Redeem Miles For British Airways Business Class Between California And Europe

Filed Under: Awards, British Airways

Yesterday I posted about how British Airways is launching flights between San Jose and London as of May 4, 2016. This represents their fourth destination in California, after Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the new route is that it’s operated by a Boeing 787-9, which is a brand new plane in British Airways’ fleet. It has a four cabin layout, as follows:

  • 8 first class seats
  • 42 business class seats
  • 39 premium economy seats
  • 127 economy seats

The new San Jose to London flight became bookable today, which is exciting news. That’s because British Airways seems to be making at least two business class and four economy class awards available on each flight on the new route. Unfortunately there don’t seem to be any first class award seats available, which I suppose isn’t really a surprise, given that the first class cabin has only eight seats.



Those number of award seats are actually one of the only upsides of British Airways’ award chart devaluation earlier this year, whereby they promised to make at least two business (or first) class and four economy class award seats available on each flight.

Keep in mind that regardless of which program you redeem miles with, you’ll pay fuel surcharges for travel on British Airways. That being said, nonstop flights between California and Europe can be extremely difficult to book on miles, so it may well be worth it.

For example, in the case of American, they charge 50,000 AAdvantage miles for one-way business class between Europe and the US. Fuel surcharges vary based on where you’re originating. For example, from San Jose to London you’ll pay a total of ~$500 for one-way business class:


Meanwhile if originating in Europe, fuel surcharges can be quite a bit lower. For example, Amsterdam to San Jose one-way will run you a total of under $350 for one-way business class:


In either case you’ll want to avoid originating in the UK if possible, or else you’ll have to pay the hefty UK Air Passenger Duty.

Bottom line

While British Airways isn’t my favorite airline for transatlantic premium cabin redemptions, finding nonstop awards between California and Europe can be extremely difficult. Having access to two business class seats between San Jose and London virtually any day next summer is a pretty great option to have.

Hopefully some of you can take advantage of the plentiful award space available here.

  1. I checked also on Seems for the launch date they only have coach tickets available for reward. Guess this one wil be better booked with AA miles.

  2. Friday 6th May LHR-SJC first avaliable date in business class using Avios.
    62500 + $568 tax.

    Pretty good to get you to california on a non-stop.

  3. Levy Flight: SJC is indeed far away from points north of the city, and I wouldn’t recommend it from there; it’s simply too far. Ditto for East Bay.

    From SF, it’s doable if you’re willing to schlep to 4th and King and take a southbound Caltrain that stops at Santa Clara, where you’d transfer to the VTA 10 (free) bus that runs frequently.

    There is no BART service to Santa Clara (yet). There might be in a decade.

  4. (and, to be clear: while the SJC website suggests a BART route, that’s a terribly impractical connection, from BART to a bus to a Light Rail to another bus. Yikes, that’ll take you hours.)

  5. @Levy

    There is a shuttle called monterey shuttle that travels between SFO & SJC on the hour for $25. I use it when I am leaving from SFO. Much faster and more convenient. You can use it from SFO to SJC too, same thing.

  6. I desserted BA after the companion 2 for 1 ruse where there never is FC availability out of SFO………..they will never win me back……….LH or AF much better choices………..

  7. Why are AA award extra (fuel?) charges higher on BA operated flights than AA flights for the same routes? Is it always the case or do I need to check every option when booking?

  8. @ Tom — British Airways levies pretty hefty fuel surcharges on award tickets, and American passes those along. Any flights operated by BA will have higher fees, unfortunately.

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