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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.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

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

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

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 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 – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

(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 (76)

  • 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 !!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Anna says:

    But potentially you could spend £15k on flights, force open your avios seats to the Maldives, then get downgraded at check in…

    • gidon says:

      Downgraded? Is that a thing?

      Anyway, I hate these promotions, just pushing people to buy tickets they dont want/need

      • ChrisBCN says:

        It happened to somebody once and now people trot it out like it’s a daily occurrence…

        • Mawalt says:

          So how would that work if it did happen?

          I would be very annoyed if I lost Avios and 2-4-1 voucher on a redemption where I would have never booked Econ/PE using Avios. If booking Econ/PE I always use cash.

          I am guessing they would not return all the Avios and voucher so it’s a (small) risk.

          • Anna says:

            You’ve been away a long time…! Discussed ad infinitum on HFP if you want to look it up.

          • Mawalt says:

            Yes I know! I usually just read in my inbox. Will look it up

          • Rob says:

            There was a time – which seems to have passed – where BA appeared to be deliberately targetting 241’s for downgrades because it believed the 2nd flight was ‘free’ and so it wouldn’t have to pay compensation.

            Enough HFP and Flyertalk readers have now taken BA to arbitration and won (at 75% of the Avios used x 1.6p) that they realise this actually works out rather expensively 🙂

          • Lady London says:

            Serves them right.

        • Mawalt says:

          Excellent! And somewhat reassuring that should the “worst” happen, they will have to pay out at least something.

          • TripRep says:

            Yep and as I mentioned yesterday it’s the same reason to a get BA to provide an online full cash quote at the time of booking an Avios redemption.

            Proof of evidence of the equivalent monetary value for the Avios seats, could be useful in a court case.

          • Lady London says:

            Surely the value of thé ticket is whatever it would have cost you to buy it on the Day you were offloaded or downgraded? Otherwise highest cost seat was sold in your class.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Oh yes, it happens.
      Check out Trip Reps article on here.

  • Peter Taysum says:

    Any advice on long haul destinations that arent too expensive; I’d like to open up Maldives (have the HH points). Would they allow a 2:4:1 alongside?!?

    Yes it might be crazy; but for Maldives availability… 😊

    • Anna says:

      Rob was looking into the 2 4 1 angle – I presume you mean “not too expensive” destinations for the qualifying flights, not the Maldives!

      • Rob says:

        BA now confirms a 241 can be used as well. Not surprising as the Gold Guest List ‘jokers’ work with a 241.

      • Peter Taysum says:

        Yes. To get Maldives on 2:4:1 I’d consider using some Annual Leave if I could get decent prices; I’m guessing the “cheap” CW and First have gone as it close to qualifying period…

        • SimonW says:

          Why wouldnt you just pay for the flights to the Maldives and forget this offer?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Say you were looking to hit gold anyway? I don’t know if you have 3x business trips planned could this article push you over the edge to book that long weekend away somewhere warm on your own dime?

            Promos have this effect even if it’s not entirely rational

    • Will says:

      Look into buying AA miles then redeeming on etihad for a mich simpler method of getting to the Maldives. 85k return business, 125k first and “taxes” will be much better.

      • Peter Taysum says:

        Oh wow. That’s a brilliant idea. I’m Gold, likely to lapse back to Silver, and then will probably work back to Gold. Could credit my flights to American to start building; buy more and keep 2:4:1 for something else….

        Thanks

  • Mawalt says:

    Both my wife and I (both BAEC Silver) got this promo and registered just in case. Annoyingly, she just booked flights to Asia in J but on another OW airline (BA was direct but 3x the price).

    Having said that, I am not sure her company would have been too excited at paying 3x more just to hit some target!

  • Lady London says:

    It’s rewarding corporate flyers for doing the flying a lot of them would be doing anyway. Increases the grip BA have in those accounts.

    This is not about democracy it’s about making use of a slack period. It reveals the DNA of BA. It will make rich middle and upper management happy because it works to take their families on holiday – a compensation for all that corporate flying that will make them feel better about BA. Even if they didn’t chose BA but got told to fly BA because of corporate agreements.

    No it’s not a mass market promotion but it’s well targeted, BA. For those corporate flyers I havent heard of anything this good being done since the 70’s.

  • Stephano says:

    Off topic – Just tried to use a Lloyds avios upgrade voucher which is expiring 31 dec. Been told by avios, the system is unavailable and they dont know when it will be back up. Just a heads up for anyone looking to use theirs for a last minute flight like i was. Was told they’d been extended until 8 Nov?!

    • Will says:

      I phoned on Tuesday and used my lloyds voucher for a flight departing on 29th Dec. I had no issues at all apart from a 20 minute wait on the phone for the call to be answered. Did you phone? If you did, I would phone again and see what a different agent says.

      • Gio says:

        Yes, was on the phone. Very odd. May just be a temporary thing today then.

        Will try tomorrow again as I can cancel my eceonomy redemption I made within 24h with no cancellation fee as i understand it.

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