Which British Airways routes have first class Avios award availability?

Nov 29, 2021

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Redeeming your Avios for first-class flights on British Airways is one of the best value Avios redemptions you can make. You’ll get excellent value from what is an incredibly expensive product to otherwise purchase. You can also look forward to a very comfortable ride with Concorde Room Access, vintage champagnes, your own private suite, multi-course meals, a small cabin and very attentive service.

Related: A first timer’s guide to flying in first or business class

British Airways used to operate first-class on more than 50 of its routes and for many of those routes, finding first-class Avios redemption availability was relatively easy.

Because of the pandemic, British Airways significantly reduced the number of aircraft it operates with first-class cabins. Several TPG readers have commented that first-class availability has been reduced to almost zero. I suspect this has been for several reasons:

  • The airline was operating the routes with aircraft without a first-class cabin
  • The airline was unsure if they would operate first on a route in 2022
  • The airline is doing everything it can to sell first seats for cash, rather than opening them up for Avios redemptions

There’s some good news – while many BA routes may never see first class again, there are still around two dozen routes British Airways plan to operate first-class on at some stage over the next 12 months.

Using the ever-useful Seat Spy tool, I have been through each of these routes to see if there is any Avios availability in first class. The good news is, while there may not be availability for every day (or every week), most routes do have at least some seats that can be booked with Avios.

Related: A review of British Airways first class on the A380 with its new soft product

Here is the list of routes British Airways that currently do or will operate first-class on in 2022, with the price for a one-way off-peak Avios redemption, per person, and an indication of the current availability at the time of publication.

Remember that award availability can and does change quickly so if you see a destination and route that works for you, book this as soon as possible.

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In This Post

Africa and the Middle East

  • Abuja (ABV) – 42,500 Avios, plenty of inbound and outbound available
  • Dubai (DXB) – 68,000 Avios, very limited inbound and outbound available
  • Johannesburg (JNB) – 102,000 Avios, very limited inbound and outbound available
  • Kuwait City (KWI) – 42,500 Avios, no availability
  • Lagos (LOS) – 68,000 Avios, plenty of inbound and outbound available
  • Riyadh (RUH) – 68,000 Avios, very limited outbound, no inbound available

Asia Pacific

  • Hong Kong (HKG) – 102,000 Avios, very limited inbound and outbound available
  • Male (MLE) – 85,000 Avios, no availability
  • Singapore (SIN) – 119,000 Avios, some inbound and outbound available
  • Sydney (SYD) – 170,000 Avios, no availability

Related: What are the differences between business class and first class?

Caribbean

  • Barbados (BGI) – 85,000 Avios, very limited outbound available
  • St Lucia (UVF) – 85,000 Avios, no availability
Photo by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy

North America

  • Atlanta (ATL) – 85,000 Avios, some inbound and outbound available
  • Boston (BOS) – 68,000 Avios, some inbound and outbound available
  • Chicago (ORD) – 68,000 Avios, no availability
  • Dallas (DFW) – 85,000 Avios, very limited inbound and outbound available
  • Houston (IAH) – 85,000 Avios, no outbound, very limited inbound available
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – 85,000 Avios, no availability
  • Mexico City (MEX) – 85,000 Avios, some inbound and outbound available
  • Miami (MIA) – 85,000 Avios, no outbound, very limited inbound available
  • New York (JFK and EWR) – 68,000 Avios, very limited inbound and outbound available
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – 68,000 Avios, some inbound and outbound available
  • San Francisco (SFO) – 85,000 Avios, no availability
  • Seattle (SEA) – 85,000 Avios, no availability
  • Washington D.C. (IAD) – 68,000 Avios, very limited inbound and outbound available

South America

  • Santiago (SCL) – 119,000 Avios, very limited inbound and outbound available
Photo by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy

Bottom line

The good news is that first class is not dead – British Airways is planning to operate the product on around two dozen different routes over the next 12 months. Most routes only have very limited Avios redemption availability in first class which does make using your Avios for this coveted product difficult, though at least most routes do have some availability.

There are some big changes in trends compared with before the pandemic – for example, New York (JFK) used to be one of the easiest BA routes to find first-class redemption availability because it was a route with so many flights each day. Now, there is hardly any availability which is a real surprise.

As always, it’s a good idea to search as far in advance as you can, set some alerts through programmes like Seat Spy and always check last minute too.

It’s not impossible to redeem Avios for first-class seats, but it is more difficult than before the pandemic.

Featured image by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy

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