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Some British Airways First Class Avios seats to the US have appeared for July and August

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The mystery of the missing British Airways First Class Avios redemptions over the past year is one that even Sherlock Holmes himself would have struggled with.

Personally, I assumed that this was due to First Class now only being available on part of the long-haul fleet. With aircraft being moved around at short notice, BA may have avoided releasing Avios seats because it was on the hook for hefty downgrade compensation if your aircraft type changed.

Whether true or not, First Class seats have now opened up to selected US cities for July and August – if you are happy paying almost £1,000 per seat in taxes and charges.

British Airways First Suite

The image above is the new First Suite which you’ll only find on selected aircraft. Here is our overview of First Suite and here is our full guide to booking British Airways First Class seats using Avios points.

The screenshots below were taken mid-afternoon on Wednesday when this article went up. If you are reading this via email on Thursday, you are likely to see less.

The images are from SeatSpy which is our preferred tool for searching British Airways reward space. You can even set it up to email you when seats become available on specific routes.

The left hand column is outbound, the right is inbound. These are days when at least one BA flight has at least TWO First Class seats available. Solo travellers will find it even easier.

New York:

These are mainly to/from Newark so do not search for ‘JFK’ on, search for ‘NYC’.

British Airways First Class Avios seats to the US have appeared for July and August



British Airways First Class Avios seats to the US have appeared for July and August


San Jose, California:

You will not see anything for Boston, Miami, Los Angeles or San Francisco. I’m not sure what other US routes currently have First Class.

There appears to be a loosening up of Club World seats too so it is worth looking for those if you are thinking about a US trip.

Remember one thing though. Now that British Airways has brought back its pre-covid cancellation rules, you need to cancel Avios bookings 24 hours before departure if you want a refund. On some routes this may make it tricky to take the required supervised covid test before the cut off point.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

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:

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 £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. 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.

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 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 (46)

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

  • Jonathan says:

    You get free seat selection whenever you feel like it with BA First, no status needed !

  • S879 says:

    Anyone know if the new UK BA Amex vouchers allows open jaw with a long gap so say Dubai to London in July and then London to New York in September. Will they allow such a big gap (stopover) in between for UK citizens?

    • E14 says:

      I don’t see why not it’s two legs, with no surface sector in the middle

    • Harry T says:

      Won’t this fail because the distance between Dubai and NYC is greater than the distance of the two legs?

      • e14 says:

        Nope it’s not an open jaw but a one way with a stopover – which should actually be able to do online

        • e14 says:

          Just tried it 100000 Avios + £ 790.06 for one pax one way DXB-LON-JFK

          Good luck finding the seats though DXB-LON maybe there is some I class available

          • Thegasman says:

            Is that with >24 hours between the two legs ie. Stopover? That would generate UK APD liability plus ex UK rip off TFC’s.

    • JDB says:

      Yes – you asked the same question yesterday in the forum and got the same answer.

      You can also book the return JFK-LHR-DXB on the same 241 as long as it’s for the same people and you book that return before the first flight. You will pay the APD of c. £185 for each person for each London stopover over 24 hours + all the other carrier surcharges and fees/taxes.

  • S879 says:

    Thank you for the replies.

  • John Armstrong says:

    Promises , Promises that’s all you get from BA they cancelled our 1st.Class flights Glasgow to Norfolk Virginia in June without alternative travel arrangements.
    We won’t ever use BA again,they don’t even answer correspondence relating to cancellations.

    • john says:

      Find what alternate flights you want and ring them up to change to these.

    • Lady London says:

      Just persist @John A.
      Would be best in your case to look up BA, AA schedules and work out which flights you want instead before you call them and ask for them.

      You do have a right to be rebooked onto any airline(s) that can still do the timing you need.
      But the way of least resistance is to try to keep it under BA, AA or their pals in the transatlantic alliance

      Try BA around 8am on a weekday or a little earlier, or soon after 7pm as these have been mentioned as better times to try to get through.

      Also BA is obliged to get you from departure point to final destination – don’t let them fob you off with just the Transatlantic leg they are responsible for your ticket all the way. Be very sure, as all phones are recorded by them, to keep it clear you’ll be claiming the final alternative costs to Norfolk VA from them if they try not to ticket all the way. Take what you can get if you really can’t budge them. But keep it very, very clear you are not accepting this as a settlement and will be claiming reimbursement of the rest.

    • sayling says:

      And (ab)use the First line for the above purposes

    • numpty says:

      There’s been a few recent articles on news about not accepting refunds and vouchers for cancelled flights, airlines should be putting you on another carrier.

      My experience; when you do speak to BA, refuse the refund, refuse any voucher offered and simply ask for a flight with another carrier (they have a procedure for rebooking which states what carrier on what route to use). As Lady London stated, its path of least resistance to state you want them to put you on an AA flight – be nice about it, and if the CS advisor isnt being helpful just so you’ll think about things, hang up and call again.

  • Ruth4325 says:

    I had the opportunity to upgrade to F on a recent 241 booking to NYC with my daughter. It was the old prime seat which was perfectly good, but it’s the crew that made it. Knowing it was my daughter’s first First and first trip to NYC they made a big fuss of her. I thought the food was very nice and the drinks were flowing. Really enjoyed it. The crew, especially the Irish FA looking after our cabin, were so genuine and welcoming, it made the whole experience wonderful. Which acutely contrasted with the less than welcoming border guard at EWR…

    • astra19 says:

      Always such a come-down isn’t it, arriving in the US from a lovely flight to the same horrible queue and achingly slow process?

      • Londonsteve says:

        I find it peculiar that many Brits are now outraged at being made to wait in the ‘other’ queue at EU airports and find the concept of a two-hour wait when getting off a Ryanair flight in Spain both offensive and unacceptable, yet doing the same on arrival in the US is totally normal and to be expected. No indignation that, ‘this is no way to treat friends and allies’. It’s odd how some Brits have a superiority complex vis-a-vis fellow European nations but are humble and accepting when it comes to what the US doles out. Long border queues and unfriendly staff are one of the key reasons why I no longer wish to holiday in the US. Often high prices, poor infrastructure, the bullying to leave large tips and now febrile political climate come on top of this. IMHO Europe offers way better holiday experiences for less, so why anyone would want to pay £1k this summer to fly in Economy and holiday in the US is beyond me. I appreciate that’s merely my personal feeling and I respect anyone that adores the US for everything it offers, we all have our ‘happy place’, so to speak, but I would rather put most of that £1k towards holidaying in Europe.

        • Rob says:

          You’ve clearly not looked at flight prices to Europe. Just randomly checked BA to Palma for a week in August and you’re looking at around £500 if you want to take luggage. And with few branded hotels in resorts, you’ll be paying massively inflated cash prices for your hotel – no points deals.

  • Jason Wiltshire says:

    Just went on BA site to book and cannot see a single First seat to NYC available to book throughout Aug and Sept. All gone or usual BA IT issues?

    • HBommie says:

      Do you have NYC as the destination (not JFK), plenty there in August

  • Joshua says:

    Eye watering ‘taxes’ and other fees. For four when I looked I was cheaper to get four paid for ex Europe tickets on TAP instead. Earning star miles too

    • HBommie says:

      Do TAP fly first class?

      • numpty says:

        No, but you’ll get a cash Business Class return ticket for the price of the BA taxes in First on an avios booking.

        • JDB says:

          You still need to pay for the tickets to/from Lisbon and you will have probably have double the travel time, plus collecting luggage in Lisbon etc. so not really comparable on the relatively short flight to New York. Going to the east coast, Dublin seems the better opportunity and you can get the pre-clearance.

          • Rob says:

            Or Shannon, which has the benefit of actually functioning properly at the moment ….

        • HBommie says:

          Well, yes that’s an option if you can find them at that price.

          I haven’t flown TAP business but if I want a direct flight and the benefits of a good lounge, seat selection, cancellable ticket without the hassle (and it is to me at the moment) of ex EU, then the fee’s, surcharges etc are very, very reasonable.

  • Adrian says:

    Thanks for the heads-up I’ve bagged 2 return F seats from Atlanta for August on the 781.

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

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