REMINDER: Open virtually ANY seat for Avios, on any flight, if you hit a qualifying target with BA’s current promo

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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

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

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.

(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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  1. Lawrence H says:

    O/t – has Avios and/or BAEC taken down their schemes to earn Avios from in-store shopping? Head for Points did a good article about this in 2016:

    I registered some cards a year or so ago but can’t find any link to update them.

    • Caffe Nero defected to Virgin, but rate seems to have fallen to 1 flying club mile per £1 spent in store (on food as well as coffee).

      There are still a few in store offers from IAG, but easier to spot on Aer Club site (especially Oliver Bonas which has couple of hundred avios bonus on first purchase, no minimum spend).

    • As best I remember they took away the ability to add cards. So existing offers remained, but there was no way to add a card, or presumably remove or update.

  2. P Roberts says:

    Hi everyone
    I need 260 points by Jan 9th to make gold. Any suggestions on how I could do this for around £400-£500? I’ll go anywhere.

    • Shoestring says:

      narrow your search to cheap business return on Bucharest, Catania, Funchal / Madeira, Helsinki, Malta, Marrakech, Reykjavik and Sofia – aim for £200-ish should be achievable

      2x £160 TPS would do it

      • I think all those cheap fares require overnight, maybe specifically Saturday, stays? So you have to factor in hotel costs too.

      • P Roberts says:

        Thank you will take a look

      • Lady London says:

        And if you’re going from /though Heathrow, make sure you pick one that goes out of Terminal 3 so you can do a lounge crawl as well!

  3. Anything through the shopping portals is very hit and miss. Taking hotels as an example, not only will they not pay on taxes and fees, they’ll also pay a slightly lower amount without explanation. Life is too short to start into it with those portals, they’re completely unreliable. If you earn something from them great, but they’re not to be relied on for a precise amount of Avios/FC miles.

  4. Hi Rob, would we be able to use this offer together with a Gold Upgrade for Two (GUF2) voucher?

  5. Is BA RFS fees for cancellation still £1 for RT and £0.50 for OW booking?
    I am thinking of making a booking for next summer but not too sure about dates yet.

  6. OT – I’ve hit BA Gold last week. Any other benefits worthwhile that I need to sign up to? The only benefit I see is Group 1 boarding and use for 1st Lounge at T5/JFK

    • Roberto says:

      Extra avios when you fly
      Exit seats in economy at no cost
      Share your miles for free
      Gold Priority Rewards
      Shiny little card
      Gold line support.

      • Genghis says:

        First wing

        • Lady London says:

          More luggage.
          Other OneWorld partners’ First/Gold lounges.
          Helps a lot especially in Asia, places like Hong Kong.

          Being able to use US lounges when flying on domestic AA flights, which AA;s own US members are not allowed to.

          Being able to force open a revenue seat for double avios (apoligies if someone;s already mentioned that – Rob did a recent article)

          • Normal AA domestic lounge access actually comes with Silver as well, but there may be AA Flagship lounges you can only access with Gold.

            Cathay First lounges in T3 and Hong Kong. Qantas First lounges in MEL, SYD, LAX and SIN.

            The list goes on. Enjoy it.

        • Presumably you could choose seats in row 1 in First and also in Club Europe (if you want them)?

    • Lady London says:

      Suggest you log into BA Executivfe Club and take a look around. They do have quite a few offers that are not always advertised or emailed. Offers are strictly only shown to you if you are the right level for them. You,and someone of a different level, will be getting a different set of offers (same as when you look at the seatmap to reserve seats) even though it;s not obvious.

    • Lady London says:

      PS choose your next chronologcally taken flight carefully as empriically (happened to me twice on first flight after upgrading to Gold) you may get upgraded.

      • Thanks all. Guess using the better lounges are key. Cathay in T3 is nice, I always head that way when I was silver.

        Good point re the phone number, must update my saved contact in my phone to the Gold Number

  7. Thanks Jill, if all else fails I should perhaps read the T & Cs!! Often it’s so much quicker to ask on here than plough through the long winded T & Cs. Thanks again.

  8. Lady London says:

    It’s normal to have VAT excluded.

    The place to really watch this is if you get a target for spend at a hotel. (eg on Accelerate).
    Those invariably exclude VAT, sales tax, possibly service charge etc.
    Additionally, there may be a dollar amount target rather than a GBP target. If so, be very very careful as the exchange rate used to count the GBP you spend against the target, if it’s in dollars, will be at an extremely unfavourable exchange rate. So to spend enoug to meet the in-hotel spend target, you will spend pretty much as many pounds, as dollars with these two combned effects.

    Example : I had a target of 40 dollars for in-hotel spend, and needed to spend £35+ to meet it. According to the official exchange rate at the time I shouldn’t have ad to spend much more than about £30. In actual fact I made sure I spent £36 to be safe, having done the calculations, and only just got the spend to be calculated by the hotel group, to be enough to qualify. Even 1 cent short would have meant I’d have spent the money for nothing so far as the target was concerned.

  9. Akash Gupta says:

    Hi team – quick Q – do the 4 biz return flights have to be in the name of the same person, or 4 diff people? Thanks, Akash

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