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Avios changes 10: are you a winner or a loser?

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Over the course of the nine articles below, I have managed to pick apart the details of the Avios changes that take effect from April 28th.  I thought the best way of drawing all the strands together was a summary of the winners and losers, both for earning and spending.  Which are you?

You may, of course, be a ‘winner’ from earning but still a ‘loser’ overall because of your spending pattern – or vice versa!

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

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 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?

Avios wing 15

EARNING AVIOS POINTS AND TIER POINTS

When earning, you are a winner – or at least unchanged – if ….

you collect your Avios points from credit cards, Tesco and other partners rather than flying.  Tesco and Amex may even be forced to offer bonuses or improve their conversion terms if they see a backlash from customers.

you fly on full fare tickets in any BA travel class – your earnings go up

you fly on discounted tickets in First and Club World – your earnings go up in First and are unchanged in Club World

you fly on oneworld partner airlines except American and Iberia – earning rates will not change

you believe that the BA Heathrow lounges are overcrowded – they will quieten down by late 2016

you fly over 50 segments a year – you will qualify for a Silver card based on 50 flights irrespective of how few tier points you earn under the new structure

you have a Silver card but mainly fly oneworld partner airlines – you never received a tier bonus when flying the majority of these airlines in the first place, so the halving of it does not impact you

When earning, you are a loser if ….

you collect most of your Avios points and tier points from flying on discounted economy fares – your tier points are being halved and the Avios earned reduced by 75%

you fly on discounted World Traveller Plus tickets – you will earn 20% fewer Avios

you credit discounted economy flights on American or Iberia to BA – the Avios earning rate is being cut by 75%

you have a British Airways Executive Club Silver card – your tier bonus when you fly is being halved to 50%

you fly the London City to New York JFK service, as your tier points are being cut from 210 to 140 each way

SPENDING AVIOS POINTS

When spending, you are a winner – or at least unchanged – if ….

you fly on short-haul European redemptions from London – these will actually become cheaper at off-peak periods and are unchanged at peak periods

you fly long-haul redemptions in economy from anywhere in the UK – domestic connections are still free and off-peak economy redemptions have got cheaper.  Peak redemptions in economy are unchanged.

you struggled to find redemption seats on the dates you wanted – you are now guaranteed to get some availability.  Big winners will include contractors who fly to London for the working week and would previously never see availability on peak Monday and Friday services.

you are able to switch long-haul business class redemptions to Iberia via Madrid, booking via Iberia Plus.  Some long-haul redemptions on Iberia in business class have got cheaper (eg 34,000 Avios each way to New York) and Iberia still adds minimal surcharges.

you buy non-flexible World Traveller tickets on British Airways – most of these will be upgradable with Avios to World Traveller Plus from December 2015.   Very little World Traveller Plus availability is opened up, however, so in practice this will rarely be possible.

you use your Avios to upgrade from Club World to First Class – the cost is unchanged at peak periods and actually gets cheaper at off peak periods

you are Avios-rich – you can book all your holiday flights until April 27th 2016 at the current rates whilst benefitting from improved availability.  Date changes will be allowed after April 28th 2015 without repricing.

When spending, you are a loser if ….

you redeem for short-haul European flights with a UK domestic connection – these are no longer free and you would be foolish to redeem for them under most circumstances

you redeem for long-haul services in World Traveller Plus, Club World or First – the Avios required for these services has jumped sharply at peak times (up to 50%) and up to 25% at off-peak times

you redeem for partner awards in premium classes – the lack of off-peak pricing means that they have all increased by 50% in business class and 33% in first class

you use your Avios to upgrade from World Traveller to World Traveller Plus or from World Traveller Plus to Club World – the cost has gone up dramatically.  Upgrades from World Traveller Plus to Club World will actually cost more at off peak periods than at the peak.

So there we have it – as good a summary of the changes as you are likely to find.  No doubt more details will emerge as April 28th gets closer.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

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

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

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up 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:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) 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 £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.

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

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 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 a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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 (103)

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

  • Stuart McIntyre says:

    That’s a super summary, Rob. Thanks for pulling it together…

    (As a Silver that collects mainly from cards and spends primarily on short-haul with the family of 6, it seems it pretty much evens out for me…)

  • Keith says:

    I think that unless you are flying in non -discounted premium classes (and who does that apart from bankers who have probably got more money than sense), then we are all losers.

    Even if I were still to get the same amount of avios, it does appear to me that redemption rates generally have gone up……or have I missed something?

    It appears a BA strategy to confuse us rather than make the process transparent and simple.

    • Jason says:

      It seems to me that generally the cost has increased but it was getting harder to find seats anyway.
      Disappointed that redemptions on partner airlines have increased to peak prices but the Iberia plus option is a good alternative and the route I would most likely use, is virtually the same, post devaluation – LHR DOH DXB on Qatar, it may possibly be cheaper.
      I haven’t been in the BA business lounge, since 2011( although will be there at Easter), but it was heaving back then. The Concorde room on the other hand I’ve always found very pleasant and not very busy.

      • Worzel says:

        BA threw in a lot of extra seats(it appeared to me) on devaluation day-just a week ago.

        Availability issues with SIN, already!

    • Rob says:

      Off peak short-haul has gone down in all classes, peak short-haul is unchanged in all classes, off peak economy long-haul has gone down, peak economy long-haul is unchanged, ‘upgrade using Avios’ from Club World to First has got cheaper.

      • Rich says:

        But short haul product has declined greatly for me with the new cabins and poor catering. I now prefer Norwegian airlines or EasyJet, paying for an exit seat… I am a big loser under the AVIOS changes, tho’. There is some value in the scheme, the recent 1p / AVIOS discount on a number of routes is interesting.

        • Ralph says:

          We are in Helsinki now on an IHG Pointsbreak, three nights at the Crowne Plaza for 5,000 points per night, got upgraded to a junior suite so result, flew BA RFS and paid for exit row seats…was so pleased to walk past Business Class for the extra leg room. Far more value in booking economy short haul and paying for exit row.

    • nick says:

      If availability opens up significantly (and so far it has), I’m a winner even at the significantly higher prices. I don’t care how much a flight costs under the old rules if I couldn’t book it.

      The changes are bizarre from a loyalty perspective as they seem to punish loyalty for people who actually choose to fly ba rather than those who have to for work, but overall im happy with the changes as long as availability stays good.

      • Worzel says:

        Just one destination I know, but for 2 travelling in Business Class:

        Nov15: 9th-17th is the maximum duration.
        Dec15: No rtn dates.
        Jan16: 21st-24th is the maximum duration.

        I’ve looked at other destinations and am of the opinion that availability issues will remain.

        • Worzel says:

          To Qualify:

          This post is in addition to mine at 7:40am and looking at SIN.

          • Jason says:

            They are obviously selling them quickly and I’m sure they will do until the changes kick in.

        • Polly says:

          Correct, all gone, we had to book HKG.F Instead, and plan to,jump,of from there

  • kay says:

    Thank you head for points in showing the changes in their glorious technicolour. I had read through the changes when they came through, but only scratched the surface.
    As a new saver of points and a stay at home mom. I guess the family trip to the US is now further away than ever for us. I wanted a way to upgrade in a pre child way as v tall.
    Shall I throw in the towel/card now?

  • jhk says:

    again with BA all is going down. service points , new seats buss.class in europe, how do they think to keep customers, and even the new airlines are cheaper etc.etc.etc. it will be time that we must change to Quatar airways and others . it is also strange, the first make us crazy all what they offer is and each time they change it into less and less. i will book direct other airlines in our company.

  • Metatone says:

    As someone relatively new to HFP, I can’t help but feel like I missed out a bit, given the new changes. The golden years are gone?

    Perhaps if some new earning opportunities are on the horizon (or better conversions) it could get better again.

    Certainly, the loss on TP for discounted fares seems designed to push me to consider other airlines. A noticeable number of my TP came out of work flights. As part of a small business, it’s always going to be discounted economy most of the time. So, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere – loyalty isn’t really paying.

    • Rob says:

      To be honest, in some ways the scheme has simply regressed to where it was before November 2011. You never used to get 100% miles in cheapo economy. New York used to be 100k in Club World before it came down to 80k (will now be 100k or 120k).

      Don’t forget, pre November 2011, you had to pay FULL taxes on European flights – well over £100 per person return. The current position is far better than that.

      Lufthansa Miles & More wants 30,000 miles and £120 of tax to fly London to Berlin return IN ECONOMY. Fancy a bit of that?!

      • Mark says:

        Ridiculous of course… our cash return fare from London to Berlin in economy (with BA) next month to connect onto an Air Berlin redemption was £118 and is earning 500 avios.

      • Rich says:

        And before that you could pay zero in taxes and charges and use 5800 Airmiles (Equivalent to 58000 Avios) for a CW return to NYC…… In the off peak ‘ shrinks the world’ promotions…. But then I joined Airmiles in around 1988/9

    • oyster says:

      There were always golden days. And I’m sure there’ll be more again.

      In 2002, I exchanged Concorde for 160,000 and just £85 tax. Booked 3 weeks out as well!

      In 2009 there was the 50% off sale where I got F return to SYD for just 150,000 for 2 people.

      In 2014 there was the £1 RFS sale, which meant I had so many nested domestic trips as add-ons.

  • Chelseafi says:

    Can you please advise, We are a family of 4 that travel in school hols. I had managed to get 4 ecom return flights for summer hols but only to & from Miami for holiday in Orlando. When I booked these last Aug I paid part cash, £2450 plus 60,000 points. After all the news about BA last Thurs I checked BA availability around 1pm that day and was surprised to see direct to Orlando for my date, so wanted to change my Miami flights for orlando,please advise what I could/should have done to change these.
    I had 151,000 points on my account and approx £500 clubcard points to convert. Plus the booking I’d made to miami that cost 60,000. Plus I now had 2 x 241 companion (1 mine & 1 husbands) I saw four club available going out and club for return, perfect I thought 200,000 needed with the 241s. I didn’t know what was the best way of booking these, so I rang BA and asked if I could cancel the Miami flights and book these, I was told if I canceled my miami flights, there was no guarantee the Orlando flights in club would still be on the system to book. So they changed my Miami flights to Orlando flights in economy,(£35pp fee) still part cash part points, I was then advised to add more points to account before I could book the club tickets and then cancel the econ tickets. I don’t know if I could have just booked the club out with the 241, return econ, and then cancel the miami flights to get the 60,000 back and then change the return leg from econ to club all in the one phone call booking? By 7.00 am Fri I had the 200,000 needed in my account but club return was no longer showing available so I thought I would just book club going out and have to return econ use my 241. I rang BA 7.30am they found the flights but as they had to do two bookings as one 241 was in my name and the other in my husbands they said the flights had just gone that very minute, it was showing two only available on both flights (although the system had been showing four on one flight and none on the other flight). Very disappointed, i think I was given bad advice, the very second I rang BA to book, the four flights weren’t available, I think both times I rang BA last week, I could have been given better advice, whilst trying to book the flights, they just started asking about if they could help with car hire and other bits. I keep checking BA site but I assume I have missed the opportunity now for 4 in club?

    • Jason says:

      Have a look at Tampa, Philadelphia, New York where there may be more availabilty. Internal flights are quite easy to book.
      Orlando and Miami are unlikely to come available again IMO.
      I think you were given the best advice for your situation, if you’d have had more Avios you should have booked orlando first and then cancelled Miami or topped off your accounts by buying Avios via BA, an expensive, but rewarding, option probably worthwhile given that time was not on your side.

      • chelseafi says:

        Thank you Jason, any in Florida fine but don’t want indirect flights with kids. Yes I just need bit more info about changing bookings made. I had enough points in my account (151,000) for club out return econ & use 241 for the four of us, but I didn’t know if I booked them, how easy it would then be to change econ return to club (after adding the extra points & if still available) or even better just didn’t need to wait to add more points as maybe I could then have cancelled the Miami booking that would have returned 60,000 to my account? Any advise on cancelling changing would be helpful.

        • Rob says:

          It is very easy to ring up and change the class of travel on an existing booking. This is because you are only amending the booking (the 6-digit booking reference remains unchanged) so there is no risk of losing the seats.

          • chelseafi says:

            Thank you, so am I correct in saying, I should have made a new booking for club out and econ back, use my 241 so 150,000 for four of us. Then cancelled the Miami econ booking got my 60,000 & cash back from this, then as you say changed the return leg to club from econ for the additional 50,000, would this have been allowed and I assume reasonable easy and quick to do?

          • Louie says:

            If only that was always true. If you get an incompetent agent, they will tell you you have your seats in your higher class, but you don’t. Nor will BA do anything about it. Happening to me right now.

        • pauldb says:

          You can change the class of travel, but you were also trying to apply the 241s to an existing booking which is not possible, and you were trying to remove the past-cash element (not compatible with the 241s) which isn’t possible. So a cancellation was required.

          • chelseafi says:

            thank you, so make a new booking with 241s I had 151,000 points already in account, once secure cancel other booking get the part cash and points back, then with the additional points from cancellation change return let from econ to Club, should this have been what I should have done, just so that I know for future.

  • Andi says:

    Everyone’s mentioned more availability but i see no availability anywhere at anytime for anywhere warm for 4 people

    • Choons says:

      Right now I would consider anywhere above 10 degrees as warm!

      • Rob says:

        Hard to believe I was on the beach in Abu Dhabi last Tuesday.

        Believe it or not, some ******* stole my coat yesterday from the shared office where I was working. Luckily coat and phone were on my desk. May have been taken in error, lets see.

    • Rob says:

      This is what we need to see. If availability for 4 becomes an issue – which would be suicidal given that Mr Average Business Traveller has a wife and kids – then there are problems. Most people reject Air Canada, Etihad and airberlin out of hand because they only release 2 J seats per flight.

      • Jon Easthope says:

        Well, I have been checking daily for 4 business class tickets to Florida next Jan/Feb with no luck whateoever (hope you are right @Chelseafi – but I’ve not seen any yet) – only 2 seats in Club being released each day from what I can see. Under BAs new policy, it looks as if you’ll be ok for 4 seats to NYC but anywhere else in North America, forget it.

        Given that my local tesco is also closing (so bye-bye 3V), in all it hasn’t been a great week for Avios collection in the Easthope household.

        • jason says:

          You’ve done well to have a Tesco that stocks them!
          There isn’t a Tesco, within a 30m radius, that stocks them 🙁

          • chelseafi says:

            Yes I’ve only just found out about these cards and would love to find them, never seen in my Tesco Watford.

          • Jon Easthope says:

            My nearest Tesco will now be 15 miles away – which isn’t great tbh.

            @chelseafi: Can I ask – roughly what dates were 4 business seats available – were they dates for flying in 2015 or were they seats that have just been released post-BAEC changes for Jan/Feb 2016?

          • John says:

            They’re now called Pay.com cards and will be back in stores shortly (same offer) according to a Tesco person.

        • chelseafi says:

          Yes I think they just added a load last Thursday, when they made the announcement. I hadn’t even seen 4 econ seats to Orlando for July/Aug that fit in with school hols but they have these now. I still have the screen shots for the 4 bus returns but I don’t know if they are just a one off????

          • Jon Easthope says:

            Ah – just seen your reply – so 4 club tickets were for summer 2015?

          • chelseafi says:

            yes which is peak really, they just released them last Thurs as far as I can make out, as I check now and then, can see four now though think they were snapped up

        • Andi says:

          ive checked every route for 4 seats in Club World for weeks. Ive only come across some real random availability:

          Abu Dhabi returning same day or in 3 months
          St Lucia in Late August

          And i think thats it…

          • Andi says:

            Oddly… I’m still checking here and there and starting to get odd results.

            If my dates in/out dont have anything available on them exactly, nothing comes up, i check the monthly matrix of availability and nothing appears. If there are flights available on one of those days i ask for exactly, then flights show themselves.

            I can see the available business class flights, 5 in this case. they are selectable. If i test this and go back and submit another flight request around that date, so not exactly on it but near it, the first results page shows your flights available on that day, which is none. now go back to check monthly availability, with the previous date of available flights in mind, and even though the monthly matrix shows the date within that month of available flights… there are none shown.

            Reverse that and go back and select the exact day these flights are available, they are still there…

            Hope you followed that… any explanation for that behavior?

  • Ian says:

    Excellent summary, Rob, and well done for having the stamina to get right through to article10 for us! Just one little point on the paragraph below –

    SPENDING AVIOS POINTS
    When spending, you are a winner – or at least unchanged – if ….
    you fly on short-haul European redemptions from Heathrow

    I assume “Heathrow” also includes Gatwick and City – i.e. London, not regional, departures?

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