One of the few upsides from the Avios devaluation, which went live yesterday, is that British Airways seems to have managed to get their IT right first time.
This article is a summary of what has changed, with no commentary. I will be re-running all 17 articles in the ‘Avios Redemption University’ series at the end of May to reflect the new-look scheme.
If you want to learn about these changes in more detail, there are 10 articles on the subject which I wrote in January. You can find them here.
The thresholds for Gold, Silver and Bronze status have NOT changed at 1500, 600 and 300 tier points respectively, neither have the thresholds for achieving status via segments flown.
The London City to New York JFK service now earns standard business class tier points (140 each way) instead of First Class tier points (210 each way).
The cheapest economy tickets will now earn 25% of the standard tier points rather than 50%. An economy flight to Paris will earn just 5 tier points each way instead of 10.
Earning Avios when flying
Earnings on cheap economy tickets drop from 100% of miles flown to 25%. The minimum earned per flight drops from 500 to 125.
The status bonus for Silver members drops from 100% to 50%. The Gold and Bronze status bonuses remain at 100% and 25%.
Changes to earning rates on First and Club World tickets can be seen here:
Earning rates on BA’s joint venture partners (AA, Iberia, Finnair) have been aligned with these numbers. Earning on other airline partners, such as Qatar, has also changed to roughly match what is shown above.
Note that, at present, American Airlines is still offering 100% mileage on ALL British Airways economy tickets. A discount economy flight credited to an AA account earns 4 x the miles compared to crediting to BAEC.
Spending Avios on redemptions
BA now guarantees to release 2 Club World / Club Europe and 4 World Traveller / Eurotraveller seats per flight.
You can no longer have a free domestic connection on short-haul flights. This effectively doubles the cost of, say, Manchester to Hamburg via Heathrow to 18,000 Avios + £70 tax.
Peak and off-peak pricing has been introduced for redemptions on British Airways and Iberia. The 2015 table for BA redemptions is here (a cross is a peak date), dates until April 2016 are on ba.com here (click ‘Work out the cost’) as is the Iberia peak and off-peak calendar:
Flights on partner airlines such as Qatar will ALWAYS be treated as peak dates, irrespective of the calendar.
The new redemption chart is here:
The old chart, for comparison, was:
All economy flights have got cheaper on off-peak dates and the same for peak dates. Club Europe flights are cheaper on off-peak dates and the same for peak dates. The big jumps are for World Traveller Plus, Club World and First long-haul.
Spending Avios on upgrades
From December 2015, you can upgrade World Traveller tickets in Y, B, H, K, M, V, L, S or N ticket buckets. This is an improvement over the current Y, B, H. You will still only be able to upgrade one level, to World Traveller Plus, and WTP reward availability must be there.
The formula for upgrades is unchanged – it is still the difference between the ticket class you have and the next highest class. However, the cost is higher due to changes in pricing those tickets. Upgrading to World Traveller Plus to San Francisco will be 50,000 Avios return peak and 60,000 Avios off-peak compared to the previous 25,000 Avios.
Upgrades from WTP to Club World on off-peak dates are more expensive than upgrades on peak dates. This is because the gap between World Traveller Plus and Club World ‘100% Avios’ redemptions is wider on off-peak dates.
Changes on Iberia redemptions
Iberia has adopted a different pricing chart than British Airways. If Iberia flies to a city which is also served by British Airways, you may find it requires fewer Avios. The Iberia chart is here:
New York (Zone 5) will be 68,000 Avios off-peak and 100,000 Avios peak on Iberia. BA wants 100,000 Avios off-peak and 120,000 Avios peak.
Iberia has a different calendar of peak and off-peak dates. October half-term is a BA peak week so a New York Club World ticket (London to New York) is 120,000 Avios + £508. It is an off-peak Iberia week so the cost via iberia.com on an Iberia plane (Madrid to New York) is 68,000 Avios + £137. If you book this Madrid to New York flight on ba.com it would cost 68,000 Avios + £323.
Changes on partner redemptions booked via Iberia
Iberia has adopted a different redemption chart for partner airlines such as Qatar and American. This is based on total distance flown and NOT flight-by-flight. The chart is here:
Note that partner redemptions booked via Iberia Plus are non-refundable and non-changeable. BA does you let change and cancel partner tickets.
Changes on On Business
The On Business SME programme is also changing next month. I wrote about that here.