Responses to the Avios devaluation: Virgin increases cabin bonus, Qatar cuts BA earning

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The Avios earning and burning changes, which kick in from April 28th and are covered in a series of articles starting here, are beginning to impact other carriers.

Virgin Atlantic emailed Flying Club members this week with changes to their cabin bonus structure.

As a reminder, this is what is happening with Avios:

Avios earning chart 2

Focussing on Club World / Business, British Airways is moving the Avios earned from a flexible ticket from 150% of miles flown to 250% of miles flown.

Virgin Atlantic currently beats British Airways by offering a 200% cabin bonus for flexible Upper Class tickets.  To ensure that they continue to beat BA, the cabin bonus has increased to 300% with immediate effect.

Between now and April 28th – ignoring the impact of any status bonus – you will earn twice as many miles on a flexible business class ticket with Virgin Atlantic compared to British Airways.  After April 28th, you will earn 20% more.

The 300% bonus is flagged as a special promotion until the end of 2015 but may well remain permanent.

It is worth noting that Virgin Atlantic continues to give 100% of miles flown on ALL economy tickets.  This is a SUBSTANTIAL difference to what you will earn on a cheap economy ticket on BA after April 28th – a modest 400% difference!  If this continues, it will be a very good reason to fly Virgin.

You can see the new Virgin earning table on their website here.

Qatar changes its rates when you credit BA flights to Qatar Privilege Club

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways has taken the axe to the miles you earn when you credit some BA flights to their Privilege Club.

This is an important moveIf other oneworld airlines continue to credit British Airways flights at the current rates, it will make more sense for some people to start crediting BA flights to another airline.  This will be especially true of travellers who always travel in discounted economy.

Here is the new Qatar Privilege Club earning table

Qatar earning rate

The original is on the Qatar website here.

None of the rates are more generous than British Airways Executive Club except economy class G which earns 50% in Qatar but only 25% on BA.  Given that there are nine economy ticket buckets this is not a major difference.

We can expect similar changes from other oneworld partners in the next few weeks, I expect.  It is hard to believe that American Airlines will continue to give you 100% of miles flown in BA discount economy when BA only gives 25% ….

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  1. Phillip says:

    I would say BA is driving these changes from other carriers, rather than the other way around because they want it both ways. They don’t want to lose membership but they also want the new reduced rates!

  2. Mr Bridge says:

    some questions about this, which I suspect no one can answer yet:

    will the club card conversion rate increase from 600 per £2.50?
    will the purchase avios price (£) reduce?
    will amex bapp increase to 2 avios/£1 to match mbna diamond club?
    will amex mr offer more than 1 avios/£1

    are avios/ba likely to do a promotion at start of new rates eg clubcard conversion bonus

  3. Jonathan says:

    Surely Qatar must have made a typo on the First class earning. They can’t give fewer miles than business?

  4. James67 says:

    I wonder if the the Virgin promotion until the end of the year might be an indication as to the date of their own inevitable devaluation!

    • Potentially – but Virgin may also make a permanent tweak to follow BA. The 100 per cent for Economy is not massively sustainable EXCEPT for the fact that spending small amounts of VS miles is hard. Earn 9k Avios flying to the US and you get a Europe flight. Earn 9k VS and you can do nothing.

      • True – but the fact that you can transfer out into IHG and Hilton makes small numbers of VS miles worth something.

  5. Hi, on the original HFP post you mentioned this was unclear but I wondered whether the element of moving bookings has become clearer? I plan to travel in F during Summer 2016 using Avios and an Amex 241. The Amex 241 can be triggered now.

    If I were to say book a date when they are availble from lhr to sin and return in F on say 1st April 2016 returning on 7th April 2016 but then after the Avios price change and within the life of the 241 change the booking for 1st June 2016 and return 7th June 2016 if and when they become available – would that then involve a ticket change or a cancellation and rebook ie would it preserve the current Avios rate – or will this trigger a reprice to the new rates? It still isn’t clear in the terms.

    • By coincidence … finally got an understandable response from BA. Looks like it cannot be done. “You must take the outbound flight in your journey no later than 12 months after you originally book your ticket. If you booked in April 2015 for an outbound flight in April 2016, then called us in June 2015 to move the dates to June 2016, we would have to cancel and rebook. With this re-booking comes a new quote with the conditions which stand at the time of rebooking.
      I hope this resolves your query.” Ah well …. 🙂

    • The ticket is only valid for 12 months from the date you book, so you can alter it up to 365 days after your original booking. So my understanding is if you book on the 27th April 2015, you would have to complete the journey by 27th April 2016 to use the old pricing.
      If you wanted to go later you would need to cancel and re-book, which would use the new Avios chart.

      • …. many thanks … your post crossed with mine. They replied saying exactly as you say. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

        • No, these are not, to be picky, saying the same thing. Uk1 is saying you must take the outbound within a year, Jason is saying you must complete your trip within a year.

        • You are as usual correct … the outbound not the return cannot be booked for a date more than a 12 months after you BOOKED the original outbound without triggering a cancel.

    • Reprice I imagine.
      I think in the terms, you can only re-book up to a year after the date you original booked on, not the date you booked the travel for.

  6. Worth noting that Easter 2016 is earlier than 2015, so anyone planning to book for Easter 2016 should be on the ball over the next week or so.

  7. Hi has anyone noticed that Iberia has also started 50% bonus promotion on purchasing Avios through their website? The total cost for 52,500 Avios (35,000 + 17,500) is €665. Since the recent devaluation of Euro it might be a good deal for some people. It works extremely well for me because I can use my credit card issued by my home country and the exchange rate now is very attractive.

    • Is that back? Hadn’t seen it. Thanks.

      • Yes it also only last for three days till 25 March. I’ve managed to get about 0.91p/avios and it’s perfect for my upgrade voucher by the lloyds card. The best thing is you don’t have to change the address in order to buy avois by euro this time, and I moved them to my avios account immediately after the purchase. Thank you Raffles for this wonderful website. I hope this info can be of the help.

        • RIccati says:

          Let’s do a little cost-benefit analysis,

          €665 is £486 (per Avios price is indeed, close to 1p 486/52500=0.00926)

          For example, get to Asia and back on Oneworld partner airline in Business will take 180k Avios (after April, 28th).

          180/52.5* 486 = £1,666

          It is possible to find a return to Asia for a cheaper amount from BA itself (off Europe). There are excellent Turkish Airlines offers for Business in the area of £1,000.

          Unless you crave that BA First Class redemption over Christmas period (and compete for it), why would you need those Avios?

        • Agreed. However, if you 10,000 -20,000 Avios short of what you need for a redemption then it is a different matter.

        • Asia is a big place – where can you get with Turkish for £1000 in business?

        • James67 says:

          BKK return J exARN was under £1k on my last search. My usual Asian suspects were all under £1300.

        • Waribai says:

          Good spot James. How do you search for these fares? I know how to do the search for the cheapest BA fare ex Europe using ITA matrix. Is there a similar search for all airlines?


        • Waribai says:

          Ah…Think I’ve found it!

  8. Anthony says:

    Perhaps it’s an error in QR’s earning table, but it seems odd that First (F, A) only earns 100% when Business earns 125%, Premium 110% etc.

  9. I’m seriously thinking of flying virgin for my next long haul. Just a shame they don’t do a 2-4-1 as they would get a lot of spend from me.

  10. Has anyone else noticed what appears to be a “holding back” of availability on normally difficult redemption routes but now seemingly completely dry eg SIN, SYD …. ?

    These are always very tough but not impossible – but I’m wondering whether even more are being held back than normal until after the new rules in order to give the illusion of more availability in compliance with the announcement promises made.

    • James67 says:

      You can add BKK to that list too. A real nuisance since they switched to a 772. If you are avios rich and not using 241 then CX is best option to Asia these days with more seats and less tax/fees.

  11. czechoslovakia says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me, but, in contrast, was able to book PRG-LHR-MAN x3 for tomorrow on Saturday after our plans had to be changed due to illness. There was loads of availability. Only in Economy mind, but certainly wouldn’t throw away the avios on a BA “business” ticket anyhow. It was always difficult to get this routing due to the lack of regional connection spaces. Not now it seems.

  12. Just got my very first Lloyds upgrade voucher added to my Avios A/c! Whoop!

    • I got mine and used it for two single Business class redemptions from Washington to LHR, saving a total of 20,000 Avios. However, if you have to change/cancel, you don’t get the voucher back…

  13. mikeact says:

    I find it very annoying for somebody to bring up an Avios OT comment , ie UK1, nothing whatsoever to do with this Virgin topic.

    • Well mikeact, if that pisses you off, how about this? On the BBC news tonight at 10, David Cameron is heard to be referring to chicken thighs but when the camera pans to the butcher, it’s clearly sausages going into the bag. Now that’s OT.

  14. Mikeact says:

    Yup, I saw that too !

    • And what was even worst was that they were Cumberland Sausages. Not even local. Now that really is completely unacceptable.

  15. JamesW says:

    I hope Tier Points for BAEC for flying on QATAR haven’t been changed ?

  16. Aeronaut says:

    The Qatar earnings table has been amended from that shown in the post to remove the economy class G discrepancy – it now shows as earning 25% (rather than 50%), matching BAEC.

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