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BA to increase the cost of Avios redemptions in the United States

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British Airways announced yesterday that it is to increase the cost of some Avios redemptions on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines flights in the US.

You can read the full announcement on ba.com here.

For US residents – and UK residents on holiday in the States – US domestic flight redemptions represent good value because of the minimal taxes ($6).

To be fair, the biggest benefit was felt by US residents.  The major US frequent flyer schemes charge 25,000 miles for a domestic economy return flight, however far.  This made short hops, such as New York to Boston, very unattractive.

When Avios was launched, with its distance-based redemptions, it was a dream come true for those in the US.  The cost of a one-way flight from New York to Boston, costing 12,500 American Airlines miles, could now be had for just 4,500 Avios.

Given that the British Airways credit card in the US has an occasional sign-up bonus of 100,000 Avios, albeit with a substantial spend requirement, you can see why people were excited about this.

British Airways 350 2

The changes are relatively simple.  For flights under 650 miles:

Economy redemptions increase from 4,500 Avios one-way to 7,500 Avios

Business class redemptions increase from 9,000 Avios one-way to 15,000 Avios

First Class redemptions increase from 18,000 Avios one-way to 30,000 Avios

Pricing on routes over 650 miles remains the same.

The new First Class pricing is crazy.  Many US flights on two-class aircraft are sold as First and Economy.  (You also find this on Qatar flights around the Middle East.)  This means that a ‘First Class’ seat from New York to Boston – which is effectively a slightly bigger seat and not much more – will cost 60,000 Avios return!  These ‘First Class’ seats are nothing of the sort.

The Avios redemption chart is now beyond the understanding of the vast majority of members, to be honest.

We now have:

Off-peak and peak redemption pricing options

Different calendars for peak and off-peak between Iberia and British Airways

Non-linear multiples – on long-haul, business class is 3 x economy whilst on short-haul it is 2 x economy

Different redemption charts for Iberia and British Airways – there are some weird differences for long-haul redemptions which mean, for example, New York on Iberia requires far fewer Avios than New York on BA

Different airlines available for redemption depending on where you book, eg Aurigny / Air Malta via avios.com, Vueling / Royal Air Maroc etc via Iberia, Aer Lingus and Alaska via BA

And now, different redemption levels for US domestic flights under 650 miles

It is becoming a joke, if it wasn’t already.  The bottom line is that, if you ask ‘How many Avios is an economy flight to New York on 2nd July?’, the answer would run to about 200 words ….

Full details on the US pricing changes are on ba.com here.  Remember that you can book until 2nd February, for flights 355 days beyond that, at the current prices.

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Comments (38)

  • gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

    And yet, I’ve just got over 17p per avios on a one way RFS redemption LHR-DME.
    5100+£17.50 vs £894.

    • idrive says:

      yes, i saw pricing for Moscow is good with current atm also with the deals ending 2Nov.

    • harry says:

      Nice one.

      Too many moaners here 🙂

      Happy with my 350K Avios this Q lol

      • Sebastian says:

        How did you manage 350k Avios in 3/4 months?

        • harry says:

          Everything was posted here by Raffles, you can subtract 130K if you like (no big credit to me) as I bought those @ 1p (thanks Raffles @ Iberia) 🙂

          Only 1 new card 20K, forgot about spouse referrals lol otherwise we could add on a few thou.

          Anybody could have done similar this Q, too easy. I deffo think sticking 130K in the bank @ 1p was a bit of a non-brainer because whilst it may not be the cheapest, ie drags your average cost up, you can’t do much without a buffer holding if a decent opp comes up.

  • The_Real_A says:

    The more complex a program the greater the chance of loopholes appearing to be exploited by those who are engaged 🙂

    • Alan says:

      Haha agreed 😀

    • Green Flyer says:

      Completely agree – obvious benefits get over used by the diligent and the lazy. Complexity and confusion rewards the diligent…

      There is another risk that long term IAG will encourage ‘simplification’ which will actually be lowest common denominator for everyone…i.e. Worst case for all expect the airline.

      • wetboy1uk says:

        Not sure complexity and confusion rewards the diligent but maybe those who have the available time to get all the rewards and perhaps the finances to get them also – therefore those who are not really as in need of them. As I have said before I do think part of the reason for the reduction in bonuses, rewards etc etc is due to some peoples greed.

    • James67 says:

      Unless the complecity zrises from effortd to plug the loopholes.

    • RK says:

      Haha yeah I thought the same thing when I read this article. Complicated is good for us. They are less likely to close loopholes that fewer people take advantage of.

      • harry says:

        Average people don’t actually like or understand complexity. They deride it and criticise it instead of seeing an opportunity.

        Which is why I don’t post on HUKD any more. Waste of my time.

        It’s only really thanks to Morgie (who I assume is a reader here) that the free money Amex deals now actually tend to go positive – and they’re simple enough to understand, but the average HUKD user not so long ago thought ‘toffs’ and voted negative.

        • Polly says:

          Harry, just curious as to where these amex free dosh offers are posted. Certainly not on membership offers! I know we pop them on here if we find them, but just asking if you know. Agree with your point of having that stash in place, we did that the last 50% bonus on BAEC. So won’t have to buy any, hopefully for many years to come. Got a big stash on the QR J, which helped. And I bought a printer!

          • harry says:

            Hi Polly, Morgie (bit of a star) and a few others post them on HUKD when they spot them on their Amex a/cs, which is the first place the offers usually appear.

  • Keith says:

    I think its a case for the vigilant there is the opportunity of actually scoring a point or two accepting that we Brits are travelwise screwed more than most. How we can have ‘Fuel surcharges’ also beggars belief but that’s another gripe.

    Since joining HFP I’ve learned how fly in business class to Hawaii and back for £1000 and get Avios. I’ve learned that it can be cheaper flying to the Middle East out of Copenhagen and get Avios on Qatar and experience their Biz class that makes BA business class redundant.

    At the moment if we are clever, there is a ‘double whammy’. There are deals to be had in business class and we get Avios to go with them. I’ve just booked another Dublin to the States return for £1k and the Avios came in very handy to use to get to Dublin.

    I’ve learned to use credit cards sensibly, keeping them for 6 months, cancelling, rotating and then reapplying and getting bonus Avios on a fairly regular basis without changing my expenditure pattern

    My glass is half full rather than half empty.

    • harry says:

      That’s exactly how we all could have got 350K Avios last Q (yes, I did! 🙂 ) instead of moaning like old women 🙂

    • Polly says:

      I agree Keith. That’s what we are doing right now. The 241 in F LH is still fab value, worth us referring each other for annually. We don’t take advantage, as it’s worthwhile not abusing. Let’s hope for another Plat bonus this year for adding card holders to the account. Great boost to the accounts last year.
      Then do a Long Haul J on QR every second year to gain our Silver TPs . Reckon those ex EU offers are here to stay. BA and QR must fill those J seats somehow. Just takes a bit of methodical planning, and plan for at least two years ahead! So we will plan another LH QR J ex EU in two years time once we drop down to bronze. No brainer.

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    British Airways increasing US Avios redemptions