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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!  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

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Comments

  1. 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?

    • 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.

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

        • 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

      • 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.

      • 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.

  2. 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?

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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!

          • 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

  3. 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,

    • 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.

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

        • 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.

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

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

          • 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?

          • No First with Lloyds voucher.

  4. 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.

    • +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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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?

    • 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).

      • 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.

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

          • 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.

  6. 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?

    • Never!

      • They do for gold card holders:

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

        There are also various upgrade vouchers as well.

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

          • 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)

          • 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

          • Only Economy so you’re not missing much.

          • 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.

      • 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

          • 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”!

          • 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?

          • 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.

          • @ 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.

          • 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.

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

          • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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.

  7. Sorry O/T:
    I asked to cancel my wife’s BA PP Amex and got this message fro mthe live chat people:
    “If you have earned a British Airways Companion Voucher, please be aware that Companion Voucher bookings must be made using the British Airways Card they were earned with. This is set in the Terms and Conditions on the Companion Voucher. Cancelling this Account may mean you are unable to redeem your Companion Voucher. ”
    They also repeated the point that an unused companion voucher will be voided. Also that the payment of taxes etc for using a companion voucher has to be made with the very Amex card that the voucher was earnt through.

    This sounds a bit different from what I’ve read on this site in recent times.

    • Shoestring says:

      trust HfP, not BAPP CS

      • Shoestring says:

        you do need an Amex card (any) available to you, though

      • OK but you can understand my hesitation when the words of warning and references to t&cs is coming from the customer services of the card provider.

        • Shoestring says:

          Absolutely

          Probably 100+ hfp regulars have been told the same as you and got nervous but nobody here has ever got the bad outcome

        • I was one of those nervous people, cancelled 5 weeks ago and the voucher is still sitting there waiting to be used. Supplementary card on a different account will be used to pay the fees.

        • No, if you read this site regularly you’ll realise that the LAST place you should go for information is the customer services of the airline / hotel / card provider …..

    • 1nfrequent says:

      I just did a BA Companion redemption booking using a Gold Amex. The chap on the phone didn’t care about whether it was the BA Amex (literally told me that as long as it was an Amex the system would allow it).

      1F

  8. O/T as no Bits — Marriott: does anyone know if you can use your free SPG (25,000 point max hotel) night certificate IN TANDEM with a Suite Night Award? I have 9 of these to use before year-end, which I’ll not achieve. Usually, at participating hotels, once a booking has been made you would notice a “Use your Suite Night Award?” query within the booking itself, but, in making a dummy booking with my free night certificate yesterday at a Renaissance hotel, no such SNA offer was noticeable within the booking… does anyone know if these stack? Certainly, SNAs are doable on redemption bookings — I used one at the St Regis Osaka in Feb — but would appreciate any reader experiences of trying to use them on a free night certificate booking. Thanks in advance.

  9. Picking up on male, etihad run a 787 with F cabin out of there. Possible to link nicely to an A380 appartment to London with AA miles for no more than a return to Abu Dhabi as male is sane price on reward chart.

  10. Your numbers tally with my personal experience. I can usually find awards in CW and First to the East Coast of North America. But for the West Coast it is much harder. San Francisco in particular can be very hard to find much at all, ditto for San Jose. Interestingly when BA flew to Oakland award space was easy, although there was no F on that flight: 777-200 from Gatwick.

    LA, Seattle and Vacouver are all tough to find as well.

    It’s a shame because flights to the East Coast are almost too short to really enjoy F, and I normally would not pay much more for that.

    • I never use avios for longhaul from London, but bought last minute avios tickets from LA and HKG couple of times and it was always easy.

  11. Chelseafi says:

    I’m really surprised how little availability in first for Vegas there is. I’m going in Nov, 2 out in first & club return, I’m sure when I booked last Dec there were loads more dates 2 seats in first out???

    • Last month I booked my flight back from Vegas for next summer, and at the time you could book almost every day across July and August in CW with a fair few in F. Almost all gone now. Wouldn’t be surprised if people who didn’t get first choice to LAX etc used those flights instead

    • Vegas in November is not easily available. My wife and I went there in November 2017 in J (U), and could not find any decent availability, so ended up flying to SFO. So I would say sometimes it’s the other way too!

      F reward availability on SFO/LAX/Vegas routes is extremely limited.

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