Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Which routes have the most and least Avios reward flight availability in Club World and First?

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Here is something to strike up a debate for your Monday morning!  Which British Airways routes have the most and least Avios availability in Club World business class and First Class?

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

 


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

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

Comments (178)

  • Robert says:

    Thanks for a really interesting article! I’m waiting for the T-355 date next month to try and find flights in First for my wife and I to the States, but I recognise it’s a gamble.

    If more data was offered, I think it would be interested to see how days in a year 2*First comes available for each route after T-355… i.e. ignoring T-355, what are the chances of availability coming up throughout the year?

    • Rob says:

      No F is certain to be available at 355 days normally.

      • Robert says:

        Rob: I realise that there’s no guarantee of F @T-355, but I assume there must be available sometimes on some routes? Which is why a “what are the chances of xx date coming available from T-355 to T-1″… although I did see 2* same-day F come available earlier in August 2019 (on RFF), but my wife wasn’t willing to skip work, pack her bags and jump in a taxi at such short notice! Talk about inflexible :-p

    • Anna says:

      Availability in F regularly appears to NYC, but not always at T-355. This can be an advantage though, if you’re using a 2 4 1 as it means it’s more likely that you can book both legs at once instead of faffing around on the phone to BA!

      • Anna says:

        However, it can also pay to be on the ball – I needed 3 avios seats to MIA for Easter 2020 and usually book at T-355 as we are stuck with school holidays at the moment. At 1.30 am as I sat at the computer 3 F seats materialised which was obviously the jackpot for me!

    • meta says:

      +1 I start checking availability about 1-2 months before the date I want. You do notice some patterns, like likelihood of F availability on certain day on some routes. Some F seats are not released at midnight, but at 1pm. It’s good to have subscription to RFF or Expertflyer precisely for that reason.

  • Sussex Bantam says:

    I think what this article shows is what a terrible loyalty scheme BAEC actually is. Whilst some people will be able to book flexibly most people are limited either by time or destination (or both). For those people they likely need to have made a decision a year in advance and then get up at midnight/1am to make a booking. If you want to redeem a 241 then you even have to be prepared to phone Japan to be able to organise this.

    HfP’s know enough to make this work but for the average person it much be such an exercise in disappointment….and the purpose of a loyalty scheme should not be to leave your loyal customers disappointed and frustrated…

    • marcw says:

      You can always is Aviso to receive a discount on your flights. The majority of FFP do not allow that.
      Therefore, you have SO many options with your Avios, way more than any other FFP in the world.

      The question remains whether it’s “good value”. But that’s a different story.

    • Nick_C says:

      Surely the loyalty scheme is the Silver and Gold benefits which frequent flyers get.

      I’m not sure Avios is a loyalty scheme. More a way of filling unsold premium seats without selling them at heavily discounted fares.

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        That’s an interesting perspective – and it may well be the role BA see for Avios – but it isn’t the way it is marketed. My point is that marketing something in one way which inevitably leads to disappointment for most of your customers isn’t a great idea…

      • marcw says:

        It’s the opposite. Bronze/Silver/Gold is the frequent flyer scheme. The more you fly, the more benefits you get.

        Avios is the loyalty program. You get a reward for your loyalty, in the form of points, which you can redeem to get things for “free”.

        • ken says:

          Interesting. I bet BA see Gold/Silver as the loyalty scheme.

          You get repeat customers, often booking business, often booking flexible fares (ok these can be with other airlines).

          Many of the benefits of gold are guaranteed and fairly easy to value.

          • marcw says:

            You can be loyal to Avios… but never paid for a BA flight.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            I have hundreds of thousands of Avios but have never set foot on a BA plane. So whatever Avios is … it’s not a BA loyalty scheme :D.

        • Nick_C says:

          Most people fly at the back of the plane on cheap tickets. The Avios you get from these flights are worth bugger all.

      • Lady London says:

        Noting also that it’s also for getting a lot of your Avios off you as well as more cash than that same seat may be selling for (without the Avios). This particularly for Y transatlantic.

    • Doug M says:

      Terrible scheme as judged against what you’d like, or alternate schemes? I find BAEC to be really good for me, and whilst anything can be improved, it’s better than any alternate for me.
      Achievable tiers, good benefits from those tiers, and benefits that extend into OW alliance.

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        “Terrible scheme” as in the user experience – although I was specifically talking about the redemption of Avios. I do actually enjoy the benefits from the status.

        I’m a GCH, so in theory one of BA’s more valued customers, but in order to use the Avios I’ve collected to go to the place I want, when I want it is necessary to jump through multiple hoops.

        To book next year’s summer holiday I had to get up at 1am twice including a phone call to Japan. I then ended up having to split my family up across different airports as there were only 2 seats on any flight. My wife will take one of my daughters back from Tampa. I will drive to Miami and take the other home from there. We will end up in Gatwick and Heathrow (hopefully – last year we ended up in Cardiff but that’s a different story)

        We play the game, of course, because the saving is substantial but it doesn’t leave me feeling like a very valued customer when I hang up at 1.30am. Surely a good scheme should leave me feeling happy and positive when I redeem for my rewards – not frustrated and tired ?

        • Doug M says:

          Circumstances are your problem, one gold wanting 4 LH flights. To be clear I don’t know the answer, but would the Air France/KLM or Lufthansa scheme at a similar level make 4 seats widely available?
          I regard the gold benefits as great, I really do. Then again, I have yet to redeem for a long haul flight, I go the cash route, booking ex-EU and earning status and Avios I then spend on short haul.
          Long haul redemption availability would be improved by limiting the Amex 241, but then look how negatively Virgin are perceived for their version, often described as rubbish.

          • Sussex Bantam says:

            Well – its sort of circumstances but more the design of the scheme. There are ample seats available on the flights I wanted either for cash or for On Business points – just not for Avios. That’s a scheme design decision taken by BA.

            Equally the release of seats at 1am is an active decision taken by BA. Why not mid-day rather than midnight ?

            Now of course these things actually play to our benefit as we understand how the scheme works but for the “ordinary person” they have very little chance of redeeming for a seat to a popular destination. That doesn’t seem like a good scheme design to me.

            …and I must admit that as I woke up tired the follow morning and told my wife she was flying home from Tampa and me from Miami I did start to question whether I shouldn’t just go down your route and pay cash instead.

            (And I don’t know if any other scheme is better – I suspect not)

          • Doug M says:

            Have you considered ex-EU? At the moment there is a lot of availability from Paris to many USA destination including Miami for €1200 upwards. Obviously you have the Paris trip either end, but at least you’d be together as a group.

  • Paul says:

    Slightly OT. I have premium reward flight finder set up for a European flight on Sunday. A flight has come up at 6am which I would rather cancel the trip than take.

    Is it possible to get notifications for if more flights come available on that day?

    • Rob says:

      This is an issue with RFF. You won’t get more notifications now unless availability on the 6am goes away and then it reappear on a new flight.

      • meta says:

        I believe Expertflyer though has the ability to search for an award seat on a particular flight.

        • Mawalt says:

          ExpertFlyer does have that option. I use both EF and RFF because EF does not have the “overview” look, whereas RFF has ONLY the overview look. Also RFF searches more frequently if the search window is further out (ie more than 3 days out)

        • Lady London says:

          As does itamatrix, if you can get your head round the syntax

      • EwanG says:

        Could another solution be for Paul to book those 6am seats (however many there are) to use up the inventory, then to use the £1 per seat cancellation fee when hopefully availability on later flights appears. It does mean he needs to have the Avios to do this though.

      • MT says:

        It would be a useful feature. I’ve been wanting to do the opposite – search for availability on the 2 morning Miami flights so i can connect for the Caribbean. Most days have availability but not on the elusive morning flights.

  • Robert says:

    Great article thanks, very useful. I used RFF to help with a recent Singapore trip and managed to get F at the last minute.
    For me now, I’m wanting to maximise the value of my next 2-4-1 and take a trip on either the new A350 so I can compare the new CW hard product, or preferably fly F in the 787-9 which has only 8 seats compared to the 14 on 777s and A380s. Does anyone know if they are better, or is it just a smaller floor space and therefore the same product but slightly newer in a smaller cabin?

    • Polly says:

      Take F if you can get it..great experience.

    • Stu_N says:

      The 787-9 F seat is similar to the others, it’s an evolution rather than new seat. The TV screen is larger but is fixed in place and the controls and storage are a bit different to the rest of the fleet. The 787 is a lovely aircraft to fly on, it’s noticably quieter than 747/777 and the higher cabin pressure and humidity makes a real difference to how I feel after a long flight.

      It’s worth a try if the availability/destination/timings work for you, but I’d choose primarily on where you want to go rather than the aircraft type.

      • Dev says:

        In my experience, I felt that the B787-9 has tighter F seats than the B777 or B747, and the A380 has the most space and comfort in F.

    • Robert says:

      Thanks for all the advice, I agree the middle 2 seats on the A380 felt the most spacious so far. That’s interesting about the fixed screen, I’m keen to give it a go now on something like the Tokyo route.
      Thanks again.

      • Matt says:

        Hi Robert, I’ve travelled in F on the A380 and 787-9, and for me the 787-9 wins. It’s a very stylish cabin and I felt great flying in it. Maybe the A380 is bigger but I didn’t notice it. You can still dine with a buddy on the 787-9 (one of you sits on the ottoman) but it’s obviously tighter than the other planes due to the fixed tv screen. Go for F if the availability is there.

        • Nick_C says:

          I flew F in the 789 to Tokyo. Very nice experience. Couple of points worth noting though. The fixed IFE screen means no buddy dining, and the bed won’t go fully flat. The top of the bed is at (for me) a noticeable angle, and I think I sleep better in the CW seat! (I also like facing my partner in CW and chatting over dinner.)

          I went to TYO with my nephew; out in F, back in CW. He had only ever flown in economy. His verdict; it was nice, but he didn’t see much difference between Business and First.

          For me, the best things about F were the First Wing and CCR at LHR (why are people so disparaging about it?), the champagne, and a VIP voucher for fast track immigration on arrival in Narita. A charming lady took us to an unstaffed desk which was promptly opened especially for us, The on board seating and space was marginally better than Business Class on AA’s 77W.

          • Will says:

            Nice report, have 4 of us flying out in F on the 787 to NRT this week, looking forward to a cabin of just 8!

          • Robert says:

            Thanks for this information, it’s very useful, just hope I can get booked up, BA005 seems to have plenty of availability but BA006 has none, time to call BA and ask nicely if they can free something up!

        • Genghis says:

          buddy dining is not an option on the 789

  • David says:

    Can someone remind me regarding Lloyds upgrade vouchers:
    Voucher expiry date = book by date.
    Question: Can you change dates after booking? Including after voucher expiry?
    What is impact for a off-peak to peak, or peak-to-off-peak change?

    Also, changes to routes in the same zone still permitted after voucher expiry?

    Thanks,

    • Mikeact says:

      Yes, we we’ve just book a year out, knowing the I can call and change the date or destination in the same zone only….and assuming there are seats for your new destination.

      • David says:

        Thanks, have you booked a peak day or a non-peak day?

        • Mikeact says:

          Happen to be non peak, but you can change to peak as well, by paying the difference. In fact we downgrade one to non peak earlier this year, complete with a refunded difference.

          • David says:

            Thanks.
            exEU starts are permitted on the Lloyds vouchers aren’t they?

          • Anna says:

            Ex EU definitely possible as I have used a voucher to upgrade my son and me to CW on a return leg from BOS.

          • Kian says:

            I currently have a Lloyds upgrade voucher booking for CW return. Does anyone know the chance that I could change the return flight from CW to First and pay the change fee and Avios difference between CW and First? I know it’s technically not allowed, but I’m not sure whether the agent could see that my booking involved the upgrade voucher. And should I call BA or avios.com to ask about the change?

          • Mikeact says:

            No First with Lloyds voucher.

  • Mikeact says:

    I feel the situation is probably equally as difficult with RFS around Europe, there is little option but to book well in advance for your preferred destination and hope that all works out , for, say a visit in 6, 9 months time.
    Using Tim’s excellent resource, we thought we would see what’s available for a week or so, leaving today/tomorrow (as the rain was pouring down outside.) Not really surprised, but very little convenient spots with sun, and those I found were a combination of leaving from LCY, LGW, or LHR … usually at the crack of dawn and having to return to one of the other London airports to get back.
    And it of course all takes time and patience, going back and forth between Tim’s and BA, particularly between Economy and CE searches to try and find any suitable combination.
    I’m not complaining, just pointing out that many popular routes just have to be booked in advance to stand any chance…short haul or long haul…as we all know.

    • meta says:

      +1 If you see award seat available on some short-haul routes, you must not hesitate to book it straight away. It might be gone within few hours.

    • Lumma says:

      I’ve found shorthaul recently seems to be availability in Club Europe only, unless you have the flexibility to wait until the last minute (by which I mean booking in the evening to fly the next morning) when they’ll often release some economy seats.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      My experience seems to be the opposite. Managed to get Avios seats to Europe with short notice no problem but I‘ve used the RFF map and agree with others it’s business rather than eco most of the time.

      I’m will to pay £200 return for a club Europe ticket so value usually works out for me.

    • pauldb says:

      The AA award map is really good for a specific date check. Maybe too late but today for example there is BDS, CAG or DBV. That’s one way but in a week I would think you can find a flight back for <£100 if nothing else.

  • Mr. AC says:

    Kinda surprised about the 0 First class availability to Moscow when there’s wide-open Club availability. I checked, and these are some single seats available, so BA does have some F availability on this route. Is it the frequent flyers trying out F enticed by the low taxes?

    • Mawalt says:

      I used to travel this route every few months until recently for the last year. Club availability is generally good (Club service in the morning is not worth the upgrade though due to the appalling breakfast menu). There is almost never any availability in First and it’s usually full – whether by reward passengers or not, hard to say. Club is usually half-empty.

      I tended to book WTP and upgrade using Avios to Club where available but only on return flight (DME-LHR).

      • Nick says:

        on my flight to moscow in F earlier this year, my wife and I were the only ones in the cabin. A tiny sample size, but we did have a choice of dates.

        • Mawalt says:

          What did you think of the F “soft product” on that flight? Worth the extra Avios or “meh”?

          • Nick says:

            It’s £55 a ticket, it was an absolute bargain. They went out of their way to wedge in a full F service. The food has been better on other F flights but the Concorde lounge; f seat; f service and champagne for 4-5 hours for a handful of extra points?! It’s a no-brainer, especially as we were on a companion voucher too.

  • Aston100 says:

    Would BA assist in some way if one is unlucky enough to never find availability to a small list of destinations at specific times of the year?
    For example Cape Town in summer school holidays?

    • Polly says:

      Never!

      • Stu_N says:

        They do for gold card holders:

        https://headforpoints.com/2019/01/02/what-is-the-british-airways-gold-priority-reward/

        There are also various upgrade vouchers as well.

        • Doug M says:

          Before the double Avios route they open additional seats for golds anyway.

          • Stu_N says:

            Yes, the V class economy redemptions can be brilliant.

            £250 return to London or £35 + 8,000 Avios, Hmmmm let me think about that….

          • Shoestring says:

            how so? opening up extra redemption seats for Golds (ie not the double Avios forcing open route)

          • Stu_N says:

            There’s lots of extra redemption seats in economy for Golds – if there are cash seats in fare class “V” a Gold can book a redemption. “V” is one of the cheaper economy buckets but if you’re trying to book about 1-2 weeks out, you’ll generally find something that works out OK.

          • Shoestring says:

            I didn’t realise that, I imagined redemption availability would be the same for all statuses incl Blueys like myself! (apart from double Avios/ forcing open seat route) – regardless, can’t see me getting Gold in the foreseeable future

          • Rob says:

            Only Economy so you’re not missing much.

          • Doug M says:

            CE hardly that different to economy of a SH flight when you’re gold and have the lounge and everything else anyway. Access to exit row seats, theoretical seating keeping seat next to you blocked. CE for a gold offers little.

          • Lady London says:

            Gold is definitely, definitely shown more options and better flights. Recent experience of being Gold Silver and Bronze and what is shown on regular search is very very different.

      • Aston100 says:

        Never?
        Sounds a bit unfair if one is unable to use the voucher due to constant lack of availability to destinations on dates that one is forced to limit oneself to? no?

        • Shoestring says:

          Not at all unfair – that’s user fault

          Quite simply, BA redemption flights *are* available 4+2 on (nearly) every route, every day of the year – if the user can’t get their act together to book the flight/s they want in time before somebody else nabs them, you can’t blame BA

          • Anna says:

            Indeed, you need to be flexible. It would be like going into a shop and demanding that they stock items they don’t usually sell. You buy what they’ve got or go somewhere else. I am as restricted as any parent who can only travel in the school holidays but am always spoilt for choice with redemptions, unless you think J/F to Cayman Islands, Miami, NYC, Boston, Washington DC and many European destinations counts as “limited”!

          • Russ says:

            Well I do have some sympathy wilh Aston100. If someone can never get the redemption they want then it puts another slant on the 2-4-1 advertising. I do agree that you have to be quick off the mark if you want highly sort awards, but are we now saying that someone also has to have the same knowledge background HFP’rs have to make it work?

          • Stu_N says:

            I think of it like going to TK Maxx – there’s always something to buy if you’re not too fussy and you’ll eventually get what you want if you’re patient and persistent.

            We’ve done F to or from New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Boston, Seattle and Nashville and J from New Orleans in the last three years and scored Cathay F and J from Hong Kong to Tokyo and Singapore, all places we definitely wanted to go to and we got them pretty much when we wanted.

          • meta says:

            @ Russ Absolutely! Many of my friends are surprised when I tell them that you need to book 355 days out and that BA releases 4+2 awards on every flight. Some even refuse to believe me.

          • Mikeact says:

            Not all the knowledge obviously, but if i were starting out again from scratch, I’d be looking for as much help assistance, and advice as possible . If I couldn’t be bothered then tough.

          • Anna says:

            Love the T K Maxx analogy – yes there’s usually a fabulous bargain to be had even if it wasn’t your first choice!

          • Aston100 says:

            So my take from this and other comments on this thread is that one shouldn’t count on using the companion voucher for a pre-planned holiday and instead have a shortlist of destinations and dates that fall within budget and within a wider date range.

            However, this does not take away the fact that it is entirely possible to miss out on all short listed destinations and dates if there are just the 2 or 4 seats available per flight and there are other people wanting those too. Especially if the date range is say 2 weeks within a 6 week period. I can imagine trying to book each destination unsuccessfully one after another, every night – especially if by the time you’ve got to the second or third choice, those have been snapped up by others.

            I’m not going to say the companion voucher scheme is not fit for purpose, but to me it’s heading in that direction given the restrictions by BA and limitations on dates and destinations wanted by the traveller.

          • Rob says:

            One thing to learn from this article is that China is an excellent place to target. You can either book an onward connection immediately, for cash or with Avios on JAL / Cathay / Malaysia etc, or take advantage of the ‘no Visa stopover’ for a couple of days and then fly on. Seems by far the easiest way to ‘do’ Asia.

          • Darren says:

            It’s a better strategy to have the more available destinations in mind prior to booking.

            This article goes some way to pointing you/me in the right direction, even though this is a snapshot with some anomalies. Hong Kong seems light at the moment.