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British Airways opens up award space further out that a lot of other airlines but even if you know that BA will start opening awards up to 24 days before the likes of American Airlines and Delta start to do the same, you may not find that award space if you’re not being careful with your searches.
Never fully trust BA’s award search calendars
One of the best ways to search for British Airways award availability is to use the airline’s ‘Reward Flight Finder‘ tool which allows members of the British Airways Executive club to view award availability (for British Airways flights) on specific dates, across a specific month, or across the whole year.
This is a tool that I find myself using for most of my British Airways award searches because the award availability that it shows is usually pretty reliable (it doesn’t usually display phantom availability) and because it lets me see what’s available on a wide variety of dates with just a single search.
Unfortunately, it’s also a tool that can be misleading because it doesn’t always make it obvious just how far out awards can be booked.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
Right now, if you head over to the Reward Flight Finder page and search for availability by month, this is the selection of months that you’ll be given:
If you head over to the Reward Flight Finder page and ask to be shown availability for the whole year, this is the first thing that you’ll be shown:
In both cases you could be forgiven for thinking that the furthest out British Airways will currently allow you to book travel is August 2023…but that’s not true. BA is currently allowing flyers to book award travel well into September.
If you continue your search past the screens that you see above you’ll see a calendar that looks like this one…
…and it’s only if you notice that the calendar is offering you the option to move forward in time…
…that you’ll be able to see the award availability for September:
If you search for awards on specific dates this probably won’t be an issue – the calendar for that search clearly allows you to scroll through to September 2023 – and at some point this month, the search tool will update and start to show September 2023 award availability regardless of what search option you choose so this issue isn’t always around.
None of that, however, excuses the poor coding on the BA site that can give the wrong impression when the monthly or yearly searches are used so if you’re looking for BA award availability almost a year ahead of time, be aware of this issue.
The British Airways Reward Flight Finder tool offers a very easy way to see what award availability British Airways has opened up but readers should be aware that for the first two or three weeks of every month, the tool may not always make it obvious how far into the future awards can be booked.