I often speak to people who collect Avios and their biggest issue is finding availability. Usually, they leave things too late and by the time they realise they want to do a trip, the availability is slim. But, British Airways are pretty consistent with releasing reward seats. So there isn’t much reason to get caught out.
British Airways reward flights can be booked from midnight (1 am BST), 355 days before departure.
It’s an unwritten rule, that BA release at least 4 Business Class seats on every flight. Because of this predictability, it’s often hard to catch those four seats as there’s almost always someone else waiting to get them as well. After this time, further seats can open up in other cabins. The best time to check is 00:30 GMT.
There is a guarantee of the following:
- First – no guarantee, availability can open up any time. You have to watch out for these seats.
- Club World (Business) – 4 seats on every London Gatwick & London Heathrow flight.
- World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) – 2 seats on every London Gatwick & London Heathrow flight.
- World Traveller (Economy) – 8 seats on every London Gatwick & London Heathrow flight.
Tips and further information
Reward seats can be booked anytime up to the day of departure and until check-in closes. If you are still looking for reward seats on the day of travel, remember to ask at check-in and again at the lounge.
If you are trying to find availability for a popular route such as Australia or Mauritius, you should call at midnight UK time (1 am during British Summer Time).
You will need to call a non-UK BA office as the UK one will be closed. You should call on the day that the outbound opens and book a one-way ticket. Then at 355 days before the inbound, do the same again. Obviously, if you book the outbound, then there is no guarantee you will get the inbound.
However, Avios flights can be cancelled up to 24 hours prior to departure, for a small fee. This whole process is an example of how points tickets benefit from extra flexibility that cash tickets often do not.
- If you need more than one seat, but the amount you need is not available, book as many as you can and keep watching for more. Waiting for them all to appear is extremely risky because there’s no guarantee of more appearing and someone else could take the existing seats at any time.
- If you need multiple seats in a cabin, and there are none or limited numbers available, book the next cabin down because you can always upgrade again later by simply paying the difference in Avios & taxes.
- Remember that you can still book reward seats on the day of travel, at the airport, subject to availability.
- You can hold reward seats for up to 72 hours by either calling BA or through the website. This is useful if you want to transfer points from a credit card or buy Avios for the transaction. There’s usually a small charge associated with this.
- Be flexible!
- Be persistent!
Even for the difficult routes like Sydney, Singapore, Maldives, Caribbean, Seychelles and the American West Coast, you can get the seats if you look very far in advance.
Check out our other tips for finding reward flights.