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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 (June 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 – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. 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

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.

  • Steve says:

    Will be interesting to see how the notoriously poor BA IT systems cope with awarding Avios for bookings pre and post 28 April when the flights are actually taken. I’ll be making sure to make a note of what should be earned for flights already booked, in the inevitable event the lower amounts are actually deposited once flown.

  • DAVID POWELL says:

    hi Raffles,

    im still trying to work out how affected i am by these changes.
    i use my Virgin miles to fly to HK every month, then collect avios and BA points when flying with cathay from HK to Singapore. i currently use my BAEC for my cathay earning. is this still a good move? i also use finnair occasionally when flying to Singapore via helsinki. but still only use my BAEC to collect points. i have got to become bronze member by doing this. having only flown BA one in the last 12 months! any suggestions on whether i should change my routine?

    • JQ says:

      Well, you should probably have been collecting with Finnair Plus previously, but now it doesn’t really matter.

    • Rob says:

      Nothing changes for you on earning. Tier point and Avios earning from BA partner airlines stays as it is.

      You will be hit by the poorer BA spending rates.

  • Graham says:

    Raffles
    You are right about this changing/removing customer loyalty and stopping the additional marginal spend from customers.
    I’m at the lower end of the market, but I fly often (monthly at least) on my own money. Having ignored loyalty schemes for a while, I’m close to BA status and have even booked BA flights over cheaper options for the tier points (and better flight times). Not any more, no point.
    And the avios I’ll ever earn on flights now isn’t going to add up to much.
    There is no way a non-business customer could ever get out of blue status. Maybe that is what BA wants but it will lose customers like me who would hope they could get priority boarding or better.

    • Mick says:

      Hi raffles ,
      I have 2 flights already booked for May and June and using the existing system I will go to silver.

      Will I now miss out, or as these have been booked before April 28th will I get to silver?

  • Mick says:

    Hi raffles ,
    I have 2 flights already booked for May and June and using the existing system I will go to silver.

    Will I now miss out, or as these have been booked before April 28th will I get to silver?

    • danksy says:

      It says in the smallprint that bookings made before the April deadline will not be affected!

      • Mick says:

        I’m assuming then there will be a 355 day grace period from April 28 for all flights booked till then .

  • Alex says:

    Could booking with oneworld partners after 1 April be the solution, even though your membership is with BA? If you fly with Iberia using your BA membership, would that result in getting BA tier points system or Iberia’s system? Thanks (silver member flying economy)

    • Rob says:

      It could well be. I am not desperate keen on researching the tier points systems of all 14 other oneworld airlines but …..!

  • Paul says:

    Raffles, I understood that in your Cape Town example scenario above, with the 12,000 mile trip, that in addition to the discount economy ticket earning 25% = 3,000 that a Silver would earn a tier bonus of 50% of the 12,000 not 50% of the 3,000, so 6,000 making a total of 9,000 earned? Or have I misunderstood…

  • Frenske says:

    I fly 4 times to Oslo in Economy. Usually I try to fly with BA because of earning points. However SAS is often cheaper and although SAS eurobonus points are not worth much for flying, theycan easily be redeemed in their shop for stuff (got a Swiss army knife for free). This means in future I will chose the cheapest flight as BA and SAS fly almost at the same time and usually SAS is edging that. Lost for BA: £1200.

  • TSR says:

    I don’t log in to flyertalk on a daily basis but I saw a deluge of comment re avios and it was hard to fathom what had changed your site made it very easy to understand. Many Thanks.

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

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