Have you been struggling to find Avios seats for redemptions or upgrades? Even though there are cash tickets for sale on the same flight?
In this article I want to explain how, and how you can beat the system.
There are only a limited number of seats made available for Avios redemptions on each British Airways flight.
The good news is that – unlike virtually all other airlines – British Airways guarantees that there will be four Club (business class) seats, two premium economy as well as eight economy seats available to book with Avios on every BA flight. That is fourteen guaranteed seats in total.
Until July 2021 British Airways guaranteed just six seats in total – two in Club and four in economy – so the recent change means there are many more seats now guaranteed to be available.
These seats are made available as soon as seats are available for sale. This means at midnight 355 days before departure.
There are NO guaranteed seats in First Class although these are usually made available at some point.
These seats are reserved exclusively for Avios tickets and cannot be booked with cash.
In addition to the fourteen guaranteed Avios seats that British Airways provides on each of its flights, you will also often find it adding additional seats at other times in the months leading up to the departure. These will NOT be bookable 355 days in advance but will appear at random during the year.
In general, you do NOT need to book 355 days in advance – I never have! It is only necessary on the most popular routes, which as Sydney, Cape Town and the Maldives. Read this article for the best way to ensure you get the seats you want with Avios on a British Airways flight.
There are ways of opening up more seats for Avios redemptions, however. If you are a British Airways Executive Club Gold status holder, you can force open any seat that is available to book for cash using Gold Priority Reward. Whilst this is an expensive way of doing it – you will be charged double the normal Avios fare – it does mean you can book onto any flight that is still selling tickets.
(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 (October 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.
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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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.