Earlier today I posted about the changes to British Airways Executive Club that will kick in come November.
The changes they advertised were all more or less cosmetic, though the real question for me was what would happen to British Airways’ single partner award chart. British Airways has multiple award charts, and the most reasonably priced one is the “single partner” chart. When they said the program would be more “straightforward,” I feared the worst — that they would get rid of the single partner award chart, which is the best redemption value.
And it was just confirmed by BA Executive Club on FlyerTalk:
Sorry if it wasn’t clear in my earlier post, partner rewards will be priced the same as BA. So – a single pricing table for itineraries which are:BA onlyBA +1 partner or partner only
For multi-partner itineraries these will be priced using the current oneworld multi carrier redemption. The pricing will be based largely on a distance banded model for all reward sectors. We are not purposfully witholding anything or trying to hide anything – I will be as informative as I can and try to keep up with your questions. Please do feel free to prompt me if you feel I am missing something important that needs a detailed or urgent answer.
This is awful news.
Now, they haven’t actually published the new award chart, though I suspect it will be closer to the award chart for travel on British Airways than the award chart for travel on a single partner airline, based on what they’ve said so far.
While a business class award ticket from the US to Asia currently costs 100,000 miles if flying just one partner airline, British Airways charges 240,000 miles for travel on their own flights — and that’s not an anomaly.
This is an interesting situation because most Executive Club members are in Europe, and actually use their miles for travel on British Airways. In the meantime many of us in the US have racked up a substantial number of British Airways miles through their 100,000 mile credit card sign-up bonuses and 50% transfer bonuses from American Express. All along I’ve been wondering “when will it change,” and I guess that day is coming quick.
So I suspect for those of us that are used to redeeming miles for travel on partner airlines, this will essentially translate into award prices going up by about 100% on average, sometimes more.
It is worth mentioning that the one award that is priced the same by British Airways for travel on their own flights as it is on partner airlines is travel between the US and Europe. But that was never the best use of British Airways miles anyway.
More than anything else I can’t help but think this is another huge hit for American Express Membership Rewards. They’re losing Continental as a partner on September 30. My favorite partner of their’s, Aeroplan, devalued their award chart back in July. ANA, another partner of their’s, recently started charging fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic award redemptions. And now British Airways miles will be massively devalued.
So it’s time to burn those British Airways miles now. I have a small fortune of them, so I’ll be booking a couple of Cathay Pacific first class tickets to Asia for 150,000 miles each, and also a couple of tickets to South America on LAN for 80,000 miles each. The only issue is that my schedule is pretty booked up. Rarrr…
Who’s in the same boat?