British Airways Award Space Now Displays on ExpertFlyer

by on November 5, 2013 · 22 comments

in British Airways, ExpertFlyer

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ExpertFlyer is one of my favorite tools for searching award and seat availability since it covers dozens and dozens of airlines including all Star Alliance carriers (with the exception of elite upgrade space on United as of last week), as well as being a great resource to search routing options or fare information. What I also love is that the site keeps adding new airline partners whose award and ticket inventory it can search, and it has just added another major one, British Airways.

To be able to search ExpertFlyer, you do need a paid membership (they start at $4.99 a month for the most basic). When you log in, click on “Awards and Upgrades”.


That will take you to a page where you can search award availability between city pairs (you will need to do multiple searches if you are constructing a complicated itinerary) for certain dates or date ranges and by carrier and class of ticket. Now when you click on the “Airline” tab, you’ll see British Airways and can check boxes to search for First, Business, Premium Economy and other award classes.

You can now find BA award and upgrade space using ExpertFlyer.

You can now find BA award and upgrade space using ExpertFlyer.

That’s great news since even though British Airways recently dramatically improved the award search function on its site, it was still a bit unwieldy. I also like using American’s website to search for BA award space since you can view a whole month at a time in the award search calendar, but ExpertFlyer has one key benefit that neither American nor BA have – you can set award alerts so that as soon as an award on the flight or flights you want in the class you want opens up, it will send you an email and you can book it before anyone else snaps it up. lets you see availability for a whole month at a time. lets you see availability for a whole month at a time.

You do so by searching the dates, airline and classes you want and then if nothing is available, you can click on the exclamation point next to the seat display and create an alert for the award(s) you want that will be emailed to you if and when ExpertFlyer finds an open award.

Screen shot 2013-11-05 at 11.22.02 AM

You simply enter the airline and class code, enter a name for the alert, like “BA First” and your email address, and you’re done. If you want a step-by-step walkthrough of searching for award and upgrade space on ExpertFlyer, check out the video I made taking you through the process:

Although I do try to avoid flying British Airways through London because of huge taxes and fuel surcharges, I do love their first class and it can be frustrating nailing down first class awards on the airline, so this is definitely going to make things a lot easier.

Check out these posts for step-by-step tutorials on:

How to Set Flight Alerts

Using ExpertFlyer to Search Award Availability

Hat tip: One Mile at a Time.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • zozeppelin

    KVS using the BA search engine scrape for LA. If only expert flyer could do LA….

  • E

    Does this work for showing partner awards that are bookable via british? For example, dfw-Ord on aa but using avois so you get the distance based award?

  • Danny

    Note for you TPG, and for other readers –

    I had applied for the BA Visa last month and got the 50K sign up bonus. I have not yet earned that 50K bonus, so with the new 100K bonus I called today and asked if I could be upgraded to that. The CSR told me that my account already had those extra details – the same 50K points after 2K spend in 3 months, and the extra 25K for 10K spend in a year (and so on) was already attached.

    Just in case anyone else had the same dilemma, I thought I’d share (since this post is about BA).

  • R Smith

    Those notifications are very specific, like flight number + date it looks like to me. I’d like a notification that is route within a date range. Any tips on getting something like that set up, am I missing something?

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  • thepointsguy

    Nope.. sadly you need to set alerts for exact flights

  • thepointsguy

    Awesome- good luck getting the extra 25/50k Avios!

  • thepointsguy

    No… this is only for british airways awards. For example, Cathay awards which show up on are still not available on expertflyer.

  • thepointsguy

    I agree- wish Expertflyer had Lan and Cathay availability (and JAL/Delta while we are at it!)

  • Gordon

    For BA, the toughest time I have finding award flights, is for using my “Travel Together Tickets” / “Companion Certificates”. Does ExpertFlyer allow you to search for flights using these ?

  • thepointsguy

    To use the travel together ticket there just needs to be two award seats on BA open, so you can definitely use expertflyer for that

  • Louis

    TPG, you said “Although I do try to avoid flying British Airways through London because of huge taxes and fuel surcharges.” Are there any routes on BA metal that don’t go through LHR?

  • Gordon

    Great – thanks a lot for all the great info you share.

  • thepointsguy

    Sadly no- some go through London city and gatwick but all international flights have the big fuel
    Surcharges. Intra European flights have reasonable taxes/fees for the most part

  • ItalyTrip

    I agree that using Avios (and having to go through LHR) costs a lot of excessive fees.

    I was planning a trip to Italy next April from Denver. I was hoping to find an “open jaw” business class seat to Venice, and coming back from Rome. No luck… even though it’s 6 months away. Total calendar blackout for any reward tickets in any class.

    I also hate going through Heathrow in double security (which I call “Terminal 5 Hell”)… but at least with a business ticket you get fast-track which makes it slightly better.

    I finally resolved myself to accept a round trip from Denver to Milan (all via LHR) using 118,000 avios for business class and $1,000 in fees.

    I still consider it a fairly good deal, since the ticket in business class would cost $3900.

    I can’t do the open jaw, but have jiggered my travel plans to enjoy a train (with site-seeing stops) back to Milan from Rome at the end of my trip.

    Not the best logistics in normal travel, but to save $2900 in air tickets for business class.. and spend $150 for an added train ticket…not that bad either.

  • hafizijaz

    I used Avios to fly from BOM to JFK one way Business class for 70K Avios and about $70 in fees. BA site pulled up Air Jordan on that option. I was pleased.

  • Joss

    PLEASE HELP! My husband and I have been saving up BA points for eons for a special trip, we now have oodles of points and have earned several companion vouchers (although all but one have expired.) We entered a lottery this past summer to get tickets for the Ryder Cup in Scotland next September, and then spent a fortune purchasing the tickets we were drawn for. Now I’m trying to book our flights on BA to get to Edinburgh and back in first class — 11 months from now — and I keep coming up with nothing. No award seats available on any day in October next year returning from London.(REALLY??) I’ve checked NYC, PHL, BWI, Dulles, and Newark NJ. Best I can find 2 seats to London (but not Edinburgh), but can’t get back! What other options can I pursue to redeem points to get there and back for this once in a lifetime event we’ve been planning and saving for for over 4 years???

  • hmmm

    try again a few days later. I have found that most airlines are not so good working more than 300 days out.

  • Bahh

    without calling BA (and paying for a phone charge for booking a reward ticket by phone), you may have some trouble trying to do it online.


    Not sure where you are flying from in the USA, but direct flights to Edinburgh are unlikely for reward flights. You will have to likely go through Heathrow (LHR)….and pay the obnoxious fees on top of it. I have normally only been able to find round trip flights to/from London with reward flights (and have to patch the trip to another area with either a low-fare trip or train)… that’s the experience online….if you call (and want to pay the phone fee for that)… you might find a different experience.

    You wont’ get “first class” likely, but you might be able to find business (Club World) class. First class is usually not offered. But business class has the small cubicles with reclinging/flat beds if it’s on a 777.

    I really think you should wait a few more days…since it’s nearly a year out, and see if their system is able to handle things this far out (more than 200 days is sometimes an issue, I’ve found).

    Otherwise, I think you will need to call them, rather than trying to do it online.

    Also, from my experience, your best hope (for business class) is to secure a round trip for all parties from the USA round trip to LHR using your BA points. And then patch the trip to Edinburgh (short) via train or a low-fare airline.

    Remember, the more you layer on the hope to find reward tickets (that is higher classes, companion tickets, etc.) the less likely you will find that you want.

    I know this isn’t the greatest news, but the good news is that you are planning way ahead of time.

  • get a clue

    I hate to tell you, but you have overly high expectations of reward travel.. especially for first class or business class… on any airline.

    It it is a “once in a lifetime event we’ve been planning and saving for for over 4 years” you shouldn’t be relying on reward flights in first or business class.

    I hate to say it, but “get a clue”. It’s hard to have sympathy if that’s your expectation of airline reward tickets.

  • Rachel

    How do you look for all coach award availablity? I only see that first, business, and premium economy are available to select. I can enter codes for coach class, but only 3 classes max are available.

  • michael

    hmm, not seeing BA on the list of airlines on EF.

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