Avios changes 10: are you a winner or a loser?

Over the course of the nine articles below, I have managed to pick apart the details of the Avios changes that take effect from April 28th.  I thought the best way of drawing all the strands together was a summary of the winners and losers, both for earning and spending.  Which are you?

You may, of course, be a ‘winner’ from earning but still a ‘loser’ overall because of your spending pattern – or vice versa!

Key link: ‘Club Changes’ page on ba.com, ‘Club Changes’ page on iberia.com

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Here are the other articles in this series you may have missed:

1. Understanding the new tier point rules

2. Understanding the new earning rates

3. Understanding the new spending rates

4. What is an Avios point worth after April 28th?

5. Exploiting the ‘no repricing on date changes’ rule

6. Why are off-peak upgrades now more expensive than peak?

7. Save 43% of your Avios on long-haul redemptions if you fly Iberia

8. Partner redemptions may be cheaper if booked on iberia.com

9. What will happen to airline partner earning rates?

British Airways 350

EARNING AVIOS POINTS AND TIER POINTS

When earning, you are a winner – or at least unchanged – if ….

you collect your Avios points from credit cards, Tesco and other partners rather than flying.  Tesco and Amex may even be forced to offer bonuses or improve their conversion terms if they see a backlash from customers.

you fly on full fare tickets in any BA travel class – your earnings go up

you fly on discounted tickets in First and Club World – your earnings go up in First and are unchanged in Club World

you fly on oneworld partner airlines except American and Iberia – earning rates will not change

you believe that the BA Heathrow lounges are overcrowded – they will quieten down by late 2016

you fly over 50 segments a year – you will qualify for a Silver card based on 50 flights irrespective of how few tier points you earn under the new structure

you have a Silver card but mainly fly oneworld partner airlines – you never received a tier bonus when flying the majority of these airlines in the first place, so the halving of it does not impact you

When earning, you are a loser if ….

you collect most of your Avios points and tier points from flying on discounted economy fares – your tier points are being halved and the Avios earned reduced by 75%

you fly on discounted World Traveller Plus tickets – you will earn 20% fewer Avios

you credit discounted economy flights on American or Iberia to BA – the Avios earning rate is being cut by 75%

you have a British Airways Executive Club Silver card – your tier bonus when you fly is being halved to 50%

you fly the London City to New York JFK service, as your tier points are being cut from 210 to 140 each way

SPENDING AVIOS POINTS

When spending, you are a winner – or at least unchanged – if ….

you fly on short-haul European redemptions from London – these will actually become cheaper at off-peak periods and are unchanged at peak periods

you fly long-haul redemptions in economy from anywhere in the UK – domestic connections are still free and off-peak economy redemptions have got cheaper.  Peak redemptions in economy are unchanged.

you struggled to find redemption seats on the dates you wanted – you are now guaranteed to get some availability.  Big winners will include contractors who fly to London for the working week and would previously never see availability on peak Monday and Friday services.

you are able to switch long-haul business class redemptions to Iberia via Madrid, booking via Iberia Plus.  Some long-haul redemptions on Iberia in business class have got cheaper (eg 34,000 Avios each way to New York) and Iberia still adds minimal surcharges.

you buy non-flexible World Traveller tickets on British Airways – most of these will be upgradable with Avios to World Traveller Plus from December 2015.   Very little World Traveller Plus availability is opened up, however, so in practice this will rarely be possible.

you use your Avios to upgrade from Club World to First Class – the cost is unchanged at peak periods and actually gets cheaper at off peak periods

you are Avios-rich – you can book all your holiday flights until April 27th 2016 at the current rates whilst benefitting from improved availability.  Date changes will be allowed after April 28th 2015 without repricing.

When spending, you are a loser if ….

you redeem for short-haul European flights with a UK domestic connection – these are no longer free and you would be foolish to redeem for them under most circumstances

you redeem for long-haul services in World Traveller Plus, Club World or First – the Avios required for these services has jumped sharply at peak times (up to 50%) and up to 25% at off-peak times

you redeem for partner awards in premium classes – the lack of off-peak pricing means that they have all increased by 50% in business class and 33% in first class

you use your Avios to upgrade from World Traveller to World Traveller Plus or from World Traveller Plus to Club World – the cost has gone up dramatically.  Upgrades from World Traveller Plus to Club World will actually cost more at off peak periods than at the peak.

So there we have it – as good a summary of the changes as you are likely to find.  No doubt more details will emerge as April 28th gets closer.

East Coast Rewards - conversion rate to Nectar points revealed
Special 'part pay with Avios' deal gets you 1p per point (good for cheap tier points)
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Comments

  1. sorry I am new. what is 3V’s???

  2. Hi Raffles. Thanks for all this great information over the past week. One question WRT date changing after 28th April 2015 to avoid repricing. Does the return leg of the date changed flight have to be completed by 27th April 2016?

  3. TheChiefExecutive says:

    Rob – Using a 241 – If we find availability and book mixed class flights now outbound (WT) and inbound (CW) and then availability opens up post April 28th in the higher class (CW) for the outbound will the extra avios for that sector be based on the current rate or the new rate? As the taxes will also rise (economy to business) will that complicate matters? Struggling to find availability for early 2016. We have our 241 for this May covered. The 241 is valid until October 2016.

    • It isn’t clear. If I remember it says ‘changes’ can be made. Dates are OK, not sure if extra Avios would be OK (we also don’t know if changing the destination airport from say New York to Boston would be allowed). Extra taxes definitely have to be paid but that has always been the case.

      • chelseafi says:

        Rob – Along similar lines, Using a 241 – If I find availability and book mixed class flights now outbound (WT) and inbound (CW) (or visa versa) and then availability opens up any time in the higher class (CW), can I upgrade from WT to CW even if I didn’t have enough Avios in my account at the time of the original booking?

        • You can definitely do it – whether you are charged the old or new rate is the question. I would assume you can do it at the old rate because they have been very vague about defining ‘changes’ and I think you’d be well place to argue it in case of trouble.

      • TheChiefExecutive says:

        Thanks Rob. Probably worth the risk if nothing opens up before the deadline.

  4. About the possible AmEx backlash, I e-mailed AmEx about possible changes to the BA PP and PR Gold cards. The reply was typically non-specific but did hint at changes that can’t be divulged.

    ‘I can confirm that unfortunately at present we do not have any impending changes to our products that we are able to divulge. However, I can confirm that I have forwarded on your feedback regarding this through the relevant channel at American Express.’

    Or am I being a tad optimistic?

  5. Definitely a loser because I live in Scotland and redeemed my Avios on BA short-haul. A terrible loser indeed.

    LH redemptions offer little value for money/points vs ex-EU fares, so not interested in those.

  6. Hi,

    I would appreciate your advise on what I should do in regards to redeeming my points with the April deadline date looming.

    I am hoping to have accrued approx 150/160k ba points within my household account by April. I originally intended to redeem this for a First class flight for my honeymoon in the summer (early Aug) of 2016 using the 2 for 1 voucher from Ba prem. Now with this deadline date I can only book up to april 28th 2016. Should I just take it on the chin knowing that due to the changes I will have to collect a lot more points than previous, or can I still book at the current rates before April 28th and then do a date change later. Or are there any options?

    Obviously on this occasion, I would need a certain degree of surety that will happen, dates fixed etc.

    Thanks in advance for your comments.

    Best regards,
    Ram

    • In general you cannot extend the date past 12 months of the day you book, so August 2016 is probably out unless there is a major policy change. Your options include:

      A) fly Club and not First (old F price is new CW price)
      B) use ‘Avios and money’ to bring down the Avios needed
      C) do your best to collect more points
      D) still fly F out but come back WT or WT Plus

  7. Sorry, but I just wanted to confirm something.
    RewardFlightSavers @£35 around Europe finish after April ? In which case, this should be shown in the ‘losers’ section, as I guess they were pretty popular with 1000’s of travellers ?

    • No, RFS carries on.

      The only thing that goes is the free domestic connection. London to Amsterdam is still 9k + £35. However, Manchester to London to Amsterdam, currently 9k + £35, becomes 18k + £70.