EXCLUSIVE DATA: Which routes have the most and least Avios availability in Club World and First?

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Here is something to strike up a debate for your Monday morning!

A couple of weeks ago a reader asked me if I’d ever analysed British Airways Avios reward availability by route.  I hadn’t, but the email set me thinking and I thought I knew a man who could find out – Tim Rogers, who runs the fantastic Reward Flight Finder tool (rewardflightfinder.com).

(I should mention here that Tim has generously volunteered to sponsor the Head for Points reader dinner at Quo Vadis on 10th October, as a thank you for the support we’ve given his site.  If you are coming along you’ll be able to meet Tim on the night.  We’ve upgraded the drinks budget thanks to his help!)

Which routes have best and worse Avios availability

Tim pulled all of the Avios reward data on Reward Flight Finder and sent it over.  I have taken the raw numbers and turned them into something easy to digest.

What you have below is very simple.  It is a list of all British Airways long-haul destinations and the number of days (out of 355, the BA booking window) that you can get 2 x Club World or 2 x First Class seats for an Avios redemption FROM London.

I have run the results by volume and, separately, alphabetically.  It is based on the position as of 10 days ago.

There are a few things to bear in mind when you look at these numbers:

BA guarantees 2 x Club World seats on every flight.  If a route shows a very low number, it does NOT mean that seats were not released.  It means that they were booked immediately, often the full 355 days in advance, and that this is a route where BA rarely releases more seats.  (Remember that you can use rewardflightfinder.com to set up alerts so you are emailed when seats open up on your preferred route.)

This only looks at OUTBOUND seats from London.  For low numbers, the situation is worse than it looks – if there are only 21 dates with two seats to Durban, for example, the chances of you finding two seats BACK from Durban when you want them are very low indeed.

The analysis takes no account of seasonality.  There may be 140 days when you can fly to Dubai but 90 of them are in June, July and August when you probably don’t want to go.

The analysis takes no account of short notice availability.  Sydney, for example, is often easy to get at short notice – last Wednesday, for example, there was Club World space for last Friday but nothing else until April!

If a route has First Class, you cannot add together the number of dates with 2 x Club World and 2 x First Class.  If there are 50 days with 2 x Club World and 20 days with 2 x First Class, there are NOT 70 days you could potentially travel with a flat bed.  It is more likely to be just a little over 50 days.

Some of these routes do not run every day, so you wouldn’t expect a big number in the first place.

We ran this analysis in September.  Does the number of available seats change over the year? 

Sydney is artificially low because it just looks at ‘through flights’ – there is marginally more space if you are willing to break your trip in Singapore

Remember that this analysis is based on two seats. Solo travellers have more choice, families less.

Here is the 1st version, ranked by Club World availability (out of 355 possible days):

City
2 x Business
2 x First
Accra
328
290
Abuja
320
244
Doha
310
47
New York
309
65
Boston
305
252
Lagos
300
185
Bahrain
283
49
Washington
278
15
Riyadh
270
23
Moscow
261
0
Jeddah
256
55
Beijing
234
99
Tel Aviv
231
87
Shanghai
229
153
Philadelphia
217
114
Chicago
211
47
Montreal
209
Toronto
208
15
Mumbai
205
12
Kuwait
203
40
Houston
201
37
Hyderabad
200
Baltimore
198
Chennai
191
Atlanta
188
34
Beirut
184
Austin
182
130
Seoul
176
Los Angeles
163
2
Mexico City
163
52
Rio De Janeiro
158
Amman
157
Cairo
157
Bengalaru
154
Delhi
153
24
Abu Dhabi
151
26
Dallas
149
58
Denver
148
95
Nashville
142
26
Dubai
140
15
Nairobi
138
103
Islamabad
133
Sao Paulo
133
112
Buenos Aires
131
Miami
125
33
Las Vegas
123
1
Pittsburgh
121
Johannesburg
118
31
Bermuda
116
85
New Orleans
106
San Jose (CA)
101
Barbados
94
40
Santiago
90
23
Kuala Lumpur
89
19
Seattle
77
17
Narita
69
San Francisco
69
0
Tokyo
69
37
Singapore
67
13
Orlando
64
Antigua
62
Vancouver
62
6
Tampa
56
Bangkok
55
San Diego
51
7
Kingston
47
Calgary
46
Hong Kong
44
4
St Lucia
43
9
Nassau
42
Grand Cayman
41
Port of Spain
33
9
Punta Cana
32
Charleston
31
Osaka
31
Turks and Caicos
27
Phoenix
23
4
St Kitts
23
Durban
21
Cancun
17
Mahe (Seychelles)
17
0
Sydney
14
3
Tobago
11
Grenada
9
0
San Jose (C’Rica)
9
3
Mauritius
7
Lima
5
Muscat
4
0
Cape Town
2
4
Male
0

This is the second version, ranked alphabetically by city:

City
2 x Business
2 x First
Abu Dhabi
151
26
Abuja
320
244
Accra
328
290
Amman
157
Antigua
62
Atlanta
188
34
Austin
182
130
Bahrain
283
49
Baltimore
198
Bangkok
55
Barbados
94
40
Beijing
234
99
Beirut
184
Bengalaru
154
Bermuda
116
85
Boston
305
252
Buenos Aires
131
Cairo
157
Calgary
46
Cancun
17
Cape Town
2
4
Charleston
31
Chennai
191
Chicago
211
47
Dallas
149
58
Delhi
153
24
Denver
148
95
Doha
310
47
Dubai
140
15
Durban
21
Grand Cayman
41
Grenada
9
0
Hong Kong
44
4
Houston
201
37
Hyderabad
200
Islamabad
133
Jeddah
256
55
Johannesburg
118
31
Kingston
47
Kuala Lumpur
89
19
Kuwait
203
40
Lagos
300
185
Las Vegas
123
1
Lima
5
Los Angeles
163
2
Mahe (Seychelles)
17
0
Male
0
Mauritius
7
Mexico City
163
52
Miami
125
33
Montreal
209
Moscow
261
0
Mumbai
205
12
Muscat
4
0
Nairobi
138
103
Narita
69
Nashville
142
26
Nassau
42
New Orleans
106
New York
309
65
Orlando
64
Osaka
31
Philadelphia
217
114
Phoenix
23
4
Pittsburgh
121
Port of Spain
33
9
Punta Cana
32
Rio De Janeiro
158
Riyadh
270
23
San Diego
51
7
San Francisco
69
0
San Jose (CA)
101
San Jose (C’Rica)
9
3
Santiago
90
23
Sao Paulo
133
112
Seattle
77
17
Seoul
176
Shanghai
229
153
Singapore
67
13
St Kitts
23
St Lucia
43
9
Sydney
14
3
Tampa
56
Tel Aviv
231
87
Tobago
11
Tokyo
69
37
Toronto
208
15
Turks and Caicos
27
Vancouver
62
6
Washington
278
15

(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.)

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Comments

  1. Very OT:
    @Shoestring – your favourite World Remit £55 offer is available for 24 hours on your usual site.

    • Shoestring says:

      It’s the easiest 5500 Avios to earn – provided you have a foreign bank a/c!

      Worldremit rates are very sharp, so no problem there. They are happy for any genuine 18YO+ to be a new customer & no problem if you all send £200 to the same foreign bank a/c & live at the same house, just use different email addresses.

      • Shoestring says:

        You could always have a friend abroad with a foreign bank a/c who wouldn’t mind you sending them £200 for safekeeping!

      • I just wanted to add I done this last time with 3 genuine accounts, to 2 different bank accounts abroad, world remit denied 2 and had to ask for my money back that they had taken
        Tread cautiously

    • Worldremit seem to have a 1.1% spread and a £2.99 fee per transfer. So maybe fine to get the new customer bonus but not competitive vs Revolut etc

      • Depends….we are going to Canada next month( I have an account there). So I just transferred £200. With £0.99 fee. By far that beats Revolut with £55 CB. I can do new customer with friends and family names….it’s about taking opportunities but not long term use. I now use various companies to drip feed my accounts. I have accounts in 5 countries (GBP/EUR/CAD/USD/BWP) just to facilitation my travels. I transfer when the rates are favourable.

  2. O/T IHG Rewards Premium Card:

    Anyone else seeing non-IHG hotel stays earning double points and showing up on the IHG points statement as hotel spend? It’s happened to me twice now in the last two months – both with Accor properties paid for by Curve and charged to my IHG card.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Were they ex IHG hotels?

      • I very much doubt it. The hotels were a Novotel Suites and an Ibis, and both had the modular bathrooms. And the Ibis was one half of a dual-branded Ibis/Ibis Budget.

        And in any case, payment was via Curve so I don’t believe they would have received the merchant account details of the hotel – only the (truncated) name and the fact that it was hotel spend.

        (They were outside the UK, but they showed up on the IHG statement as hotel spend, not international spend. And anyway, no other Curve spend outside the UK gets me double points).

        I guess I need to try charging a non-IHG hotel in the UK directly to the IHG card and see what happens with that.

        • Actually, sorry, I don’t think the ibis did have the modular bathrooms – I was confusing it with another stay. I still think it was probably new build, given the fact that it’s a dual branded hotel.

          The hotels were the Novotel Suites Hamburg City and Ibis Hamburg City, if anyone happens to know the history of those hotels.

    • Yes! Was very surprised as well! Paid with curve for Sofitel in Warsaw.

  3. So this is just for one look at the availability on a given day (10 days ago i think you mentioned?)

    Would it be interesting to run this over say the next 3 months and see how/if the picture evolves as it is unlikely to be a uniform distribution of availability. The assumption you make that this reflects general distribution given it is only one run is a little bit simplistic?

    • It is. However, I would gamble that this is peak ‘good’ because few people have booked yet for Summer 2020.

  4. Worth noting as well that it seems that avios seats are released per flight and not per destination, e.g. the Nassau/Grand Cayman routes are actually the same flight, so if someone bags the NAS seats, then there will be no availability for GCM, and vice versa. I presume this would also apply to Antigua/Turks and Caicos and any other multiple destination services.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Indeed, taking LHR-SIN-SYD as an example, the seats showing as available for SYD will be those where both segments are available.

      Booking LHR-SIN or LHR-SIN-SYD would knock one off both SIN and SYD as per the above table, but booking only SIN-SYD (which is bookable as a 5F) would knock one off SYD only, presumably.

  5. So bagging two London-Singapore first class out, business back next April/May was pretty lucky? I had a companion voucher, and used my avios to get the seats. Can’t wait , as it’ll be my first time (and probably last!) in both business and first. I used the reward flightfinder tool to find the first class seats and booked them online with BA, and rang up BA at midnight a fortnight later to book the return seats.

  6. O/T Companion voucher:
    I recently came back from a trip to the Caribbean (open jaw LGW-KIN, NAS-LHR) which I booked with BA companion voucher (I did the flights out online and then rang BA to add the return). To my knowledge this was all done fine and I could see the additional avios debited from my account and I reserved seats for both flights out and back.

    Flights out went fine, but attempting to check in at NAS they told us we didn’t have “ticket numbers” and after a few heated moments we were forced to buy new tickets so we could get home (this happened to be at the time the pilot strike was announced so all of the call centres were unavailable to assist). I have submitted a claim to BA and its been over a month with no reply, but what I think happened was that the rep didn’t issue the return tickets properly when I called to add the return leg.

    My question is, is this a common occurrence? This really puts me off trying to make any changes over the phone as I had no way of knowing there was an issue until we arrived at the airport. The flights all showed in my exec club account, is there any way to guarantee that ticket numbers have definitely been issued?

    • That is very, very rare, for obvious reasons. You were lucky you had enough credit card capacity to buy the seats. I’d launch a MCOL claim if you don’t get any joy in the next week or so – https://www.headforpoints.com/2019/06/10/how-to-sue-british-airways/

      • Thanks for the link Rob. I was advised by AMEX that I could make a section 75 claim for consequential loss. Not sure how this compares to the CEDR route, but I suspect less hassle. Anyway I’m going to give BA a little longer to get back to me, hopefully they’ll do the right thing!

    • What a nightmare – and how on earth could you reserve your seats if you didn’t have ticket numbers?! It might be safer to book the return online then call and get the avios refunded; IME the difference in taxes returning from the Caribbean (as opposed to the US), is negligible.

      • I was told by the check in agent that “reserving” the seats and actually “issuing” the tickets were two separate processes and that the rep on the phone must have not have actually issued the tickets. I have no idea if that’s accurate but I suppose it offers some plausable explanation, although how on earth this didn’t get flagged is pretty concerning!

        As far as booking the return online, I would have done except this was a open jaw booking which as far as I understand can only be done over the phone.

    • In manage my booking you can look up the ticket number (if it’s there) under administration > view/print e ticket receipt. If it errors out when you click the link then there may be an issue. Other way of checking I have found is usually to attempt to reserve a seat. You’re usually fine if you can.
      I have found several times that we have been ticketed when adding a return leg or making a change to the booking, and I’ve called up to chase. Often happens when avios are deducted but not the cash part, as this is done by a separate department I think.

      • Thanks for the tip, I’ll have a check on my next booking. I did actually manage to reserve our seats for this flight though so it seems that isn’t guaranteed.

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