Best Ways to Book British Airways Business Class With Points [Step-by-Step]

British Airways Business Class 777-300

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Based in London, British Airways operates flights to most parts of the world. They fly tons of routes to and from the United States, which means booking a business class flight is pretty easy.

If you’re flying in business class, be aware of the aircraft on which you’ll be flying since the business class cabin layout varies. Let’s dive into the details of what to expect from British Airways’ business class product, and how you can earn and redeem miles to book it.

A Look Inside British Airways Business Class

British Airways’ international business class product, which they call Club World, doesn’t get amazing reviews from people who are accustomed to luxury travel. However, their business class seats are consistent across their fleet.

British Airways Business Class Seat
This is an aisle seat in BA Business Class, which doesn’t have much privacy at all. Image courtesy of Upgraded Points.

Regardless of aircraft, you can expect a lie-flat seat that is a bit narrow. Unfortunately, while window seats have the most privacy, they do not have direct aisle access. Aisle seats have the reverse issue as they have very little privacy.

The cabin layout varies quite a bit depending on the aircraft. Many business class cabins on British Airways are arranged in a  2-4-2 layout. This means the middle section has 4 seats flanked by 2 seats across each aisle.

Here are the business class cabin layouts for the British Airways fleet:

British Airways AircraftBusiness Class Cabin Layout
Boeing 747-4002-4-2 (lower deck) and 2-2 (upper deck)
Boeing 767-3002-2-2
Boeing 777-2002-4-2
Boeing 777-3002-4-2
Boeing 787-8 and 787-92-3-2
Airbus A380-8002-4-2 (lower deck) and 2-3-2 (upper deck)

You’ll notice that the upper deck of the Boeing 747-400 has a 2-2 layout. This is the ideal place to sit in business class on British Airways, because the cabin is much less crowded and much quieter.

Additionally, with fewer passengers, the service from the crew on the upper deck is much more personal and feels very relaxed.

Once on board, you can enjoy some champagne before takeoff and throughout the flight, if you wish. The food in business class isn’t going to blow you away, but it’s a solid meal.

To help you get comfortable, you will also be provided a nice amenity kit by Elemis.

The fun doesn’t just start on board, though. When you arrive at the airport, you’ll have access to priority check-in and priority boarding once it’s time for your flight.

While you wait for your flight, you can relax in one of the British Airways business class lounges or a Oneworld partner business class lounge. You’ll be able to enjoy a nice meal, free Wi-Fi, and perhaps a shower while you wait.

If you are flying into London Heathrow (LHR), you will also have access to the Arrivals Lounges so you can grab a bite to eat and freshen up before a day visiting the city or your upcoming business meeting.

How to Fly British Airways Business Class Using Points

As a member of the Oneworld alliance, British Airways has plenty of ways to book business class flights with miles and points. They also partner with Alaska Airlines, which provides another great way to book award flights.

Perhaps the biggest drawback to booking flights on British Airways is the taxes and carrier-imposed surcharges you’ll be hit with when flying in and out of the United Kingdom.

While some airlines don’t pass on the carrier-imposed surcharges on award tickets, British Airways does. Flights from the US are now hit with charges of $700-$1,000 each way.

Additionally, you will have to pay the British Air Passenger Duty when departing the UK on a flight over 2,000 miles if you’re flying business or first class. This fee is £150 (roughly $198).

Hot Tip: To avoid this massive fee, you can begin your journey from another European city such as Dublin or Amsterdam.

Keep this in mind when using British Airways’ Travel Together Ticket — you will be required to pay the fee for both passengers.

British Airways Executive Club

ZoneDistance (Miles)Off-PeakPeak
11 to 6507,7509,000
2651 to 1,15012,75015,000
31,151 to 200017,00020,000
42,001 to 3,00031,25037,500
53,000 to 4,00050,00060,000
64,001 to 5,50062,50075,000
75,501 to 6,50075,00090,000
86,501 to 7,00087,500105,000
97,001 and greater125,000150,000

Probably the easiest way to book flights with British Airways is through its own loyalty program, the British Airways Executive Club. You’ll notice British Airways refers to “Avios” when you book award flights; this is the name of their mileage currency (rather than the more commonly used “miles”).

British Airways uses a distance-based award chart (see above) for its own flights. British Airways flights are individually priced based on the distance between origin and destination and what class of service you want to fly. If you want to book a flight that has a connection, this means each flight segment will be priced separately, and the 2 award prices will be added together.

As you can see in the chart above, British Airways has peak and off-peak awards depending on your travel dates. To check your dates for off-peak pricing, use the off-peak schedule under Working Out the Cost.

Keep in mind that the above chart is for business class flights operated exclusively by British Airways, or an itinerary that includes British Airways and 1 partner.

If you book an award flight with a partner airline such as American Airlines and do not include a flight operated by British Airways on your reservation, you’ll be required to pay peak-level award prices. If you book a multi-partner award, you will be using an even pricier award chart.

British Airways awards can be booked online following the steps outlined below.

  1. Go to the British Airways
  2. Log in to your account (upper right corner)
  3. Scroll down and select Spend Avios in the center column
  4. Choose Book a Reward Flight
  5. Enter your origin and destination airports, dates, and select business class
  6. Click on Get Flights
  7. Select your flight
    • Make sure you choose “business class,” since your search results will also show other classes of service
  8. Agree to the terms and conditions and click Continue
  9. Enter your passenger information and click Continue
  10. Confirm your flight details and make your payment

When booking, it’s important to remember that distance traveled is calculated by adding the flight distance between each segment, not just the origin and destination. As a result, connections can cause the award cost to increase.

Additionally, the taxes and fees (including carrier-imposed surcharges) are significant when booking business class on British Airways.

Fortunately, you can quickly add to your Avios account by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards (transfers are almost instant) and Amex Membership Rewards (transfers are almost instant).

Hot Tip: Check out the best ways to earn British Airways Avios to get you started!

American Airlines AAdvantage

The AA partner award chart allows great transatlantic redemptions to Europe in business class. Image courtesy of aa.com.

We like AA because of their reasonable award rates to Europe in business class. You will be able to fly for 57,500 miles each way! Unfortunately, you will be on the hook for all fuel surcharges, as AA passes them on for BA flights.

You’ll do best searching for award availability on BA.com instead of AA.com. American is known for hiding partner availability, especially for routes that it operates its own flights on.

Here’s the best way to search for award availability:

  1. Go to the British Airways website.
  2. Log in to your account (upper right corner)
  3. Scroll down and select Spend Avios in the center column.
  4. Choose Book a Reward Flight.
  5. Enter your origin and destination airports, dates, and select business class.
  6. Click on Get Flights. Write down the desired flights, dates, and times.
  7. Call American Airlines at 1-800-882-8880. If transferring points, you are allowed to hold your reservation for 5 days.
  8. Confirm your flight details and make your payment.

AA does not allow stopovers, so you will need to pay for each segment if you want to plan a stop in London before heading to another destination.

For other ways to earn American Airlines miles, read our best ways to earn AA miles. If you need other ways to use your AA miles, check out our best ways to redeem American Airlines miles.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

Since the new devaluation from November 20, 2018, JAL award redemptions are much more expensive. Image courtesy of jal.com.

When booking with a partner airline, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank uses a distance-based award chart.

Japan Airlines requires you to call to book award flights with partner airlines, but this is easy if you follow the steps below.

  1. Go to the Japan Airlines website
  2. Log in to your JAL Mileage Bank account
  3. Select JMB Partner Airlines Award Ticket Reservation
  4. Select British Airways under Partner Airlines
  5. Select business class, your travel dates, and the departure and destination airports
  6. Select your flights and hit Next
  7. Confirm the Mileage Bank miles and taxes/fees required
  8. If your booking involves a connection on another partner of Japan Airlines such as American Airlines, you will have to call to complete the booking

Japan Airlines allows stopovers, so you might be able to see multiple destinations on your trip for no extra miles. Like British Airways, the distance flown is calculated by segment rather than between origin and destination — so your total flight distance can’t increase too much, or it will bump up the cost.

For other ways to earn Japan Airlines miles, read our best ways to earn JAL miles. If you need other ways to use your Mileage Bank miles, check out our best ways to redeem Japan Airlines miles.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Another great way to book British Airways business class is through the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. In fact, it often requires fewer Alaska miles than Avios to book business class on British Airways flights, and you can book a stopover for no extra miles.

To/From North AmericaOne-way Award Cost
Africa70,000 Alaska miles
Europe60,000 Alaska miles
India70,000 Alaska miles
Middle East70,000 Alaska miles

Fuel surcharges from British Airways are collected when booking with Alaska miles as well.

To book, go to Alaska website and follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to the Alaska Airlines website
  2. Sign in to your account
  3. Search for your desired route (make sure you select Use Miles)
  4. Select your desired flight and click Add To Cart
  5. Pay the necessary taxes/fees and complete your booking

If you need some other ideas for using your Alaska miles, check out our best ways to redeem Alaska miles.

Other Options for Booking British Airways

British Airways is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, so you can use any of the Oneworld loyalty programs to book flights on British Airways.

Redeeming Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is another possible option because of their generous stopover rules. If you plan on hopping around Europe, this program can help you see a bunch of cities. However, it’s not an easy program to use when booking many partners.

Great British Airways Business Class Redemptions

British Airways Boeing 747-400
You have lots of options to redeem miles for a business class flight on British Airways. Image courtesy of British Airways.

Now that you have a handle on how to book a British Airways business class award flight, let’s take a look at some of the best redemption options.

Hawaii to London

Those who live in Hawaii don’t always have an easy time flying to Europe. With 60,000 Alaska miles, you can fly from Hawaii to the U.S. West Coast on Alaska Airlines, and then fly British Airways in business class to London.

North America to the Middle East

Whether traveling to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Doha, flying to the Middle East is not always easy.

You can fly to the Middle East for 70,000 AA miles in business class each way.

With 80,000 Japan Airlines miles, you can fly British Airways in business class from cities such as New York City (JFK), Chicago (ORD), and Dallas (DFW).

From cities in the western U.S. such as Los Angeles (LAX), Las Vegas (LAS), and Seattle (SEA), you can make the trip for 85,000 Japan Airlines miles.

You can also book a business class flight on British Airways for 70,000 Alaska miles regardless of your location in the continental U.S.

New York or Chicago to London

Similar to the previous redemption option, flying from the East Coast or the Midwest can get you a solid deal when using Japan Airlines miles. For 42,000 Japan Airlines miles, you can fly from New York City or Chicago to London in business class.

You can also use 45,000 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, 50,000 British Airways Avios, or 50,000 Alaska miles to fly business class from one of these cities.

How to Earn Enough Miles for British Airways Business Class

If you need more Avios to complete a business class booking with British Airways, you have plenty of options to earn more.

British Airways Avios can be earned directly with the Chase British Airways Visa Signature® Card.

BA Avios can also be transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards (both at a rate of 1:1) or from Marriott at a transfer rate of 3:1.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Business Owner? See our article on Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

Business Owner? See our article on Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards.

Recommended Marriott-SPG Cards

When Should You Search for Award Space?

If you’re flying from the U.S. to London, you’ll often find quite a bit of award availability. Like any other award search, it will be easier to find the flights you want if your travel dates are more flexible.

As a general rule, start your search as soon as you know the timeframe within which you’d like to travel. If you’re able to wait to book until closer to departure, there is often decent award space on British Airways in the last couple of weeks.

What Makes British Airways a Great Redemption?

While not the most luxurious experience you can have flying across the Atlantic (or around the world), there are some great aspects to flying British Airways.

Travel Together Ticket

One of the more interesting options with British Airways Executive Club is their Travel Together Ticket. Each year you spend at least $30,000 on your British Airways Visa Signature® Credit Card, you will receive a Travel Together Ticket.

The ticket is good for 2 years, and it gives you the ability to book a companion’s seat along with yours for no extra miles. However, you will be responsible for the taxes and fees incurred on the second ticket. For this reason, it makes the most sense to use this perk if you book British Airways first class or business class.

The companion must be booked into the same class of service and on the same flight as your ticket. Also, the award flights must originate and return to the U.S.

If you want to learn more, we’ve got a whole piece on how we redeemed 2 sets of travel together tickets on the same flight!

Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow

When you arrive at Terminal 3 or Terminal 5 at London Heathrow (LHR), you can visit the Arrivals Lounge. This is a particularly nice perk when arriving early in the morning before a long day of sightseeing or business meetings.

You can grab a quick shower to refresh after the flight and have a hot meal. Many will appreciate the coffee and tea options as well, since we often need a jolt early in the morning upon arrival.

The Upper Deck Business Class Cabin on the Boeing 747-400

British Airways Business Class Upper Deck
The upper deck business class cabin is more private and much quieter. Image courtesy of Spencer Howard.

The business class experience on the upper deck of a British Airways Boeing 747-400 is a serene experience. There are far fewer passengers than in the business class cabin on the lower deck, which makes it much quieter. The crew members are also very attentive and available to help you with anything you need.

Final Thoughts

British Airways business class is a solid premium cabin product for flying to Europe and beyond. It’s not going to blow you away with the glitz and glamor of the Emirates inflight bar or top-notch business class seat from Cathay Pacific, but you will be comfortable during your long journey.

If you’re considering a British Airways business class award booking, remember to look into using a partner airline’s miles, since it can be much cheaper.

When the day comes for your business class flight, just sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself!

FAQ

What is the best way to book British Airways business class?

If you are booking business class on British Airways, check both Japan Airlines Mileage Bank and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

Japan Airlines has a distance-based award chart that has some sweet spot redemptions, while Alaska Airlines has a region-based award chart that also provides some great options.

Additionally, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles or American Airlines AAdvantage miles might be a good option depending on your route.

What credit cards can help me fly British Airways business class?

You can earn British Airways Avios directly through the Chase British Airways Visa Signature® Card. Additionally, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards to British Airways.

Bank of America also provides co-branded cards that earn Alaska miles if you need to top off your Mileage Plan account.

What do I get when flying British Airways business class?

Prior to your business class flight, you can relax in one of the British Airways business class lounges. Additionally, you will have access to over 100 Oneworld business class lounges provided by one of their partner airlines.

Inflight, you can expect a lie-flat seat, a nice meal, and friendly service.

If you arrive at London Heathrow (LHR) in Terminal 3 or Terminal 5, you can visit the fantastic Arrivals Lounge.

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