Best Options for Booking British Airways’ Excellent New Business Class Suites
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British Airways just unveiled its brand new Club World product, which is expected to debut on its first Airbus A350-1000 in July 2019. For the first time in years, award travelers will actually want to seek out British Airways business class.
If you're looking to try out the new business class product, here are the points and miles that you'll want to have, and how to book.
In the announcement Monday morning, British Airways said that it's going to initially fly the A350 on runs between London and Madrid (MAD) to allow crew to familiarize themselves with the new aircraft. However, the new aircraft hasn't been loaded into the schedule yet, so it's not bookable at this time.
Starting in October, the first long-haul routes for the new aircraft will be between London and Toronto (YYZ) and then to Dubai (DXB). However, not every London to Toronto and London to Dubai flight will get the new product. From what's been loaded into the schedule so far, the aircraft will operate on the following schedule:
- BA 93 — London Heathrow (LHR) 1:05pm Departure ⇒ Toronto (YYZ) 3:55pm Arrival
- BA 92 — Toronto (YYZ) 6:30pm Departure ⇒ London Heathrow (LHR) 6:40am Arrival +1 day
- BA 107 — London Heathrow (LHR) 12:50pm Departure ⇒ Dubai (DXB) 11:05pm Arrival
- BA 106 — Dubai (DXB) 1:30am Departure ⇒ London Heathrow (LHR) 6:15am Arrival
The award rates and best ways to book these flights depends on the route:
|BA business class (one-way)||LHR-MAD||LHR-DXB||LHR-YYZ||Transfer Partner|
|British Airways Avios (peak)||15,000||60,000||60,000||MR, UR, Marriott|
|British Airways Avios (off-peak)||12,750||50,000||50,000||MR, UR, Marriott|
|JAL Mileage Bank||24,000||42,000||42,000||Marriott|
|Cathay Asia Miles||30,000||50,000||50,000||MR, TY, Marriott|
The math is different for round-trip awards:
|BA business class (round-trip)||LHR-MAD||LHR-DXB||LHR-YYZ||Transfer Partner|
|British Airways Avios (peak)||30,000||120,000||120,000||MR, UR, Marriott|
|British Airways Avios (off-peak)||25,500||100,000||100,000||MR, UR, Marriott|
|JAL Mileage Bank||30,000||80,000||80,000||Marriott|
|Cathay Asia Miles||60,000||100,000||100,000||MR, TY, Marriott|
As you can see, Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to all of the top options, making these points the most flexible currency for scoring awards in the new British Airways Club World product.
You can stock up on Marriott points by applying for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, which are both offering a 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
As a transfer partner of British Airways and Asia Miles, American Express Membership Rewards are another top transferable currency to accumulate for BA Club World awards on these routes. There's plenty of ways of racking up these points -- including through the
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year; then 1x and prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel)
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (5x points on airfare and prepaid hotel rooms booked with American Express Travel and 1.5x points on all purchases over $5,000; up to an 1 million additional points per year)
- American Express® Gold Card (4x points at restaurants; 4x points at US supermarkets up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com)
- The Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card from American Express (2x points on all purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year; then 1x)
Searching Award Availability
There's a few different ways of checking award availability on British Airways. Most obviously, you can just use British Airways' built-in search tool. Especially if you're going to book with Avios, there's simplicity to being able to complete your booking if you find award availability.
BA's site will only show you one day of availability at a time, although you can click through the date tabs to search +/- 3 days. I've found that BA doesn't like you clicking around too much and will pop up Captcha challenges after a short amount of clicking around.
So, if your dates are flexible, you're going to want to use a different search method than British Airways. One of our favorite sites for searching Oneworld award availability is Qantas' website -- which lets you search up to a month of availability at a time.
Just a warning that you're going to get a lot of false positives when looking for British Airways business class flights between London and Dubai since Qantas is also partners with Emirates. So, you might want to skip this method for Dubai flights:
Finally, ExpertFlyer is an invaluable tool for both award searching and award availability alerts. If you're new to ExpertFlyer, here's a comprehensive guide on how to get started.