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.
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.
These are mainly to/from Newark so do not search for ‘JFK’ on ba.com, search for ‘NYC’.
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 (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:
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. 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.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.