Could Reward Flight Finder help you find the best trips to spend your Avios?

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This week marked the return of Britons eager to be able to travel to the United States, perhaps heading for the Miami heat or the New York buzz.

Many will have seen the British Airways and Virgin Atlantic planes take off simultaneously to the Big Apple from Heathrow to mark the occasion and it might make them dream of a trip to the United States soon too.

Many may have also made up extensive Avios jars to use for flights, given the pandemic expenses and the lack of travel adventures to redeem the points.

While they can be fairly easy to earn, it can be difficult to navigate the British Airways website to find availability – and that’s where Reward Flight Finder comes in.

Many BA customers saved Avios points during the pandemic when travel was banned

The website and app continually monitor BA seat availability and alert members when those special seats are vacated, potentially saving them time and money, as well as the difficulty of securing them.

This will be useful for the many Avios customers who have points that they have not yet been able to spend due to the pandemic end.

Now that countries are starting to reopen, it gives future travelers the option to redeem points.

To help these vacationers, we reveal how Reward Flight Finder works, how much it costs, and the best tips for getting the best seats.

Why would Avios users need Reward Flight Finder?

BA issues millions of Avios every year and while it’s easy to collect, it can be harder to use them to get nearly free reward seats – especially to popular destinations like Cape Town, Barbados, Miami , Sydney, the Maldives and Dubai.

BA does not have an alert system and it is not possible to search BA’s website for multiple destinations and different dates at the same time as customers have to search each destination and date separately.

If seats are not available, clients will have to repeat the exercise several times, often without success, which can be both time consuming and frustrating.

By comparison, on a single page, for a full year ahead, Reward Flight Finder displays all available dates, the number of award seats available each day in each cabin class, the number of Avios needed and whether the date is point or hollow. .

Reward Flight Finder will help customers find the best seats for Avios customers on BA flights

Reward Flight Finder will help customers find the best seats for Avios customers on BA flights

How it works?

BA releases award seats at all times, day or night, ensuring that two business class seats and four economy class seats are released when the flight first enters the reservation system.

More seats are released closer to the departure date depending on how the flight is selling.

Reward Flight Finder tracks these flights and gives its users the option to retrieve them immediately.

It offers three different membership levels – which we explain in the box below.

The site does not guarantee that Avios collectors will find the award seats, but does claim that the chances of doing so are greatly increased as it is constantly looking for seats and will notify customers of availability.

I use it for a while

By Associate Editor Lee Boyce

I came across the site a year ago. I have amassed a large amount of Avios over the past few years and find the part of the website dedicated to British Airways to spend them, to put it mildly.

I use Reward Flight Finder as a guide to seat availability and the number of points needed and then enter them with great accuracy on the BA website.

I only used the free service, but it also offers a Silver service for £ 2.99 per month.

This promises hourly alert frequencies of availability to beat the competition for seats, as well as a ‘Where Can I Go’ map finder, which could be a great addition for those who wish to go anywhere and. maximize their points, especially with overseas travel. on the cards.

It also offers a Gold service at £ 4.99 per month which offers instant seat alert frequency and allows 20 active on-the-go alerts for destinations at a time, compared to two with the free service and five with the Silver service.

This currently has a 14 day free trial.

Two Reward Flight Finder customers obtained Business tickets to Cape Town with their Avios

Two Reward Flight Finder customers obtained Business tickets to Cape Town with their Avios

The best tips for finding the best seats

Reward Flight Finder offered their top tips for finding the best seats.

1. Map view: Those who are Silver or Gold members will be able to access the Map view which allows people to see all the available destinations in one place.

It works for people who don’t know where they want to go as they can enter their starting point, number of seats, cabin classes, and their outbound and return date ranges.

Map pins for each available destination will appear and a click on a pin reveals the available dates and cabin classes.

If users know where they want to go, they can enter their origin and destination points and perform a quick search to see all available dates, the number of award seats available each day in each cabin class, and the number of Avios. required. , for a year to come.

If the preferred date and cabin class are available, customers are advised to book directly with the airline as soon as possible.

If the preferred date and cabin class are not available, customers can set up an alert and wait to be notified via text or email.

2. Create alerts as early as possible: There is nothing wrong with putting them in place several months in advance. BA vacates seats 355 days before the departure date.

3. Choose several possible destinations if that suits you: Configure multiple alerts and choose wide date ranges for departure and return.

4. As soon as you are informed of availability, book directly with BA: Do not be too long. The seats are quickly disappearing. Even if you’re not sure it’s best to reserve the seats, and if you need to cancel the tickets you get a full refund of all your Avios and taxes paid, minus £ 35 per person.

Simple: You indicate your departure airport that you want to go to and the website tells you the availability of reward seats for each month.

Simple: You indicate your departure airport that you want to go to and the website tells you the availability of reward seats for each month.

“We are not rich, but we can afford to travel in business class every year”

Two Avios customers, called Carla and Pete *, each joined the British Airways loyalty program in 2020 and have since merged their accounts.

Since then, they’ve racked up 125,000 Avios in just a year after trying to collect as many as possible.

The couple, both teachers, plan a long-haul trip every year, usually to the United States or Asia, for at least five weeks and while they usually travel economy class, they can now travel first or class. business, thanks to their Avios points.

In order to save, the two first applied for the £ 195 (now £ 250) BA Premium Plus American Express card, earning significant signup and referral bonuses.

After three months, Carla canceled her Amex and got a pro-rated refund of her annual membership fee, keeping the bonuses she had earned while Pete got Carla an additional card in her account, which gave her the bonus. earned another bonus.

They then used Pete’s Amex card to pay for all personal expenses including insurance, cell phones, gym memberships, AA outages, Sky TV, broadband, theater tickets and all. daily purchases through BA’s shopping portal.

They also paid for large purchases made by trusted friends and family who then refunded them and moved from Tesco to Sainsburys where they collected Nectar Points, converting them into Avios.

Each month, they paid off Amex’s balance in full and spent £ 10,000 within 12 months on getting a companion voucher that gives customers two tickets for the price of one.

The couple joined Reward Flight Finder in August 2021 and recently booked Cape Town for next March in business class.

Pete said, “We’re over the moon, having secured these business class seats. We could never have done this without Reward Flight Finder as Cape Town is very popular and we just don’t have the patience to check BA several times a day.

“Setting alerts makes it so easy. From now on, we aim to earn a companion voucher every year and also fly in business. More savings for us.

The key to this is to pay off the balance as you go, or face a tempting APR offered by these type of reward cards.

* – no real names

Are there thousands of Avios collectors with big unused balances?

It is believed that there are a lot of Avios point collectors with large and unused balances, thanks to the pandemic.

Douglas Rose, Managing Director of Reward Flight Finder, said: “We don’t have exact numbers, but the huge increase in online shopping during the pandemic coupled with far fewer opportunities to use Avios for flights. , hotels and car rentals due to blockages is likely to mean that there are significant Avios sales.

“In 2019, less than 75% of the Avios issued that year were refunded. The buyback figures in 2020 must be much lower.

“While BA has extended the expiration dates of most existing companion vouchers three times, many people will have multiple companion vouchers to use and possibly future travel vouchers.

“These were issued when BA canceled flights and people chose a voucher instead of a full refund because the vouchers had a much longer lifespan than the original voucher.

“If the number of alerts configured is any indication, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people who have configured alerts over the past month, especially for long-haul destinations that require at least 100,000 Avios for a ticket. round trip business class. “

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