Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Avios changes 5: exploiting the ‘no repricing on date changes’ rule

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

Executive summary:  the ability to change the date of a redemption booking after April 28th without repricing means that you can lock in the cost of trips today even when you do not yet have firm dates.

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

A few loopholes are starting to emerge from the wreckage of the British Airways Executive Club Avios devaluation.  Here is one which will allow you to lock in the current pricing chart for 12 months.

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

1.  Understanding the new tier point rules

2.  Understanding the new earning rates

3.  Understanding the new spending rates

4.  What is an Avios point worth now?

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

In general, when BA has changed its tax structure or Avios reward chart, it has said that existing bookings are safe unless they are changed.  If you make a change, you must pay the recalculated fees or miles required as of the date of change.

This time it is different.

Look at the ba.com page relating to the changes and click on the FAQ section.  This is what you see:

Will I be able to change the dates of an existing reward flight after 28 April?

Yes. You will be able to make changes to your existing booking on or after the 28 April 2015 under the existing rules. This means, for example, that you will not have to use more Avios towards your existing booking if you need to change it after this date where under the new rules you would be required to use more Avios to make the same booking. This also means that you will not be refunded any difference in Avios if you make a change to your existing booking which would require you to use less Avios under the new rules. Please note change fees may apply.

What does this mean in practice?

If you know that you will be travelling to a certain city before 27 April 2016 but you don’t know when, you should – before 27 April 2015 – book yourself some flights for a random date far in the future.

(The last date may be 17 April 2016 if BA works on 355 days rather than 12 months validity.)

This will lock in the pricing at the current rates.  The saving will be substantial.  If you are thinking of travelling to New York in the Autumn but cannot commit on dates, for example, you would pay just 80,000 Avios for Club World now compared to 120,000 Avios per person later.

As per the FAQ above, you can ring BA at any point and change the dates on your ticket.  Obviously reward availability needs to be there for the new dates you want, but in theory this will be easier under the new regime.  You will need to pay the £35 change fee per person but that is cheaper than spending an extra 40,000 Avios.

What could go wrong?

Two things.  Firstly, you may decide you don’t want to go to New York after all or you can’t find availability to switch.  You will lose £35 when you cancel.

Secondly, fuel surcharges may drop sharply by the time you rebook and you won’t benefit.  You can work around that by cancelling the original ticket for £35 and rebooking from scratch.  Make sure that the fuel surcharge saving is worth the additional Avios you will need.

There are two things about this strategy which are not clear:

The FAQ is not clear about what constitutes a ‘change’.  You can change your dates.  Can you change your destination though?  Could you swap a New York ticket for a Boston ticket?  We don’t know.

I am also assuming that the usual ’12 month ticket validity’ rules apply.  I imagine that you cannot push your ticket out beyond 12 months from the day you book.  The agent would need to cancel your original ticket and rebook which would presumably force you to pay the new rate.  I could be wrong about this and you may want to risk £35 per person by pre-booking a flight you want for Summer 2016 or later.

This method is not a panacea for everyone but some will be able to use it to put off the day when the new rates kick in.

Click for the next article – Why are off-peak upgrades now more expensive than peak?


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

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 (43)

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

  • Alan says:

    Does this rule also apply to redemption s made through iberia plus?

  • erico1875 says:

    To me, this whole thing is about getting members to spend their stockpiled Avios ASAP.

  • Polly says:

    No, these are new rules so the new owners don’t have huge liability, also QR we giving reduced avios way back, which is why we stopped flying with them. So all the OW airlines saw an opportunity. QR don’t play fair with their lounges either.

  • Gabbai says:

    You write that if you take an award now at the reduced AVIOS needed and then want to change the date after 28/4, there are two things that could go wrong, the second being “fuel surcharges may drop sharply by the time you rebook and you won’t benefit. You can work around that by cancelling the original ticket for £35 and rebooking from scratch. Make sure that the fuel surcharge saving is worth the additional Avios you will need.” I think there is another major caveat that needs to be carefully considered: there may simply be no more availability so cancelling will be a possibility but rebooking may not. Just because you return your award to stock does not mean that it will immediately become available again. That it a gamble not a quantifiable risk!

    • Rob says:

      I didn’t mean rebooking for the same flight – I was assuming (as it the gist of the rest of the article) that you had booked for a random date and were going to do a date change anyway.

  • Rob P says:

    Its no surprise they are allowing changes after booking this time round They want you to burn those miles before 28 April. The cynic in me says that BA want you to change those Avios into bookings as soon as possible, so when they sell the company all these unused Avios are not such a huge liability on the balance sheet. The Avios company is far more sale able then. This panic to book they have very successfully caused this week, is achieving exactly what they want.

    • Pr99 says:

      One small problem, the flight will have to be paid for so the business will have a lower liability by the estimated cost of the redemption but it will also have less cash by the actual cost of the redemption.

  • Jordan D says:

    Small sidebar point: I think it is travel before 17 April 2016, due to the 355 day booking rule.

    • Rob says:

      I was wondering about this, but I wasn’t sure if the 12 month validity rule actually meant, in reality, 355 days. I have added an extra line.

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    I had flights booked in June 2014 booked for April 2015 to NY. For various reasons I cancelled in the end with no charge. Why? I had 4 flights in my booking coming from MAN via LGR. BA start making fine changes to their timetable around August thru to November. I had 3 out of my 4 flights cancelled and rebooked. Everytine BA make even the slightest change various conditions kick in including Full Refund with no Fee and forcing a rebooking within 750 miles of the original destination.

    So, if you also take this into account you can certainly avoid any £35 fee at all, and also you gave the chance to rebook Free of charge. Worth remembering.

    • Rob says:

      This used to be a big trick with BMI redemptions. You booked out of Dublin to avoid APD. As soon as BMI moved the Dublin flight by 5 minutes, you rang up to cancel that leg. They never repriced the APD and you got to start in London!

  • Bennyb says:

    Ask a stupid question but….
    I want to go to Japan in May 2016 in club world and have a companion voucher. Can I book travel now for a random day this year and then in May this year change the tickets for May 2016? I think I can but confirmation would be wonderful

    • Rob P says:

      Spoke to BA last night who said that provided there is no passenger name change or routing change, then a date change is permitted up to 365 days from the date of issue. ( NOT the date of the outbound flight, but the date you redeem the Avios) So Benny, in your case that would mean that assuming there were seats available to book on 27th April 2015 you could travel up to 17 April 2016. A change to a new passenger or a different route would require a recrediting of miles to your account and a reissue of the ticket which would then come under the new rules.

      • BennyB says:

        Thanks for the reply Rob but im still not clear. I can book upto 17 April 2016 but could I change the booking date to May 2016 once the tickets become available (assuming no change in passengers or route)

        • Rob P says:

          No – not according to BA. You have to make your booking by 17 April 2015, the ticket will then be issued on or around that date. The ticket MUST be used within 12 months, so May 16 is a month outside the validity of the ticket.

        • Rob says:

          No

      • bill says:

        I guess I lose my Amex 241 (exp Dec 15) if I do a date change?

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.