British Airways unveils their new Avios award chart (sort of)

Oy. Back in September British Airways announced they’d be “revitalising” the Executive Club program on November 16, which sounds great in theory, though they insisted they wouldn’t reveal the details until the program actually rolls on November 16, which is today. Talk about a lot of advance notice for no advance notice! It has been a very frustrating process, not just because they’re not disclosing the new chart up front, but because of all the availability issues they had over the past week or so, which I suspect might be intentional. The Executive Club call center had a busy signal almost all day yesterday, making it tough to book any awards.

Well, now that it’s November 16 and they’ve “simplified” the award chart you’d think it would be easy to find, but nope, it’s not. Instead you can just search routes and see the price, though I don’t see a single award chart yet.

The best they seem to have so far is this (somewhat useless) Avios calculator, which will tell you the price for a particular route:

If the new award chart is distance based, why the heck is it so tough for them to show us a single award chart which has the costs based on the distance flown?

They also have a zonal map, though I feel like I need another four year degree to figure out how the hell to work it.

So instead we’re forced to explore in terms of actual examples.

In looking up a few of the most popular redemptions, New York to Hong Kong to Bali one way in first class has gone from costing 75,000 miles to 130,000 miles. That’s a 73% increase!

In fairness, if you “just” want to fly from San Francisco to Hong Kong one-way in first class, the cost goes from 75,000 miles to 105,000 miles, which is “only” a 40% increase.

For those in North America, seemingly the only good news is that award costs go down for travel to Europe for those on the East Coast.

New York to London goes from costing 75,000 miles one-way in first class to costing 60,000 miles (business class goes from 50,000 miles to 40,000 miles 0ne-way).

The cost of first class from New York to London to Rome one-way goes from 90,000 miles to 75,000 miles.

Anyway, enough examples, the implications here are exactly as expected — for the most part, the cost of partner redemptions for those in North America are increasing drastically, especially for LAN and Cathay Pacific routes, given how “far” they are.

That being said, the cost of many awards to Europe are going down, especially for those on the east coast.

And actually I think my September 3 post on why I’m keeping the British Airways Visa turned out to be true. If you spend $30,000 on the card annually you earn a companion voucher good for a second passenger on an award ticket (you just have to pay taxes/fees/fuel surcharges).

If you live in New York, for example, first class to London or Paris will run you 120,000 miles roundtrip in first class, plus about $800 in taxes/fees/fuel surcharges. If you’re able to earn a companion certificate every year, that’s basically a trip to London in first class for 60,000 miles plus $800 in taxes/fees per person, compared to other airlines which charge 125,000-135,000 miles, plus $300 in taxes/fees. So I’ll gladly pay the extra $500 for a savings of 65,000-75,000 miles.

Of course that only applies to those of you in that situation. On the whole the changes of course get a huge thumbs down from the perspective of a North American flyer… exactly as we expected!

Comments

  1. Askia says

    I’m interested in IAD-LHR or IAD-LHR-FCO, so I assume I’m better off now. Although with the fuel surcharges, is biz still a good value?

  2. AK says

    It’s not completely distance-based. LAX-SYD is a shorter flight than JFK-HKG, but the first one is 100K J and the second one is 70K J.

  3. purplnurpl says

    is it really possible that ba made a mistake (and realized it) when they sold what appears to be unprecedented levels of points to chase at too low of a rate?

  4. lucky says

    @ Askia — Without a companion certificate it’s still pretty pricey given that you’re paying 80,000 miles per person plus fuel surcharges/fees of roughly $800. With a companion certificate it’s a lot more “palatable.” Still, for a business class ticket it’s a decent deal.

  5. Kevin F says

    I found a few “improvements” being based in CVG using AA for a 31% decrease in points with the new chart:

    1. CVG-MIA is 7500 avios points each way
    2. Some stops in the Caribbean are 4500 points from MIA (T&C, USVI, etc….)
    3. The max in the Caribbean is 30k now for me(as far south as Aruba)

    Not anywhere near as great as the old chart, but I love the Caribbean and I’ll be taking advantage of 24k flights, which can be come out to 3 cents per dollar depending on the season. This makes it much easier to take family and friends! Good luck with anyone who still has points with BA!

  6. ofer says

    Lucky, second glance at the program led me to the conclusion that it is not a bad one at all. I suggest that you read the relevant thread in FT (AVIOS is live). So yes, we lost the long ones, but we now have some really good ones like dirt cheap destinations in the Caribbean. Quito is now 10K from MIA OW and not 20K etc. I think the average BA FF will think the BA program is better now.

  7. Kevin F says

    I will miss the LAN flights and the great deals, but I’m moving on because I still have BA miles to burn!

    I found a few “improvements” being based in CVG using AA for a 31% decrease in points with the new chart:

    1. CVG-MIA is 7500 avios points each way
    2. Some stops in the Caribbean are 4500 points from MIA (T&C, USVI, etc….)
    3. The max in the Caribbean is 30k now for me(as far south as Aruba)

    Not anywhere near as great as the old chart, but I love the Caribbean and I’ll be taking advantage of 24k flights, which can be come out to ~3 cents per dollar depending on the season. This makes it much easier to take family and friends! Good luck with anyone who still has points with BA!

  8. yaychemistry says

    My parents are planning a trip from SEA with their companion pass to FCO/MXP.
    West Coast in J is 65,000 in J, but I have no idea how that compares with previous redemption rates. I’m guessing if the East Coast-Europe went down to 60,000 then the West Coast isn’t such a bad deal. Also, it appears that their stopover policy hasn’t changed – which is good.

  9. Charlene says

    It’s also annoying that now if you have a layover, your wholly domestic USA flight could be more than 25k miles round trip it was previously. Read: ATL-DFW-SFO is now 17.5k one way.

  10. TJ says

    Pretty odd changes but some great new deals are shaping up. I just flew ITM-HND this week for 7500 miles which is now 4500. These flights in Japan are expensive and sell for $400 in Economy most of the time (one-way) – that’s 9 cents per mile.

    Similar deals for HND-PEK which costs $700 one-way and Avios has for 10k miles and $81.15.

    Also IPC-PPT which sells for ~$1100 (one way) can be had for 12.5k Avios. Again almost 10 cents per mile.

  11. ukinny says

    NYC -> MIA for 7,500 Avios + $2.50 o/w on flight AA2035 for 11/19. Same flight on AA is 12,500 miles plus $2.50 plus $75 for booking within 21 days.

    So far I have to concur with those saying that for long-haul, multi-stop flights the value proposition of BA miles has dropped, but for short-haul (and especially last-minute!) flights, it is excellent, and far better than AA (at least at first blush)

  12. Mile Jorge says

    Are stopovers eliminated?
    I read on Iberia that it is a cost per distance of each leg, so ORD-MIA-SJU would be priced first as ORD-MIA and then MIA-SJU, making it more expensive and eliminating stopovers?

    I can’t believe that AA will let BA take over short haul redemptions. BOS-DCA is only 399 miles OW, so 4500 Adios points coach OW, 9000 adios points business OW? Same with ORD_YYZ, LAX-LAS, JFK_YUL, so significant savings?

    It also seems LHR-EUROPE 1,2,3 are also a good deal?

  13. Jim says

    I know hotels are not a good deal, however some 4 star hotels are 15,000 points. I checked Delta and the same hotels are 48,000 miles. Florida to the Caribbean is a great deal.TPA/GCM 18,000 points.

  14. Jason Minard says

    ORD -> either NYC airport for 7500 avios (and a small booking fee) is pretty sweet. 15000pts for domestic round trips is not too shabby.

  15. worldtraveller2 says

    It seems that many of the point amount required has gone down, but the taxes have gone up! PHX PLS was 35,000 and $108; now 29,000 $122.08 (round trip).

  16. Loran says

    Wow, I feel lucky (no pun intended) that I got through on the first try yesterday and waited less than 30 minutes they said I would.

    Have you seen any info on how they will handle changes to tickets issued under the old system? If the old rules apply we may have a lot of flexibility. Yesterday I changed SIN-HKG-LAX to SIN-HKG-SFO on a different date. Although there is a new ticket number the BA and CX confirmation numbers stayed the same. So would they allow simple routing changes? It’d be nice to think so…

  17. ian says

    i keep getting these ridiculous email
    from james hillier,i dont want to show loyalty -to assholes who devalue my
    my loyalty by any percentage!
    i have hundreds of thousands of points
    that are now devalued – i am closing
    out of this loyalty program
    after all if we all stop using
    them when they rip us off
    -they will stop ripping us off
    so vote with your credit card transfer
    points!Vote with your travel (ie, get miles with partners like american-)when
    and if you have to fly BA
    put BA in bankrupcy

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