Here’s What You Should Do Before Tomorrow’s British Airways Devaluation

As I originally wrote about in January, and wrote about again last week, British Airways Executive Club is undergoing a major devaluation tomorrow, April 28, 2015. Keep in mind that this is likely as of 12AM GMT tonight, so that’s 7PM ET and 4PM PT.

Executive-Club-Changes

There are just a few things I want to point out one more time to make sure you guys are maximizing your Avios.

British Airways has a (roughly) distance based award chart. Here’s the current award chart, which is valid for bookings through today (prices shown are one-way):

Avios-Chart

Meanwhile here’s the new award chart, which will kick in for bookings made as of tomorrow, April 28, 2015 (notice how it has off-peak and peak travel dates):

New-Avios-Redemption-Chart

How to maximize the Avios you redeem

Last week I wrote specifically about the circumstances under which you should be redeeming Avios before the devaluation:

  • Premium cabin redemptions on partner airline are getting more expensive almost across the board, so you should redeem now
  • Economy redemptions on partner airlines are staying the same price, so there’s no rush to redeem
  • Off-peak economy awards on British Airways metal are going down in price, so you should wait to redeem
  • Shorthaul off-peak business class awards on British Airways are going down in price, so you should wait to redeem
  • Virtually all other British Airways awards go up in price, so you should redeem now

British-Airways-A380-First-Class

How to maximize the Avios you earn

Not only is Executive Club being significantly devalued on the redemption side, but it’s also being significantly devalued on the earnings side, at least if you’re traveling on discounted fares. Here’s how the earnings structure is changing:

Avios-Earning

Furthermore, the elite bonus for Silver members is being cut from 100% to 50%:

Avios-Bonus

However, as long as you book your ticket before April 28, 2015, you’ll still accrue Avios per the old scheme. So if you like to credit your flights to Executive Club, it could pay to book your flights today, especially if you’re a Silver member.

Bottom line

In some cases the earnings and redemption rates through Executive Club are changing significantly tomorrow, so you’ll want to look at your upcoming travel patterns and see what it makes sense for you to book.

While I’m mildly heartbroken about the 25,000 Avios transatlantic Aer Lingus business class redemptions going away, I’m happy that what I consider to be the single best use of Avios isn’t changing.

Alaska-737

Shorthaul economy awards on partner airlines (American, Alaska, etc.) continue to be a fantastic value:

  • 4,500 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 1-650 miles
  • 7,500 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 651-1,151 miles
  • 10,000 Avios for a one-way economy flight of 1,152-2,000 miles

If there are any questions I can answer before the devaluation, let me know in the comments below!

Are you booking any tickets today in light of the Executive Club devaluation tomorrow?

Comments

  1. Tried numerous numerous times to book Aer lingus from Boston to Ireland on business class for ANY time period. Could never get a seat. They simply suck.

  2. Shouldn’t folks also be redeeming now for partner awards during peak dates? In January you speculated: “My guess is that they’ll only make award space on off-peak dates available to partner airlines.” Do you have any reason to reconsider that? Last night I booked Aer Lingus in coach over Christmas as there was no U class availability and I don’t want to risk it going away altogether.

    Also, a question on the new earning rates — do they only apply to tickets BOOKED after April 28th? I imagine a few readers, like me, have BA F class flights out of Dubai coming up. If I’m earning 300% I’ll credit to BA. If it’s only 200% then I’ll credit to AA.

  3. A similarly good redemption to the EI BOS-DUB is on AB AUH-TXL. Just under 3000 miles, so currently 25k Avios + minimal taxes (~$40) and a great flat bed to get from the Middle East to Europe.

  4. If we book an award seat under current redemption rates, and then make a change to the dates of travel (though not to the traveler or origin/destination), you think BA will make us pay the difference in miles when we change the date (i.e., pay the new increased redemption rates for the old award with the new travel dates?) I’m wondering if booking any random travel dates at a great redemption rate will lock in the redemption rate for a year or so, so that you can just pay a change fee later on when you actually decide on dates of travel.

  5. Lucky,

    Do you know if the tier points earning rate is effected. I need 20 tier points for silver and will book a return economy weekend break to Brussels (I’m UK based). Just want to confirm I still earn 10 tier points each way after the change. If not, will book tonight!!

    Thanks.

  6. I’m still confused by your comment •Off-peak economy awards on British Airways metal are going down in price, so you should wait to redeem because I’m thinking elsewhere you said if flying on Aer Lingus or another partner you would be charged peak regardless? Am I misunderstanding that? Planning our trip off peak so would love to think this benefits us.

  7. BA just sent me a survey about web experience and booking Avios. I let them hear all our complaints about the bait and switch companion pass from the West Coast. I wonder if these increases will prompt them to open up some more inventory?

  8. I put an AAdvantage award on hold that has BA european flights in J. Should I ticket them today or can I wait?

  9. Lucky,
    Did you ever get a firm answer about whether there will be changes for using partner miles (i.e. AA) on BA flights? We will be using the peak chart availability or restricted only to the off peak chart days (which would seems ridiculous)? This seems much more critical to figure out today than the changes if you are using BA miles.

  10. @ Josh — The new earnings rates only apply for tickets booked after April 28, so you would only earn 200% for your ticket booked before then. So it’s a double edged sword, depending on whether you book discounted or full fare/premium tickets.

    As far as peak vs. off-peak goes, it was purely speculation on my part. Most people disagreed with me and seem to think that partners can always book peak and off-peak, though I’m not so sure. Guess we’ll find out soon, but certainly don’t want anyone to book anything based purely on my speculation, when most disagree with me.

  11. @ ssk — That chart is published by Iberia, and that’s the branding they use for economy, in part.

  12. @ Miramar — They’ve confirmed you can change the dates/times on/after April 28 and they’ll still honor those prices.

  13. @ Adam — I could be mistaken, but don’t believe tier points earnings rates are impacted, aside from the Club World London City route.

  14. @ Joey — I think you should be fine. If it’s on hold you should be fine, even if they close off peak dates to partners.

  15. i am looking at booking British Airways from JFK to India, using AAdvantage miles for a family of four.. Costs 360000 miles, and I have 270K in my account. Trying to look for a creative way to do this, and also checking if I should reserve before the devaluation. Thanks!

  16. @Lucky,
    I still think the giveaway is that if you use Avios for a partner, you will pay the “peak” price. I am taking this to assume that “peak”=normal or what we would call “saver” on Delta, AA and United. The BA “off-peak” is a discount price similar to the AA off peak award prices. It affects pricing, but not availability for partners. BA doesn’t have any analog to the Delta, AA and United “peak” pricing where you have nearly last seat availability at higher rates and these seats are not available to partners.

    I have my fingers crossed too. I’m going to have to change a trip I already have booked, and having to switch to off-peak dates will screw everything up.

  17. Trying to get through the BA US call center, which as I know from reading this blog isn’t a fun experience. Busy signals galore. I’m wondering if I change one segment of an award if the whole thing will reprice or just that one segment. It’s relevant b/c the one I do NOT want to change is long haul F. Just want to change my starting point for the short flight to another airport in the same country.

  18. Hi Lucky, love your blog! Quick question: is there any way to figure out when a destination is considered on or off-peak to British Airways? I’m planning a trip from SFO-YVR in early August which may actually be cheaper for me to book using points if I wait until after tomorrow, assuming that Vancouver is off-peak in August, which it might not be…

  19. Lucky — I think your post about Iberia Avios’ changes has largely gone under the radar. http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2015/01/29/iberias-devalued-avios-program-bright-spot/ For anyone with stores of Avios looking to burn them today, it’s definitely worth noting that there are still some good longhaul uses. I was just able to book MAD to LAX in Iberia’s newly refreshed 346 business cabin for 42,500 avios last night. Even for “peak” travel, Iberia’s band 5 and 6, though it’s going up, it’s not going up as high as BA. Obviously, there are far fewer options flying IB, and the connections out of MAD mean you’re probably going onward on IB too, which requires additional avios, but even after the devaluation tonight, there are still some decent redemptions on IB.

    As for me, I’ve been holding off on booking a couple of LHR-DUB tickets to wait until the avios requirements go down tonight. It will be interesting to see if the changes take hold right away and, if they do, whether the increases and decreases all go into the system at the same time.

  20. @ nemme — Since British Airways has a distance based award chart with cumulative segment pricing, you could just book the segment you definitely want and then later make a separate reservation for the additional segment. That seems easiest.

  21. @ Tom — I don’t disagree with the logic and you’re probably onto something, but I just don’t have much faith in British Airways.

  22. @ Ravi — Given the very high fuel surcharges American imposes for award tickets on British Airways, I would highly recommend flying Etihad or Qatar Airways instead. You can also redeem your American miles for those flights, and it will be considerably cheaper.

  23. I agree with Steve. I tried several times last week trying to snag a trip to Dublin but had no luck. I did book two seats on Air Berlin (NY-Berlin) R/T for $181.00. Can’t beat the price.

  24. @ KJWN-KLNA — The price is staying the same, at 20,000 Avios, so it shouldn’t make a difference.

  25. Hi Ben

    was wondering if you have better experiences with the wait times when you call the BA call center in another country like Singapore?

  26. I just flew MXP-MIA-SFO on AA metal on May 3, 2015 but used my BA account to earn Avios on an O fare — noticed that I got only 25% of my miles. Did I earn the right amount of miles? I feel like I should have earned 100% since I booked this ticket last October! Thanks in advance for your advice.

  27. @ Y.C. — I believe you should have earned 100% since it’s supposed to be based on booking date rather than travel date. I’d reach out to them.

  28. @ Y.C. – Would you mind doing us a favor and reporting BA’s response to you in this thread? A lot of us are interested in how BA will in fact credit Avios for flights booked before, but traveled after, the devaluation. Thanks!

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