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How far in advance can you book flights with Avios?

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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.

Do I earn Avios and tier points on reward flights?

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 1.9 million monthly page views.  Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios?  Click here to read our latest news storiesclick here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.)


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2022)

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. You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 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 (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel 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 10,000 Avios.

Capital on Tap Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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.)

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