I am often asked by readers ‘how far in advance can I book with my Avios points?’. Today I wanted to look at how the system works.
The British Airways booking system lets you book flights up to 355 days in advance. This applies to both cash and Avios tickets.
If you want to fly on 20th April 2023, you can book the outbound from 30th April 2022.
This matters, because British Airways guarantees that four Business Class, two Premium Economy and eight Economy seats will be released for Avios booking as soon as the flight appears in the booking system.
More tickets will probably be released over the following 355 days, but these 14 seats are guaranteed. Similarly, there is no guarantee that First Class seats will ever be released for any specific flights, but they do usually pop up at some point.
If you want to be 100% certain of getting the seats you want for a particular day, you need to call British Airways on the dot of midnight when the seats open up 355 days in advance.
This is your ONLY chance of getting tickets to ‘peak’ destinations such as Sydney or, over Christmas, many other places.
The UK call centre is closed at midnight so you need to call the US – you can Google the current number equivalent to your membership tier. You will only be able to book the outbound flight at this time. You will need to call back a few days later to add your return flight when it becomes available. BA does not, at the moment, charge a change fee for doing this.
It is important to note that you shouldn’t try to use the website instead. When booking online, the ticket isn’t ‘yours’ until you’ve filled in all of the pasenger and payment details. A call centre agent, on the other hand, can put a seat on hold whilst taking all these details – even if it is already in your basket.
To be honest, unless you are travelling over peak school holiday dates, you only need to book 355 days ahead for peak routes such as the Maldives, Cape Town and Sydney.
What about using Avios to book on other airlines?
Whilst you can book flights on many other airlines using Avios – here is the full list of airlines – BA has no control over when those airlines choose to release seats. Partner airlines such as Qatar Airways do NOT release seats so far in advance.
The other thing to remember is that, irrespective of the airline policy, ba.com can only book 355 days in advance. Even if another airline has reward seats showing more than 355 days in advance on its own website, you won’t be able to book them via BA with Avios until we get to 355 days.
This actually works in the favour of UK residents. American Airlines passengers can book BA reward seats using their own American Airlines frequent flyer miles, but the American Airlines website only books 335 days in advance. This gives Avios members a one month advantage to book before the 20+ million members of the AA scheme can jump in!
(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works. You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )
(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 2.4 million monthly page views. Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios? Click here to read our latest news stories, click here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable 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.
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 good bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These are available 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.