Over on Flyertalk, some posters are reporting getting a snail mail letter from Avios. It announces a 25% discount on Avios long-haul redemptions, in all classes, launching November 14th. You will have six days to book.
This is very, very interesting.
I posted yesterday about BA’s current Business and First Class sale. This sale is substantially more generous than BA usually offers – you could get return Club Europe flights to Europe for as little as £129! This sale ends at midnight tonight. I therefore suspect that it is not a coincidence that BA is launching an Avios redemption sale one day later.
Clearly, BA is having some issues filling seats this Winter. Iberia, as you may have read in the newspapers, is bleeding almost Euro 2m per day, and it is possible that BA’s premium bookings are also looking weak. And the scale of BA’s fuel surcharges means that even Avios bookings bring in a nice chunk of cash ….
I haven’t had the leaflet so I cannot comment exactly.
Looking at Flyertalk, it seems that the discounted tickets will only be available at avios.com and not at ba.com. If true, you will need to move your Avios from British Airways Executive Club to avios.com. Luckily this can be done for free and instantly – log in to BAEC, go to Manage My Account and click Combine My Avios. (EDIT: Looking at www.avios.com/sale, deals will be offered by avios.com, BA and Iberia. This should mean that BA American Express 2-4-1 vouchers can be used.)
Reward flights can booked up to the end of May 2013. Again, this is a significantly generous period which includes Easter.
Flights must depart from London, which implies regional connections are not allowed (or if they are, the connection will not be discounted). This sounds a bit odd, so lets see what actually happens in practice.
100% Avios and ‘Avios and Money’ bookings will both be available, although do NOT expect the ‘money’ part of an ‘Avios and Money’ redemption to be reduced by 25%!
If you have already have award seats booked, it may be worth cancelling and rebooking. Do NOT do this, though, unless you can see that replacement seats are available. Do NOT cancel an existing booking and assume that the seats will instantly come up again for Avios redemption – this rarely happens.
There is a £25 fee per person to cancel an Avios booking, unless you have a BA Gold card. However, given the substantial savings available, it would be worth cancelling and rebooking in most circumstances.
More information tomorrow, when we see what is available. I will probably drop in a post mid-morning, so if you only look at the blog early in the day then make an exception tomorrow!