British Airways doubles the space on its Avios flights in July

British Airways has delivered families and holidaymakers “great news” in the form of more than 250,000 extra seats for passengers booking flights with Avios from the end of July.

The airline doubles the minimum number of available seats for those who purchase short-haul flights in Economy and Business Class, Economy Class flights and Premium Economy and Business Class flights.

No more first class seats will be made available, but in some classes this means there will be a minimum of eight seats open to reward passengers for the flight to each destination, with at least 14 seats available for each long-haul flight. Short trips will have a minimum of 12.

Many may be tempted to use their Avios as a less risky way to book a flight later this year, or early 2022.

British Airways offers minimum space on its flights to those who purchase seats with Avios

British Airways offers minimum space on its flights to those who purchase seats with Avios

Popular destinations will always have more seats available, but a guaranteed new “floor” from July 28 is especially good news for families.

British Airways currently only offers a minimum of two seats for Avios customers in short and long haul business class.

Starting next month, the minimum will be doubled to four.

Nikki Kelvin, of The Points Guy UK, said: ‘The news is particularly positive for families who may now be able to plan ahead and almost guarantee securing four business class seats on one flight if they are willing and prepared for it. Book 355 days in advance of the trip.

“If you’ve always wanted to take the whole family somewhere in business class on points, this planning should make it easier.”

He added: ‘In general, any increase in reward stock is positive for collectors or miles and points, but what is unique here is the guarantee BA gives on every flight, as opposed to a general increase in availability which can end up on less than popular routes. or interesting.

However, warn potential travelers that they may need to get in quickly.

This does not mean that this number of seats will always be available at all times on each flight. This means that at least this number will be released on each flight in advance, usually once the flights are loaded for sale, 365 days in advance.

Reward flights are booked using a combination of Avios points and cash. Whilst the vast majority of the cost of a seat is covered using BA miles, there is always a minimum cash tax that must be paid, which can be as low as £1 for short flights and £100 for long journeys.

How many seats will be available from 28 July?
The Plane The current minimum seat availability for each flight New minimum seat availability for each flight
short run economy 4 8
Business class for short distances 2 4
long run economy 4 8
Premium economy class for the long haul 0 2
Long distance business class 2 4
Source: British Airways

The cost of award flights varies depending on whether they are booked during peak or off-peak times.

Peak times are during Easter and the summer holidays, around Christmas and sometimes during the half-term holiday weeks.

Reward Flight Finder is one of the best ways for travelers to find out where they can go and how much they will cost. It’s not a booking system, but a useful comparison tool to see flight availability before passing through the airlines.

With business travelers buying £4,000 worth of tickets now thin on the ground, and will be for several years, BA stands to lose a little by giving away more tickets to Avios for redemption.

Rob Burgess, Head of Getting Points

Avios can be collected through credit card spends as well as through store partnership deals that can be found through the BA online store.

While Avios can usually be used for flights with other IAG airlines such as Aer Lingus, Iberia and other partner airlines, they will not benefit from greater availability starting next month.

BA’s donations likely come against the backdrop of a slump in business class travel, something that is likely to continue even as travel restrictions are imposed due to the ease of the pandemic.

Rob Burgess, editor of the Head for Points website for frequent flyers, said: ‘With business travelers buying tickets worth £4,000 it’s now thin on the ground and there will still be a bit of a miss by BA awarding more tickets to Avios. to retrieve it.

“IAG, as a group, is taking advantage of more people getting Amex credit cards etc to earn Avios points to redeem for the new enhanced availability.”

What about cancellations and delays?

Looking back over the last 15 months, one thing that is sure to be high on a traveler’s priorities is cancellation coverage from airlines.

After all, many have spent a good portion of 2020 trying to get money back from airlines, rather than giving them more.

Asked about award flight cancellations and what happens if a country moves from the UK’s “green” list to “amber”, for example, British Airways said: “Any customer who has an Avios booking until the end of April 2022 is eligible to claim a voucher for the value of the booking if they don’t They want to travel.

The voucher would be for the cash paid in taxes, plus the Avios, so for example 100,000 Avios plus £250 in taxes would be the amount on the receipt that can then be used to rebook for any date up to April 2023.

Alternatively, Avios reservations can be canceled normally for a small service fee, with the rest of taxes and Avios refunded, which can cost around £35 to return an Avios deposit, per its website.

Meanwhile, if a flight is cancelled, customers are entitled to a full refund of everything they paid, both Avios and the accompanying cash fee.

And what other cover might vacationers need?

But planning a vacation during a pandemic, as far as it is allowed, is no easy task.

With more and more insurance companies excluding coronavirus-related cancellation cover from their policies, vacationers need to be sure to read the small print.

Analysis of 73 travel insurance providers by which consumer group? Cover for changes in travel advice, or downsizing due to a holiday closure or postponement by an airline or travel company, was found to be thin on the ground.

However, consumers are unlikely to be aware of this.

Which? Money’s Jenny Ross said: ‘The ongoing threat of disruption related to coronavirus means it’s more important than ever to have the right travel insurance for your holiday.

“Without closer scrutiny from government and regulators about how clearly insurers present their policies, there is a very real chance that many travelers will be left out of pocket again this summer.”

The Association of British Insurers said holidaymakers need to ensure they purchase travel insurance that covers emergency medical treatment abroad and repatriation, and be aware of any coronavirus-related exclusions in their policies.

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