Your one page summary of the Avios changes

One of the few upsides from the Avios devaluation, which went live yesterday, is that British Airways seems to have managed to get their IT right first time.

This article is a summary of what has changed, with no commentary.  I will be re-running all 17 articles in the ‘Avios Redemption University’ series at the end of May to reflect the new-look scheme.

If you want to learn about these changes in more detail, there are 10 articles on the subject which I wrote in JanuaryYou can find them here.

Tier points

The thresholds for Gold, Silver and Bronze status have NOT changed at 1500, 600 and 300 tier points respectively, neither have the thresholds for achieving status via segments flown.

The London City to New York JFK service now earns standard business class tier points (140 each way) instead of First Class tier points (210 each way).

The cheapest economy tickets will now earn 25% of the standard tier points rather than 50%.  An economy flight to Paris will earn just 5 tier points each way instead of 10.

Earning Avios when flying

Earnings on cheap economy tickets drop from 100% of miles flown to 25%.  The minimum earned per flight drops from 500 to 125.

The status bonus for Silver members drops from 100% to 50%.  The Gold and Bronze status bonuses remain at 100% and 25%.

Changes to earning rates on First and Club World tickets can be seen here:

Avios earning chart 2

Earning rates on BA’s joint venture partners (AA, Iberia, Finnair) have been aligned with these numbers.  Earning on other airline partners, such as Qatar, has also changed to roughly match what is shown above.

Note that, at present, American Airlines is still offering 100% mileage on ALL British Airways economy tickets.  A discount economy flight credited to an AA account earns 4 x the miles compared to crediting to BAEC.

Spending Avios on redemptions

BA now guarantees to release 2 Club World / Club Europe and 4 World Traveller / Eurotraveller seats per flight.

You can no longer have a free domestic connection on short-haul flights.  This effectively doubles the cost of, say, Manchester to Hamburg via Heathrow to 18,000 Avios + £70 tax.

Peak and off-peak pricing has been introduced for redemptions on British Airways and Iberia.  The 2015 table for BA redemptions is here (a cross is a peak date), dates until April 2016 are on ba.com here (click ‘Work out the cost’) as is the Iberia peak and off-peak calendar:

Calendar 2

Flights on partner airlines such as Qatar will ALWAYS be treated as peak dates, irrespective of the calendar.

The new redemption chart is here:

Redemption chart 2

The old chart, for comparison, was:

Avios bandings

All economy flights have got cheaper on off-peak dates and the same for peak dates.  Club Europe flights are cheaper on off-peak dates and the same for peak dates.  The big jumps are for World Traveller Plus, Club World and First long-haul.

Spending Avios on upgrades

From December 2015, you can upgrade World Traveller tickets in Y, B, H, K, M, V, L, S or N ticket buckets.  This is an improvement over the current Y, B, H.  You will still only be able to upgrade one level, to World Traveller Plus, and WTP reward availability must be there.

The formula for upgrades is unchanged – it is still the difference between the ticket class you have and the next highest class.  However, the cost is higher due to changes in pricing those tickets.  Upgrading to World Traveller Plus to San Francisco will be 50,000 Avios return peak and 60,000 Avios off-peak compared to the previous 25,000 Avios.

Upgrades from WTP to Club World on off-peak dates are more expensive than upgrades on peak dates.  This is because the gap between World Traveller Plus and Club World ‘100% Avios’ redemptions is wider on off-peak dates.

Changes on Iberia redemptions

Iberia has adopted a different pricing chart than British Airways.  If Iberia flies to a city which is also served by British Airways, you may find it requires fewer Avios.  The Iberia chart is here:

Iberia chart PNG 2

New York (Zone 5) will be 68,000 Avios off-peak and 100,000 Avios peak on Iberia.  BA wants 100,000 Avios off-peak and 120,000 Avios peak.

ba.com is currently using the Iberia chart above to price Iberia redemptions.  However, you should book such flights via Iberia Plus as taxes and charges are 60% lower.

Iberia has a different calendar of peak and off-peak dates.  October half-term is a BA peak week so a New York Club World ticket (London to New York) is 120,000 Avios + £508.  It is an off-peak Iberia week so the cost via iberia.com on an Iberia plane (Madrid to New York) is 68,000 Avios + £137.  If you book this Madrid to New York flight on ba.com it would cost 68,000 Avios + £323.

Changes on partner redemptions booked via Iberia

Iberia has adopted a different redemption chart for partner airlines such as Qatar and American.  This is based on total distance flown and NOT flight-by-flight.  The chart is here:

Iberia partner 2

Some partner redemptions may be cheaper booked via Iberia Plus using this chart than using ba.com and the BA chart.

Note that partner redemptions booked via Iberia Plus are non-refundable and non-changeable.  BA does you let change and cancel partner tickets.

Changes on On Business

The On Business SME programme is also changing next month.  I wrote about that here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

One interesting quirk with the new Avios scheme we never expected
Exclusive Heathrow Terminal 2 offers for Star Alliance Gold and Silver members
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Comments

  1. RIccati says:

    A clear summary. Thank you, Raffles.

    I am thinking this morning: whatever comes with AA devaluation, it cannot be that bad for the long-haul redemptions with Oneworld airlines. It makes sense to accumulate miles with the airlines that one actually flies.

    Meanwhile, before clouds dissolve on AAdvantage anticipated changes, can use an SPG card.

    This solves my puzzle as to which reward card to use (MBNA issued, Barclays IHG, AMEX Plat is expensive to maintain and that’s not going to change).

    BA Premium Plus card makes sense but not until the bonus is improved – 25K Avios is a meagre amount. It currently gives 3 Avios for booking on BA.com — it is clear that MBNA bonus for booking on BA.com (was 4 Avios) was removed to force people to apply for fee-paying AMEX Premium Plus. All we see is a stick and punishment conditioning from BA to extract more money.

  2. Oscarthegrouch says:

    Wow, the Iberia website is a joy.

  3. Eshaq Choudhury says:

    Does the air Berlin flight TXL-AUH work out as 46000 avios in business if booked via Iberia?

    • It will use the distance chart so you’d need to work out how far it is.

      • Eshaq Choudhury says:

        According to great circle mapper it should be 2900 miles which should make it 46000 return in business. However when pricing on Iberia it shows up as 46000 one way in business and also has higher taxes of £126.

        • Can you book partner rewards as a one-way with IB? Perhaps it is charging for a return anyway? What is the cost if you do a dummmy return booking?

        • I thought the same (and commented as such) when the changes were first announced. I recall that the answer was that the distances are round-trip (otherwise why would it go up to 50,000 miles), hence TXL-AUH return in business should be pricing up at 100K avios….

          If that’s not the case then I’m still confused, but it sounds like BA.com redemptions on that route are cheaper (and more flexible) despite the 50% avios hike in business class anyway.

          • Eshaq Choudhury says:

            42000 in economy return plus £233 in taxes.
            100000 in business return plus £233 in taxes.

            Looks like a significant increase for business.

          • As I said cheaper to book a redemption on BA.com – 25k or 75k avios for economy and business class return respectively at the new rates, plus £49.50 in taxes and fees on the latter when we booked it last year.

            Aside from it being a cheap J redemption at the old rates I wasn’t terribly impressed by AB, but that’s another story…

          • Exactly, it is (or was) cheap and cheerful. I did it overnight from New York two years ago and it was fine – you’ve got the flat bed and not much else mattered. Tax was $2 and I needed to be in Germany afterwards anyway.

          • True. The night flight was absolutely fine, the day flight less so – particularly the rude crew member who had a go at me for walking through her galley whilst she was sitting reading, then had another go at me for wondering back into business class…. Until I pointed out I was a business class passenger, then she suddenly became very apologetic!

  4. John from Aberdeen says:

    Every readers circumstances will be different. Over last few years I have had some great BA redemptions that have allowed me and family (3 pax) to travel transatlantic in CW, something we wouldn’t be able to do paying cash. Managed to squeeze the last one in before yesterday’s devaluation. As HFP reports, BA economy redemptions are poor value, and I wouldn’t wish to travel that class anymore long haul. BA WTP is rubbish and avios wise even more expensive now. Even using 2 for 1 and /or upgrades that’s a LOT of avios to try to collect. Even flying every 18 months. The future for me lies in my new Virgin Atlantic card and their flying club. Offers better value for my personal needs. Winding down the BA avios now…. Lastly those sqillions of extra redemption seats BA are offering…bet they come from the regional routes….bye bye BA hello other airlines.

    • Couldn’t agree more with John.
      Had been wondering for a few years at switching to Avios but VS Flying Club now winning hands down.
      Despite concern about the Delta merger and reward availability I think on some VS routes it’s now even better. Just managed 4 upgrades to SFO at Easter and upgrading from economy to Upper is a real bonus.

  5. Not sure if BA’s IT system isnt without a few hiccups – i have 2 future bookings in Club World and in MMB it is telling me i can access ‘Galleries First’, where normally it would say the 2 T5 Galleries for Business Class. I certainly haven’t gained Gold status with BA as that would require buying tickets rather than redeeming!

    • Keep quiet say nothing. .my oh shows emerald on ab even though he’s saphire! Weird. I be ria will be a fun try out too….busy doing the maths this morning. Tnx Rob..keeping our minds sharp here!

  6. Diydegsy says:

    Hi raffles I asked the other day about changing my business class flights return to Bangkok with a 241 voucher as I need to come back earlier. You suggested coming back via KL and they have just released more tickets. They have told me again I can’t change the return ticket as KL is in a different zone. I quoted what you said about both flights must be longer than the gap between arrival and departure airport but she said the rules with a 241 voucher are you can’t change zones. This is the 2nd person I have spoken to, any advise would be appreciated.

    • Even if this is true, are they saying you cannot change it anyway and just pay the extra Avios? That would be a little odd. Is there outbound availability if you cancel the whole itinerary and rebook? (Do NOT tisk your existing outbound seata going back into reward availability as it often does not happen.)

      • Diydegsy says:

        Hi thanks raffles. I printed off terms and conditions for using the 241 voucher when I called BA but they said it is under avios terms and conditions that we cannot change the return flight to a different zone in this case KL instead of Bangkok even though we would be happy to pay any extra avios required etc. There is no availability on the outbound flights or we would change the whole flight so unsure what to do? Maybe a lesson for anyone else who finds themselves in this situation.
        Great website though wouldn’t even be going club class if it wasn’t for this site!!!

        • Keep an eye on other options in the same zone as BKK – something may come up and flights around Asia are cheap on the budget carriers (or use Avios with JAL, Cathay etc).

  7. If you booked via Iberia… is it always flown via Madrid or can flights be taken via London?

    • All long haul flights start in Madrid. You want to book your connection separately otherwise you will pay long haul business class Air Passenger Duty instead of ahort haul, saving £150 per person.

  8. Thank you for the summary.

    So If I redeem BA flights through Iberia Plus, is that considered a partner flight and is non-cancelable and non-refundable?

  9. It’s quite confusing how the AVIOS will be credited for booking made with AA/US before April 28th. As per FAQ it states that all bookings made before the old conditions will apply, however now it’s marked on the earning page that flights after April 28th will earn 25%…. What is now correct?

    • For partners, BA is now saying it is the new rate that applies whenever you booked unless it is a BA codeshare. This is probably because they can’t know what date you booked.

      • How about a booking that a has a BA segment than all flights should earn as per the old rules as they than will know the booking date?

    • The original announcement didn’t say anything about changes to partner earnings (specifically, earning Avios on BAEC when flying AA), did it? I’m wondering if I missed something. I thought economy on AA would stay at 100%, even with BAEC.

    • AndyGWP says:

      This will well and truly screw over my plans if that’s the case. Can’t they just see when it was ticketed? Our flights were specifically booked with Silver in mind, well before the changes came into effect – they’re on an AA ticket with US codeshares thrown in for good measure :(

      • AndyGWP says:

        *cough*, though as we all know, TP’s won’t be impacted… how embarrassing :) 😉

        I’ll get screwed on my Avios haul admittedly though

  10. Cheshire Pete says:

    Only to add the Domestic legs were never Free, the number of legs allowed per sector has slowly been devalued since BA Miles from 3 (in the original system) to 2 (with avios introduction) and now just 1.

    This would also affect other complex itineries such as LHR>JFK>MIA>MCO which under BA Miles was completely valid under 1 redemption when 3 legs were allowed, and the big advantage of using Air Miles was that you could use many stop overs to make a complex trip.

    So I do wish the term ‘free’ would be corrected to further loss of legs!

    One thing I’ve noticed actually. The difference in Hand Only fares between LHR and MAN always used to be be a £10 difference less than the regular fare. Now I notice for instance on Saturday. Hand baggage is £48 and the regular is now markedly More expensive at £102. I’ve never seen that level difference before on the Manchester domestic fares. I’m not sure if hand baggage is now markedly cheaper or regular is now markedly more expensive!