British Airways offers new Avios upgrade option

I just received an email informing me that my Avios can now be used to upgrade flights on British Airways. Given that I always assumed that was part of the program I figured that the email rated a closer read. It turns out that prior to this week it was apparently not actually possible to upgrade tickets which were not purchased directly from the airline. A travel agent booking – quite common for business travelers – were not previously eligible. Today they are, both online and through the British Airways call centres.


There are still fare class restrictions and the single-cabin hop limits (except American Airlines-operated flights can upgrade from Coach to First) so no huge changes there. And the upgrade pricing numbers aren’t always so great. Especially considering that coach seats on BA metal can only be upgraded to Premium Economy rather than business class. And there is the pesky minimum fare purchase requirement – H or higher on BA metal and B or higher on AA or Iberia metal means you’re paying a pretty penny for that opportunity.


Still, this is definitely an improvement to the program over what was previously offered. Not a huge one for most people, but it is still something.

Oh, and if you’re having trouble figuring out the base Avios number for a particular route check out the Avios calculator here and look for the non-stop options.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. The collective wisdom of the BA board on FlyerTalk is that upgrading from WT+ to CW is the best way to use Avios (given that it doesn’t require very many of them, relatively speaking, and you can earn tier points on your base fare if you are so inclined).

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