Upgrade Super Cheap British Airways Premium Economy Flights To Business Class With Avios

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A couple of days ago, I wrote about how you can get some extremely good value Premium Economy flights to the USA at the moment, by stacking sale prices with the currently boosted ‘part pay with Avios’ offer (ends today! – 12th July).

british airways sale

I drew particular attention to the fact that by travelling in Economy on the daytime outbound flights, and Premium Economy on the red eye returns, you could keep costs very low (£259.00 from Inverness, ~ £320-£330 from the rest of the UK), while benefiting from the extra comfort and space when you really need it on the way back.

Premium Economy is nice, but I’d rather be in Business Class and have a proper lie down at night, ideally!

British Airways BA premium economy BA British Airways Club World

Business Class is expensive though, whether in Miles, cash, or both (not always, but normally)…

Upgrade Cheap British Airways Premium Economy (World Traveler Plus) to Business Class (Club World) with Avios

One of the remaining potential bright spots on BA‘s Avios award chart is upgrading cash tickets.

BA describes the equation for the number of Avios required for an upgrade as, “Avios for the cabin you wish to upgrade to Avios for the cabin you make your booking in = Avios required to upgrade one way”

You can upgrade as few or as many legs of your journey as you like, and the number of Avios required is calculated separately for each leg.

British Airways 747

The big problems most of the time are that you can’t upgrade from the cheapest Economy fare buckets (+ you can only upgrade one class, so up to Premium Economy from Economy), and that Premium Economy tickets tend to be quite expensive – sometimes not very much less than just paying for Business.

(For reference, the fare buckets which you can upgrade from are: Economy H, B, Y, Premium Economy T, E, W, Business I, R, D, C, J)

It’s therefore a good time to take a look again at the Premium Economy deals I outlined the other day, as they avoid both of these problems. I’ve only used one as an example below, but any of the others will work in the same way too.

Leeds Bradford – New York, 23rd-30th January, out in Economy, back in Premium Economy: £333.03

Leeds-NYC back in PE

The price above does include using 15,000 Avios to knock £150.00 off, but you earn ~5,000 from the flights so it’s really 10,000 in net terms. Using ‘part pay with Avios’ does not prevent you from also using Avios to upgrade.

booking class T

You can see above that the selling class (fare bucket) for the Premium Economy leg is T, which is upgradeable.

The difference in the required number of Avios between Premium Economy and Business Class on that route is 24,000 off peak or 20,000 peak (yes, you read that right!).

There needs to be standard award space available in the class you want to upgrade to, which there is in this case:

upgrade space

It’s an off-peak date, so an upgrade to Business Class would cost 24,000 Avios + whatever the difference in taxes/fuel surcharges is, which in this case seems to be ~ £140.00.

The net cost for flying out in Economy and back in Business Class would therefore be £473.03 (£333.03+£140.00) + 34,000 Avios (24,000 +15,000 – 5,000), which is a pretty fantastic deal!

A standard Avios redemption for the same route, Economy out/Business back, would cost 63,000 Avios + £365.53.

Spending an extra ~£100.00 to save 29,000 Avios is something I think most people would be very happy with.


Remember that this comparison is with an off-peak date too, when the standard Avios redemption is lower, and upgrade cost is higher.

For a peak date, you would need 80,000 Avios+ £365.53 for a standard redemption, and 4,000 fewer Avios for an upgrade – so the difference would be 50,000 Avios.

It’s also worth pointing out that a cash ticket for the same flights (Economy out, Business back) would be £1,238.53.


By thinking flexibly and stacking deals you can generate some fantastic travel bargains.

~ £473.00 + 34,000 Avios (net) is an exceptional deal to be able to fly to New York from my local airport (via London), and then come back in comfort and style on a red eye home. 


  1. Tim says

    “The total cost for flying out in Economy and back in Business Class would therefore be £473.03 (£333.03+£140.00) + 34,000 Avios (24,000 +15,000 – 5,000), which is a pretty fantastic deal!”

    That is a little misleading in my mind, although your net Avios cost is 34,000 you still need 39,000 initially to book the ticket as advertised it’s just that you’ll get 5,000 back after the flight.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Hi Tim,

      Fair point – have amended from “total” to “net” to improve clarity. Cheers!

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