Beginner Tip: No Business Class Seats Available? Here’s How to Make Them Magically Appear (I Use British Airways)

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INSIDER SECRET:  British Airways Avios points are some of the easiest to earn (you can transfer the welcome bonuses of 10+ cards!).  So they’re a great currency to collect for Business Class seats.

I’ll be heading to the Maldives later this year.  But first, I’ll be spending a couple of weeks in South Africa.

A common way of reaching the Maldives is through Doha on Qatar Airways, and because the airline is known for having perhaps THE best Business Class seat in the universe, I’m thinking about spending some points to test it out.  It costs a very reasonable amount of British Airways Avios points.

British Airways Avios points are some of the most useful in the miles & points hobby, and through June 16, 2019, there’s a 30% Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer bonus to British Airways.  So you can earn tons of British Airways Avios points quickly by opening cards like:

  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card – 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® – 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening

I’ll show you the trick to finding great Business Class seats!

Qatar Airways has some of the best Business and First Class seats in the world (this is First Class aboard a Qatar Airways A380). You can book Qatar Airways with British Airways Avios points

How to Find British Airways Business Class Seats

Qatar’s amazing Business Class (called QSuites) flies a select few routes around the world.  One of the routes is between Doha and Colombo, Sri Lanka.  I’ll probably book this flight with points, and then spend $100 to jump from Colombo to Male, Maldives (it’s only an hour and a half away).

British Airways is partnered with Qatar Airways, so you can use British Airways Avios points to book flights on Qatar Airways.  I used the British Airways website to look for my flights.

Immediately after entering my flight details, I was disappointed to see NO available award seats.

I instead decided to search by segment.  If the British Airways website isn’t smart enough to piece together an itinerary for me, I’ll do it myself.

I first searched Johannesburg to Doha and four Business Class seats popped up (traditional ones; no QSuites on this route).  I would arrive in Doha at 5:50 pm.

I then searched Doha to Colombo and found LOTS of Business Class seats for the next morning.

Business Class was abundant on every flight.  However, not all flights offer the QSuite experience.  To know what your Business Class seats will look like, you should use a tool like Expert Flyer or SeatGuru.

All you have to do is enter your flight details (airline, date of travel, and flight number), and you can view the exact plane you’ll be flying.  Qatar Airways flight 662 from Doha to Colombo has QSuite Business Class seats.  The other flights do not.

I’d have been VERY disappointed if I booked the wrong flight and received regular old lie-flat Business Class seats.

Booking these two Business Class flights from Johannesburg to Colombo separately will cost a total of 97,500 British Airways Avios points and $270 in taxes and fees.  The same route retails for $2,630 on Qatar Airways.  So I’m getting a value of ~2.4 cents per point!

Bottom Line

Airlines are continually trying to improve their websites to make the booking process easier, but they’re still a bit persnickety, and you might not find the seats you want if you don’t understand their quirks.  Human beings are still better at crafting an itinerary than an automated system.

If you don’t see any Business Class seats for your flight with a connection, try searching by segment!  You may be surprised to see WIDE OPEN Business Class seats.  This happened to me when I searched for flights in Qatar Airways QSuites on the British Airways website.

Looking for more ways to unlock the freedom to travel around the world?  Check out these posts:

Let me know in the comments if this helps your upcoming travels!  And sign-up for our newsletter for more posts like this:

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Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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