Reminder: quick summary of the April 28th Avios changes

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There are only nine days to go to book your flights before the big Avios devaluation kicks in!

I wrote a series of ten articles starting here which explain, in worrying levels of detail, exactly what will happen.  For everyone else, here is a reminder of the key changes which are coming your way in terms of Avios redemptions (there are also changes to Avios and tier point earning rates which are in the articles above):

British Airways 350 2

Economy (Eurotraveller, World Traveller) redemptions are NOT increasing in price.  Because of the new ‘off peak’ and ‘peak’ redemption schedule, some economy rewards will actually get cheaper on off-peak dates.  If you only redeem for economy tickets, you have nothing to worry about ….

…. unless you live in the regions!  BA currently includes domestic connections to Heathrow for free on European redemptions.  Manchester – Heathrow – Nice is charged the same as Heathrow – Nice.  For new bookings from April 28th, you will be charged additional Avios for Manchester – Heathrow.  This will DOUBLE the cost of some European redemptions for regional flyers and the minimum increase will be 9,000 Avios + £35 return.

If you redeem in premium cabins, you have a LOT to worry about.  The biggest devaluation is in Club World (long-haul business class) where redemptions on peak dates will cost 50% more.  Dubai, for example, jumps from 80,000 Avios points return to 120,000 Avios points.

Club World redemptions on off-peak dates (which include every Tuesday and Wednesday) increase by ‘only’ 25%.  However, ALL redemptions on partner airlines will be at peak pricing, whatever day of the year you fly.

In terms of percentage rise, the cost of upgrading from World Traveller Plus (premium economy) to Club World (long-haul business class) is hit even harder.  Whilst the cost varies by route, the number of Avios required for upgrades will rise by 240% in some cases!  A World Traveller Plus to Club World upgrade from London to New York, one way, will jump from 10,000 Avios points to 24,000 Avios points when travelling on an off-peak date.

British Airways lets you book Avios redemptions 355 days ahead.  This means that – if you book on the last possible date on April 27th 2015 – you should see availability through to April 17th 2016. 

As Easter is earlier in 2016, you should be able to lock in all of your trips until and including next Easter at the old rates.

British Airways will let you change the dates of any Avios booking without repricing.  If you know you want to go to New York this year but don’t know exactly when, it may be worth booking approximate dates and paying the £35 change fee later.  This would let you lock in the current pricing.

You cannot change the passenger name, however, nor can you push the date further forward than 12 months from the date you booked.

I will obviously be devoting a lot of space to these changes after implementation day, including a full rewrite of our massive Avios Redemption University series.  This will probably be published in the last week of May when I am in Singapore.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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  1. Forgive me if I’ve missed this being explained already, but I was wondering how the changes are going to effect redemptions for things other than BA flights (as a regional user).

    In the past I have used my points for hotel nights, will the valuations be changing for this?

    Also, how will the value be changing for using the niche 3rd party airlines like Aurigny to get from Manchester to Jersey/Guernsey?

    • Hotel redemptions unchanged, still 0.58p per point.

      Short haul redemption rates are unchanged for direct flights. As a partner, Aurigny will price at peak rates on all days. However, that is still no more expensive than today.

      • Excellent, thanks for letting me know, I know these redemptions don’t represent the best value but do seem to be a good option for us Northerners.

  2. Baggageinhall says:

    It probably worth having a look generally at how BA might have changed the way in which they release award seats on the route you are looking to bag. My original plan was to bag a trip for 3 in J or F to New York during the Easter holidays in 2016. Whilst there are 2 seats available in J on every flight from around April 1st onwards, there is nothing in F. I have checked in the early hours of the morning and through the day and whilst yes, someone might have beaten me to them, I don’t think they have. Nor have I seen more than 2 in J. Pre April 1st 2016 however, there are multiple (more than 2) in J and F on various JFK services. I appreciate that school holidays may skew availability but this seems more a policy than just the norm.

    Instead, we are going to NYC in August this year. Despite the flight finder suggesting that I wouldn’t find 3 seats in J or F, I managed to find 3 in F at dates that suited. Ah, the wonders of the flight finder.

  3. Winston says:

    I have a feeling there will be further news on BA’s reward flights, after the 28th April.

    I think the devaluation will be combined with further improvements, mainly reduced taxes and fees, to compensate for the new rules.
    They want everyone to burn their current miles now, before they announce. Just a gut feeling.

  4. idrive says:

    Hey Rob, I think i missed a point. What about those cheap US/Japan domestic or intra Asia redemptions? Do we have a table for that? or it has not been covered? or I simply missed it? I am very confused, I find myself sitting on a 241, another in line coming in a few months, plenty of Avios, no one to fly with (if you can not change the name, what’s the point!!) and a rush to decide what to do, as I was working hard to experience a business or First redemption to South America or Asia this is hitting me hard with timing..also, would you say it is better not to book European flights now pre devaluation as that won’t change much?

    As many discussed Malaysia, how cheap or expensive is that in comparison with Thailand? An idea woud be flying to KUL then explore Malaysia/Indonesia (Bali?) over 2 weeks. any advice?

    • Don’t try to do too much in your limited time.

      I’d go to Bangkok, grab a cheap flight to Koh Samui, take a boat to Koh Tao and play it simple but best/ works.

      Good food, nice people, bit of scuba diving.

    • No changes if it is short-haul, whether on BA or on AA, JAL etc.

      Absolutely no need to book European flights now – economy off-peak actually gets cheaper.

    • sandgrounder says:

      Malaysia is a fantastic country to visit, I love the food, a night out in Bukit Bintang can be a fantastic fusion of old and new Asia. Across the country you will find much to see and do. If you are a big drinker you may find it pricey on the mainland, Langkawi on the other hand is duty free (if a bit dull for those who like more than the beach). I am hoping to squeeze a return trip in for next April, waiting on the seats as many others are no doubt. If not, I think it will be the TXL-AUH run before that bargain slides out of view.

      • idrive says:

        thank you for your feedbacks. it seems everyone have their own view. good in anycase!

        Rob, I meant intra Asia flights, don’t know if they mean short haul even if it’s country to country (ie Malaysia to Singapore/Thailand). Or let’s say BKK to Japan..

  5. Chelseafi says:

    I am looking at booking any date now to change dates later for summer 2016 school holidays flights. I want 4 first class returns to New York using 2 241s. When I look at year, availability looks good for Aug 2015 so I am hoping it will be the same for 2016? I don’t know first what airport to select (never been to NY) I was thinking JFK and 2 if when I change the dates to what I want can I choose any of the two NY airports to help with getting what I want or would I have to stick with the one I originally booked to stay within the date only change that I understand is allowed. Any help advice thanks.

    • Don’t believe you can do that. I think that the latest outward journey you can do on a 241 or avios on the existing rates will be 27th April 2016.

      • Chelseafi says:

        Thank you I went through a few old articles on here and wondered that. Not much left now for school hols to US in next 12 months, Already booked orlando for July, so think I’ll just have to book later in year for Summer 16.

  6. kevino says:

    Has anybody found anything definitive on an official site that says that it is 355 days from booking, rather than the one year associated with the one year validity?

    I want to travel back from ATL on the 26th or 27th April 2016, and wondered if I book it on the 27th April 2015, whether either would be possible, and different advise seems to be given in different places.

    • You will only be able to book tickets up to the 17th on the 27th. However, they should be able to amend the ticket ten days later – assuming the reward seats are there – to the 26th which would be 365 days from date of issue.

  7. Robert Tharle says:

    Just booked to Buenos Aires using a 241 in business. Great use of the points just before the devaluation.

    Cheers Rob

  8. Slightly off topic but not entirely. Do these changes to avios redemptions change the optimum way for redeeming amex reward points, in the past I would always transfer over to BAEC not so sure now. Raffles could you do an article on the best value conversion of Amex points?

  9. Jeremy says:

    So all of this is interesting but surely the summary of all of this is we have a choice. I have been flying BA since 1990, long haul, short haul and I echo the comments that loyalty doesnt really pay as far as BA is concerned. Their scheme rewards the amount of money you have paid to them not how many times you have chosen them over the competition. So someone who flew with them for example 12 times/year in economy apparently is less loyal than someone who flew perhaps 4 times in Business. From their perspective they are probably thinking that they need to keep the Business/1st Class people because its more profiltable (the old 80% revenue comes from 20% of the customer idea), so its economics at play here. So as I said, my 25 years of loyalty mostly in economy counts for nothing so I will not now look at BA by default going forward. The good news for visitors of the 1st class lounge at T5 of course is that it will now return to how it was in the old days, quiet, empty and not the same as any other lounge.

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