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Best Ways To Book British Airways First Class With Points [Step-by-Step]

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Jeff got into the points and miles game in 2010 and since then has visited over 35 countries, flying mostly in first and business class. He’s a contributor to Traveling Dad and has spoken at the Chica...
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British Airways (BA) usually provides a great service in its premium classes, with first class being the most luxurious. And today, we’re going to run through the best ways to book yourself a ticket in BA’s top product using your points and miles so you don’t have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to experience it.

Before we dive into the best ways to book, we’ll give you an overview of what you can expect in British Airways first class — let’s get to it!

A Look Inside British Airways First Class

British Airways First Class 787-9 Middle Seat
Relax in the privacy of your British Airways first class seat and enjoy a glass of Champagne. Image Credit: Alex Miller

The spacious first class suites on British Airways’ aircraft are all about comfort and style.

Found on Boeing 777-300ERs and 787-9 Dreamliners, Airbus A380 superjumbos, and more, first class cabins typically have 8 to 14 reverse-herringbone seats, making for a private experience.

British_Airways_First_Class_787-9_Amenity_Kit
British Airways provides a customized amenity kit for women and men in first class. Image Credit: Alex Miller

First class amenity kits come in 2 distinct flavors and contain essentials from Elemis. These kits were designed exclusively for first class and are only available on British Airways.

British_Airways_First_Class_787-9_Afternoon_Tea
Afternoon tea is a unique touch to the first class experience on British Airways. Image Credit: Alex Miller

You can expect a few quintessentially English touches in first class — this is British Airways, after all. In addition to the regular meal services, first class passengers can also experience a traditional afternoon tea service.

How To Fly British Airways First Class Using Points

British Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance, which means you can use miles from any of the Oneworld carriers along with its Executive Club program to book flights. In addition to its Oneworld partners, BA also has a relationship with China Southern.

When booking an award ticket on BA-operated flights, you may notice the taxes and fees are higher than you would expect. This is because British Airways adds significant fuel surcharges on top of its fares. These surcharges are now $700 to $1,000 one-way for BA business and first class flights from the U.S.

BA considers these charges to be separate from the ticket price, so they’ll be added on to award tickets as well. This often means economy award tickets are too expensive to make sense, but the fees become easier to stomach when redeeming for first class.

While some airlines don’t pass on the carrier-imposed surcharges on award tickets, British Airways certainly does. Additionally, you’ll have to pay the British Air Passenger Duty when departing the U.K. on any flight over 2,000 miles if you’re flying business or first class. This fee is £156 (roughly $200). Keep in mind that if you use a British Airways Travel Together Ticket, you’re required to pay the fee for both passengers.

Hot Tip: To avoid these expensive added fees, you can begin your journey from another European city such as Paris or Amsterdam.

British Airways Executive Club

One of the easiest ways to book BA first class is through its frequent flyer program, known as British Airways Executive Club. The currency is called Avios.

Unlike major U.S. airlines, British Airways Executive Club uses a distance-based award chart (shown below) for first class redemptions. The award pricing can get quite complex depending on how many different partners you are flying with, but for our purposes, we’ll just look at flights operated by British Airways.

SCROLL FOR MORE
ZoneDistance (Miles)Off-PeakPeak
11 to 650N/AN/A
2651 to 1,150N/AN/A
31,151 to 2,000N/AN/A
42,001 to 3,00042,50050,000
53,000 to 4,00068,00080,000
64,001 to 5,50085,000100,000
75,501 to 6,500102,000120,000
86,501 to 7,000119,000140,000
97,001 and greater170,000200,000

British Airways flights are individually priced based on the distance between origin and destination and which class of service you want to fly. This means if you want to book a flight that has a connection, each flight segment will be priced separately, and the 2 award prices will be added together.

In addition to the above guidelines, British Airways has peak and off-peak pricing depending on when the flights will take place.

British Airways awards can be booked online following the steps below:

  1. Go to the British Airways website.
  2. Log in to your account (in the upper right corner).
  3. In the top-left, hover your mouse over the Book tab.
  4. Click Book a flight with Avios.
  5. Enter your origin and destination airports, dates, and select first class.
  6. Click on Get Flights.
  7. Select the button for the available first class flight you want and click Next.
  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.

Not only do the mileage prices add up for each flight segment, but taxes and fees (including fuel surcharges) add up as well. Multi-segment flights booked with Avios quickly become outlandishly expensive, so British Airways Avios are best used for nonstop flights or those with a single connection. 

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

Like British Airways Executive Club, the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program uses a distance-based award chart. This award chart is broken into tiers based on how many miles you’re flying. Note that if you fly multiple segments, you’ll also need to account for the distance between each airport.

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Distance (Miles)Cost in JAL Miles
1 to 1,00036,000
1,001 to 2,00045,000
2,001 to 4,00065,000
4,001 to 6,00090,000
6,001 to 8,000120,000
8,001, to 10,000135,000
10,001 to 12,000145,000
12,001 to 14,000165,000
14,001 to 20,000190,000
20,001 to 25,000220,000
25,001 to 29,000250,000
29,001 to 34,000290,000
34,001 to 50,000330,000

Japan Airlines allows partner airline-operated flights to be booked online, but because of the clunkiness of the website, we generally recommend calling to book award flights with partner airlines at 800-525-3663. However, this is easy to do 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 first 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 with another partner of Japan Airlines such as American Airlines, you will have to call to complete the booking.

Japan Airlines allows stopovers, so you can see multiple destinations on your trip for the same price as if you only had short layovers.

Hot Tip: For other ways to earn Japan Airlines miles, read our guide on the best ways to earn JAL miles. If you need some 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 first class is through Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. British Airways flights between North America and either Europe, Africa, or the Middle East are bookable on the Alaska Airlines website.

Flying between North America and Europe will cost 70,000 Alaska miles each way, while flying between North America and Africa or the Middle East will cost 80,000 miles each way. Fuel surcharges from British Airways are collected when booking with Alaska miles as well.

To book, go to Alaska’s 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.

Not only are Alaska’s award prices often better than BA’s, but you can also book a stopover on your award redemption.

American Airlines AAdvantage

We like American Airlines’ AAdvantage program in this scenario primarily because of its reasonable award rates to Europe in first class. You will be able to fly for 85,000 miles each way. Unfortunately, you will be on the hook for all fuel surcharges, as AA passes them on for BA flights.

Your best bet for finding award availability is through BA.com rather than 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 (in the upper right corner).
  3. In the top-left, hover your mouse over the Book tab.
  4. Click Book a flight with Avios.
  5. Enter your origin and destination airports, dates, and select first class.
  6. Click on Get Flights. Write down the desired flights, dates, and times.
  7. Call American Airlines at 800-882-8880. If transferring points, you’re allowed to hold your reservation for 5 days.
  8. Confirm your flight details and make your payment.

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

Hot Tip: For other ways to earn American Airlines miles, read our guide on the best ways to earn AA miles. If you need other ways to use your AA miles, check out the best ways to redeem American Airlines miles.

Other Options for Booking British Airways Flights

Since British Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance, you can use miles from any of the member programs to book awards.

Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles, for example, also uses a distance-based award chart that has some great sweet spot redemptions. Asia Miles is a complex program with many different award charts depending on which partners you are flying with, but if you’re only looking for British Airways flights, then they are bookable online. The program does impose fuel surcharges on awards.

Other Oneworld partners tend to be less competitive in their award charts, but are worth checking out if you find yourself with a large stockpile of miles in a specific program.

Great British Airways First Class Redemptions

British Airways
Image Credit: Oneworld Alliance

Now that you know how to book your British Airways first class flights, let’s take a look at a few of the best routing options.

North America to Europe

This ticket will cost 65,000 Japan Airlines miles or 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles. Compared to 80,000 United miles or 85,000 American Airlines miles for a partner award, this is one of the best options from the U.S. to Europe.

North America to Dubai

You can book this route for just 80,000 Alaska Airlines miles. Compared to 115,000 American Airlines miles or 140,000 United miles for a partner award, this is a great deal for long-haul first class travel.

London to Hawaii

For 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles, combine a British Airways first class flight from London to the U.S. West Coast with an Alaska Airlines first class flight from there to Honolulu. Out of the cheapest options for redemption on this route, you probably have the best chance of finding first class availability with British Airways and Alaska Airlines.

How To Earn Enough Avios for British Airways First Class

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

British Airways Avios can be earned directly with the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. BA Avios can also be transferred from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, or Chase Ultimate Rewards at a rate of 1:1 or Marriott Bonvoy at a transfer rate of 3:1. When you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll receive a 5,000-point bonus, meaning you’ll receive 25,000 Avios for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred.

You can also earn American Airlines miles directly with Citi and Barclays co-branded credit cards.

Hot Tip: Another great way to earn British Airways Avios is to convert them from Iberia Plus Avios, Aer Lingus AerClub Avios, or Qatar Airways Privilege Club Avios. Just keep in mind that for Iberia, both accounts need to have been open for at least 90 days for this to work.

Amex Membership Rewards

British Airways is an Amex transfer partner.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

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The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
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Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
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When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros

  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
  • Annual and monthly statement credits upon enrollment (airline credit, Uber Cash credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit, streaming credit, prepaid hotel credit on eligible stays, Walmart+ credit, CLEAR credit, and Equinox credit)
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to Amex International Airline Program
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Cons

  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
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  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

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This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

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American Express® Gold Card

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
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Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros

  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at Amex Travel
  • Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash: get $10 monthly in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Access to American Express transfer partners

Cons

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

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  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

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Capital One Miles

British Airways is a Capital One transfer partner.

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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

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Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$95
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent Credit (670-850)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great welcome offer, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.

Frequent travelers with excellent credit may benefit from this credit card that offers a lot of bells and whistles. And it offers easy-to-understand rewards earning and redemption.

Pros

  • 5x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates & fees)
  • Access to Capital One transfer partners

Cons

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

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Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

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The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$395
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-840)

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the premium Capital One travel rewards card on the block.

Points and miles fans will be surprised to see that the Capital One Venture X card packs quite the punch when it comes to bookings made through Capital One, all while offering the lowest annual fee among premium credit cards.

Depending on your travel goals and preferences, the Capital One Venture X card could very well end up being your go-to card in your wallet.

 

Pros

  • 10x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles per $1 on flights purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit on bookings made through Capital One Travel
  • Unlimited complimentary access for cardholder and 2 guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • 10,000 bonus miles awarded on your account anniversary each year
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • Add authorized users for no additional annual fee (rates & fees)
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates & fees)

 

Cons

  • $395 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • Does not offer bonus categories for flights or hotel purchases made directly with the airline or hotel group, the preferred booking method for those looking to earn elite status

 

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

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Chase Ultimate Rewards

British Airways is a Chase transfer partner.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
60,000 points
$1,200
$95
21.49%-28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

Pros

  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Travel portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3x points on dining purchases, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel worldwide
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through the Chase Travel portal
  • 6 months of complimentary Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024), plus up to $15 in statement credits each quarter through July 2024
  • Excellent travel and car rental insurance
  • 10% annual bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs like United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 21.49%-28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

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Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel.
60,000 points
$1,200
$550
22.49%-29.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

Pros

  • 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
  • 5x points on airfare booked through Chase TravelSM
  • 3x points on all other travel and dining purchases; 1x point on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS credit
  • Access to Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection
  • Rental car elite status with National and Avis

Cons

  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 22.49%-29.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Business Owner? Read our article on the best Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.

Marriott Bonvoy

British Airways is a Marriott transfer partner and Marriott has several credit cards you can use to earn points.

When Should You Search for Award Space?

Between the U.S. and Europe, British Airways is generally only bookable for more than 1 person if you plan very far in advance.

In the past, if you were flexible with your departure city and timing, you could fly from New York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), or Washington, D.C. (IAD) multiple days per month throughout the whole schedule. Since the pandemic, first class award space has dried up significantly.

If you want more than 2 seats or need to fly on a specific day, it may make sense to search closer to when the schedule is released or try to plan as far out in advance as possible.

What Makes This a Great Redemption?

If you’re able to find award space, you’ll have a very solid first class experience with British Airways, despite the high taxes and fees.

No More Lines

First class passengers have dedicated check-in desks at most airports. In addition, passengers can access Fast Track security at London-Heathrow (LHR), London-Gatwick (LGW), and New York (JFK), as well as Fast Track arrivals at Heathrow for non-EU passport holders.

Priority boarding is available for all flights. The First Wing at LHR streamlines the check-in process with a private check-in area, dedicated security lines, and a walkway that leads directly to the Galleries First Lounge and Concorde Room.

All the Bags You Need

When traveling in first class, British Airways allows you to bring 1 full-sized carry-on, 1 laptop or handbag, and up to 3 additional checked bags per person. That is plenty for an extended family vacation (or maybe a few extra souvenirs to bring home).

Travel Together Ticket

One of the more interesting offerings from British Airways Executive Club is the Travel Together Ticket. You’ll receive this perk each year after spending at least $30,000 on your British Airways Visa card.

The ticket is good for 2 years, and it gives you the ability to book a complimentary second ticket for a companion when you book an award flight on British Airways. 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. You do still have to pay the taxes and fees on the second ticket, which can easily top $1,500 to $2,000 for premium cabin travel (especially if your return is from London). However, without having to use any additional Avios, this is still a pretty good price to pay for a round-trip first-class flight on British Airways!

787 Dreamliner

British airways first class 787-9 middle seats and beds
British Airways first class on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Image Credit: Alex Miller

First class on BA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliners is a step above the airline’s other first class products. Larger inflight entertainment screens, touchscreen handsets, and just 8 seats in the cabin make this a more exclusive experience.

First Class Service

Impeccable service, elegant surroundings, and fine dining — when you fly first class, British Airways wants to give you the absolute best experience possible.

First Class Suite

Each suite can be transformed into a lie-flat bed that measures 78 inches long. Quilted mattresses, cotton duvets, and soft pajamas mean even taller passengers will be able to rest comfortably while they fly.

Onboard Entertainment

A 15-inch personal screen, noise-canceling headphones, and more entertainment options than you could ever need (including films, documentaries, television, music, audiobooks, and games) mean you’ll never be bored during your flight. And each suite features numerous power outlets, ensuring you can keep your various devices charged up.

Inflight Dining

British Airways has worked with top chefs to design breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, as well as the quintessential afternoon tea. Passengers can also dine on their own schedule with an à la carte menu and a selection of lighter options.

Fine Champagnes, wines, spirits, beers, and a variety of non-alcoholic drinks round out the dining experience.

Galleries First Lounge

Flying British Airways first class means you can expect a top-notch ground experience, too. The Galleries First Lounge features luxurious furniture, excellent service, delicious food options, and great wines and Champagnes.

For those who need to use their time to work, complimentary internet, printers, copiers, and fax machines will make it seem like you’re still at the office.

Finally, if you’re departing from Heathrow after 8 p.m. or from Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), Toronto (YYZ), or Washington, D.C. (IAD) after 6 p.m., you can enjoy a sit-down dinner with waiter service in the lounge.

The Concorde Room

At New York (JFK) and Heathrow’s Terminal 5, first class passengers can experience the epitome of excellence in the exclusive Concorde Room.

Inspired by 5-star boutique hotels, the Concorde Room is designed to be your home away from home. Fine art, luxury furniture, and exquisite chandeliers create an area of calm and comfort. Private cabanas with a day bed and en-suite bath are available at London-Heathrow (LHR).

Before your flight, you can enjoy intimate booths for private dining with full waiter service. If you need to do some work before you fly, take advantage of the state-of-the-art business suite. Either way, you’ll be able to relax in comfort until it’s time to board your flight.

Arrivals Lounges

In both Terminals 3 and 5 at London-Heathrow (LHR), passengers can visit the Arrivals Lounge when they disembark from their flights. This is an excellent option when arriving early morning on a red-eye from the U.S.

Showers are available to refresh after a long flight. For those who need to head straight to a meeting, the pressing services are a must. There are, of course, a variety of dining options as well.

Final Thoughts

British Airways makes it a goal to provide luxurious service to first class passengers from they arrive at their departure airport.

It is a great option to fly, but when booking awards in BA first class you need to watch out for high taxes and fees. By paying attention to the airports you are flying between and weighing the value of what you’re getting for the miles and fees you’re paying, it is quite possible to fly British Airways first class with miles for pennies on the dollar.

The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

If you are booking British Airways first class, consider 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, using American Airlines AAdvantage miles may be a good option, depending on your route.

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

You can earn British Airways Avios directly through the British Airways Visa card. Additionally, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, or Marriott Bonvoy points 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 first class?

Prior to your first class flight, you can relax in one of British Airways’ Galleries First Lounges. If you’re in Terminal 5 at London Heathrow or you’re flying out of New York (JFK), you will have access to the Concorde Room, which is the flagship lounge.

Additionally, you will have access to Oneworld first class lounges provided by BA’s partner airlines.

Inflight, you can expect a lie-flat seat, direct aisle access, a great meal, and friendly service.

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

How many Avios do you need for a first class flight?

To book a one-way British Airways first class flight between the U.K. and the U.S. using Avios, you’ll redeem at least 80,000 Avios. It can cost as much as 100,000 Avios if you’re flying to/from the U.S. West Coast.

Jeff Brownson's image

About Jeff Brownson

Since discovering miles and points in 2010, Jeff has traveled to over 35 countries, flying in first class, business class, and sometimes even in coach. Whether he’s staying in a hostel dorm, or in a luxury suite at a 5 star hotel, Jeff is constantly looking for the best deal to make travel as close to free as possible.

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