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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)

  • Jtz says:

    OT
    Does anyone know how long it takes to hear from virgin after sending a letter. I sent it last week, it’s on their system this morning, they said it can take up to 30 days.

    Thanks

    • Jtz says:

      Sorry to add, I’m talking about the rewards credit card.

      • chris says:

        Took them 1 day to answer my query. BTW, that was do they give a bonus for recommending a friend if they take out a card. The answer was no.

  • MJ says:

    I’m trying to check the Sep 2019 reward flight availability on BA but I can’t find anything in First (e.g none of the 1st class seats on Sep 11 as shown in screenshot are available). Is it just me or are they already gone?

  • Keith says:

    I noticed these last week and it enabled me to upgrade my seats to PHL in October. My booking shows both legs upgraded along with confirmed seats in First but I’ve only had one lot of Avios (18k) debited from my account.

    Question is, do I call BA up to point out the error or do I keep quiet and get away with a free upgrade but risk the possibility of BA figuring out and moving me back to Club?

  • Gin and Tonic Please says:

    Looks like a lot of it may have been pulled. I can see NYC, but most other US destinations now look ‘normal’ on the redemption front.

    • Rob says:

      Not sure. SFO, for example, has 10+ Club World showing for departures on 8th April, 4 & 10+ for two flights on 9th April and 2 & 10+ on 10th April (Good Friday is 10th).

      • Gin and Tonic Please says:

        Gone now. Pretty sure it was an error on BA end that has now been corrected. Last night, every NA destination had virtually full availability all the way through to May. This morning, things returned to normal for everywhere except NYC (business not first) for all 2019 dates, and now it looks that way for 2020 too. Either HFP has a phenomenal reach, or (I think more likely) BA spotted the error and corrected it. Hey ho – congrats to all who got tickets!

  • Tom Cook says:

    On the benefits page of the Plat card it still states:

    Refer a friend
    Earn up to 90,000 Membership Rewards points a year for successfully referring friends to The Platinum Card. For each friend who applies and is approved, we’ll thank you with 18,000 bonus points. Plus, we’ll get your friend started with a 35,000 point welcome bonus offer of their own.

    Odd that they’ve not updated this to reflect the 12k stated on the amount page.

  • KBuffett says:

    Has anyone stayed in New York over Thanksgiving?
    I assume everything would be closed for a day and then back to normality?

    • The Lord says:

      Most things still open. Subway still runs

      • Stu N says:

        We’ve been to DC – it’s a weird time. It was eerily quiet on the Thursday but the main tourist things and restaurants were open but a lot of the shops, cafes and bars were closed. The following long weekend was mad busy though, I guess Americans go mad for these as they get so little paid leave.

        • Shoestring says:

          one of life’s mysteries – you can understand how USA employment law on hiring & firing etc makes the economy more flexible/ stronger – but why the hell the US worker (& unions) doesn’t insist on at least 5 weeks’ leave, I can’t fathom

          probably pull a lot more sickies than us

  • Lerocious says:

    O/T

    Rob, some of us are waiting for Part 2 of The Oman Chronicles 🙂 …when are you going to be posting that article? Quite intrigued and looking forward to hearing your opinion of the hotels there…

    I already dummy booked the W, Ritz Carlton and Sheraton for my 2 nights in Muscat and will be sticking with one…

    Thanks

    L

    • Rob says:

      Getting there. Bit of a backlog following my holiday last week!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Based on location I’d stay at the W if you want to visit the sights for a couple days.

  • Nick says:

    O/T – if your using combined my avios to move points from BAEC to Iberia can you move the entire household balance or only your personal balance?