Paying to unlock British Airways Avios Reward Seats?

If you’re a British Airways Executive Club member, you might have received an email from the airline about “Unlocking Something New”. Essentially, it’s an offer where you can turn any seat into an Avios reward seat, unlocked by flying on four Club World or First Class British Airways flights by the 12 February 2020.

Does it sound like a good offer? Well, we have unpicked the small print for you, so read on to find out how to qualify and if it’s one worth pursuing.

The promotion – what do you get?

Once you’ve unlocked the promotion, you get to convert any available seat into an Avios reward seat. However, according to the airline; “Exclusive Reward Flight is strictly subjected to the flight capacity which may be very limited at times.“ It sounds like the airlines is already letting you know that it’ll be hard to convert a seat.

We suspect that those elusive reward seats from London to Sydney, will remain impossible to convert as part of the promotion. If you’re planning to use the offer on busy routes, we think your chances will remain very slim!

Once you’ve met the required four premium flights, you will receive instructions from British Airways on the 28 February 2020. It will tell you how to convert and book a seat. Don’t forget that it’s not free, as you’ll still need to use your Avios points to book those flights and pay the taxes and fees.

When redeeming the Exclusive Reward Flight, you must book more than 30 days in advance of travel. This means there is no last minute travel available through this offer.

If it’s not sounding too promising, it’s about to get a little worse. There is quite a long list of terms and conditions for the promotion. We have deciphered the small print for you so you don’t to.

The catch – the small print

  • You must book AND fly four Club World or First Class flights before 23:59 GMT on the 12 February 2020.
  • It’s only available on long-haul flights and won’t be available for short-haul Club Europe sectors 
  • You must pre-register on the British Airways website here
  • Flights booked in Club World or First to the following routes are not eligible to unlock the promotion: Amman, Beirut, Moscow and Tel Aviv (i.e the affordable medium-haul routes)

What are the limitations when you come to book?

Well, meeting that requirements is only the first step. Converting a reward seat comes with its own terms and conditions!

  • You must book your reward flights between 28 February 2020 and 30 April 2020
  • You must fly before 31 October 2020
  • However, there is limited availability on seats if you plan to fly during the dates below:
    • 27-29 March
    • 3-5 April
    • 22-23 May
    • 17-19 July
    • 23-25 July
  • Inbound
    • 17-19 Apr
    • 30-31 May
    • 28-31 Aug

BG1 Verdict on the Avios Rewards

Unless you’re already planning a couple of premium class trips with BA before 12 February 2020, or you fly a lot with work, it’s unlikely going to represent good value for money.

Our verdict? Don’t go out of your way to unlock the deal… it only make sense if you’re intending to fly already and haven’t booked your flights. The terms and conditions are extensive and no guarantee that you will find those elusive reward flights. Not only will you be at least £3,000 short, you’ll be frustrated that you can’t find the reward seats that you want. You might end up using the reward voucher and spending your Avios because you have to rather than you want to. With the limited availability and restrictive terms and conditions, you’ll have to be very flexible with your travel dates and destinations to take advantage of the offer. However, if you have deep pockets and have more Avios than you know what to do with, it could be one for you.

We think the best way to use Avios redemption is by being flexible with your travel dates and destinations, which will require a bit of research. Read our blog about how you can find the best Avios redemption flight here.

We would love to hear if you intend to take advantage of the offer, and if you think it represents good value. Comment below to let us know!

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