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British Airways now guarantees 14 Avios seats per flight – 250,000 just released for booking

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British Airways has made a huge announcement this morning about Avios availability across the BA network.

The number of guaranteed Avios seats per flight has been increased SUBSTANTIALLY.

Long-haul flights will see at least 14 seats released when booking opens up at 355 days before departure. Short-haul flights will see at least 12 seats released.

This is a permanent change and has also been applied retrospectively. Additional seats are available on virtually EVERY British Airways flight between 28th July 2021 and 17th May 2022, which is as far out as you can book.

How many Avios seats are available per flight?

This is a genuine game-changing improvement to the Avios programme.

The two key points, at least from a HfP perspective, are:

  • the number of guaranteed Club World seats per flight is now four and not two – this is huge news for families
  • two World Traveller Plus seats are now guaranteed for the first time

Avios seats per flight from 28th July:

  • Club World (long haul business) – 4 seats per flight
  • World Traveller Plus (long haul premium economy) – 2 seats per flight
  • World Traveller (long haul economy) – 8 seats per flight
  • Club Europe (short haul business) – 4 seats per flight
  • Euro Traveller (short haul economy) – 8 seats per flight

Avios seats per flight at the moment:

  • Club World (long haul business) – 2 seats per flight
  • World Traveller Plus (long haul premium economy) – nothing
  • World Traveller (long haul economy) – 4 seats per flight
  • Club Europe (short haul business) – 2 seats per flight
  • Euro Traveller (short haul economy) – 4 seats per flight

There is still no guaranteed commitment to releasing First Class seats.

For absolute clarity, this new policy only applies to British Airways operated flights. It does not apply to Aer Lingus or Iberia, or of course to British Airways partner airlines. Iberia made its own recent changes which saw an increase in the number of guaranteed economy seats and two guaranteed seats made available in Premium Economy.

What seats have been opened up today?

For flights up to 27th July 2021:

Nothing has changed. You will not see any additional seats released.

For flights between 28th July 2021 and 17th May 2022:

British Airways has released additional seats to take each flight up to the new guaranteed minimums. However, this doesn’t mean that you will see the full amount.

Two Club World and four World Traveller seats were already released when those flights first became bookable. If those seats have been taken, you will only see the additional two Club World or four World Traveller seats today.

You will therefore see somewhere between 2-4 Club World / Club Europe seats and 4-8 World Traveller / Euro Traveller seats, depending on how many had already been booked.

Because the guaranteed two World Traveller Plus seats are brand new today, you WILL see 2 x World Traveller Plus seats bookable for Avios on every long haul British Airways flight between 28th July 2021 and 17th May 2022 – unless someone beat you to it.

On many peak flights you will still see no Club World seats because:

  • if BA has already opened up 4 x Business or 8 x Economy seats on a flight, no more have been released even if the seats previously released have been booked
  • the additional seats started to drop into the BA system from yesterday afternoon – many peak services have gone to people with SeatSpy alerts set up or who simply got lucky

The SeatSpy widget in the sidebar to your right, on desktop or tablet, or under this article, if you are reading on mobile, can help you search a particular route for a full year in a couple of seconds.

For flights from 18th May 2022, which are not yet bookable:

Going forward, on long haul you will see four Club World, two World Traveller Plus and eight World Traveller seats appearing at midnight GMT (currently 1am BST) each day.

Short haul will see four Club Europe and eight Euro Traveller seats released.

What do these Avios changes mean in practice this morning?

For a family of three or four – you WILL see lots of flights, even at peak dates, with four seats showing in economy. You will NOT see lots of flights with four business class seats available. BA has only released an additional two to top-up the two that were released when the flight first became bookable.

For a solo traveller or group of twoit’s your lucky day. You should see two business class seats, even on peak dates on peak routes, as well as two premium economy seats and four economy seats.

In truth ….

If you are a family of three or four, the real benefit from these changes will be in the months to come, not today. Every time that British Airways adds a route back to its schedule, four Club World seats will immediately appear for every flight for you to book.

As usual Head for Points will do its best to let you know immediately when new routes are added.

I’d probably get booking immediately but if you want to read some quotes first …..

Tom Stevens, Director of Brand and Customer Experience at British Airways, said:

“Our Members appreciate the benefits their Executive Club membership brings, but the feedback we hear is that people would like us to make it easier to book flights using Avios. We have listened and acted on this, and today’s announcement directly addresses this feedback, opening up six extra reward seats on a short-haul flight, and eight on a long-haul flight. We hope this means that a family holiday, or that big friendship group trip away, will be much easier to book using Avios.”

Adam Daniels, Chief Executive at IAG Loyalty, said:

“This is an exciting change that we have worked closely with the British Airways team to deliver. We hope it offers Executive Club Members even more opportunities to spend their hard earned Avios.”

Now, go and book something – click here for ba.com.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2024)

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points 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.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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.

Comments (319)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Joe says:

    Wish VA would do this – many points / vouchers to use!

    • Travel Strong says:

      I’ve always found the Virgin Atlantic approach pretty good. I’ve always found something to open up, albeit I might have had to be flexible on dates or wait for upper ticket to appear after booking premium etc.
      I prefer that to a 355 day 1am race though!

  • DT says:

    Just received the email from BA, call times are about to get even worse!

  • Wally1976 says:

    This is great news for us, I always worried they’d go the other way and remove the guaranteed seats 😀

  • lee says:

    shame no more first class seats

    • TGLoyalty says:

      T-355 release of First seats was never guaranteed

      • barnaby100 says:

        There are virtually no 1st class seats and haven’t been for several months-nothing about -355. paying £600 in taxes for an east coast CW redemption when you can buy it often for about £1000 is poor value but for a 1st it may be worth it

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Because there’s no guarantee they’ll be flying the bigger planes and therefore risk compo.

    • David says:

      The almost complete lack of availability on First on ALL UK/US is appalling. I understand that the withdrawal of 747s together with BA’s move to dispensing with many F cabins has reduced capacity enormously, BUT from Aug on this year there are virtually NO flights on offer anywhere in the whole of the US. If BA want to protect F, why don’t they increase the number of Avios needed, but make SOME available.

      • Memesweeper says:

        There’s a big risk for BA in F cabins not flying at all due to equipment swaps, and then they are on the hook for significant compo. Also demand is extremely unpredictable. If I were them I’d do no F redemptions except last minute.

        • Lady London says:

          +1 this was what it looks like BA have been doing. We can hardly blame them.

          For example if BA downgrades you from F to J perhaps because of an equipment change, then as this is an involuntary downgrade then after the flight you are entitled to claim 75% reimbursement of whatever you paid for First. For each seat. In the case of a 241, for each seat based on the cost of the first First seat.

          Doesn’t matter how you paid cash, avios, a sale fare for avios or cash, CV voucher etc. Reasonable to claim 1.6p per avios back (due to this being BA’s official regular selling price for an avios).

          Can you imagine how much that could cost BA? And all because someone was involuntarily downgraded from First to Club. Best not to accept any refund at all if this situation arises and ensure the downgrade is kept clearly as involuntary.

          • Craig says:

            I have F to Singapore next Feb. Cost more when J was available but done partly for this reason LL. I can’t lose, either a lovely return flight in F or a very cheap return in J.

      • njb says:

        I agree- hoping that things might change when Biden opens US – so i am hanging in there waiting for F availability.

  • mark2 says:

    Back in 2017-19 there were often more than four CW redemption seats on a flight (Vancouver, Seattle, Boston) and sometimes quite a few in F.
    Will this four be the minimum or also the maximum? rhetorical question I know.

    • Rob says:

      BA will keep offering seats to Avios if the money from Avios outweighs what BA expects to get for selling them (which will be £0 if it sees the flight won’t be full).

  • Iain says:

    Welcome news but probably won’t effect the overall number of redemptions available with the exception of places like CPT and MLE. The 4 CW seats on the uber-popular routes will get snaffled at 0001hrs.

    My concern is this gives further indication that BA expect flying to be hampered for the majority of places for a long time to come. There’s good availability even for a family of 4 but I’ve not booked anything. Even if flights operate, the testing requirements and the ability for Covid to F things up last-minute makes it a no-go for me just now. Plus long haul just ain’t worth the fees anymore even with a 2-4-1.

    Best tip I can give, if you want to avoid future red-listed countries is to look at a countries’ vaccination rates.

    Good luck to all though and I hope you get booked.

    • Ryan Gill says:

      Your best tip wouldn’t apply to the ME3 though. Red list despite great vaccination rates.

      • BuilBackBetter says:

        ME3 were always an exception as they are massive transit hubs

    • Manya says:

      I suspect a lot of seats are also not being picked up in same numbers as before as people are generating a lot less AVIOS to spend due to Amex rules on 2 year black out period.

  • Blair says:

    Can’t really get excited. But then I’m not the target audience as BA Avios just aren’t free flights in terms of how I interpret that concept. When you compare to Aadvantage with constant availability DUB-DOH on Qatar or DUB-AUH on Etihad and ‘taxes’ of about €10, I’d still rather funnel my Oneworld earnings in that direction.

    • Rob says:

      When you compare to trying to shuttle my wife and two kids to Dublin to travel DUB-DOH-BKK etc …. it is £2.2k of tax money well spent 🙂

      • Ryan Gill says:

        Yes Rob. Convenience comes with a price that the affluent will often think reasonable. Doesn’t make it good value thought, just a consequence of BA controlling the London airports of which HfP’s readership are mainly local to.

      • xcalx says:

        Some will find a Dublin start point easier than a London transfer. No LBA-LHR for me now so Dublin would be an option I would use again. Last time was a DUB-LHR-LAX on Air New Zealand back in the BMI days. Hilton night before and a great night out in Malahide.

        • Sukes says:

          Agree Dublin is an excellent start point. You may be interested to know Irish Gov today agreed ‘Non-essential international travel will resume on 19 July’ but likely to be a phased re-opening. Possibly more info this eve when the Taoiseach makes televised address.

      • egold says:

        I shuttled myself, wife and 5 kids to inverness to make LHR-TLV Premium economy hundreds of pounds cheaper.
        we enjoyed a day in rainy Scotland, but absolutely everyone thought we’re mad.
        Definitely not for everyone

    • kitten says:

      Did you see JetBlue now has a tie-up with AA for earning?

      • Blair says:

        All over it Kitten 😉

        • Lady London says:

          not on Trasatlantic JB though, apparently.

          Wondering if AA’s partners in the cartel, errr I mean the Transatlantic Joint Venture (BA, AY, IB ?) won’t let AA do this…?

  • pauline says:

    I need to use a FTV so need to phone and have tried all morning and all I get is the recorded message saying try again later. Once the phone settles down all availability will be gone!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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