The Most Widespread Award Availability Launch Patterns


Award availability could be a mysterious beast. On the finish of the day, nonetheless, there’s solely so many availability launch patterns that any given airline can observe.

The higher you might be at recognizing these patterns and determining which class any airline falls into, the larger the benefit you’ll have when attempting to ebook the precise seat on the precise route you need.

Let’s check out the numerous kinds of award availability patterns you may encounter, in addition to a couple of examples of every.

Be aware that we’ll be specializing in “saver”-level award availability on this dialogue. Thus, beneath a dynamic pricing mannequin, the query could be whether or not or not there are saver-level award seats that you could ebook, versus seats which might be solely bookable at a dynamically excessive value.

1. Assured Award Availability

Some airways world wide assure {that a} given variety of seats will probably be made out there to travellers bookable on factors.

For instance, each British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have insurance policies assure that no less than 4 seats in enterprise class on every flight could be booked utilizing Avios or Flying Membership miles, respectively.

This kind of award seat assure is pretty uncommon, given the sheer effectiveness of award availability as a instrument for airways to maximise income whereas offloading distressed stock.

British Airways persistently releases 4 enterprise class award seats on each route

2. Predictable Award Availability on the Begin of Schedule

That is the most typical award availability launch sample. Airways will usually designate a sure variety of seats in every class of service on every flight as award seats, on the identical time that the flight turns into bookable with money.

This usually occurs at ~330–355 days earlier than departure, relying on the particular mixture of the airline you’re reserving and the loyalty program you’re reserving with.

The overwhelming majority of the world’s airways that you could ebook on factors will observe this sample to some extent, so it’s arguably the most typical sample on this record.

3. Final-Minute Award Availability

Many airways observe a sample of releasing further award seats – both the whole unfilled cabin or a portion of the cabin, maybe as much as a sure restrict – a given variety of days earlier than departure.

For instance, Lufthansa First Class is well-known for less than releasing award seats to companions at most 14 days prematurely (though we’ve seen the occasional spurt of seats being launched 30 days prematurely lately). Lately, Lufthansa enterprise class has additionally began adopting this method.

Lufthansa First Class can solely be booked near departure

Japan Airways First Class is one other instance of a product on which you’ll persistently discover unfilled seats being launched for awards at 14 days out.

Pre-pandemic, you could possibly persistently discover ample seats on EVA Air enterprise class on transpacific routes at 5 days earlier than departure. Right here’s hoping this constant last-minute seat launch sample comes again sooner or later!

4. Further Blocks of Seats Each Now and Then

Moreover releasing seats at first of the schedule and some weeks out, most airways may also often launch further blocks of award availability right here and there at seemingly random instances.

Airways’ income administration fashions are consistently at work. If an airline determines that they’re unlikely to promote all their seats in a given cabin, route, and date, they could resolve to launch some seats as awards to reward their frequent flyers and get some factors balances off the books.

Japan Airways makes use of a mix of award availability patterns

I’d say that many of the world’s airways will launch further seats every so often, although the particular timing is unimaginable to foretell. So, should you can’t discover availability on a desired route the primary time you look, it’s nonetheless doable that further seats will probably be launched at a later date – and that is the place the utility of a seat alert service like ExpertFlyer is available in.

In reality, an airline like Japan Airways, for instance, follows a mix of three of the discharge patterns we’ve talked about up to now: predictable start-of-schedule seats, last-minute seats, and occasional seat releases.

5. Extraordinarily Uncommon Award Availability

On the opposite finish of the spectrum, some airways and cabins fall into the “extraordinarily uncommon” class when it comes to award area. Examples may embrace Air New Zealand enterprise class, Qantas First Class, Qantas enterprise class, and Air Tahiti Nui enterprise class.

(It should be one thing about this a part of the world, isn’t it? These unusual faraway folks down beneath…)

With these merchandise, there’ll usually be no award area made out there at first of the schedule, and no seats persistently turning into out there last-minute both.

As an alternative, the airline can generally resolve to randomly launch a batch of award area, and it’s fairly “newsworthy” after they do. Or, they may merely resolve to proceed not releasing any seats in any respect.

Air New Zealand enterprise class may be very uncommon to seek out

Take Fiji Airways enterprise class, for instance, which has traditionally been a really uncommon award to identify. Lately, Fiji Airways determined to launch a big pool of accessible seats for the winter and spring of 2022–23, which was the primary time in years that Fiji Airways enterprise class area was simply accessible.

Saver-level Singapore Airways Suites Class availability can be mentioned to fall into this class, which is what makes it such a coveted redemption to ebook.

In late 2021, Singapore Airways determined to flood the market with Saver seats all through a lot of 2022, however that’s lengthy been a uncommon incidence; as a substitute, if you wish to ebook Suites Class by yourself schedule, you’ll more than likely should shell out for dearer Benefit awards.

E book Singapore Airways Suites Class should you discover a Saver award

There isn’t a lot use setting an alert for very uncommon award area, because it’s not possible for any single alert to set off. As an alternative, because it’s pretty newsworthy when uncommon award area turns into out there, you’ll doubtless hear about it by maintaining with Miles & Factors sources, newsletters, and non-public chat servers.

6. Utterly Unpredictable Award Availability

Lastly, some airways undertake a “wildcard” method with award availability. They gained’t persistently launch seats far prematurely or last-minute, however they could flood the market with award area at unpredictable intervals – or take all of it away with no discover as nicely.

The traditional instance right here is Turkish Airways. You’ll generally see no award availability for a future date one week, tons of award seats the following week, after which zero award seats once more the next week. This sample might play out on a single route out of Istanbul, a number of routes, or throughout a whole geographic area like North America.

Certainly, I’ve even noticed this phenomenon going down by the hour on the day of departure of an intra-Europe Turkish flight, with eight seats exhibiting up after which disappearing on a 5pm departure, adopted by eight seats exhibiting up after which disappearing on a 6pm departure, all on the identical route.

Turkish Airways could be very random with award area availability

Qatar Airways additionally shows some parts of this availability launch sample, too. It’s not unusual to see giant swathes of Qsuites availability exhibiting up and disappearing a couple of instances in the course of the 12-month reserving window main as much as a departure date.

With this sort of availability sample, the very best actionable recommendation is that should you see a flight that you simply like with out there seats, you need to go forward and ebook it instantly, since there’s no telling how lengthy it’ll stick round for.

Likewise, should you’re eyeing an award seat on an airline that you simply assume might launch further availability out of the blue in a while, it’s once more price organising an ExpertFlyer alert to be able to snag the seat earlier than anybody else – or earlier than the airline mysteriously takes away the area once more.

Qatar Airways Qsuites
Award availability on Qatar Airways Qsuites can ebb and circulate


As you navigate the mysterious world of airline award availability, it’s helpful to remember the most typical patterns to look out for.

Most airways observe a standard mannequin of releasing a predictable variety of seats at first of schedule, a smattering of additional seats within the lead-up to departure primarily based on their income administration fashions, and in some instances an additional allotment of unsold seats within the final couple of weeks.

For those who’re searching down the extra hard-to-book award flights on the market, ensure that to make use of award alert companies like ExpertFlyer to do the heavy lifting for you, to be able to simply safe your spot in that coveted First Class cabin as quickly because the airline makes some further seats out there.