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Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

ca
Level Contributor
16 posts
73 reviews
Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

I have several thousand frequent traveler miles/avios on BA. I never seem to be able to use them. I am now trying to book travel between London and South Africa for March, 2014. No upgrades nor tickets available on points. Do I have to wait until I am closer to travel dates?

Any hints on what to do would be appreciated.

PS: I am trying to book on-line

UK
Level Contributor
49,562 posts
92 reviews
1. Re: Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

Are you looking on the BA or the Avios website? You could look at partners also, but South Africa is a popular destination, there may be nothing available.

Also, you should look at what's available in the next few days as guidance for what MIGHT be made available last minute but here are no guarantees. Are you looking at business class ?

ca
Level Contributor
16 posts
73 reviews
2. Re: Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

Yes, trying to book business class with either an upgrade from coach plus or all points direct. Neither works

Thanks for your response

UK
Level Contributor
49,562 posts
92 reviews
3. Re: Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

Yes, trying to book business class with either an upgrade from coach plus or all points direct. Neither works

==========

If one wont, neither will the other, the "allowance" for available seats for upgrades or direct, is the same one. I Know I've read before about difficulties of using Avios for certain routes, I think this is one of them. If you cant wait until the very last few days, which itself has its issues as its not guaranteed to have availability and ordinary flights get very expensive, PLUS there is no guarantee a return flight will come available, you might give into the inevitable, purchase this seat and use the miles elsewhere.

If it was me I'd buy WT+ in a sale, and keep looking to see if capacity came available later. That doesn't use up many of your miles though.

Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
11,583 posts
16 reviews
4. Re: Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

There's a chance seats will be released in CW but personally I doubt it will happen until your a few days away from your departure. For instance, there's basically no CW availability between now and April except for the next 7 days where there are plenty of seats. So what I'd do is buy a ticket in WT+ and keep an eye on availability, especially a week or so out. Of course, there are no guarantees and there my be days where CW is simply sold out.

London, UK
Level Contributor
1,666 posts
165 reviews
5. Re: Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

The advice you've been given is correct; I use my miles almost exclusively to upgrade from WT+ to CW and on popular routes you either need to snap up the reward seats as soon as they're released (which means booking almost a year before you're going to travel, which is not really ideal) or wait but check regularly in the hope that seats will be released in the future. As you've been told, on busy routes there is no guarantee that reward seats will become available and if they do it's usually at the very last minute. And you have be prepared to travel in WT+ if seats never appear of course. Another trick is to fly indirect; I go to Las Vegas a lot but it's a popular route so reward seats at times of the year when the weather is good there are few and far between. I've flown via Phoenix a couple of times and Los Angeles once simply because miles upgrades were available there. Again, that's not ideal. But it's a lot better than 10 hours in WT+ in my opinion.

ca
Level Contributor
16 posts
73 reviews
6. Re: Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

Thank you for your information. I appreciate it.

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
Level Contributor
5,361 posts
7. Re: Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

Just to emphasize that if you want business class you'll either have to purchase it, use Avios for a straight award/redemption, or purchase Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus) and upgrade. You can only use points to upgrade one class of service, be it economy to WT+, WT+ to Club/business, or Club to First Class.

Leeds, United...
Level Contributor
352 posts
24 reviews
8. Re: Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

Several thousand Avios will not get you very far in reality, so I do hope you have a few tens of thousands (in my simple head several means less than 10, Hubby says it can be anything - I don't agree but have kept quiet:-)).

You can only upgrade the most expensive WT fares to WTP however even the cheapest WTP can be upgraded to CW.

March is still high season in SA so you may now struggle to find any reward availability until much closer to your travel date. I would buy WTP for cash and keep checking for UUA to CW - checking at least twice daily in the couple of weeks before flying. I would also accept that no availability may show - and that doesn't help you use your Avios.

You have missed the release of flights to SA for March next year and some other lucky people will have jumped in quick and the reward flights will have gone for now.

Incidentally, hubby and I are looking to use Avios in Feb/March to fly in First to 'somewhere' and I have seen loads of Avios availability on BAEC to a number of places in those 2 months - the Far East comes to mind. I've also seen some CW availability to Dubai and other places.

Good luck and I hope you find what you want.

ca
Level Contributor
16 posts
73 reviews
9. Re: Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

Thank you very much for your thoughts. I have looked at Air France with change of planes at CDG and Turkish with change in Istanbul. Any thoughts on these options in business class?

Madrid
Level Contributor
3,104 posts
6 reviews
10. Re: Help me use Avios to book travel on British Airways

South Africa is very difficult to find award space on BA.This may ease a little as the Airbus A380 takes over the LHR-JNB route.

All WT+ fares except consolidator fares are upgradeable.If it was me,I would by seats in WT+ in the next sale,and keep looking for upgrade space to Club World.My last flight to the USA,i had to wait till T-28 hrs for the Club world seats to be released.