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.

  • DeanV says:

    Does this apply to just BA flights booked through BAEC or does it include flights with partners e.g. Qatar? I’d like to use my miles to book a trip to Dubai or Abu Dhabi but my health isn’t the best at the moment so would like to be able to change.

    Also, I’ve been looking at flights and it seems that its impossible to book Business Class flight with Qatar, only Economy and First. Any ides why this is

    • Jason says:

      Depends where you are flying from, but Qatar only fly to dubai and Abu Dhabi from Doha. They only have economy and first on those flights.
      Put your destination as Doha and you should get business flight options, then do a separate booking for Doha – Abu Dhabi/dubai

  • Andrew says:

    Is it possible to book a flight now for the future and then subject to availability use a 2-4-1 voucher to add a 2nd passenger to the booking?

    • Rob says:

      Unlikely. You have more chance if you book for 2 at full Avios and find an agent who would let you apply a 241 and refund half the Avios, but I don’t know how easy it is to do this. I know it can be done but is not policy.

    • Ben E says:

      very unlikely

  • nick says:

    Thanks. I cancelled a booking (2 return cw tickets) and rebooked for a different destination. I was hit with A £100 cancellation fee. Does this sound right? I thought it would be £70. I imagine I also ended up paying more fees to book over the ‘phone.

  • Luke says:

    What happens if you book using your 2 for 1 amex voucher but then try and extend it further than the validity date of that voucher? Would you lose the booking completely?

    Thanks

    • Rob says:

      Good question but pretty sure it would not be allowed.

    • pauldb says:

      Even now the website will only let you change such a booking within the voucher validity; can’t see why that would change. If you’re asking if you can push the dates back, withdraw the voucher and switch to paying for both passengers (at the current rates, not revised rates) I doubt it.

    • Cheshire Pete says:

      I think the return Leg can be after the expiry date. But can’t remember where I saw this, unless I dreamt it!

      • Rob says:

        That is true for the 241, yes. It is not necessarily true for stretching out a ticket beyond 12 months of issuance.

  • Freddy says:

    Can you now comment on this Acquisition, of 9.9 pct of IAG by Qatar Airways thrown into the mix of the downgrading of the Avios program, , is this a precursor of the intent to put the entire Airline up for Sale ?

    • mark2 says:

      Surely IAG is a quoted company, so could be considered to be permanently ‘For Sale’

    • Rob says:

      Qatar cannot buy IAG. A non-European company can only own 49% of a European airline.

  • Clive says:

    OT but TESCO CC to Virgin have a 30% bonus

    • Grimz says:

      That sounds good but is it not now a risk that Virgin will do something similar to what BA have just done with there rewards programme?

  • Melvin says:

    I was already planning to take advantage of a CW redemption in March/April 2016 so in theory, these changes to BAEC should help me as more reward seats are available. Unfortunately as I need to book three seats for my family (2 x adult, 1 x child and 2 x infant) I seem to be scuppered as every flight in every month appears to have no more than the minimum two guaranteed seats.

    BA’s FAQ’s on this state:

    “The minimum number of reward seats will be available 355 days before travel but once booked there is no guarantee that we will release any additional reward seats – although we do tend to make more reward seats available as we get closer to the actual travel date.”

    I could obviously just travel WT+ and guarantee all seats however if I absolutely want to travel CW what are my options? Could I book two CW redemptions for two adults and two infants and then add the third seat to the booking at a later date (at the higher redemption rate) IF another one were to become available? If the third seat never materialised then presumable I can cancel at cost of £70.00?

  • Needroos says:

    Slightly OT. I booked a return F to HKG using my AMEX 2 4 1. Could I cancel the return leg and keep the outgoing fight? Or would I loose the entire booking with no guarantee I would find the original LHR-HKG flight.

    • Rob says:

      Should be possible but you need a good agent who can split the booking correctly.

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.