trial is worked out, Avios based on the cash price x 0.5p per point).

      • Paul Stevens says:

        Cheers Rob. Any idea how much it would be to use cash? Equivalent of avios at 0.5p?

        • Rob says:

          BA has just started a short term trial, whereby (Mon-Fri, 9-5 only) the app may give you the Avios alternative as well as cash. Rate is 0.5p-0.55p. Trial may even have ended by the time you travel.

  • Tracy says:

    O/T but still BA related, if I reserve first outward and business return, can I reserve seats at time of booking for both journeys or just the outward in first?

    • Nick_C says:

      Just outward. Assuming you are Blue and not prepared to pay.

    • Rob says:

      Just (for free) the leg in F. Need to pay for the CW leg.

    • Tracy says:

      Yes, I am blue and not prepared to pay lol. Thought it would just be the outward leg, thanks.

  • pauldb says:

    OT: Today/yesterday were the 1am releases for the start of May half-term 2020 – so here’s a heads-up for anyone that might want to consider booking something. It’s a really nice time to visit much of the Med: weather reliable and costs/crowds manageable, but a tight window so a great use of avios.
    I can see several of the routes I was considering have been taken – must amount to a few dozen early pouncers: interested to know if that includes many other HFPers?

    • SimonW says:

      1am this morning – 6 seats to Corfu….. done

      • Rob says:

        We were in Corfu last week for 5 days, had an ‘interesting’ time at the Imperial!

        We went down to Athens first, did a couple of nights at the Four Seasons Astir Palace then got a cheap Aegean flight up to Corfu then BA back.

        • SimonW says:

          Ikos resort is great there. Just got back from new one in Kos. Cant fault them for a family trip. I flew to Madrid via Athens for the CL final after… I remember a great Nobu at the Astir Palace when i was last there. Superb setting.

          • Rob says:

            Nobu is still there. Astir Palace is simply outstanding now under FS management and after a full refurb.

        • James says:

          Any suggestions for accomodation or restaurants in Corfu?

          • Rob says:

            No 🙂 Apart from Corfu Town itself, which is cute but downmarket (apart from a few boutiques) and the Achilleion I saw virtually nothing on the island appealing. And the Achilleion would be 10x better if it was run by anyone except the people who currently run it. You can’t have an audio guide without handing over your passport which obviously you’re not carrying – no offer of cash, credit cards, mobile phone etc will do. Passport or you can sod off – to discover that the rooms have no descriptive material because it is all on the audio guide ….

            Imperial is meant to the best hotel that accepts kids. This may be true but, you know, in 2019 to not have wi-fi in the rooms … to have black-out curtains on the windows which are 30 cm too short or …the best bit … putting Super King beds in the suites but not buying any Super King sheets because all the other rooms have Kings, so the sheet just sits on top of the mattress …. need I go on? Ratio of 1 sunlounger per 5 guests if it is full, based on my rough calculations.

            However, you might as well stay there if you have kids because everywhere else that accepts kids – according to my mate who was born there, grew up there and recently married there – is worse. And the location is amazing.

            (It isn’t all bad. The restaurants are OK, except for breakfast. 90% of guests are on package tours. Suite guests get access to a private beach where the sunlounger to guest ratio is 1:1)

            Top tip – the guys in the watersports centre will take you to Corfu Town in a speedboat for €60. As a taxi is €25 this is money well spent.

          • Phillip says:

            https://toulasagni.com/

            My favourite restaurant in Corfu is Toula’s at Agni! You’ll need a cab there and back but it’s worth it!

          • pauldb says:

            We stayed at the Marbella Corfu two years ago. It was pretty decent, solid 4*, no disasters like the above and some good family room setups (partitioned kids space). Need a car; food was a bit lame (HB) but the a la carte option not bad; best meal we had was actually the taverna across the road by the sea. I won’t need another trip to Corfu anytime soon, but I wouldn’t avoid that hotel.

          • SimonW says:

            The Ikos Dassia… and never leave it.

    • Lady London says:

      Ha! Did you not see @Shoestring’s footprints in the sand ahead of you, when you got there?

      • Shoestring says:

        got ours yesterday (a day late!) as we’re going out on the Friday, will probs just be elder son & myself though, the other 2 kids enjoyed being on their own here in UK last week…

        I wasn’t the first, though – somebody had nabbed a couple of Avios flights before I got there

        • Shoestring says:

          which means you’re a day late, too @pauldb – you could have got Saturday’s flights out yesterday, probs explains why quite a few were already nabbed

          • pauldb says:

            The wife insists that flying out Saturday is too much of a rush, working up until Friday and having to pack for two young kids. Managed to grab my first choice: CTA on the Sunday morning.
            Last week we were in FSC: still available for next year if anyone wants an idea. It’s a small detail but it’s easy to find places in Corsica with heated pools (more so than in Sardinia, Sicily, Greece or Croatia) which is a nice touch: the sea is only just bearable.

          • Shoestring says:

            Sunday explains it!

        • Richard says:

          Were you after the 10.50?? If so, sorry that was me booking 3 ET seats when I woke up Monday morning. It’s a one off for us as will be avoiding school holidays for a couple of years at least – those cash prices are crazy!

  • Michael says:

    OT: How does Marriot work when calculating how many points you get for a stay? I stayed 1 night in a Courtyard at Los Angeles LAX and 2 Nights in a courtyard in Washington DC and got more points for the 1 night stay in Los Angeles!?