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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.

  • Richard says:

    I didn’t get around to mentioning this in the earlier monster threads, but I’m not sure I agree with your logic about domestic connections onto European flights. Obviously the situation’s got a lot less favourable than it was, and obviously you *are* a loser in that scenario, but I’m not convinced you’re “foolish to redeem for them under most circumstances”.

    The issues I see with your valuation are:

    – You based it on a situation where the alternative to connecting at Heathrow was to take a direct flight from your local airport. But as I know all too well, often there *isn’t* a direct flight from your local airport, so if you use Easyjet or whoever you’re going to be paying for two flights anyway. It just wasn’t a like-for-like comparison.

    – You didn’t consider the possibility of redeeming on the European flight and just paying for the domestic connection. If there’s reward availability on the date you’re booking, then the chances are there’ll be cheap domestic flights as well (£50-ish each way is achievable), so basing a calculation on burning Avios for that flight is artificially decreasing their value.

    Bottom line – I was very sore about them withdrawing this benefit, but now I’ve had more of a chance to think about it, I don’t believe it’s the disaster it seems. And the off-peak reduction goes some way towards offsetting it too.

    • Scott says:

      Agreed. There’s no denying that if flying from the ‘regions’ into Europe, 9,000 Avios + £35 increasing to 16,000 (off peak) + £70 is sore one, but in many cases this could still be the best option. Even if Easyjet/Ryanair fly to your desired destination, there might only be one flight every other day arriving at a silly time of the night, and you may pay well over £100 for the privilege.

    • Rob says:

      It partly depends where you live and what options your nearest major airport offers. easyJet and Ryanair are stronger in some places than others. If you want to go to Prague I think you’ll find a cheap budget flight within reach of your home. If you want to go to Helsinki its going to be trickier (Finnair fly from Manchester).

      I also factor in the grief that is the Flight Connections Centre in Terminal 5! Assuming a flight is now 16,000-18,000 Avios plus £70, I reckon you’d need to be looking at a budget airline price of over £200 before Avios became sensible. It then depends on the flight times, your willingness to endure Flight Connections etc.

      • Richard says:

        Well yes, exactly – “it depends”. But even taking Prague as an example (which I agree is a good one), if I want to fly from Edinburgh then my only option is Easyjet, who fly 4 days a week once in each direction.

        Their headline fare is “from” £35 each way, but the cheapest sensible fare combination I can find (for April, as a random example) is £180 return including a hold bag. And the flight home is in the morning, which means I’d have to stay an extra night in Prague to get the same number of useful days. So even in a scenario chosen to be favourable, we’re over the £200 you suggested as a threshold.

        I’d have more options if I flew from Glasgow or Newcastle… but then of course I have the expense and inconvenience of getting there.

        Honestly, I think you have a rose-tinted view of budget-carrier options from outside London. The experience of trying to use them is a little bit like finding a reward flight – the cheap fares are there, but never on the dates you need, and never with the outward and return legs a workable number of days apart.

        • sanfgtounder says:

          Prague is a real pain in the rear through LHR though because it involves a terminal change. And it is always a bus to a remote stand in my experience.

        • Scott says:

          GLA – PRG in Sep with Jet2 – flights on Thu & Sun only.

          Arrive 7pm, so write that day off. Return 9pm, will suit some folk as it’s an extra day in PRG, but I’d prefer earlier return so I’m not lugging bags all day. £140 with checked baggage (£110 hand luggage only.)

          So £70 more than new BA price minus whatever you value 16k Avios at. BA offers a choice of dates and better flight times, but as Raffles points out extra time involved in connecting at LHR.

          I think I’d stick with BA.

  • jb says:

    “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”

    Surely this means we are all more or less losers?

    • Rob says:

      Only if that is what you redeem for. If you only redeem for long-haul economy or short haul economy or short haul business (without a regional connection) then you are not worse off and in most cases are better off.

      The bulk of my redemptions by volume are actually short haul as we shuttle back and forth between friends and family in Germany.

      • jb says:

        Lets be honest the vast bulk of HTP readers are mainly interested in long haul business/first!

        Long haul economy isnt worth it because of taxes and living in the North the new rules means easyjet to Europe now.

        Saying that Ive switched to Virgin for USA flights got paid 25k virgin miles and 252 quid each for NYC flights in AUG .Cash price was 898 and couldnt find cheaper than 700 with a stopover for dates I wanted.

  • Scott says:

    In the past you’ve always advised against booking a World Traveller economy long haul reward flight due to the relatively high surcharges. As a regional flyer, and given the increased cost of getting to Europe, could long-haul now be seen as an acceptable option? e.g. a WT flight from a region across the Atlantic is showing as 50k + £300. The usual cash fare is £600, so using 50k points to save £300 = 0.6p per point.
    I should add I get most of my points from sign-up bonuses, and using them for upgrades is not something I consider due to high cost of the WTP base fare.

    • Rob says:

      As the economy has picked up, WT redemptions have become ‘less bad’ as I wrote here https://headforpoints.com/2014/05/21/should-you-use-avios-economy-flights/. Given that off-peak World Traveller redemptions are actually getting cheaper – and with fuel surcharges coming down slowly – they get more interesting.

      The increased price of Club World redemptions also makes WT look better in comparison. It was a bit silly blowing 40k on WT to New York when a fully flat bed was just 80k. You are now looking at 35k off peak vs 100k off-peak (or 40k vs 120k peak).

      • mark2 says:

        That is very true. If you can get daytime flights the bed is not so appealing at that price.

      • Scott says:

        Re: “You are now looking at 35k off peak vs 100k off-peak (or 40k vs 120k peak).”

        Should this read “You are now looking at 26k off peak…” ? Economy for Zone 5 shows as 13k one-way in the table, versus 20k peak.

  • Jeremy I says:

    Completely OT but does anyone have any tips on premium star alliance redemptions from South Africa. Availability in November seems very limited. Does anyone know whether to wait for more availability to come online?

  • John M says:

    Living in Belfast – these changes make BAEC worse for me unfortunately.
    However I don’t feel too bad considering how many DUB->LHR->BHD ‘single’ flights I managed to get for 4500 avios and £17.50 (plus £8 for the bus to Dublin) before this was taken away

  • Sebastian says:

    I am not so sure that those of us that live in and around London and collect primarily from Credit Cards/Clubcard are ‘winners’. I say this as i think a lot of us redeem for CW with either a 241 or for 4 people. Now because of the changes it looks like 1) It’s only going to be two rewards in CW per flight and 2) the cost of the redemptions has gone up signiifcantly. For me, i would need to see Amex increase their earning rate on the BAPP to make me keep it, especially as MBNA give two per £ for the Virgin card and at this moment in time a Virgin point is worth more.

    • Rob says:

      You are a ‘winner’ in terms of earning, which is where than comment sat. That doesn’t mean you aren’t an overall loser when you factor in how you spend.

    • jason says:

      point 1)It’s only going to be two rewards in CW per flight
      That’s 2 more than there used to be 🙂

      • Rob says:

        No, that is not true. It is a MINIMUM of two CW. They can’t go to a flat two or the scheme breaks.

        • mark2 says:

          Just looked out of interest at Heathrow – Toronto on 16 Jan 2016 (just released)
          on 1230 flight BA93 9+ seats in Economy, 9+ seats in Club World;
          on 1715 flight 9+ seats in all four cabins

        • Louie says:

          You hope 😉

  • xcalx says:

    Sorry swop MAD-LBA for BCN-LBA

    • Georgie says:

      I’m also not sure that those of us who live in and around London and who mainly collect by credit card, Tesco etc are ‘winners’ either. All that has happened for us us we have maintained the status quo (until they mess around with the amount if miles needed for a RFS). Really not seeing any ‘winners’ here, it’s either stay the same or lose, as yet to be convinced on availability long term.

      • Rob says:

        If you earn everything from Tesco and credit cards and redeem for off-peak economy (short or long-haul) then you are better off.

  • Mark says:

    New (?) Birthday offer / bribe!?.

    Hi Raffles –
    I have not had, nor heard of, this offer before: up to 30,000 Avios for my birthday! It arrived just after the devaluation, so I wonder is it a new ‘bribe’ to keep customers sweeter? (BTW, I am a farly minor Avios collector / user)
    Regards, Mark
    ————-
    Hello Mr xxxxxxxxxx, we have an early birthday present for you.

    Book one of the 4 flights below by 28 February to receive your birthday bonus Avios.
    Your outbound flight must be during April 2015 and booked by 28 February 2015.
    You can even pay for your flight with Avios or with Avios & Money.

    Take your pick from these gifts:-
    4,000 Bonus Avios When you book a return shorthaul Euro Traveller flight
    8,000 Bonus Avios When you book a return shorthaul Club Europe flight
    15,000 Bonus Avios When you book a return longhaul World Traveller or World Traveller Plus flight
    30,000 Bonus Avios When you book a return longhaul Club World Flight

    • ComeFlyWithMe123 says:

      Sounds like a bargain to me if you can use avios to pay for the flight

      A usual CE flight to Zone 1 costs 18000 + £50, so you are receiving 8000 points back
      No brainer!

      Happy Birthday!

    • Rob says:

      This isn’t new although it may have got more generous.

      Get yourself to Moscow or Tel Aviv! Moscow is only 40,000 Avios so the net cost is only 10,000. Mind the visa issues of course.

    • Worzel says:

      Management had the same-2nd year running.

      Too short a window-can’t be done.

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