Do you know the cost of reserving a British Airways Club World business class seat?
Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.
One thing that often surprises people who are travelling in British Airways Club World for the first time is that seat reservations are not free at the time of booking.
British Airways is one of the few airlines that charges its Business Class passengers an additional fee to reserve a seat – Virgin Atlantic, for example, does not charge. It also charges for Economy and Premium Economy, of course. Only First Class is free.
The only exceptions are if you (or someone in your party) hold Executive Club Silver or Gold status or oneworld equivalent – see details here – or if you have a fully flexible ticket. Bronze cardholders can select seats for free seven days before departure. Some people also get the fee waived as part of a corporate deal with their employer.
For the rest of us, all seats are made available at no additional charge 24 hours before departure but by this time many of the best seats have already been snapped up. In Club World, you may be stuck sharing a ‘double bed’ middle pair with a stranger.
Over the last few years, seat selection fees have gone through the roof. On an A380 flight to Dubai, there are now SIX different prices available, running from £59 to £91. This is per person, each way, meaning that a couple is facing a ludicrous £364 cost to reserve the best seats next to each other for a return flight.
I should also point out that these are Dubai prices, for a 6-7 hour flight. You will pay more on longer routes.
What does it cost to reserve a Club World seat?
Let’s use an Airbus A380 as an example. Here is the pricing for the upper and lower decks (click to enlarge) for a Dubai flight in early November 2023.
Here is part of upstairs:
As you might expect, the window pairs are more expensive than those in the middle.
Here is the cheaper downstairs cabin. Again, the window seats are pricier than the middle block unless you want the two pairs at the back.
The price differential from cheapest to priciest seat is £32.
Flying the new Club Suite could save you money
There is some good news.
Seat reservations in business class are becoming less relevant now that the new Club Suite is operating more and more routes.
When we last looked at this in January 2023, British Airways had 53 long haul aircraft with the new Club Suite cabin:
- 13 brand new A350s delivered between 2019 and 2021
- 5 brand new 787-10s delivered last year
- 25 777-200ERs that have been refitted
- 10 777-300s (which also feature the new First Suite)
This equated to 51% (53 of 104) of BA’s long haul aircraft based at Heathrow. Club Suite is not operated from Gatwick and there are currently no plans to do so.
Work is currently underway on the Boeing 787-8 fleet with all 12 aircraft potentially completed this year.
In theory there are no bad seats with Club Suite. The current Club World layout delivers a huge variety of travel experiences since the dense layout means many people do not have direct aisle access, are facing backwards or do not have much privacy.
If you are booked on a 777 and the business class layout looks like this:
….. then you are getting Club Suite. Save your money and don’t pay to book a seat.
With Club Suite, the experience becomes more uniform in its offering. All seats have aisle access and someone in the middle block is sat totally separately to their neighbour.
You can’t easily talk to your partner even if you are sat side by side in the middle block, even with the divider down, so it doesn’t matter much if you are separated – and other passengers should have few problems moving to help you if you are. Unless you are obsessed with having a window seat, there seems little to justify paying to choose a seat when in Club Suite.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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 Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
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
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
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 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.