British Airways’ Impressive Award Seat Guarantee

British Airways’ Impressive Award Seat Guarantee

23

Credit where credit’s due, this is an improvement to the British Airways Executive Club program that a lot of members will benefit from.

British Airways guarantees more award seats

Unlike other frequent flyer programs, British Airways Executive Club guarantees a certain amount of award availability on each British Airways flight. While the program has high carrier imposed surcharges for travel on British Airways, at least you’re guaranteed that some number of award seats will be released.

There’s some fantastic news on that front, as British Airways has more than doubled the number of Avios award seats it guarantees per flight. These guaranteed seats are all loaded when British Airways’ schedule opens, 355 days before departure.

This new award seat commitment is permanent (well, as permanent as anything in the airline industry can be), and is valid for flights as of July 28, 2021.

As a result, we’re seeing an additional 250,000 award seats loaded today, to reflect this change.

British Airways is now guaranteeing 12-14 award seats per flight

Breakdown of British Airways award seats per flight

On short haul flights you can expect a total of at least 12 award seats per flight:

  • At least eight Euro Traveller (short haul economy) award seats per flight, up from four
  • At least four Club Europe (short haul business) award seats per flight, up from two

Expect at least four Club Europe seats per flight

On long haul flights you can expect a total of at least 14 award seats per flight:

  • At least eight World Traveller (long haul economy) award seats per flight, up from four
  • At least two World Traveller Plus (long haul premium economy) award seats per flight, up from zero
  • At least four Club World (long haul business class) award seats per flight
  • There are no guarantees on first class award seats

Expect at least four Club World seats per flight

It’s worth mentioning that British Airways will in many cases make more award seats available (especially closer to departure), as the above just represents the absolute minimum number of award seats that you’ll see.

This is a meaningful, positive change

Redeeming airline miles can be frustrating, and that’s especially the case when you’re trying to snag award seats for travel over prime dates. A lot of airlines do a bad job managing expectations, and simply don’t open up award seats over peak dates, at least not in advance.

What British Airways is doing here is really spectacular, and a worthwhile reason for many to be engaged in the program. While there will admittedly be a lot of competition for some award seats at the 355 day mark, knowing that at least four business class award seats will be made available means that any flight is an award possibility.

Now, in fairness, there’s probably a reason that British Airways can justify making so many award seats available, while other airlines can’t — that reason is carrier imposed surcharges (more commonly known as fuel surcharges).

Yes, British Airways will guarantee that there will be four business class award seats available from New York to London when the schedule opens, but you’ll also be on the hook for paying $54,520.35 in taxes, fees, and carrier imposed surcharges, per person.

Okay, I’m guessing that’s a glitch (that’s the first route I looked up, and those are the charges that show up, really?!?), but you will pay $700 one-way in surcharges, which is significant.

Bottom line

British Airways Executive Club has upped its award availability guarantee, and members can now expect 12-14 award seats to be made available 355 days before departure, including four business class award seats.

This is an awesome policy, and it’s something I wish we saw more airlines do.

What do you make of British Airways Executive Club upping its guaranteed award space?

Conversations (23)
Newest comments are displayed first.

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. billy barb

    Theres no use comparing Avios tickets with the cheapest, most restricted fare for the cabin booked.

    An Avios ticket is essentially a fully flex ticket, and can be cancelled up to 24 hours before travel for a very small fee. So the prices highlighted above compare very favourably to the price of a fully-flexible ticket.

    Adult 1
    Fare
    £6,610.00
    Charges
    £445.52

    Total
    £7,055.52

  2. franck

    Welcome news, but still no availability to Bangkok on miles towards year end, and this does not make it easier to use all the great upgrade vouchers I have received which I am unable to redeem, ever :D

  3. KC

    This is nice. US based Brit expat here. Maybe I missed the part when I originally signed up that they had so few award seats to begin with, which explains why I could never find any. Am sat on 360,000 avios and honestly - I use them for AA domestic, and will likely keep doing that. This is undoubtedly good for UK and UK-EU flights, but the BA to/from UK fees are ridiculous.
    MIA-LHR...

    This is nice. US based Brit expat here. Maybe I missed the part when I originally signed up that they had so few award seats to begin with, which explains why I could never find any. Am sat on 360,000 avios and honestly - I use them for AA domestic, and will likely keep doing that. This is undoubtedly good for UK and UK-EU flights, but the BA to/from UK fees are ridiculous.
    MIA-LHR in Y = 60,000 aadvantage and $207.95 vs 41,500 avios and $649.11 - for the exact same flight. I wonder which should I go for..

  4. Peter

    So $1400 r/t PLUS 100k avios for an actual cost of $2500-3500 (or so depending on how much you value avios at).

    What a deal!

    VS UC and B6 Mint have fares r/t all in at $2000. And they earn status and miles.

  5. TheTruthIs

    Correction: Nothing will make them a better airline.

  6. TheTruthIs

    Short of bankruptcy, British Airways will make them a better airline. especially for taxes and Avios.

  7. Evan

    @Mike - even when you can find AA seats to Europe using BA avios, they still tack on sky-high fuel surcharges. This is absurd, as AA does not impose fuel surcharges. Of course, Avios are great for domestic AA flights and short-haul international flights, like US-Caribbean and within Asia.

  8. RK

    BA long haul fuel surcharges mean that award seats in Biz are really, at best, a half price discount on the cash price.

  9. billy barb

    Obviously the price above is some sort of glitch; pricing in GBP for the same dates I'm offered:

    Outbound
    08:05
    9 Feb
    JFK
    19:50
    9 Feb
    LHR
    Inbound
    You have selected a one way journey
    Total Price (Including all taxes, fees, and carrier charges)

    50000 Avios + £ 524.24

  10. Philly380

    i guess that's good news for people who buy BA PE tickets then upgrade with avios since there will be plenty of J seats too?

  11. Dick Bupkiss

    The YQ "glitch" is just a Freudian slip.

  12. Sosie

    It happens a lot on British airlines website you always have to continue to the next page to see the real amount you will be paying try it out

  13. Mike

    Great stuff- now we just need AA to give them award space again. Any update on that front? (AA metal, BA miles)

  14. Michael

    Let's use a figure of a nice round average of 100 long haul economy seats per plane. If they allow 8 Avios seats per plane, the announcement should have read "British Airways announces they will bar their loyal frequent flyer customers from using Avios on 92 percent of economy seats."

  15. David

    The almost complete lack of availability on First on ALL UK/US is appalling. I understand that the withdrawal of 747s together with BA’s move to dispensing with many F cabins has reduced capacity enormously, BUT from Aug on this year there are virtually NO flights on offer anywhere in the whole of the US. If BA want to protect F, why don’t they increase the number of Avios needed, but make SOME available.

  16. Tom

    @ CF Frost -- not a typo on Ben's part. Do you not see the screenshot below that sentence reflecting the $54,520.35?

  17. Talent Hacker

    British airways is itself a glitch.

  18. CF Frost

    @ben Typo?? "paying $54,520.35 in taxes, fees, and carrier imposed surcharges, per person."

  19. Sean

    BA on BA metal longhaul is wholly worthless w their yq. Until that changes? Hard pass.

  20. ChrisC

    Mo

    5 figure surcharges? Nonsense.

    5 figures would be over $10,000

    On what BA flights have you ever paid that much in surcharges per person?

  21. khatl

    Positive from BA, but you're spot on that, unless they do something about fuel surcharges, it's somewhat meaningless if you want to route from the US

  22. The nice Paul

    Love that glitch.

    Or is it actually a glitch...?!

  23. Mo

    BA's strategy: All fuel surcharges are now in the five figures. When they lower it back down to three figures, we'll all be grateful.

Featured Comments Load all 23 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

The nice Paul

Love that glitch. Or is it actually a glitch...?!

billy barb

Theres no use comparing Avios tickets with the cheapest, most restricted fare for the cabin booked. An Avios ticket is essentially a fully flex ticket, and can be cancelled up to 24 hours before travel for a very small fee. So the prices highlighted above compare very favourably to the price of a fully-flexible ticket. Adult 1 Fare £6,610.00 Charges £445.52 Total £7,055.52

franck

Welcome news, but still no availability to Bangkok on miles towards year end, and this does not make it easier to use all the great upgrade vouchers I have received which I am unable to redeem, ever :D

Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT