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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 (June 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.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

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

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points 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.

  • Myer says:

    What about special offer upgrades or indeed airport upgrades, from economy to Club Europe? The fare then changes to U, will you get the Club Europe Tier points, regardless of the original fare basis?

  • Andy says:

    I think this is the final nail in the coffin for me. I had a few good trips courtesy of Avios to Madrid, Dubrovnik & Lyon but it is just not worth it any more.

    I fly from Edinburgh and use Clubcard points as my main method of Avios collection. There are so many more attractive ways to spend my Clubcard points now plus I would now need to pay extra towards short haul flights.

    This will eliminate those who use Avios the way I have.

    I have enjoyed it while it lasted and have found the information on this site very useful. Bye Bye and thank you Avios Community.

  • chris rigby says:

    I am Silver on BA. I will clear out my Avios and switch to Priority pass. I guess they want the former and but not the latter. Anyway no loyalty is my future.

  • Turbulence says:

    I hope there are an easy couple of questions.

    What should I expect to earn regarding tier points for BA flights already booked, but which will be taken after April the 28th, and similarly, what should I expect for flights booked with partner airlines, such as Qatar, which will also be taken after April the 28th?

    • Rob says:

      You get the current BA points. No word yet on what happens to partner rates.

  • HB133 says:

    Just to clarify, if you’re booked in any of the economy fare buckets except Q, O, G fare buckets or the fully flexible Y / B / H fares you’ll continue to earn the same number of tier points but just a reduced mileage.

    So effectively, unless you’re in the cheapest or special economy fares, there is no change in tier points earned

  • mickey says:

    Does anyone know how long it takes to transfer MR points to BA? I just did a transfer yesterday and got an email this morning to say it’s successful, but upon checking my BA account my balance is still the same as it was.

    Also similar question for heathrow reward points – how long does it take?
    I want to book an open-jaw using 241 but understand I have to call to book but is there any way to get around this, I die a little every time I’m placed on hold for goodness knows how long.

    • Rob says:

      No, with a 241 you need to call.

      MR transfers are usually pretty quick, couple of days, if the account is already linked. Not sure about Heathrow Rewards though.

  • HiltonHotelsFanclub says:

    Compliments for this great article!

  • Beat the Avios devaluation by locking in flights says:

    […] 1.  Understanding the new tier point rules […]

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

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