Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Want Avios reward flights? These BA routes have the most Avios seats in Business and First

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Here is something to strike up a debate for your Monday morning.  Which British Airways routes have the most and least Avios availability in Club World business class and First Class?

Two years ago we did an interesting analysis to answer this exact question. A lot has changed in two years, of course.

In terms of Avios availability, the biggest change has been the retirement of the Boeing 747 fleet. These aircraft had 14 First Class seats, compared to eight (or indeed none) on BA’s newest and refurbished aircraft, so there was clearly going to be an impact on availability.

Which routes have best and worse Avios availability

How did we do our analysis?

We asked SeatSpy to help us.

SeatSpy is a convenient way of finding reward seat availability on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

It is by far the easiest way of seeing Avios and Virgin Points reward seats across an entire year without having to search individual dates.  It is the only service of its type with Virgin Atlantic availability. Regular readers will have seen us using SeatSpy screenshots in recent articles to highlight routes with huge amounts of Avios availability.

As well as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, you can also search for award availability with KLM, Air France, American Airlines and United Airlines. Etihad is also available although still marked as ‘Beta’.

Whilst you could do the analysis manually, we cheated and asked SeatSpy to download all of its Avios reward data on their website and send it over. 

Which routes have the best Avios premium availability?

What you have below is very simple.

It is a list of British Airways long-haul destinations and the number of days (out of 355, the BA booking window) that you can get 2 x Club World or 2 x First Class seats for an Avios redemption FROM London.

BA routes have the most Avios availability in Business and First

There are a few things to bear in mind when you look at these numbers:

  • BA guarantees 4 x Club World seats on every flight.  If a route shows a very low number, it does NOT mean that seats were not released.  It means that they were booked immediately, often the full 355 days in advance, and that this is a route where BA rarely releases more seats.  (Remember that you can use seatspy.com to set up alerts so you are emailed when seats open up on your preferred route.)
  • This only looks at OUTBOUND seats from London.  For low numbers, the situation is worse than it looks – if there are only 35 dates with two seats to Seattle, for example, the chances of you finding two seats BACK from Seattle when you want them are very low indeed.
  • The analysis takes no account of seasonality.  There may be 142 days when you can fly to Dubai but many are in June, July and August when you probably don’t want to go.
  • The analysis takes no account of short notice availability, which can be very good but obviously only suits certain people. I am writing this on Sunday morning and there are Business Class seats to the Maldives available for Monday (ie today) and Wednesday, for example.
  • If a route has First Class, you cannot add together the number of dates with 2 x Club World and 2 x First Class.  If there are 50 days with 2 x Club World and 20 days with 2 x First Class, there are NOT 70 days you could potentially travel with a flat bed.  It is more likely to be just a little over 50 days.
  • Some of these routes do not run every day, so you wouldn’t expect a big number in the first place.
  • We ran this analysis in November.  Does the number of available seats change over the year? 
  • Sydney is artificially low because it just looks at ‘through flights’ – there is marginally more space if you are willing to break your trip in Singapore

Remember that this analysis is based on two seats. Solo travellers have more choice, families less.

Here is the table, ranked by Club World availability (out of 355 possible days). You can also search for a specific destination. If the table is mangled I recommend visiting HfP on a desktop computer.

City2 x Business2 x First
Accra318 
New York316 
Abuja31259
Boston30942
Riyadh309 
Lagos308102
Amman285 
Bahrain282 
Washington DC2802
Kuwait272 
Hyderabad255 
Bangalore255 
Islamabad238 
Dallas Fort Worth2371
Doha234 
Hong Kong2334
Mumbai231 
Delhi229 
Houston229 
Philadelphia22235
Baltimore221 
Mexico City21610
Atlanta20316
Sao Paulo195 
Johannesburg1881
Chennai184 
Austin181 
Tel Aviv181 
Toronto166 
Rio de Janeiro153 
Montréal149 
Nairobi149 
Buenos Aires147 
Chicago147 
Dubai142 
Shanghai135 
Beijing134 
Santiago1156
Bermuda11558
Denver114 
Miami105 
Tokyo95 
New Orleans87 
Nashville85 
Cancun79 
Los Angeles65 
Nassau60 
Phoenix58 
San Francisco55 
Cape Town55 
Grand Cayman54 
Orlando52 
Kingston, Jamaica51 
Antigua49 
San Diego47 
Punta Cana45 
San Jose, California45 
Singapore402
St Lucia40 
Tampa39 
Vancouver37 
Seattle35 
Lahore26 
Port of Spain21 
Las Vegas20 
Bangkok15 
Male15 
Tobago15 
St Kitts15 
Montego Bay, Jamaica12 
Barbados11 
San Jose, Costa Rica11 
Providenciales8 
Grenada7 
Mauritius4 
Sydney2 

Conclusion

Business Class availability is as good as it was in 2019. There were 26 cities with at least 2 x Club World seats available for half the year. In 2021 …. there are 26 cities with at least 2 x Club World seats available for half the year.

Remember that there were four Business Class seats on every flight available at some point. BA is releasing the seats 365 days per year, assuming the flight runs daily, but they are being snapped up.

The biggest change to our 2019 analysis is, unsurprisingly, First Class availability.

Back in 2019 we found 17 routes with over 50 dates with 2+ First Class reward seats available.

As you can see above, there are now precisely three cities with over 50 days of First Class Avios availability. If you don’t want to visit Nigeria, this number drops to one city.

I think the situation will improve. The problem for BA at present is that it is forced to pay substantial compensation if you book an Avios seat in First Class and the aircraft is later switched to one without F.

As the airline has little visibility of what aircraft will be best suited to what route in 2022, it may just be holding back the seats. After all, what is the point of opening two First Class seats on one flight from New York on 7th June but none for the rest of 2022 – and none outbound at all?!

Take a look at the chart and make up your mind whether the current situation works for you.

Thanks to SeatSpy for their help.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 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:

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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) 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 £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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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 (82)

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

  • BJ says:

    Thanks for this, particularly interesting for readers to cross-reference their favoured destination with availability to help inform the need/value/use of the new generation amex companion voucher. A no brainer in our case heading to rge far east given cull of destinations, seasonality of BKK and limited availability. Interesting that Seattle and Vancouver are so far down the list of North American destinations. Equally so that Austin has such good availability, not a bad place at all to work into USA itineraries kf struggling with availability elsewhere.

    • Polly says:

      We sadly had to finally accept a voucher for our Seattle 241 in F last March, then couldn’t go in September either. Worse, they were in the half price avios batch too. Doubt we will try again.

      Agree about Austin, was a lovely old town. A good stopover. Now become tech heaven, with house prices rocketing, and the the little stores and bars closing. Changed a Lot in the last few years. You would regularly find Willie N strumming away on a corner stool, if you popped in for a glass or two after work. Great city for music, and science…

      • BJ says:

        I suspect in the end BA had to honour many of their 50% sale bookings given even HfP readers struggle to hold and use them. We have ours in March, if we cannot go I guess chances are slim for further use. Sad to hear that about Austin, it was the small College town feel that made it, early 00s last time I was there I think.

  • Paul Hickey says:

    I’ve often wondered why, on certain routes, there might be a lot of avios availability going but very little coming back. If you look at the USA this Xmas in club, the ratio but be 10:1 in favour of LHR outbound flights. Why?

    • Mirp says:

      Good question. I have wondered the same. I think BA may make more than 4 seats available leaving London and just keep to 4 inbound. Anyone know?

      • Rich says:

        Think about the attractiveness of a flat bed coming back from the US overnight v. a day flight out and whether you would be prepared to pay more cash for a bit of sleep. Therein lies the answer to your question, simple supply and demand for cash flights means less Avios availability.

    • Mattb says:

      The returns from the US are night flights so the beds are more sought after. Not everyone will have enough avios for say CW both ways so prioritise accordingly.

      • WaynedP says:

        Similar pattern for flights to JNB for which both out and inbound are night flights.

        So I expect there’s more to it than just demand for an overnight flat bed on return.

    • AlanW says:

      My guess is that more people will be prepared to pay for Club World on the overnight eastbound flight and will settle for economy or PE on the westbound.

  • Robert says:

    Will the F numbers improve once the A380 gets back in the sky? I used to use SeatSpy a lot but lately it only shows me economy availability, do you have to pay to see the other cabins?

    • Jonathan says:

      Correct (ish), because a competitor site was stealing their data. You need to have an account now and their was (used to be) a free account option. Not sure if that’s still the case for new sign ups though.

    • Rhys says:

      It’s still free if you go via the widget in our sidebar.

      • Definitas says:

        I just had a go via the widget. It’s only free to get results for economy flights which seems self defeating

  • Will says:

    Is this just old style 2-4-1 availability? Is there anywhere the new style availability is displayed? Are seatspy able to toggle this or have BA deliberately made this impossible?

    • Jonathan says:

      Last update I saw here last month was you can only get the availability for the new 241 on ba’s website. Seatspy is unable to get it currently but that may change in the future.

    • Rhys says:

      SeatSpy don’t have access to the additional 2-4-1 data

  • Mirp says:

    Surprised that there is no First availability to NYC. In the past I found it last minute but I guess with no 747 there are fewer seats and BA can sell them all.

    • Rhys says:

      Not to NYC, but just to give some perspective – last time we ran this piece in 2019 there were c. 50 routes with 2 First tickets available on any day. Now it is down to around 15.

    • Mark says:

      Fewer seats in F particularly. Pre-pandemic pretty much all services to JFK had 14F seats, now it’s only 8. That’s clearly going to have an impact on redemption availability. Taking into a account a considerably greater proportion of aircraft with no F with a chunk of 777-200ERs being converted to 3 class as part of the refit, and no F on the A350s either, I think it’s going to be much harder to find F redemption availability generally. A number more routes are moving to 3 class only.

      • Nick says:

        I think this means F will be more likely to pop up last-minute rather than far in advance. So they’ll keep 6ish seats back in case they’re booked for cash (roughly the same number as they used to), but when it becomes obvious they won’t be, will release them. Good for those who can be flexible and book late.

    • jj says:

      Flew Fb to JFK a few days ago and returning next week. Both flights were/are fully booked with cash fares – to the best of my knowledge, neither flight has ever had Avios availability.

      We got a great deal in a sale, but I fear the reduction in capacity will have a horrible effect on cash fares, too, in future.

  • Alan says:

    This is all well and good, but I spent all of yesterday on hold to BA to book 4 First flights to Boston using my wife and my Companion Vouchers with the return in Club as there was no First seats. By using 2 vouchers (taking friends) and flying back in a different class the booking could not be done online. As a side after on hold for 2 hours you automatically get cut off by BA. I think they need more call centre staff!

  • SteveJ says:

    A few months or so ago BA released a whole batch of flights for the Nov/Dec period based on increased demand. Resulted in lots of desirable destinations having Avios availability show up.

    Any idea of if/when there is another planned release for Feb half term and Easter / May?

    • Rhys says:

      I think that was more to do with the Winter schedule being finalised than a holiday drop.

  • Will says:

    Any tips for persuading BA to rebook from cancelled flight onto Swiss? Would even accept downgrade

    • Anna says:

      Letter to BA legal department citing UK261 rights, then if that doesn’t work, pursue via CEDR or MCOL.

      • Nick says:

        I’d ask again first – the rebooking agreement is still in place for LX. Remember that while you do have a right to rebooking, you don’t have the right to demand a specific airline, that’s BA’s choice, so be careful how you ask. Odd here though, given LX is available for most routes.

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

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