My thoughts on Alex’s thoughts for changes to Avios and BA Executive Club

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Our exclusive publication of Alex Cruz’s interview on future changes to Avios and British Airways Executive Club was picked up by a lot of other sites. I ran it without comment because I thought it was best to let it stand on its own.

(I was surprised that no-one asked what the ‘three factual errors’ were about Avios and BAEC which Cruz made and which I corrected in the published version to save any embarrassment!)

For what it’s worth, this is what I think.  These are more random points than a coherent essay as I am meant to be away this week.  Check our Instagram feed here for photos and video from Lapland!

EARNING AVIOS:

Revenue-based earning will make negligible difference to most people

If you are concerned that moving Avios to a revenue based EARNING system will hit you hard, you’re probably wrong.  That ship sailed in 2015 when the earning on the cheapest tickets dropped from 100% of miles flown to 25%.  With just 125 Avios earned on a one way cash ticket to Europe for non-status members, you’re unlikely to be much worse off.  It is ALREADY the case that if you are on a route where Flybe competes you may earn more Avios choosing Flybe at 4 Avios per £1 spent ….

That said, revenue-based earning is the wrong model for passenger airlines

The point of ANY loyalty scheme should be to encourage INCREMENTAL business.  It is NOT about over-rewarding those who spend the most and ignoring the rest.  This is especially true in aviation where your top customers are NOT actually your customers, as the tickets are bought by their investment bank employers.

When I was in banking we had a BA deal which meant I had to use them if possible.  You could give me zero Avios or 1 million Avios per flight, it made no difference.  The percentage of travellers on fully flexible Club World tickets who have no control over who they fly with due to corporate deals is very high – so why over-reward these people?

As the owner of my own business now, I have 100% control of who I choose for my travel.  The 2015 Avios changes and the later On Business changes made it clear that there was no real interest, from a loyalty perspective from BA in taking my money.  On Business now needs £30,000 of annual BA spend to reach Tier 2 which is an odd definition of SME.

Revenue-based earning isn’t even easy to implement

Lufthansa has just moved to a revenue based scheme for Miles & More It is laughably complex. 

The headline earnings table is fine – x miles per €1 spent depending on your status. The small print is chaotic.  ONLY directly booked tickets are treated like this.  Book with a travel agent and, because a TA can often add hidden extra charges to tickets, Lufthansa has to reward you using the old system.  Flights on partner airlines will also be under the old system because Lufthansa doesn’t know what you paid.  It is revenue-based except when it isn’t, which will be much of the time.

Status spending thresholds won’t easily work in Europe

Some US airlines have brought in an annual spending threshold for status alongside tier points.   I don’t see this working, because BA does not get revenue information for partner airline flights and they are more important in Europe – due to the large number of airlines – than they are in the US.

In any event, there is no sign that BA believes it has too many elite members.

And anyway the opportunities for status arbitrage are many.  If BA put status out of reach due to a spending threshold or other changes, you can simply start crediting BA flights to American, Finnair or any other oneworld airline.  That costs BA real money.

Changes to Avios and British Airways Executive Club

REDEEMING AVIOS:

Some element of revenue-based redemption is not a problem

Almost all major frequent flyer schemes offer some form of revenue based redemption.  Etihad is a good example.  When you redeem you see the standard price and an ‘anytime’ price, which is driven by the cash price of a ticket on that day.  I’ve no idea if anyone ever buys them but the option exists.

Virgin Atlantic has been offering 100% revenue based redemptions and most people failed to notice

Since the Virgin Flying Club changes a year ago, you have been able to do ‘proper’ part paying with miles.  You can pay for 100% of the cost of a flight, including taxes, with miles at a rate of 0.6p per mile.  You can use as many or as few miles as you like which makes it far more flexible than ‘part pay with Avios’.  The only difference between this and what Etihad does is that Virgin promotes this via the ‘paying cash’ part of its website rather than on the Flying Club booking site.

There will be no changes to the current ‘2 Club World and 4 World Traveller’ guaranteed availability

…. is my best guess.  The changes will be alongside this.  If there are no standard Avios seats left you will be offered an ‘Anytime’ seat at the current cash price divided by 0.5p.

Letting people use Avios to pay for seat selection etc is perfectly fine

If people want to ‘waste’ points by getting 0.5p per point that’s fine.  They feel they are getting value or they wouldn’t do it.  The more people who redeem for poor value redemptions, the more likely it is that high end redemptions will also remain.

…. but it doesn’t breed long-term loyalty

Using your Avios to get a few quid off a cash flight has one big problem.  No-one cares.  No-one will be on social media showing off the £3 saving they made on a seat selection fee from using 600 Avios.  Easy access to premium cabin redemptions is the cornerstone of the entire scheme.  Be very clear – having a bad loyalty scheme is worse than having no loyalty scheme, because they are expensive to run.

100% revenue based redemptions make no sense

If you think Avios will go 100% revenue redemption based for BA flights (with no seats released at ‘standard’ prices), you’re wrong.  It makes no sense.  Here are a few reasons:

Under a 100% revenue redemption system, no-one could afford to book premium cabins.  Avios WANTS you to book premium cabins.  They want you to have something to strive for.  If BA lets a flight go out with empty Club World seats it could have ‘sold’ for Avios then it has lost revenue.

Partner flights.  BA still has to offer partner flights and they cannot be priced off a revenue model as BA does not have that data.  BA NEEDS you to redeem for its own flights as it is cheaper than paying for partner redemptions.  This is why in 2015 it introduced segment pricing (connecting partner flights became pricier than direct BA flights) and off-peak pricing for BA only.

Nectar.  Need I say more?  Pure revenue based redemptions would take away ‘outsize’ redemption opportunities.  That is why Nectar failed and why Clubcard has been a huge success.  Even current and ex Nectar staff I talk to admit this.  People genuinely would have preferred 50p off an item rather than 100 bonus Nectar points which also got them 50p but in a painfully convoluted way.

Avios partners would walk away.  NO-ONE pays much under 1p per Avios.  Not Amex, not Tesco.  If there was no way of getting more than 0.5p per point of value when redeeming, all of the partners would walk.  Why would Amex pay 1p to Avios so Avios can give me 0.5p off a flight?  Amex could simply give me 1p in cash via a different product and I would be far better off.  Avios only ‘works’ for third parties as long as members believe the points they get are worth more than the 1p the sponsor is paying.

BA still has to provide redemption seats to partners.  This is more important than you think.  If BA wants 500,000 Avios for a £2,500 Club World seat (at 0.5p per point, this is what it would cost) but American will give you the same seat via its reward chart for 90,000 AA miles, it is clear what will happen.  People will credit BA flights to American and then BA has to pay American for those miles.  The worse case scenario for BA is one where there is a mass move to other oneworld frequent flyer schemes – and HFP will be happy to point out the nearest available exits.

There would be a great unwinding of balances which would be hugely expensive.  My wife and I are sitting on around 1.5 million Avios between us.  If redemptions were capped at 0.5p of value per point, there would be no point in keeping any sort of balance.  My next £7,500 of BA spending would be entirely in Avios.   This was also the undoing of Nectar – there is no benefit in running a balance in a scheme if redemption rates are fixed.  People emptied their Nectar account as soon as it hit the minimum £2.50 needed for a Sainsbury’s discount.  If members do not run balances, there is no cashflow benefit to Avios Group and less breakage as fewer points will expire.

Competition from Virgin Flying Club is increasing

Within 12 months, you will be able to redeem (and earn) Flying Club miles on KLM and Air France.  And we haven’t even talked about the new Virgin Atlantic credit cards.  This is not a good time to risk doing anything silly to Avios, especially as Virgin Atlantic is a strong competitor on BA’s lucrative North American routes.

So …. here are a few random thoughts for a Tuesday.  My general view is that you shouldn’t worry and all will be fine.  And if it’s not, another oneworld frequent flyer scheme or Virgin Atlantic will happily fill in the gap.

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Comments

  1. I have been flying with BA/OW since 2010 , i am about 1500 tier points from LTG , once achieved i will let the GGL slide and carry on with just OWE , BAEC is great with GGL (2 Jokers etc) and to be perfectly honest i burn around 300-350,000 miles per annum, but if the below changes happen , then Star (Krisflyer) , Sky Team and Virgin come much more into play , the only reason i have stuck so long with BAEC is due to GGL, which does offer fantastic benefits

    if i was to start again now i wouldn’t be using BAEC or BA , if flying West it would be Virgin , if east it would be one of several carriers

    How i miss the days of the Diamond Card and the Earn/Burn Rates , that was when this game/hobby was in its prime………. I remember when the Seoul Flight Started and the promo cost was £777 in CW and upgrade to First was 20,000 , sadly those days have long gone

  2. RussellH says:

    Talking of Nectar, I am old enough to remember the days when shopping at Sainsbury’s got you Air Miles (before they became Avios). Back then the nearest Sainsbury’s was in Edinburgh (Cameron Toll) and there were times when we would travel the 40 miles to Cameron Toll for food shopping, just to get some more Air Miles too. No one would have ever done that for Nectar points! For a time I even had three separate Sainsbury’s loyalty cards – for Cameron Toll, for one in west London near other family members and one in Oxfordshire, near some of my partner’s family.
    I remember being told by an instore CS person after Sainsbury’s announced that they were stopping Air Miles that we should not worry as the new loyalty scheme wouls still include travel – which turned out to be paying for EasyJet at the same rate as for Sainsbury’s groceries, but with the disadvantage of a booking fee!
    And sadly, we still run too high a Nectar balance.

    • To be fair, the booking fee on easyJet redemptions with nectar didn’t make the flights more expensive than booking for cash on the easyJet website. It just priced the flights up cheaper then added the fee to make them the same price.

      • So just like redeeming on VTEC it offers no benefit. It’s easier to redeem in Sainsbury’s so buy your weekly shop on points and then use the money saved to pay for a flight.

        I’ve never tried to redeem on EZY (no longer possible) but the procedure on VTEC is a hassle so unless there’s a promotion there’s no value gained in doing so.

        Anyway summer rewards is round the corner and cheap pizzas is the most exciting Nectar gets.

        • Strange thing with myself was that most of my easyJet flights over the last couple of years I used nectar points to reduce the cost. I know easyJet seem to get a lot of love from people on this site but I never find them to be fantastic value. Ryanair are often considerably cheaper when they compete on a route and there’s often not a huge difference between their fares and BA’s. And with BA I’m going to have most of what easyJet change for for free as a silver card holder

        • We just wait until we have £25-30 of Nectarr points then buy a nice bottle of gin. Very sad we don’t have a convenient Tesco as that would massively boost the Avios collection opportunities for us.

        • OT @ saveeastcoastrewards
          You seem to be the train guy here so was looking for some advice if possible.

          I was booked on the grand central 1604 Kings Cross Bradford service yesterday which was cancelled I was put on the 1606 Virgin service and told to change at Doncaster to catch the connecting 1738 train to Mirfield , arrived in Doncaster at 1743 and due to strikes no more trains were running to Mirfield Had to get a train to Wakefield then taxi home. Arrived home 1hour 35 mins late and cost me a uber. Any recourse.

          Thanks

        • RussellH says:

          I assume that Grand Central are required to have some sort of delay compensation scheme, but as they are an open access operator, not a francise, I would not be altogether surprised if the rules were different (= in their favour).
          I would check around on their website and see what you can find.

    • I never paid much attention to Airmiles back then so by the time I realised they ceased being a partner. There was a big gap though between Sainsbury’s dropping Airmiles and Nectar partnering with easyJet (no longer an option) so for a long time I held onto my high Nectar balance in the hope that they may partner with bmi. I had lost hope when they ended up partnering with EZY.

      I had a high Nectar balance because Sainsbury’s was my local supermarket and until I had something better to collect points on I had a Sainsbury’s credit card (back when it was still Sainsbury’s Reward Card). Although with Nectar all the interesting redemption options disappeared I kept with it until I started flying. From that point on I paid much more attention to loyalty schemes.

      It was much more fun trying to maximise frequent flyer points and well before ahead for Points and before I had heard of frequent flyer forums I thought I was being quiet innovative in in planning my trips to maximise the points earned for the lowest cost but then it turned out many others did the same.

    • Oh, happy days! Back then, my nearest supermarket was a Sainsburys and I collected Air Miles with them for years. I even had a Sainsburys credit card that I used instead of my corporate Amex for expenses, because nobody accepted corporate Amex back then. I got a cheque a couple of days after I put my expense claim in and that went into my Sainsburys savings account to get huge (by today’s standards) amounts of interest before I paid the bill the following month.

  3. Cate ⛱️ says:

    Excellent in depth review Rob, pleasure to read.

    Reading through it again it may be that BA point collectors have over the years tended to view BA points as a loyalty scheme aimed at the UK market for the UK consumer with the UK market having the biggest market share. This is hardly surprising given how much marketing we’ve grown up with encouraging that view. But is this base rate on the verge of change i wonder?

    The original article written and published for the Chinese market. Presumably the questions which were omitted from the publication had the Chinese consumer in mind. If so they could be interpreted as:

    “South China Morning Post: I understand the IAG board approved changes to Avios, what do those changes look like for [Chinese] BAEC members?

    South China Morning Post: Can you reassure [Chinese] BA frequent flyers that thresholds won’t change? Or revenue-based mindset won’t be introduced?

    My understanding is that Amex is currently applying for licencing in China which, if granted, BA cards could then be available to Chinese customers – affluent Chinese customers with a love affair of all things British but capped on foreign spending. If so your comment highlighted above is really pertinent:

    ‘The point of ANY loyalty scheme should be to encourage INCREMENTAL business. It is NOT about over-rewarding those who spend the most and ignoring the rest.’

    • the_real_a says:

      Isn’t the morning star the English language version (if its the one im thinking about). Its catchment would be very different, ex-pats and outward looking business people.

      • ChampagneSocialist says:

        The South China Morning Post is a Hong Kong based English newspaper, catering to the English-speaking audience in Hong Kong (so yes, expats as well as presumably locals who use English professionally). Entirely different laws and rules regarding the press, aviation, and finance (credit cards and the like) from mainland China. (And yes, there is a BA Amex in Hong Kong and Hongkongers have no cap on foreign spending.)

  4. Great article Rob! I’d forgotten about the virgin changes, and I do need a new credit card. Hmm…

  5. “The point of ANY loyalty scheme should be to encourage INCREMENTAL business. It is NOT about over-rewarding those who spend the most and ignoring the rest.’

    Not sure I agree. The entire Tier system is predicated on getting people to fly BA more, and then keep you flying BA. Avios, not so much since you can earn and spend Avios without ever using BA. But if you have elite status with BA then you earn a lot more Avios. Surely that is the definition of “loyalty”

    As a BA Gold, I feel rewarded, but not “over-rewarded”

    • No. If the entire non-Gold (and indeed non-status) chunk of BAEC could be persuaded to increase spend by 10% that would dwarf anything the small Gold cohort could add.

      This is why Tesco is clever. They want a little more from everyone. They make no attempt at all to focus on big spenders.

      How many investment bankers, once fired, carry on doing 15 fully flex J trips per year on their own dime? None. Giving them 200% Avios during their career changed nothing.

      Also worth noting that in my experience many Lifetime Gold members strive for it just so they can stop flying BA long haul but retain Gold benefits on short haul. This is the law of unintended consequences.

      • I’m nowhere near Lifetime Gold, but I have a similar thought. We generally (thanks to this site and FT!) fly Business class long haul and economy short haul. We go with Oneworld long haul to keep silver status to get lounge access etc for the short haul. If BAEC tiers are changed so we can’t qualify for silver then our long haul (and short haul) flights will go to whoever is cheapest and/or best, which is unlikely to be BA on either count.

        • Reinhard Schu says:

          I posted almost exactly the same comment before reading this thread.

          It cannot be stressed often enough for BAEC to understand:

          If status is made too difficult to attain, then people will simply chose the best value option for each indivvidual flight, regardless of airline. Given BA’s inferior product, they would lose middle segment premium customers in droves.

        • You do realise you can get Virgin Atlantic Gold status after 5 business sectors, I find it a very rewarding program.

        • I’ve said this (or something similar) many times on here before. I have though this year decided to give up chasing status – the only reason I am going out of my way to fly OW long haul J is so my short haul Y flights have the “benefits” – those 4-6 legs short haul per year then have to be on BA to benefit from the benefits and to get the 4 eligible flights…it’s a vicious circle.

        • Doug M says:

          But what does VS Gold get you? You get lounge with the tickets buying business anyway. I get BA gold because it means lounge on SH economy, more Avios, seat selection and at T5 the First Wing which really is better than fast track alternatives.

  6. googley bear says:

    Outstanding job Rob, hopefully somone on the board gets wind of such simple analysis of the second order effects.

    Slightly O/T with this Nectar debate – with the “nets” of loyalty reward schemes to transfer miles in/out is there a six degrees of separation way to turn nectar points in to avios? Clearly the rate would be awful but for smaller orphan amounts this may be a better redemption than Nero. Although I do like Nero…

  7. Jeremy Leonard says:

    Great comments.

    The fundamental issue though is not Avios. BA is in trouble. Their product is crap. Service is worse and they’ve gone from leading the world in flying quality and product too trailing just about everyone.

    Overhauling Avios isn’t the answer. The entire airline needs overhauling and that starts at the top. Alex Cruz is using every budget airline trick he knows to drive short term investor returns because he’s not smart enough to understand the long game.

    His handling of all BA’s failings in the past 12 months only reiterate how inadequate he is in the role. Get rid of him! Find a CEO that understands the value of customer experience and satisfaction and how to deliver that and BA might just have a chance at being Ann airline people want to travel on again. They might even pay a premium.

    American has a better product right now and I never thought I’d see the day that happened!

    • Perfectly put. I couldn’t agree more. Although Rob’s points in the article are very logical and make lots of sense to thosr of us thinking long term, unfortunately all Alex Cruz is thinking about is improving ROE in the very short term. He will then get a big bonus. He will be long gone when the chickens come home to roost, and the BA brand has been dragged to the point of no return.

    • “ trailing just about everyone“

      They aren’t really, on short haul they are more or less equal or better than any European Aitlrlibe and on long haul they are OK. Many of the airlines viewed as superior are loss making.
      I’m not defending BA particularly here, but I don’t think it’s quite as bad as sometimes we make out on here.

      • I agree. I’m not defending BA either – but there are plenty of other airlines in more trouble as you say. But I do hear more and more people in the real world moaning about BA. Man people hated losing that G&T.

      • I would say that on short-haul they are WORSE than their European peers (age of planes, standards of service, seats etc), will check the long-haul later this year and report back. But it’s my HO.

        But more objectively, does any one know any comparative analysis of economic performance of airlines? To have the recent results and key financials of several major airlines on one page?

    • I think he understands very well what customer value. I’m reading this on a Eurowings flight to MUC sitting in row 1. I’ve more leg room than on BA, the armrest doesn’t fall off, the seat is clean and the table is stable. I’ve lounge access, free seat selection and two checked bags incuded. Granted, alcoholic beverages are limited to beer or win, food is my choice from the BoB menu, and I only get the M&M equivalent of 15-25 tier points.

      However, this flight is dirt cheap. 169 Euros, because I booked short term, 119 Euros when booking in advance. The next cheapest ticket is 50-70 Euros less and you can usually get an upgrade to Best for 35 Euros. If people would value lounge access, empty middle seats or even miles, this cabin would be completely sold out. Yet, I was the only one in this section. Not a single passenger on this A320 wanted to pay even 35 euros to get a better experience. Not one.

      • RIccatti says:

        How long is the flight?

        Perhaps 1-2hours hop is not worth it and lounges at German airports don’t have food to eat, no decent hot dishes usually.

        • As long as most band 1 or 2 flights on BA which is what many of us fly… LHR-CDG, AMS-VIE, HAM-MUC, LHR-EDI… and that is where the alternatives are established LCCs.

          BTW, there is food and hot options in German lounges unlike in many BA lounges outside London. In SEA or SFO even in First class the only hot option is a soup with the others being sandwich and cheese.

  8. Gavin MacBean says:

    Why do the airlines not offer a zero cost flight (using more airmiles) but not having to pay the taxes and surcharges? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • The airport charges are a cash cost they incur, as is APD, so fair enough for recouping those. A bigger question is why BA adds its £300 of ‘carrier surcharges’ ….

      • I think we all know the answer to that! Because they can, because people will pay it.

        And honestly, before the scheme changed from Airmiles to Avios I actually redeemed for a totally free economy ticket to New York, clearing out most of my stash (it was 40,000 airmiles, if I recall correctly). Nowadays I wonder if I should have held off for my airmiles to be converted to Avios and flown Club instead….

        • Oops, 5,000 airmiles – forgot everything went up by a factor of 10 when Avios came in.
          Point is, the value of a free economy flight under the airmiles scheme wasn’t necessarily more than the value you get redeeming Avios for business class even though you have to pay charges.

          As long as there’s value to be had people who like the game will keep playing it.

      • This is what frustrates me the most. The way they are presented within the booking ties them nicely in with taxes so the consumer could assume that they are one and the same. On a separate
        note I was searching for flights next March to Tokyo on miles. Taxes and Fees were higher for premium economy than for business, I looked at APD and they are in the same tier so just can’t get my head around it!?

        • RIccatti says:

          Barring IT mistakes, simple, there are more PE seats released for redemption and more revenue can be collected.

  9. Bill Rimmer says:

    Rob,
    I suggest that if you have the email address of Alex Cruz, you send him a link to your informed article!

  10. Reinhard Schu says:

    The most profound line in this article reads “The point of ANY loyalty scheme should be to encourage INCREMENTAL business.”.

    Completely true. The only tickets I ever buy are discounted premium cabins (WT+ and CW), and I usually just about reach Gold with my amount of travel. So, I suppose I count as a “cheap” status customer and would likely be a big loser in a revenue based scheme.

    But Mr. Cruz should bear the following in mind: The BAEC scheme makes me fiercly loayal to BA and OW, as every flight counts towards reaching and maintainig that coveted status and once the status is achieved, I travel on BA or OW to enjoy the status benefits. If meaningful status moves out of reach for me, then I will simply buy the best value for money premium cabin ticket for each trip, irrespective of airline or alliance. My current loyalty would evaporate, as there would be no reason for it.

    I wouldn’t be suprised if many other regular premium passengers are in the same bracket.

  11. Can’t see VS getting any mindshare back with AF/KL redemption. They lost a ton of subscribers when they shacked up with Delta, and then all the loyal Flying Club members couldn’t actually redeem miles on VS metal any more because the much bigger Delta contingent got there first!

    Switched to BA at that point and have never looked back…

    • I don’t get this – always plenty of availability to US and Hong Kong and China. Always get the days I want.

  12. Eric Walmsley says:

    I have collected and spent Avios for a long time. Over the past three years I have accumulated 90,000 as a retail collector. I understand you have collected millions of points over the years and you are able to choose who travels. What I want to know is why commercial collectors of Avios are not taxed under the benefits for kind umbrella. A million points spent wisely must be valued at several thousand pounds. How many million points have you collected over the years? You have to pay tax on BIK eg a company car, discounted loans even BUPA how much have you spent Tax Free over the years and how many commercial collectors also benefit at this level. I can remember many years ago having to speak to a fellow director and draw his attention to how much time his PA spent in making sure he collected hotel points etc and planning his trips accordingly.

    • The Inland Revenue has a stated policy that miles and points are not taxable.

    • Eric. I suggest you pay more attention to Robs articles then if acted on you would have collected way more than 90,000 Avios in 3 years as a “retail” collector.
      HMRC concerns? really

      • Eric Walmsley says:

        Quote
        ‘As the owner of my own business now, I have 100% control of who I choose for my travel. The 2015 Avios changes and the later On Business changes made it clear that there was no real interest, from a loyalty perspective from BA in taking my money. On Business now needs £30,000 of annual BA spend to reach Tier 2 which is an odd definition of SME.’

  13. pablo fonseca domingo panto says:

    I don’t think this is good news..

  14. Mr Dee says:

    I welcome the ability to redeem more Avios where possible however I am hesitant to what they may introduce, although I wouldn’t mind being able to pay more Avios for better availability without the gold status.

  15. Mr Dee says:

    Rob, it would be interesting to see an article on the best way to spend a million miles (I know its not going to apply to everyone) but for some big collectors it might give some inspiration especially for those who struggle to use them.

    • Peter K says:

      Best way to spend miles? Book flights to places you want to go is a good starting point. Book 355 days in advance to get the flights you want. More than that is subjective really. If your have lots and lots of points, lower the trigger threshold at which you would spend them (eg from 1p per point to 0.8p gained per point).
      I spend a wodge on a hotel at about 0.5p per mile and don’t regret it at all as it got me what I wanted. I of course also got business class seats to get there and back.
      My point is, don’t just concentrate on pence per point gained, look at what your want and how the points can help you get there.

      • Can’t argue with the first line.

      • Mr dee says:

        I didn’t buy any points I have so not that fussed about the redemption value of it is reasonable

      • I’ve redeemed for a hotel before! Cash was tight so it was the difference between being able to afford the holiday and not going at all.

        Best 0.5p per point I ever spent.

  16. Dean Stannard says:

    You make reference to competition with VS and FC. If you will soon be able to earn/redeem FC miles on KLM/AF does this potentially mean that the latter will give the benefits of FlyingBlue Gold/Platinum to FC Gold? Particularly thinking about lounge access and extra baggage allowances. Thanks

  17. xmenlongshot says:

    Rob, I’m a bit late to comment on this but thought I pick up your ‘preferred airline’ point.

    Having worked at one of the London investment banks, I’ve found that the rules aren’t necessarily as strict as you imply. Banks will have a preferred partner, but also secondary preferred airlines. I always had a choice between BA, Virgin, Lufthansa, American Airlines, Qatar, etc. Once you add in PAs and the fact that they can often push for even non preferred airlines, you are looking at a fair amount of flexibility even if the rules say something else.

  18. Great article, thank you.

  19. HI

    I can see availability for 2019 on BA Redemption Finder but it is “ghosted” out and when you hover on it it states “available but price unknown”. Is this due to the upcoming changes?

    Any knowledge on booking redemption’s for 2019? looking at June and have enough points if the current chart is accurate.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

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