BA Avios booking advice soughtBack to Forum
Anonymous11 Mar 2014
I have 500k Avios, 1 x upgrade for 2, 2x AMEX 2 for 1 vouchers. I am BAEC Gold. The Domestic CEO has commanded a trip to the USA in July, west coast. Lots of Y availability, almost zero in W, J or F. Family of 5, only one aged 11, the rest 12+. One ticket will be revenue. Any advice on how to go about booking this? For example, do I book Y tickets now and wait for the chance of premium seats opening up? Many thanks in advance.11 Mar 2014
I am in the same boat trying to find premium availability to SFO in June. In general, it is a bad time of year, especially for the west coast.
One thing that might work in your favour is that you are travelling in July. Is this at the end of July or early July? If late July, J class fares can be very competitive and this might translate into some last minute avios availability but I have no experience to back that up.
Another option is to try and redeem on Aer Lingus instead. They fly to SFO now but you need to call BAEC to make this redemption. Availability may not be much better though, I tried this for my June trip and was not successful.
Personally, I think I will end up buying a cheap J fare instead. At the moment, AA are doing some very good fares via PHL (out of DUB) using US metal following their merger. I’ve been quoted £1433 for DUB-SFO/ORD-DUB open jaw return in June. Being AA, I will get a whole stack of avios & TPs as well.11 Mar 2014
I’ve no great advice on how to achieve what you want. Given all the remarks about the general lack of availability of award seats on BA, I think you are going to find it extremely challenging, in fact next to impossible to find 4 award biz seats out and back together in July. Have you tried looking for ANY availabilty ?
I’m not sure aer lingus is a viable option, it’ll cost 400K avios so you do have enough avios to do it (you can’t use your 2-4-1 on Aer lingus), but they have less biz seats, and only 1 direct route to the US. And given that the DUB-SFO flight is only coming online in April, they will probably be looking to see how well revenue holds up, before offering biz seats on rewards. Remember that this flight was specifically put on to service SFO company executives coming to/from their Dublin offices.
A look on AA shows that there are two dates in the entire month of july with 2 avios bookable seats LHR-SF in biz, on the 8/9 july. no dates with 3 or more, and those flights aren’t direct.
The return flight has a few dates (21st july) that have 2 avios bookable biz seats.11 Mar 2014
tangey1 – I wasn’t aware AA flights were a possibility. How does one book them with Avios?
Bath_VIP – Mid July out, and SFO / LAX or indeed any of the BA destinations from DFW west would suffice. I don’t necessarily need to fly all out on the same flights. I work out of DFW 1 week a month anyway.
I recall from the days when I was VAA Gold that you could book award seats in Y, and then grab PE or UC if they came up, usually close the flight dates. Indeed, i did one at the check-in desk once. All they asked for was the additional miles and increased APD and Fuel surcharge.
I totally understand why the premium seats are held back; revenue PAX come first of course. It’s more about learning from other people’s experiences of booking nearer the time.
Incidentally, I’ve done a DFW round trip in F and another in J on OnBusiness points this year, with availability absolutely no problem.11 Mar 2014
Though availability may appear to be low, this is often because avios seats have already been snapped up.
There is only a finite number of BA Club of seats flying that route each day (56 if you get a larger 777-300ER, 52 for a 747, total of around 100 when both flights are taken into account), and literally thousands of people who’d like to fly their family in those flat bed seats, so it’s understandable that finding enough availability to fill 10% of the cabin is challenging.
Try onbusiness points, try calling up and routing through Dallas on AA (making sure you get their nice new business seats, NOT the old wedgy seats which persist on much of their fleet) or Chicago/NYC, try for mixed cabin redemption, consider First (often better availability). Open Skies from Paris (via NYC), BAopen jaw redemptions via LAX, Seattle, San Diego, Las Vegas (exLGW and LHR), even Phoenix are all options you should explore. Even US Airways are in the frame as a possible carrier….
It’s entirely achievable to redeem your avios to the West Coast (I’m booked myself in F on the A380 to LAX, back in J on AA later in the year), but it is a challenge to be able to get five premium seats over peak holiday period at just four months notice.11 Mar 2014
Don’t know what dates you had in mind, or what your preference vis-a-vis changing is however there is availability to LHR-JFK dept Monday 10 July returning 21 July (almost any flight).11 Mar 2014
Do you think BA have created a problem for themselves by making Avios bookings refundable? I’ve been looking ahead to November for another trip and I can see availability. However, my dates are not final so ordinarily I would wait. But it occurred to me that I could book the dates now and cancel nearer the time if my dates change and only incur a £25 fee. I wonder if other people are doing the same thing which is why availability can seem to be poor?11 Mar 2014
You may be right, Bath_VIP.
Many airlines extract a punitive penalty for redemption cancellations; BA doesn’t (for Gold cardholders) and it’s modest for others.
This can result in speculative redemptions which are not used or cancelled close to travel but then not put back into the redemption bucket as now there’s demand for them from paying passengers.
If seeking AA redemptions, I’d suggest doing some research on AA.com for AAwards and then calling BA directly, early morning when it’s quiet with a few well researched options up your sleeve….11 Mar 2014
I was going to suggest what SM @17:59 has: check out redemption flights on aa.com and they some times show up flights with routings/destinations that do not show up on BA.com. They also have two types of redemptions, I can’t remember exactly what they are called, but one costs double the miles and may be available when their regular miles flights are not. They will also give you BA availability.
Then when you find something suitable, you can either enter the flight details etc on BA.com (but they still don’t always show up for some reason) or phone up as SM suggested to book.
You may have to join up, if you are not already a member of the AA frequent flyer.
But of course you can’t use your 241 on AA.
I also second SM’s point about the new business class – those wedgie seats are awful! But if it gets the “kids” on holiday, then they would be fine! 😉 🙂
BathVIP – yes, I truly do believe some people do this – a lot! We don’t, never have enough ff miles etc to do so, but even then I personally wouldn’t do it – it’s just downright wrong IMHO! And greedy!11 Mar 2014
Don’t forget exLCY A318, as well.
Sale fares to SFO are a bit rubbish at aorund £2.k, but if you’re buying revenue tickets remember the current sale ends tonight; usually better value deals in May – but might be cutting it fine.
As ever, consider revenue tix exEU, and keep a look out for deals like the recent Iberia £900 rtn to LAX exParis offer.11 Mar 2014
Thanks for the guidance on AA. That’s already shown me an outbound option that wasn’t on BA though return options are very poor unfortunately.
Yes the Paris offer was superb and I took advantage of that for my trip last month to AUS. I have started using KAYAK recently for checking exEU and there is no question AA are promoting US metal on a lot of routes at the moment.
Papillon, unfortunately I may end being one of the greedy guys as I do have the Avios to bag my November trip!11 Mar 2014
Go onto AA.COM, and try doing a dummy award booking for your dates. AA award gives you the options to see a calendar month at a time, which is useful, you need to check for AAsaver awards, these are the ones that BA has access to, they do NOT have access to AAnytieme awards.
If you specify 4 adults, you’ll not see any AAsaver awards for July, but if you specify 2 adults on the search page, you should see 8 and 9th july for LHR-SFO. I only searched one way at a time.
If you do see AAsaver awards that take your fancy, those flights should come up as bookable when you search for awards on BA.com.11 Mar 2014
BA also gives the calendar year option when searching for awards online.
Used to be a very good tool for searching partner awards, too, but that seems to have been “enhanced”.12 Mar 2014