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A bug that Gold card holders should know about

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One of the benefits of having Gold status in British Airways Executive Club is that you see additional Avios reward space.

This isn’t the bonanza you may think it is. It only applies to Economy flights, and it only applies to flights on British Airways.

That said, there are likely to be times when it comes in handy.

British Airways Executive Club status cards

Unfortunately, there is a bug on which means that Economy Avios seats do not always show as available for Gold members when they really are. This has been a long term problem, not a temporary issue.

To explain the bug, I need to explain where the extra Avios seats come from.

In BA’s ticketing system, Economy reward seats are put in a bucket called ‘X’ class. For Gold members, the cheapest cash Economy seats are also shown as available for Avios redemption.

So far, so good.

The problem emerges if you don’t search for the actual number of seats you want.

There is a logical reason to just search for one seat even if you want 2, 3 or 4

I don’t know about you, but I usually run my Avios reward searches looking for just one seat. I do this even if I need 2, 3 or 4 seats.

This is because – as shows you how many seats are available on each flight in each class – you get a better feel for what is available.

For example, if I need four seats and search for four seats, I wouldn’t see flights with 2 x Business Class and 2 x First Class, or perhaps 3 x Business Class and 1 x Premium Economy.

I want to see results like this, however, because they may be acceptable to me. I may also be prepared to pay for some seats if I can’t get all the seats I need on Avios. This is why I search for one seat and not four seats.

Extra Avios reward seats Gold member

There is a bug with the ‘extra’ Avios Economy seats for Gold members

However, there is a bug in when it comes to showing the extra seats for Gold members in Economy.

If the number of seats you search for can be fulfilled from the standard Avios availability, this is the total of seats you are shown are bookable. does not tell you about the extra seats.

Yes, this is confusing. Let’s me explain it a different way.

Imagine there is 1 seat in standard Avios Economy availability but 8 additional Economy seats are available for Gold members.

  • If you search for 1 seat, you are told that only 1 seat is available, not 9 seats
  • If you search for 2 seats, you are told that 9 seats are available.

This is because only shows you the extra seats for Gold members if you request enough seats to trigger them.

Still confused? Here is an example.

Here is what a Gold card holder searching for 1 reward seat to Seattle on 13th September 2023 sees:

BA extra Gold Avios availability

This is NOT correct. There is NOT just one seat available to a Gold member. If this person was actually looking for four seats but had just searched for one, he would get a false result.

If I change the number of seats wanted to 4 seats, suddenly at least 9 seats are shown as bookable (no cap shown = 9+ available):

BA Gold extra Avios seats

Luckily, this is a bug which is easy to work around now that you know it exists.

If you are a BA Gold and searching for Economy class Avios redemptions, make sure you search for the exact number of seats you need. Don’t do a dummy search for just one seat as you will get a false result.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 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

30,000 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 (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel 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 (45)

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

  • Zack says:

    Wait! Is this a gold benefit I was unaware of? Or is this the “supposed perk” of forcing any seat open for double the Avios?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, it’s a perk you were unaware of! You don’t pay double Avios, these are standard price reward seats.

      • Dwadda says:

        Oh gosh, this would have been useful to know over the past few years. It would have enabled us to save thousands on European flights.

  • Lady London says:

    There is a similar trick with hotels.

    Always start off searching for a room for 2. Even if you are 1, 2 plus an infant, or more.

    That will show you more rooms available quite often. Sometimes with cash searched, more often for points booking searches.

    Then drill down and look at the flexibility of the rooms showing, if you need more.

    Be prepared to search and book a room for 2, if there’s just 1 of you. Many hotels won’t show you any rooms otherwise.

    Some hotels do have DSO rates (Double for Single Occupancy) but less and less of these are shown online – although German hotels are more likely to show different rates for same room for 1 or 2 occupancy.

  • Ilou says:

    Anyone having this issue with BA

    It looks like you’re using multiple tabs in the same browser. Please use a single tab to continue.

    • A says:

      Yes! Same here. Very frustrating.

    • Claudio says:

      Yes! I tried all possible actions, different browsers, different devices, on the phone app, different accounts, you always get this stupid message. It’s unbelievably frustrating as there was one redemption seat I really needed to book, but the BA site is total and utter rubbish, and their customer service practically non-existent. Looks like they MIGHT do something about it when enough frustrated gold customers will have called them?

      • Ilou says:

        Thanks. I’ve also tried all possible combinations but couldn’t get to work

    • Ironside says:

      Yep. Multiple tab warnings and now a generic “It’s screwed” banner.

      Someone reboot the data centre and dig out Alex’s hi-vis!

    • Omar says:

      I do. Any ideas on how to fix, please?

    • Ed says:

      Yes, I am having the same issues, even after clearing cookies and trying different browsers. There seems to be a technical problem with the BA website atm.

  • Bernard says:

    BA with IT problems and Tech issues.
    Is anything with their tech not broken?
    Another legacy of Cruz the useless.

  • Gordon says:

    I decided long ago that I will only allow my finances to take me as far as silver with BA if that, as judging by these Gold members comments, loyalty does not count for much, you appear to get shat on from a great height “cruising altitude”.

    • His Holyness says:

      Food is the same now in BA lounges and you can still get OK plonk in GC.

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

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