Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Avios changes 1: understanding the new tier point rules

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The changes to, and devaluation of, Avios / British Airways Executive Club announced yesterday are hugely complex.  In this 10 part series, spread over a number of days, I will look at all the key issues to help you decide how badly impacted you are.

Key link‘Club Changes’ page on ba.com

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

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?

10. Are you a winner or a loser overall?

Avios wing 11

There are three moving parts – changes in tier points, Avios earning and Avios spending.  Each of you is impacted in a different way.  If the bulk of your Avios points come from American Express and Tesco, for example, the earning changes are less important.  Someone who earns all their Avios from business travel will be less concerned about changes in the value of an Avios (as they all came as a free by-product) but may worry more about their BA status.

This article will look at changes to British Airways tier points.

The first point to note is that the current thresholds remain unchanged.  Bronze is 300 tier points, Silver is 600 tier points and Gold is 1500 tier points.

BA_ExecClubLounges_HEADER-GOLD

There are two changes to the tier point structure.

The first is that the London City to New York JFK ‘all business class’ service will no longer earn First Class tier points.  This is an acceptable change – it was brought in as a promotional device when the route was launched and, to be honest, I don’t think anyone expected it to last this long.

The second is that the cheapest economy seats (Q, O, G fare buckets) will only earn 25% of the standard tier point rate instead of the current 50%.

I genuinely struggle to see the logic behind this.  A London-Manchester flight will now earn just 5 tier points each way for the lowest priced tickets!  A return economy flight to Johannesburg will earn just 35.

BA seems to believe that making someone fly 18 round-trips in economy to Johannesburg in order to earn a Silver card for lounge access is reasonable.  I don’t.

Luckily for the regular London to Manchester flyer, you won’t have to do 120 segments to earn Silver because the ’50 flights to earn Silver’ rule still exists.  So why cut the tier points in the first place?

If you thought these changes were purely about cutting BA’s Avios liability, the tier point changes make no sense.

For a very large number of travellers – those who are obliged to book the cheapest possible economy ticket – they will never be able to achieve BA status again.  Remember that there is nothing that these people can do about it.  Your employer will never sanction the cost of a more expensive ticket in the same travel class just to earn some more tier points.

We then come to Priority Pass, Lounge Club etc.

The lack of a third party lounge in Terminal 5 always seemed to be a benefit for BA.  I’m not sure that is still the case.

Stansted is about to get a (presumably very smart) lounge in the main building to replace No 1 Traveller.  Gatwick has an excellent No 1 Traveller lounge in both terminals.  All of these are Priority Pass lounges.  On long-haul, there are EXCELLENT Priority Pass lounges in Terminal 2 (Plaza Premium) and Terminal 4 (SkyTeam).  I haven’t been in the Servisair Terminal 3 lounge so cannot comment on that one.  Switching to a competing airline in a different terminal is a way to get lounge access back.

If you know that you have no chance of achieving BA status on your ‘economy only’ flying pattern, defecting to easyJet or Ryanair and convincing your employer to spring for a Priority Pass – easily offset by the flight savings – is not a bad option.

Complaining to your employer that you don’t want to fly a certain airline because it awards fewer miles is never going to get you far.  Complaining that you cannot work properly in the airport because you will no longer be able to retain Silver status for lounge access is a different matter.

One way around the tier point changes is to credit your flights to another oneworld airline and gain status with them.

I will take a look at some of the options over the next few weeks.  The downside is that you will end up with your miles being credited to that programme as well – although as an economy-only flyer you won’t be sacrificing much.

Click for the next article – understanding the new earning rates


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (56)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Tom says:

    If you are unhappy along with most others there is a petition already doing the rounds…

    https://www.change.org/p/british-airways-maintain-the-current-avios-and-tier-points-earning-rates-on-all-ba-flights

    Probably have little impact but it would appear BA are aware of it. No harm in signing if these changes have to much of a negative impact on you.

    • RIccati says:

      BA are free to set their prices. The petition should be about their monopoly to Heathrow and proving less public good in terms servicing the regions.

    • Fenny says:

      It will probably have the same impact as all the petitions about the change from Airmiles to Avios a few years ago.

  • Andrew S says:

    Priority pass is available for £120 for 10 lounge visits in 12 months and £220 for unlimited visits in 12 months.

    Easily offset by flying a different airline and saving on the fare!

  • Tim says:

    Does anyone know what proportion of seats are ticketed in Q or O class? G is a group fare class (or possibly promotional fare class) but I suspect if booking less than 2 weeks out (probably fair for most businesses) these two fare classes will not be available.

    • Rob says:

      Agreed. I think some low fare classes are automatically pulled nearer date of travel?

      • Stewart says:

        If you go with an inclusive fare (ie flight & hotel or car) then you can get O fares, without Saturday stay, as close in as 48 hours before departure.
        From experience…

  • Woodster says:

    Hi Rob, how do you think other schemes will respond to this? Surely they’ll have a whiff of opportunity? I for one have no interest in joining in with Avios/BAs race to the bottom and am looking to switch schemes!

    • czechoslovakia says:

      I`m afraid the advantages of the Avios scheme have been wiped out to match most of the other paltry schemes in the world. Loyalty doesn’t seem to pay anymore for the customer, or business.
      Sad thing is, the Avios scheme was the only thing (in my opinion) that enticed customers to BA in the first place. That, and the only airline in the world that served a half decent brew. Certainly isn’t quality/service/punctuality/price!

      • Brendan says:

        Maybe I’m being patriotic but I like the Aer LIngus brew!

        • czechoslovakia says:

          Fair Play, I stand corrected – forgotten about them. Never had chance to try out Aer Lingus – they refuse to let me book PRG-DUB-MAN, even the schedule suited and the cash was waiting? But then there is another difference – I WANTED to fly with them. Probably easyjet and Ryanair can brew up too – but I ain`t paying.

          • Oyster says:

            You’d have to pay for your brew on Aer Lingus too. They run buy on board catering.

    • Rob says:

      Virgin will whack up its prices but only to 90% of the BA level. That is their usual model.

      No point being 30% cheaper.

  • Smid says:

    Hmmmn, passing through Stanstead I found the Aspire lounge (located upstairs just past security) while small, one of the better lounges I’ve been in. It had sandwiches and much more food than a lot of lounges (peanuts and soup seems to be the default).

    People seem to rate Number 1 in Gatwick as one of the good ones. Number 1 seem to bar service only, with an appropriately surly and absent barmaid, never been refused a drink, but recent “2 drinks only” is much more likely to be enforced in those sort of places. That and 50% of the spaces were reserved when I was there. And still reserved when I left 2 hours later.

    So forgive me, the appearance of a Number 1 lounge in Stanstead, doesn’t thrill me and makes me wonder what makes people think these are better lounges… Views of the runway?

    • Aeronaut says:

      Your comment is a bit muddled!

      There’s no Aspire lounge at Stansted (are you perhaps thinking of Luton?).

      There were two No.1 Traveller lounges at Stansted, but they’re both now closed – the one near gate 16 closed in either late 2013 or early 2014, and the one near gate 49 (on the Ryanair pier) closed on 24 December 2014.

      The new lounge at Stansted that’s set to open this spring (possibly as early as February) is an “Escape lounge” – this is the in-house lounge brand used by MAG, the owners of Stansted. Escape lounges already exist at Manchester Airport (both terminals) and East Midlands Airport, both of which are owned by MAG.

      Lastly, No 1 Traveller Lounges don’t have a two drinks policy. They do operate a three hours max policy (though they say if your flight is delayed then you can pay for extra hours).

      • Smid says:

        Doh, correct, it was Luton. Sorry. Been flying a few airports recently.

  • sam wardill says:

    I wonder if Qantas FF (or another OW FF) is now a realistic alternative to BA Exec Club for UK residents?

    • Andy says:

      Hi Sam
      Almost certainly not.
      Although you might get slightly better Status Credits for Discount Economy (50% rather than 25%):-
      You wouldn’t get any Tier Bonus except on QF
      You would need to take 4 Qantas flights to get any status,
      Flights on non-QF Oneworld flights between Europe/Asia and Asia/Australia now earn about50% Status Credits and QF points after their “Simpler & Fairer” devaluation last year. EK flight numbers do not earn Status Credits but do earn QF points.
      The Qantas redemption chart was much worse than BAs before devaluation and is probably still a bit worse post.
      Their Copay is as high as BA.
      No chance of an upgrade with points on BA metal (Cash upgrades still possible)

      American seems the best refuge at the moment but I can’t see it remaining so for long (you also need 4 AA flights for status with them)

  • Andy says:

    Is it correct that Tier points earned on other One World airlines will not change for the cheapest economy fares?

    So for e.g. if you fly CX LHR-HKG in O you still earn 35 TP’s but if you fly same route on BA you will earn 17.5 TP’s?

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