I wanted to give the current British Airways ‘joker’ promotion another mention today. Whilst the offer runs until mid-February, you need to book AND fly by that date to qualify.
Importantly, if you make your bookings by 13th December then you will also earn double Avios on each of your qualifying flights. This is via the separate ‘BA double Avios’ promotion which you can register for here.
How does the ‘book ANY seat for Avios’ promotion work?
This is a novel offer, to give credit to British Airways. 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 prior to registration 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.
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
If you haven’t already signed up, you must pre-register now using this link before booking your flights. You’ll simply need to click the Register Now button if logged in and that’s it.
If you have already registered, treat this article as a reminder to get your flights booked! 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.
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 every couple of weeks, you might want to think about the benefits of moving four of them to British Airways before 12th February.
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:
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.
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.