Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Intriguing new Avios promo – open ANY seat for Avios, on any flight, if you hit a qualifying target

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Someone has been thinking outside the box over at Waterside.  British Airways has launched a brand new offer for UK Executive Club members with an interesting twist.

If you qualify, you will get an intriguing reward – you can convert ANY seat which is bookable for cash into an Avios seat.

You still need to pay the standard number of Avios for your seats plus taxes and charges.  The seats are not free.  The special benefit is that you can forget about not finding any Avios availability – BA will open up the exact seats you want on the exact flight you want, as long as seats are still available for cash.

And good news: it isn’t restricted to any specific classes and there is no seat cap per flight.  The bad news is that there are a small amount of blackout dates – more on those later.

There is one important qualification for this promotion: you have to book and travel four long-haul return cash bookings in Club World or First before 12th February 2020 before you unlock this ability.  Existing bookings do not count.

If you are a British Airways Gold Guest List member, you will immediately recognise that BA is effectively giving all BAEC members the chance to earn the same ‘joker’ that you receive as a GGL benefit.

Full details and registration are on this page of ba.com.

This isn’t an offer for everyone, and BA recognises that the offer could look quite restrictive. However, there is potentially some real value here.

Many of the people who will be able to qualify for this offer will already be British Airways Executive Club Gold members.

On the face of it, this promotion looks fairly similar to the standard Gold Priority Reward benefit.

For those unfamiliar with this benefit, a Gold Priority Reward gives you the ability to use double the regular Avios to secure a seat of your choice, providing you book 30 days or more in advance.  Rob is a huge fan of this benefit for snagging ski flights over February half term, when you can easily pay £500+ per person for a Euro Traveller flight to France / Austria / Italy / Germany.

British Airways unlock Avios seats promo

In comparison, this offer also lets you open any seat that is available for cash, but for the normal Avios price rather than double.

Here are some sample itineraries where you are unlikely to find standard Avios availability:

4 x Club World tickets to Dubai at Easter

Using the Gold Priority Reward – 960,000 Avios + taxes / charges

Using this ‘Unlock’ offer – 480,000 + taxes / charges

You’d save 480,000 Avios if you qualified for this deal.

Closer to home:

4 x Club Europe tickets to Corfu at May half-term

Using the Gold Priority Reward – 320,000 Avios +  taxes / charges

Using this ‘Unlock’ offer – 160,000 Avios + taxes / charges

You would save 160,000 if you qualified for this deal.

These are big savings, even if you do need to take 4 Club World or First flights before 12th February in order to unlock them.

If you are not already a Gold member – although the 4 Club World flights would get you fairly close in themselves – this new offer is even more valuable as you don’t have access to Gold Priority Rewards at all at the moment.

There are blackout dates, but manageable ….

Whilst there are some blackout dates, there are fewer than you might expect.  All of the blackout dates are two-day blocks rather than week or month-long periods.

British Airways unlock Avios seats promo

The small print

For your four qualifying flights in Club World or First:

  • You have to pre-register via this link BEFORE booking any of the qualifying flights
  • Flights must be taken by 12th February 2020
  • Flights booked in Club World or First to the following routes are not eligible to unlock the promotion: Amman, Beirut, Moscow, Tel Aviv.
  • Flights have to be made on British Airways, no codeshares

When redeeming your flights:

  • You can only redeem for up to a maximum of 5 passengers on the same booking.
  • Upon completion of the requirements, BA will contact eligible members via email on 28th February with a reward access voucher, and instructions on how to redeem.
  • Redemption booking to be made by: 30 April 2020
  • Redemptions must be made at least 30 days in advance of travel
  • Redemption travel by: 31 October 2020
  • I have spoken to BA and they confirm that you can use a BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher alongside this offer

How to use the offer

Pre-register now using this link. You’ll simply need to click the Register Now button if logged in and that’s it.

I don’t think anyone – including BA – is pretending that this offer is for everyone.  However, if you are taking one long-haul Business Class or First Class flight per month on average, you might want to think about the benefits of moving four of them to British Airways before 12th February.

Remember that this offer would double-up with the current ‘double Avios’ promotion (article here and register here) if you can book your flights by 13th December.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

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

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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.

Comments (76)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Stephen Tan says:

    O/T I just wondered can Morrison’s Gift Vouchers only be used in store or can they be used for fuel as well? I tried looking on their site but there does not seem to be much info about their own gift vouchers!

    • Andrew M says:

      Paper = Fuel. Plastic = Store only.

      • Stephen Tan says:

        Thanks Andrew

        • Crafty says:

          Not necessarily. I was furiously rejected at the fuel desk, and told in no uncertain terms that if other colleagues had been accepting the paper vouchers in exchange for fuel, they are wrong and “should be sacked”!

  • Lady London says:

    PS Welcome Sinead. Nice article.

  • Stu_N says:

    So, broadly BA are saying “If you push your very profitable long-haul business travel to BA over the slacker winter season, we’ll make it massively easier to redeem the pile of Avios you earn from us”.

    Niche beneficiaries but a pretty smart promo to run IMO.

  • Anna says:

    After the article on which routes give the best redemption value per minute, Rob could run one on which is the best route to force open for avios – CW to Maldives? F to LAX or Sydney?

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Sydney over Maldives.

    • Mawalt says:

      Surely it’s any “rare find” route, obviously Sydney is the rarest (but its feeder flight to Singapore and other similar ones, are also rare)

  • Jake Mc says:

    Is it just me that thinks this could work quite well for non corporate flyers as an investment… even for families

    Assuming BA run their CW £1000 deals at end of November (they have done for the past few years)…

    You take 4x CW flights at £1000 each and then book 4x first seats to Sydney or LA or Maldives. Assuming 2x 2-4-1 vouchers are used the total cost will be between £6-8k for a peak time flights in first class + avios.

    I recognise it’s not deal of the century but the “value” of being able to take your whole family whenever is best (not just when avios allows) is significant. Assuming you do fly F the total cost would be max £2k per ticket.

    There will be quite a few people out there willing to spend Avios at a poor rate to travel in school holidays and save some cash.

    Recognise Maldives will not be F but same principle applies.

    • TripRep says:

      There’s no First class to the Maldives with BA

    • Alex W says:

      Sydney is a terrible deal even with 241s. With this deal it’s not £2k per ticket, it’s more like £3k per ticket once you include the £940 charges EACH (according to BA Redemption Finder), plus the 800,000 Avios you would need for 2 x 241s in F to SYD.

      Alternatively, just get a Qatar ex EU fare for less than £2k each in the sale. Between the 4 of you, you would also EARN over 100,000 Avios, and arguably Qatar business is better than BA First. In this comparison you’re spending 200k Avios each to save £750 each. You’re getting 0.375p per Avio and that’s with a 241!

      • Jake says:

        It’s 4x £1000 for the CW and then 4x £1000 for the fees etc.

        800,000 avios and £8k. Assume you lose 100,000 avios by not going Qatar that’s a total “cost” of 900,000 avios. That’s £0.89 per avios. Granted it’s not the best deal but for a some people there is a significant “cost” to having to position to an eu country- twice- and stop in Doha -twice. Especially with young kids.

        I think there will be quite a lot of people- mainly families- who actually struggle to use their avios and are actually happy to redeem at a poor rate to actually avoid having to pay higher £££ from London or go ex -EU

      • Louie says:

        When did Qatar last offer sub £2k fares to Oz?

  • Rajeev Kanwar says:

    Hello Can I clarify

    If you do the 4 flights in Business? First — Then for life everyone can just convert any cash seats into a reward seat?

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