How To Upgrade For Free With Avios On British Airways


Book A Hotel

If you book a flight for cash on that has upgrade space, you can upgrade your booking using your Avios into the next class. This will cost nothing except the difference in Avios air miles between the two fares plus the difference in taxes and fees.

How Far Can I Upgrade?

How far up the chain can you upgrade? If you’re flying in Economy, Premium is as far as you can upgrade, in Premium you can upgrade yourself to Business Class, and from Business Class you can upgrade to First. All fares except the three very lowest economy fares Q, O, and G can be upgraded, even flash sale fares.

This can make the upgrade a very good deal, particularly if you snag a cheap Economy ticket and then use your Avios to upgrade to the much more pleasant Premium Economy. We have reviewed British Airways Premium Economy. On “short” long-haul routes like London to New York route, which is around 7 hours, if you are taking a day flight, the Premium Economy seating really is very decent, even for luxury travelers. What’s more, the upgrade is just 13,000 Avios one way plus taxes (see my calculation below).

On an overnight flight, Premium Economy is less appealing as the seats recline more rather than going lie-flat, so they do not offer comfort for sleep. Below we have looked at the Avios price of upgrading from both Economy to Premium Economy, and Premium Economy to Business Class. An upgrade from Premium Economy to Business Class on the same route, off-peak, costs significantly more than the Economy to Premium cost. Premium to Business costs 24,000 Avios one way.

To find out whether you want to upgrade, you can read my British Airways Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class flight reviews.

Can You Give Me An Example?

For example, if I log in to my Executive Club Account and select “Spend Avios” from “Executive Club” in my menu. I can choose to fly London To New York on Avios on 8th Dec 18 Off-Peak.
Economy Costs: 13,000 Avios + £249.17 GBP.
Premium Economy Costs: 26,000 Avios + £327.17 GBP.
Business Costs: 50000 Avios + £370.17 GBP.
First was not available on this day and route.
Interestingly I can also book AA in Economy for 20,000 Avios + £249.1 GBP.
And AA in Business Class for 60,000 Avios + £370.17 GBP.

The cost of an upgrade is priced by the difference in Avios between the two cabins. To calculate the difference, look at how many Avios your current cabin would’ve cost and how much the above cabin would cost, using Avios. The difference in Avios that you’ll pay for a one-way upgrade, plus you need to pay the difference in taxes and fees.

How Do I Find If There Is Space Left In The Next Cabin?

British Airways shows you if there is space. Search as if you haven’t yet made your booking. Log into your British Airways account on, click “Executive Club”, then “Spend Avios”, next “Reward Flights”. If seats are available in the cabin above the one you’re already booked in, then you can upgrade to these seats. To make the upgrade happen, you simply go into your current booking and click upgrade with Avios or call the British Airways call center.

If Economy Class is 13,000 Avios one way and Premium Economy is 26,000 Avios, you’ll pay 13,000 Avios one way for an upgrade. On the above route, Premium Economy to Business costs 24,000 Avios off-peak. Remember that you will also be charged the difference in taxes and fees.

I also looked at another route; Miami to London costs 62,500 Avios plus £362.24 GBP in fees in Business Class, however, because of the lack of seats in Premium Economy, this particular routing is a lot more difficult to upgrade.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.