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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.

  • Phil says:

    It is a sign of the times that many are saying the increase in redemption rates is offset by the increase in reward availability.

    We have been ground down so much over the last 10 years that we now think that actually making seats available (seats that should be available anyway!!!) is a increased perk. Compare the scheme to 10-15 years ago:-

    * reduced earning rates (generally)
    * increased redemption rates (generally)
    * Huge taxes and additional charges on booking
    * Still less flight availability

  • fbrj says:

    Slightly O/T ….I am rather new to all this but managed, last October, to grab a couple of EI DUB-BOS business returns for 100,000 avios and £148 and Mrs fbrj and I are just about to set of to visit our daughter in MEL. The routing is OSL-LHR-HKG (4 day stop off for rugby 7s) – MEL (12 days stop off) – SYD (2 days stop off) – HKG – LHR – OSL (the last stop off is booked 2 months after our LHR arrival – and will be the first leg for a couple of days in OSL in June) – all that was £2150/head in Business using BA, CX and QF. Not only that – having booked it as a multi city booking on the ba website, it has all booked into BA flight nos and we get approx 57000 avios each too! I have also managed a couple of UuA to Business for flights to the Caribbean later this year.
    This all started with an Amex Plat card which we have had good use out of too (a daughter who will have been travelling for almost a year has a Plat supplementary for insurance and PP which she has made v good use of!) – so a huge thank you Raffles, having stumbled across your site about 18 months ago. Before then I would never have realised how much was possible.

    Your excellent summaries on the latest changes has prompted action on my part. I have just triggered my first 2-4-1 through my BAPP card and will be looking to get something booked asap for 2016 before 28th April. My question is – although my Amex account says I have now “qualified” there is nothing showing up in my EC account. How long does this take and how/where is it notified?

    • fbrj says:

      PS – all our avios are held in a HHA. If both travellers on a 2-4-1 are members of the HHA is there any problem when booking?

      • Polly says:

        Not Al all, they need al least one of you, but the actual,holder of the 241 must be travelling!

    • Rob says:

      It is usually there within 48 hours. You can’t miss it, because a tick box will appear on the flight booking page for redemptions saying ‘Use my voucher?’.

    • fbrj says:

      Thank you both!

  • Polly says:

    I think the Amex backlash has begone. BAPP now offering us an annual APR of 2.99% from today on all purchases after we register. Don’t need it but could be v useful. They are having emergency meeting about people cancelling cards all week! Interesting. About to be referred for my BAPP from my hubby, so will see what the next few weeks bring. I am also about to refer him for his new Plat, so avios rolling in. Have to top up now, as we booked our 241 in F to HKG yesterday for next jan. But hope to do this Mexico thingy that Rob mentioned, later this year. Hope we see bigger bonus with all these changes!

  • Worzel says:

    No choice but to see how this all pans out and interesting to note a possible Amex meeting.
    I wonder how an emergency meeting might change things?
    For me(living in the sticks), I see little point in placing a further £150(renewal soon) into a scheme subject to devaluation, potential withdrawal, and renowned for unavailability for flights.

    • Polly says:

      I think it’s always worth having a 241 in hand. Never know when you might spot F availability. I wouldn’t use it on anything lower, as the points saved are huge. Might not get your first choice destination, but should get one nearby. I always feel it’s value for money. Plus we drop down to the free card once we bank the 241, putting all our spend and future spend on it in advance. Feel it’s really worth it. They would have to give huge notice on any changes forthcoming anyway, and honour any 241 banked.

    • David Butcher says:

      I contacted Amex to tell them I wanted to close my BAPP because I am not paying £150 for a massively devalued Avios scheme – for me, living away from London, a now pretty pointless scheme. I said in my email, tongue in cheek, that they must be having plenty of similar closure requests and I had a lovely response saying that the agent concerned “couldn’t possibly comment”

      I think we all know the truth!

  • shlomo says:

    sorry I am new. what is 3V’s???

  • Frankie says:

    Hi Raffles. Thanks for all this great information over the past week. One question WRT date changing after 28th April 2015 to avoid repricing. Does the return leg of the date changed flight have to be completed by 27th April 2016?

    • Rob says:

      Probably – you usually cannot extend a ticket beyond 12 months of the date of issue

  • TheChiefExecutive says:

    Rob – Using a 241 – If we find availability and book mixed class flights now outbound (WT) and inbound (CW) and then availability opens up post April 28th in the higher class (CW) for the outbound will the extra avios for that sector be based on the current rate or the new rate? As the taxes will also rise (economy to business) will that complicate matters? Struggling to find availability for early 2016. We have our 241 for this May covered. The 241 is valid until October 2016.

    • Rob says:

      It isn’t clear. If I remember it says ‘changes’ can be made. Dates are OK, not sure if extra Avios would be OK (we also don’t know if changing the destination airport from say New York to Boston would be allowed). Extra taxes definitely have to be paid but that has always been the case.

      • chelseafi says:

        Rob – Along similar lines, Using a 241 – If I find availability and book mixed class flights now outbound (WT) and inbound (CW) (or visa versa) and then availability opens up any time in the higher class (CW), can I upgrade from WT to CW even if I didn’t have enough Avios in my account at the time of the original booking?

        • Rob says:

          You can definitely do it – whether you are charged the old or new rate is the question. I would assume you can do it at the old rate because they have been very vague about defining ‘changes’ and I think you’d be well place to argue it in case of trouble.

      • TheChiefExecutive says:

        Thanks Rob. Probably worth the risk if nothing opens up before the deadline.

  • Roger says:

    About the possible AmEx backlash, I e-mailed AmEx about possible changes to the BA PP and PR Gold cards. The reply was typically non-specific but did hint at changes that can’t be divulged.

    ‘I can confirm that unfortunately at present we do not have any impending changes to our products that we are able to divulge. However, I can confirm that I have forwarded on your feedback regarding this through the relevant channel at American Express.’

    Or am I being a tad optimistic?

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

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