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.
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?