British Airways increases guaranteed award seats

6

One Mile at a Time reports a positive development from the British Airways Executive Club program: they have doubled the number of guaranteed award seats on every flight. Note of course that British Airways award seats come with hefty carrier-imposed surcharges, but it is nonetheless great to see that they will guarantee a certain number of seats are available for those looking to redeem Avios.

As One Mile at a Time reports, short-haul flights will have a guaranteed minimum of:

  •  8 Euro Traveller (short haul economy) award seats
  • 4 Club Europe (short haul business) award seats

On long-haul British Airways flights, the following guaranteed minimum number of award seats will be available in each cabin:

  • 8 World Traveller (long haul economy) award seats
  • 2 World Traveller Plus (long haul premium economy) award seats
  • 4 Club World (long haul business class) award seats
  • There are no guarantees on first class award seats

Keep in mind that these are guaranteed minimums that should come available when British Airways releases its schedule 355 days in advance of departure (which means that some quarter million new seats were added today). Note that they still may release more availability than this — either from schedule open or closer to departure or any time in between — these are just guaranteed minimums.

While the ~$700 in carrier-imposed surcharges each way on business class awards between the US and Europe have been enough to deter me from booking British Airways awards, I am nonetheless glad to see a guarantee like this for those folks who can stomach the surcharges to get their preferred nonstop flight from the US. It can be especially difficult to get 4 award seats in a premium cabin with most carriers, so the ability to fly an entire family up front could make this particularly appealing.

Keep in mind that the British Airways Visa Signature offers a $200 rebate up to 3 times per year when you book an award ticket to London and use your card to pay the taxes & fees. With a guaranteed minimum of 4 seats in long-haul business class on each flight, it should therefore be possible to pick up $600 in rebates on a single flight (Note that I am not sure whether this would require booking the tickets separately).

Overall, this is good news for Avios / British Airways enthusiasts.

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