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Avios changes 2: understanding the new earning rates

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My three articles today look at the headline changes announced by BA yesterday.  I will follow this up with some deeper discussion tomorrow.

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

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

1. Understanding the new tier point rules

3. Understanding the new spending rates

4. What is an Avios point worth now?

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 7

The changes only apply to tickets booked after April 28th.  Tickets booked before then will be covered by the current rules, whenever the travel date.

This article looks at the changes to Avios earning rates.

If the bulk of your Avios points come from credit cards, Tesco etc then these earning changes will not impact you much.  For others it will mean a massive change.

Here is a summary table of the old and new rates:

Avios earning chart 2

Earnings on cheap economy seats drop from 100% to 25%-50%.  The minimum number of Avios earned per flight has also been adjusted to reflect this.  Instead of earning at least 500 Avios per flight, you are now only guaranteed a minimum of 125 for the cheapest economy tickets.

In itself, I don’t blame BA for changing this in some way.  The old system was too generous and this is only moving back to what existed pre 2011.

If this had been the only change made to the scheme, I would have shrugged it off as a shame but also as a return to commercial reality.  Giving out 12,000 Avios for a flight to the US in deeply discounted economy did not make a lot of sense.  They were giving away a European flight with every long-haul.

However, BA is also making changes at the top end.  Fully flexible business class tickets jump from 150% to 250%.  This is pointless.

How many people buy fully flexible business class tickets with their own money?  Almost none.  How many companies let employees pick their airline?  Not many, as there are usually bulk deals in place.  The banker who has no choice but to use British Airways because the airline has negotiated a deal with his employer sees his mileage jump sharply.

(No changes have been announced to earnings rates on partner airlines but that doesn’t mean that none will be forthcoming!)

BA has also tampered with the status bonus for Silver members:

Avios tier bonus 2

The Silver bonus drops from 100% to 50%.  Again, if I’m totally honest, I could have lived with this if it had been the only change.

The impact of this on a fairly large sub-section of BA customers is huge.

Let’s assume you are a Silver member who flies to Cape Town in deeply discounted economy.  Using 12,000 miles as a rough distance, you would earn 24,000 miles for the round-trip.  After April 28th, you would only earn 9,000!  That is an astonishing drop.

A successful scheme is about increasing marginal spend from EVERY customer.  Not your top 10% of customers (who only use you because their employer tells them to) but from all your customers.

BA, on the other hand, has told about 70% of customers by volume that it really couldn’t care less if they continue to fly with them or not.  The customers it does want to keep and will reward heavily are those who are effectively forced to buy their product by their employer, an employer who already receives large rebates from BA.  If that sounds odd to you, it should.

Click for the next article – understanding the new spending rates


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2024)

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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.

Comments (32)

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

  • Lee Thornton says:

    You mention earning rates with partner airlines haven’t changed (yet). Are you sure? As BA lists the Avios earned by fare class won’t it be able to award this number regardless of the airline flown as, since Avios is owned by BA, it is there prerogative to do so? I think a key tactic here might be to credit BA flights to a partner’s loyalty programme such as AAdvantage as these earnings rates don’t appear to have changed since it is up to those programmes to award points based on their rules.

    • Rob says:

      No. There is no industry standard about fare classes and it is also driven by bilateral agreements with the other airline.

      • GlennM says:

        Hi Raffles,

        Happy Devaluation Day!

        Could you advise on what you now see as the penny value of an Avios point – and how it equates to the other UK airlines (Virgin etc.)? I think you have an article on this, so perhaps a timely update?

        With thanks, Glenn

        • Rob says:

          Planned for tomorrow

        • Mike says:

          A a regular LHR-SFO traveller the value has gone down massively – however the value on this route was already high (I always got >2p). A 1p valuation is far more realistic now – which may convince me to start converting my MR to club carlson instead.

          • Rob says:

            You get 1p per Amex point via Club Carlson on my maths, so no major difference.

  • Phillip says:

    Unfortunately the Silver downgrade was always going to happen to differentiate from Gold! I was surprised they raised it to 100% three years ago and knew from then it would only be temporary even though a BA spokesperson on flyer talk was insisting not!

    It was also only 6 years ago that discounted economy actually earned no tier points at all. So having gone through the recession, it’s now making an almost full circle!

    I think most of the changes were to be expected. Dsappointing nevertheless. The one thing I find really annoying though is that with such a hike in premium redemption rates, there is still no budging on the huge surcharges that need to be paid! That’s only in line with a few carriers not most of the competition!

    I wonder if we will see a Tesco conversion bonus soon to sweeten the hit!

    • Guesswho2000 says:

      Worth noting that AA (for now) do the same with their status pax – Gold = 25%, PLT/EXP=100% status bonus.

  • James67 says:

    Ironic; having two longhaul returns in W already booked for this year I am losing outdue to both the current and new structure. Still, I am happy to have those flights and UuA locked in givrn changes to upgrade costs.

  • Ianmac69 says:

    As you say, the earning rate change doesn’t impact us clubcard / amex points hounds much, but the real fear now must be a devaluation or worse on clubcard (not an unlikely scenario given Tesco’s position) and/or amex (perhaps less so than tesco, but how long can the churn ‘um and earn ‘um gravy train keep running?).

    That combined with this significant devaluation of avios for l/h comfy seats would mean the fun’s all over for people like me 🙁

  • Fuggi says:

    Agree totally with your last paragraphs Raffles. BA seem to be trying to push loyalty as buying premium tickets only, rather than rewarding loyalty in choosing them as your preferred carrier.

    Have attempted to fly with BA as much as possible thanks to the former Avios scheme, now am not so sure I can see the point…and as I’m a short haul freq. flyer (on my PERSONAL wallet, long distance relationship) I don’t get much in tier points or avios to compensate, only the service (which BA is admittedly v good at)

    50 flights to reach a tier that lets you in the lounge for the first time is ridiculous, they should add “X loung entries” to the Bronze tier

  • Mark says:

    I think you should post that analogy on the executive club thread running on FT.

    I would love for someone from BA to read it and say to themselves “oh shit!”

    My loyalty to BA has already been tested and this is just the nail in the coffin.

    I will now fly with whoever offers the best product for the best price.

    although I do feel that this devaluation will see a lot more award seats available for those of us with a big balance.

  • Andy says:

    You say 100% Avios for the cheapest economy tickets is too generous and I would probably agree, but it was also the main reason I and I assume many others who can only fly economy would choose BA. Now for long haul it will come purely down to price.

    In the past I have chosen BA over other airlines (e.g. Air NZ to LAX or Virgin to LAS) by factoring in the value of the Avios earnt but this won’t happen now, 25% is not worth it anymore.

    On short haul 125 Avios is laughable. You can probably earn more Avios buying a Rynair ticket on your Amex than flying with BA.

  • Andy says:

    Completely agree about this change is about rewarding the business users. Amazing though because as you say half of these business flyers probably do not even want to be on that BA plane but have to because of their employee!!

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

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