Finding British Airways and Virgin Atlantic award-seat availability just got a whole lot easier

Nov 14, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Spending air miles is often perceived to be harder than earning them in the first place.

One method you can currently use to search for available award seats is Expert Flyer, which is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures. The site makes it possible to set alerts for when seats open up, as well as search for award availability. Here’s a full guide to award searches on ExpertFlyer to learn more.

Enter Seat Spy, the latest award-seat finding site to join the market. Its initial focus is to make finding British Airways and Virgin Atlantic availability easier than ever.

Turning Left for Less reports that the site is currently in beta mode for testing, but its creators are allowing users to sign up for the complete service for free. Signing up is speedy and easy, and only requires an email address and password.

Signing up enables you to search for seats and set up hourly seat-availability alerts. To start with, email alerts will be sent, but the site has plans for text message alerts in the future.

British Airways

For the first time ever, it is now possible to search for availability on the full journey from London (LHR) to Sydney (SYD) via Singapore (SIN). The most availability, including quite wide-open availability in First, is showing for May next year.

Hovering over the dates shows how many seats are available in each class.

Once you’ve found availability that suits you, head to British Airways‘ website to verify and book.

Virgin Atlantic

In the site’s current beta state, the availability for Virgin is unfortunately 48 hours out of date. Turning Left for Less reports that Seat Spy is working to fix this.

Rather than checking specific dates, the site displays all availability as far in advance as 12 months. For example, Virgin’s seasonal Manchester (MAN) to Los Angeles (LAX) route restarts in May and is already showing limited availability.


The same as for BA, hovering over individual dates shows exactly how many seats are available in each cabin.

Once you’ve found availability that suits you, head to Virgin Atlantic‘s website to verify and book.

Creating alerts

Creating alerts couldn’t be easier. Simply scroll to the bottom of the page after searching for availability and fill out the easy-to-use form. You can choose a range of dates rather than just set days as well as multiple cabin classes at once.

Bottom line

This is certainly an improvement on current award-seat availability tools. The fact that it’s free (for now) is an added bonus that every traveler should make the most of while it lasts. In the meantime, you can keep up to date with the latest points and miles news, deals and reviews by signing up for TPG’s daily newsletter.

Featured photo by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.