Forget the Avios changes for now – just get booking!

In what is clearly a co-ordinated plan by British Airways, they announced massive changes to British Airways Executive Club just minutes after I boarded an eight hour flight :-)

They forgot, though, that just because BA does not have wi-fi it does not mean that no airlines have wi-fi!  One up to Etihad.

I will do a full analysis of the changes for tomorrow.  My wife is away on business so a very late night will not lead to any marital disharmony!

In the short term, ie today, FORGET ABOUT THEM.

Avios thumbnail

Because BA has released tens of thousands of Club World and World Traveller seats overnight, you have NEVER had a better chance of getting the redemption you want.

Fuss about the BAEC changes tomorrow.  Today, dust off that Amex 2-4-1 voucher and get something booked.

(PS. Families need not apply, as only two seats per flight have been released.  This is presumably because BA is about to push the button on the sale of the Avios programme.  More on that tomorrow as well.)

Avios changes 3: understanding the new spending rates
British Airways starts to cut long-haul fuel surcharges on Avios redemptions
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Comments

  1. To say I am having a “sad-on” at this moment in time is an understatement.

    Since starting last March I’ve mange to accumulate 200000 Avios, a BA 241 voucher and a Lloyd’s upgrade voucher. That email coming out today has been carnage to my holiday plan this year. Not 3 seats to be had to any decent long haul location, I am seriously thinking of trading my daughter in as she has become a liability when booking redemption flights!

    I will be getting a pro rata refund on on my BA AMEX and Lloyd’s Avios card tomorrow. All I ever wanted to do was fly business to Singapore! The only time I have ever been upgraded was flying on Royal Brunei when I was in the Army, they don’t do alcohol you know!

    Looks like a few euro holidays this year instead.

    • Before you cancel your BA Amex, just check that it doesn’t cause a problem with the 241. I know Raffles has advised on this in the past but I cannot remember what the advice is.

      However, your problem seems to be lack of availability rather than the cost of the flights. The news today suggests that there will be a bit more availability, so perhaps it’s not all bad news for you? Although I suspect that we will see people who want more than 2 seats in premium cabins will be sorely let down as the “minumum of 2 Club World seats on each flight” becomes “Only ever 2 Club World seats on each flight”.

      • No it’s safe, made sure of it.

        • Just for others getting refunds, make sure you drop down to the free BA card until you book and pay for your 241 flight. But you can use any amex to pay the extra fees.

  2. Is it just me or is this not only (terminally) bad news for the many hobbyists amongst us, but also for HfP and similar sites?

    Raffles, you’ll be ok, you’ll find a new niche…I hope.

    • I wish Texaco would start the fuel coupons again so I could get some nice high quality, nuclear proof wine glasses from my local station with a full tank; ahhh those were the days of real points collecting.

    • I think this site covers a lot more than avios. I actually find the articles on the other airlines really helpful, as are the posts about hotels.

      These things do get devalued from time to time. It happens. I imagine the original air miles to avios conversion was a mich bigger devaluation.

      I’m a hobbyist and I actually have mixed feelings about it. I feel sympathy for the hundreds of genuinely loyal BA customers who, as mere silvers who dare to live outside of London have just been told that they are not wanted. But as a pure hobbyist who would never pay cash for a BA flight, all it means is I have to work a bit harder on cost-free avios generation to get the flights I want. And, as I only need two tickets when I book, it looks like availability is going to get better. With the 241 voucher I always found the old price chart very cheap really, especially as it is possible to build up big piles of avios very cheaply and very quickly with the various credit cards. As far as I can tell the latest changes don’t reward loyalty, but they do reward those of us who “game” the system.

      • 50% increase in the amount of Avios where it matters (CW and Partner redemptions) is pretty radical.

      • Absolutely, HfP is a lot more than just discussion about Avios. However the other topics flow from the principal topic…Avios*.

        * Other points schemes do exist 😉

    • Yesterday was the biggest day ever for page views! I’m on a roll ….

      I don’t think it will change noticeably. Perhaps more KLM if people jump that way. And if the readership becomes 100% City financiers then I can put up my advertising rates many-fold!

      I have, on purpose, never gone after the ‘total beginner’ market. My ideal HFP reader is someone who already had some Avios via work and wanted to know more about using and earning them. Nothing will change there.

  3. There is nothing modest about spending £5k on personal flights with one airline in a year. I really feel for you actually: a silver member in the regions is the one demographic that BA have really stuck two fingers up at.

    BA want Londoners who fly on expensive tickets – as you say, on business accounts. The problem they face is that there is no point in targetting them anyway. Some of them have to fly BA because it is company policy and they have no say in the matter. Those that do have a say in the matter would probably want to fly with another airline as the product is better. That’s my experience, anyway. I’ve worked for organisations where the internal travel agent automatically booked staff on to BA flights, but some people cancelled them and booked different flights directly with better airlines. This was, strictly, contrary to company policy but they felt the risk was worth it. If BA have this as their target market, they’ve got it badly wrong.

    • I shall continue my plan to save as many Avios for the next 12 months and see what Longhaul CW flights I get on the 2-4-1 and see what’s left over for CE … If it doesn’t work out . Then il pack it in.

      I hope there is enough backlash (Cancellation of BA Amex/ less domestic flights being booked) for BA to retrospectively am mend some t and c’s ( can but hope)

  4. As I live in the regions, and have to travel during school hols I have today joined the virgin scheme. And emailed a complaint to BA. Muppets. With their high surcharges they still made money from me. No longer. At least I shall not have to endure T5 security anymore.

  5. Thechiefexecutive says:

    If I cancel an existing 241 to rebook a different destination using the new availability how quickly will the released avoid hit my account? Is it instant? I don’t want to end up with no bookings! I don’t have enough avios to do both now.
    Jerry

    • Yes, instant. If you call them you can do it over the phone in a few mins. You then incur the telephone booking charge too, but I think it means you have some security in the event that someone nips in and books the flights you wanted as the CS rep is doing his/her stuff. The 241 is credited back to your account instantly too.

      We did this today.

  6. Well that has screwed my plans for my 50th Birthday celebration. Thank you BA

  7. This ain’t good. I wonder whether when the dust settles, new sweet spots will appear.
    London to East Coast in Club appears to be up from 80000 to 100,000 off peak? That’s still value.

    Some of the short-haul redemptions could be better too, if the taxes are less than the current RFS.

    • A big cut in the fuel surcharge would, to be honest, wipe out much of the change. 100,000 to California in CW plus £550 would become 150,000 plus £200 – most people could live with that especially with a 241.

      • Agree, that would certainly make up for the pain of extra avios, actually easily earned on a Plat card acceptance, as lots of HFP folks do anyway. Using the 241 then is still good value even on Club J class.

  8. Mick, all is not lost, get your overnight sleeper to London, enjoy your fab lounge experience, massages etc, get there early, some people spend 5 hrs in the lounge. It’s still a fab. Plus the train works out about £25 pp each way, so not far off the RSF of £35 pp plus avios. The 241 is still great value on Club while we can still earn them.

  9. Just had a chance to skim tnrough this as was working all day yesterday when the poop hit the fan.
    Overall seems a negative move for most. And I suspect myself included in the long run but…

    We fly x2 long haul and one European return flights a year on average. We do save enough miles for this target. We generally drive on a fourth UK or Euro break. We do not use domestic connections and will try for First flights over CW if we can get them (we could pay for discounted CW seats so F is a real reward as we could not afford them nor would we pay if we could!). We have great flexibilty when and where we travel (though limited holiday time) and there are just two of us. We would never travel in the school holidays, and like off-peak travel.

    So for us it does not seem so diastrous, but can see how others will lose out more. I look forward to Raffles analysis.

  10. Why do I get the feeling that BA’s revenue computers weren’t prepared for this? Since 11pm last night when I checked flights to our chosen destination, availability has dropped off completely. And I mean ‘completely’: from about 22 days in a month to 2.

    Hasn’t it usually been standard practice to remove availability when demand increases? Is one side of BA not talking to the other?

  11. Londonbus says:

    Peak redemptions to Asia now 50% more expensive. Whacked on earning, whacked on burning.

    What’s the logic behind IAG selling Avios?

  12. Chelseafi says:

    Thank you for your help on here. I’m still learning lots. I started saving avios a few years ago via Tesco clubcard, then three years ago now got the BA amex card with the 241 after 10k spend. We are a family of four school hols only and visit US, florida every other year and Atlanta the other year, so BA works for us. After two years on amex spend I had the two 141 vouchers and lots of Tesco club cards vouchers and managed to get four 1st class return flights to Atlanta over the Easter holidays in April 14, loved it as only ever flown economy before. I am off to Orlando this summer flying out end July returning mid Aug, Last Sept I had booked 4 return flights via avios redemption to miami as orlando wasn’t available, but didn’t want to use too many Avios points on economy returns, so paid part cash £2460 & 60,000 points for the four tickets, I was happy with this as two years ago , I couldn’t get any flights, so paid £4,000 for 4 ecom returns to Orlando (usual BA cost for time of year). Since booking I now have two 241 vouchers, as husband got amex card too, after all the goings on Thurs, with BA I checked availability and was surprised how many flights were available. This is where I messed up and wished I knew what I should have done. I had 150,000 in my household account and £600 tesco points to convert if needed, I had the booking to miami, which if canceled retuned my 60,000. Availability was four ecomony return flights to Orlando (which was better then Miami for me) and four club world return flights too for my dates I wanted, I was very excited, as I wanted these…. I rang BA and told them I wanted the four club returns, use my 2 241 and cost 200,000 avios. But because I still had the miami booking that used 60,000 I didn’t have enough to book, I asked BA for advice what should I do. I was advised to change my miami econ to Orlando econ and then add the 50,000 into my account so that I could book the club returns using the 2 241 and then cancel the econ bookings, that was 3pm 29th Jan, by 7.30 am 30th Jan, I had the 200,000 in my account ready they still had the outgoing club for four but returns had gone. I rang BA ready at 7.30 but the agent couldn’t get the four club, he said the best he could do was two on one flight and two on the flight 2 hours later, we didn’t want that, I am annoyed, I missed out, think I got bad advise from BA, as thinking about it, I would have been better off booking the outgoing club flights the previous day and then changing to the return club (if and had) they still been available as I had 150,000 in my account, but I don’t know enough about changing or cancelling, as I didn’t want to end up with neither. Think I’m right that I messed up, I keep looking but think I’ll be lucky to see 4 club on the exact dates we need, as we have accom booked, they still have the 2 club on each flight, should I just keep checking and is it worth nearer the travel date, if they release more? Sorry it’s a bit long but wanted to give all details. Thanks for any help or comments.

    • I’m sure Raffles will know for sure, but you should have cancelled the Miami flights, got your 60k back into your account and booked the CW tickets there and then, there was every chance someone would snap them up, especially over school holidays. The advice doesnt sound great, that you were given.
      Although I’m not sure you get a refund on the part cash part Avios element, which is why they may have advised a change rather than refund. It it was all Avios you definitely get the points back.

      • Agreed. They should have (and can do this) have cancelled the first tickets and rebooked them in the same transaction on the phone so you were guaranteed not to lose them. You must have got an inexperienced agent.

        More seats may open up but it would be a little surprising given it is school holidays, unfortunately. Tampa, Miami etc may open up.

  13. This is what happens when you have a company that is no longer British owned , and has just used the Livery to fool the British public ,guess i am up the creek as a single (one Seat ) Traveler, when it comes to upgrading ,have already defected to Virgin for my Long Haul travel this Summer, bidding goodbye to my Bronze status with the phony BA, and i have been traveling with them going on Fifty Five Years transatlantic paying full fare. to Los Angeles, I knew the minute they brought ” TESCO ” on board that it was all over ., Brand Loyalty don’t make me laugh !

  14. The canbiest collector will have only free or revenue neutral miles and points and it seems that you are there already or very close to it. In such cases it will always be possible to find value in redemptions but care is still needed to value miles and points properly to for proper comparison with alternative revenue options. However, as recent devaluations show spending when possible as opposed to hoarding is probably the best strategy.As much as these changes hurt, you are right it is not all doom and gloom as avios remain competitive with other already devaluefd programs.

  15. I agree – I have been only collecting miles since June 2012 and have used the churn and burn mentality. This has afforded me two sets of long haul CW redemptions for my family of four. Most of my miles have come from CC spend

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