Intriguing new Avios promo – open virtually 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.

British Airways unlock Avios seats promo

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.

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.

(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. Lochlann says:

    So they haven’t excluded the 5th Freedom flights from UVF, GCM etc. Now that’s an interesting loophole for somebody in that region…

  2. Natalie says:

    Will this work with people using the companion voucher?

  3. XR have a point on this one…

    “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”

    • XR? archaic Greek for the son of God?

      I can’t see anyone booking 4 flights just for the offer, more likely someone planning flights over the next 4 months might switch business between airlines.

      If it’s the “Exciteable Rabble”, well I’ve switched from rail to plane for the next half dozen domestic/tunnel trips as they keep attacking London’s public transport networks and I can’t be sure I’ll be able to get to Kings Cross or St Pancras.

  4. Bryan Celentano says:

    Yes, it needs to be returns. Ridiculous promotion and no one should be chasing 8 CW flights for this.

    • exactly, to those who have shall be given ….

    • Agreed, even with the least expensive CW seats to say, NYC, you must be talking about £12k worth of bookings. I’d love to know how many people actually take up the offer, especially as the award bookings are so restricted as well.

      • Lady London says:

        For NYC i think £4500 or so spend would be achievable to qualify. As target flyers will mostly have access to corporate rates/ route deals arranged by their compagnies or corporate travel agents. SFO or ORD might also produce good rates for J.

  5. I would suggest that TAP’s new Business Class Auction is closer to some real outside-the-box thinking – https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2019/10/30/tap-air-portugal-to-auction-business-class-seats-up-to-one-hour-before-flights/

    ps – Rob do you allow markup in these comments? It would have been to have made that a hyperlink rather than requiring cut/paste to view.

    • No it’s not… Loads of airlines already do that yet I’ve never seen a promotion like this before?

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Virgin Atlantic have done this for years, Czech airlines also offer this, to name just two…

      • Not the same as the TAP scheme though.

        The VS bid scheme closes 2 days before the flight whereas the TAP scheme only opens one day before departure

    • TAP has been doing that for many years now. Probably around a decade or so.
      They just revamped the process (you can use the app now) and sent out a press release pretending it’s new and this way they get some free publicity.

  6. Didn’t realise that it was necessary to pay the avios too. Takes thd gloss off, not that I would ever have qualified anyway.

  7. Why does the email not use the word longhaul:

    “Simply register, book and fly four return trips in Club World or First by 12 February 2020…”

    but the T&Cs do:

    “must book four commercial (non Reward) return flights on British Airways mainline (excluding code share flights) in longhaul Club World or First…?”

    Is it possible to book Club World and not fly long haul?

    • BA only operates Club world on long haul flights…

      Except for Amman, Beirut, Moscow and Tel aviv (probably mid haul) and the 5th freedom flights in the Caribbean.

      So all flights will have to be long haul

      • Also Cario is long haul in CW even though it’s a short flight.

        Essentially BA are classing anything a long haul that cash prices are consistently 4 figures.

  8. Sussex Bantam says:

    Gosh – talk about a niche promotion.

    If you will take 4 long haul flights between now and the end of February, that you have not yet booked, then you can qualify…

    I’m sure there are a few people who might be persuaded to switch their expensive short notice long haul flights from other airlines but its pretty limited.

  9. David S says:

    Wow – apart from Corporate travel, who in the world would book 4 new additional Club/First return trips in the Winter months. Assuming you don’t travel alone, you must be talking spending an additional £10K to £20K. Someone at BA is definitely thinking outside the box !!

  10. Titus Adduxas says:

    Effectively 4 CW long haul flights for cash in 3 months! Anyone who does that amount of flying clearly doesn’t need Avios bookings.

    • ChrisBCN says:

      I think the sweet spot is a business traveller who earns all their avios on business travel but struggles to use them all. Many business travellers can switch business flights to BA, and then receive this as a personal ‘bonus’.

      In BA’s eyes, I guess they hope to switch a small number of late booked flights, which will be a good amount of revenue. And the cost to do so is pretty low.

  11. Mikeact says:

    Shame you only have 6 months to use your voucher from April next year. I could have been tempted, if only to get ‘down under’ for us both around Feb 2021, but not interested before the October deadline.

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