a seat in a plane
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People love collecting points until it comes time to use them, and they’re inevitably told they can travel on any day, so long as it’s not the day they actually want to travel. Not today. Like a unicorn floating through the skies blasting some Kendrick Lamar, today is an anomaly when it comes to points availability. If you want to fly British Airways first class for up to four people, there’s seats available between London and the USA on almost any day. Like 29 days a month…

a glass of wine and food on a tableWide Open Availability

Want to fly first class to New York? You can virtually pick a day. The same goes for Boston, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles and even San Francisco. After a tip off from Head For Points, we dug into award space on British Airways from London to the USA and were staggered with what we found.

a screenshot of a calendar
Dates in grey mean at least two first class seats are available.
a screenshot of a calendar
See, there’s far more dates available than dates not available.

In short: at least two people can fly to any of the cities above on virtually any date in 2020 in first class. In addition to virtually every date being open for next year, east coast cities are seeing wide open availability for August, November and December of this year as well.

a seat with a tv and a screen on the side of the seatHow To Book

This kind of availability is extremely rare. British Airways has always done an above average job releasing business class seats, but has historically been stingy with first class Avios redemption availability. This is a significant window to maximize an Amex 2-for-1 voucher in the UK, or Chase 2-for-1 in the USA. That, or just book yourself an awesome trip and cash in those Avios points.

To search, the best way to pull up dates is to use RewardFlightFinder.com.

Once you’ve found dates in grey or any shade of blue, you can login to your Executive Club account on BritishAirways.com, hit “book”, then “book a flight with Avios” and enter your city pairs. In some instances, it can make sense to book two one ways than a round trip. Be sure to compare the cash pricing for bookings as a round trip versus two one ways to ensure you lock in the lowest price.

a screenshot of a website

All these seats would be available if you booked a “cheap” business class ticket with cash and then used Avios to upgrade. Because of how steep the BA surcharges are, this could actually make a lot of sense if you don’t have an Amex 2-4-1 voucher.

British Airways has flights from Inverness and Milan to New York or Miami via London in 2020 for roughly £1200-£1300 all in-in business class, which could then mean first class upgrades for only 20,000 points each way and minimal additional surcharges.

You earn Avios and tier points if you originally book a business class cash fare, versus simply redeeming your Avios for first class, so the rebate could help justify the expense. You’d effectively be paying £1300 and 40,000 Avios for first class return – and you’d earn around 10,000 Avios back.

Another savvy option would be booking one way from London to USA in first class and then booking another ticket to get home. You could burn other miles, find a cheap cash fare, or anything else really. Or yes, you could totally just keep it all first class and live the life. Why not if you can, right?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Would these seats be available by upgrade? If so is it cheaper to go the route of buying a lower fare ticket and using avios to upgrade?

    1. Great question. All seats available using Avios outright are available as an upgrade – albeit only one cabin.

      If you were to find a super business class deal, it would make tons of sense to use this as an opportunity to upgrade to first on the cheap. It would save points and you may not even come out that far behind in cash. But to be super clear, you couldn’t book premium or economy and then secure first.

  2. Burnt all my BA Avios on Qatar Bus flights recently due to the partner award chart devaluation that occurred on May 30. So no BA first for me.

  3. And the fees are what, $1200 each way? No thanks. I’d rather buy the f-ing ticket at that price.

    1. Because accuracy is important here, the taxes would come out to £446 or $568 one way from London to USA. Sadly, going the other way is £652 or $850 one way.

      Spending 68,000 points and ~£450 one way from Europe to the USA isn’t bad, but going in the other direction I see less merit.

    2. Using AA miles, price is 85,000 miles + $565 one-way for LHR-JFK. At 1.3 cpm for AA miles, that is $1,670 one-way. Not terrible, not great.

  4. I don’t understand this

    “In almost all instances, it makes more sense to book two one ways than a round trip”

    The opposite seems true considering you’ll pay an extra £450 on taxes by booking two one way?

    Please help me understand the benefit of booking two one way.

  5. Well when I looked, I saw it wide open yesterday and after everyone posting on it that a lot of these awards have disappear although the seats are still there. So probably a bug.

  6. taxes are horrendous..better to wait for sale and buy normal ticket..and use Avios for the Far East or South America instead

  7. Am I right in assuming that British Airways has cut to almost zero the First class seats bookable using Avios?

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