TPG reader question: When are Avios seats released?

Sep 12, 2021

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Editor’s note: This article is part of a weekly column to answer your credit card, points and miles and general travel questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguyuk, message us on Facebook or email us at tips@thepointsguy.co.uk.


Redeeming your Avios for seats on British Airways can be one of the best value uses of your points. This is especially true for redemptions in premium cabins for long-haul flights.

Although Avios award availability has changed quite a bit during the pandemic, both due to British Airways increasing the minimum number of guaranteed seats available to book with Avios on each flight, and temporarily suspending some routes, the principles of redeeming Avios remain the same.

On popular routes, it’s always a good idea to try and book as far in advance as possible, to maximise your chances of finding the seats you want.

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This brings us to this week’s TPG reader question.

How far in advance are Avios seats actually available to book? Is there a time of day I should be booking to make sure I can book the seats I want?

Linda, TPG reader

British Airways loads seats available to book with Avios as soon as each flight goes on sale for cash tickets. This is 355 days in advance of the flight departing. This means that on 12 September 2021, for example, you can book flights up to 2 September 2022.

Seats should appear online when searching ‘book with Avios’ on britishairways.com. If you are looking the full 355 days in advance they should be loaded from midnight U.K. time each day. You may find on particularly popular routes like Sydney (SYD) or Cape Town (CPT) in premium classes on popular dates that you have a better chance calling the British Airways Executive Club call centre just before midnight 355 days out and being ready to go with booking the seats as soon as the clock strikes midnight so the agent can hold the seats for you rather than hoping you complete the transaction online faster than anyone else.

As the U.K. call centre is closed at midnight, you will need to call the U.S. call centre on +1 800 325 4504.

Related: The hardest and easiest long-haul routes on which you can typically find Avios availability

The call centre is used to grabbing these seats for savvy, organised Executive Club members.

It’s worth noting that with fewer paid business travellers during the pandemic you may find it much easier to find premium cabin Avios seats than you would have before the pandemic, so you may not need to be on the phone in the middle of the night to nab the seats you want anymore.

You can search online for all dates to get a sense of how popular a route is 12 months in advance or use a handy tool such as Seat Spy.

Featured image by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy

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