Last month I wrote about changes to the way that American Airlines codes its flights which impact how you spend Avios and how you earn British Airways tier points.
Two class American Airlines domestic flights in the USA are sold as ‘First’ and ‘Economy’. More importantly, the premium seats are coded as First Class. This has two consequences, one good and one bad:
Avios redemptions on AA which book into two-class domestic First Class require 4x the standard number of Avios, which makes them ludicrously expensive compared to what you get (see the photo below of A321 First Class seats)
Cash tickets booked on AA in domestic two-class First Class earn First Class tier points. This means that flights under 2000 miles earn 60 tier points whilst flights over 2000 miles earn 210 tier points. A dedicated tier point runner could construct an itinerary via numerous 2000+ miles segments to maximise the tier points earned. Note that such tickets must be booked with an AA flight number and NOT a BA codeshare flight number for this to work – BA codeshare bookings earn Business Class tier points.
For travel after 12th January, AA has changed the way it tickets First Class flights on two class aircraft.
Whilst the front cabin is still be called First Class, tickets now book into J, D, I or R fare classes. These are all business class fare buckets.
You will ‘only’ need to pay 2x rather than 4x the economy Avios price to fly up front
You will only earn 40 or 140 tier points, depending on distance, on cash tickets
There are no changes to how international flights or three-class AA domestic flights are ticketed.
These changes are now reflected in ba.com Avios redemption pricing for travel after 12th January.
Here is a flight from Washington to Miami in March, for example:
….. which shows 15,000 Avios and £4 tax for a one-way First Class redemption. Note that ba.com now shows these seats as Business Class but the cabin is the usual AA domestic First Class one.
Going forward, the cost of a redemption seat in American Airlines First Class on a two-class aircraft will be:
15,000 Avios (was 30,000 Avios) EACH WAY for flights up to 1,150 miles
20,000 Avios (was 40,000 Avios) EACH WAY for flights of 1,151 – 2,000 miles
You can argue about whether AA First Class is worth it even at just twice the price of Economy, but as the taxes on American Airlines domestic Avios redemptions are virtually nil, anyone who is Avios rich will probably now decide to splurge.
Before you rush off to ba.com to book, you should note that AA First Class redemptions are currently VERY difficult to find – you may end up in Economy after all.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
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 10,000 Avios.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)