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BIG NEWS: British Airways is ‘changing’ the cost of Avios redemption flights on partner airlines

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A worryingly vague email has just been sent out by British Airways to anyone who has recently booked an Avios redemption on a partner airline.

It says:

“As you’ve previously used your Avios to book reward flights with our global network of partner airlines, we wanted to let you know about some changes we’re making.

From 30 May 2019, we’ll be changing our Avios prices on reward flights with some of our partner airlines.

Don’t worry if you have an existing Avios booking with a partner airline. It’s still valid and you can make changes or cancel it if you need to*. Our new Avios prices will apply to any changes or new bookings you make after 30 May 2019.”

Avios partner airline pricing changes

Here is the special page of it leads to:

“From 30 May 2019, we’ll be changing our Avios prices on reward flights with the following partner airlines:

    • Alaska Airlines
    • Air Italy
    • American Airlines
    • Cathay Pacific
    • Finnair
    • Japan Airlines
    • LATAM
    • Malaysia Airlines
    • Qantas
    • Qatar Airways
    • S7
    • Sri Lankan and
    • Royal Jordanian Airlines

The price of Avios upgrades on American Airlines only will also be changing from 30 May 2019. You will pay the difference between the Avios prices of your booked cabin and your upgraded cabin.

Don’t worry if you have an existing Avios booking with one of these airlines. It’s still valid and you can make changes or cancel it if you need to*. Our new Avios prices will apply to any changes or new bookings you make after 30 May 2019.

There will be no change to our Avios prices for reward flights and upgrades with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia or Vueling. The Avios prices for our other services are also unaffected, so you can continue to benefit from spending your Avios on our wide range of hotels, car hire and experiences.”

This is, to put it mildly, not exactly informative.

The email is also untrue because as HFP readers know there ARE changes to Avios pricing on British Airways, which BA has already started to implement.

Avios partner pricing changes

As far as I can see, the new pricing is not available anywhere on ba.comThe reward calculator only has the current prices.

My best guess, as part of BA’s continual efforts to make the Avios programme too confusing for anyone without a PhD in Mathematics, is that we will now have three levels of pricing:

off-peak for flights on BA

peak for flights on BA

pricing for flights on partner airlines

What is NOT clear is whether the current sector-by-sector pricing will remain as it is, or if we will move back to origin-to-destination pricing where the cost is driven by the overall distance and not the cost of each individual leg.

I don’t see a huge amount of logic to this.  All I can think of is that – because taxes are generally lower on partner flights which don’t touch the UK – BA saw an opportunity to whack up the cost because they still look a bargain compared to ex-UK flights.

Anyway …. the little we know can be read here at

PS.  On the positive side, if this is genuinely the only change which is going to be made to Avios in the medium term then it won’t impact too many people based in the UK.  We have already seen, for example, BA charging higher taxes and charges to US residents flying to the UK compared to UK residents flying to the US.  I wouldn’t necessarily believe that though.

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Comments (110)

  • RedEyeDonkey says:

    Not sure how reliable but BA Twitter just confirmed the AVIOS price update is going through on the 30th May so I guess this vague announcement is counting as reasonable notice and changes will go into immediate effect on the 30th when they’re actually announced properly. I suppose one could play devil’s advocate and argue it’s almost good enough – we know it means ‘prices going up’ so any bookings you can make/needed to make with partners you know to make now.

    However really I think it’s a bit frustrating not to get proper notice of what the changes are in advance.

    • meta says:

      Yes, you can make a booking now, but but only if you have firm plans. Any change to booking will result in a reprice at new rates! Also some partners don’t release awards to partners until 2-3 months before. But as has repeatedly been said, our Avios belong to the IAG bank and they can do whatever they want.

    • Jamie says:

      Expect that they have not notified everyone. I for one have not received any email other than the recent ‘The Club’ enewsletter and the change is not mentioned in that.
      I do redeem for partner airlines, perhaps not in the last 12 months (but I have been searching for availability) and intend to make further bookings in the near future. Not sure why they don’t notify everyone.

  • Andyh says:

    Just priced two redemption flights using avios, peak flights Lhr to Dubai July this year and it’s showing 240,000 avios and approx £1100 in tax etc. Last check was 80,000 has avios devalued? In the last couple of days?
    Anyone know?

    • Rob says:

      120k is the peak date price for Dubai per person in Business. Hasn’t been 80k in Business since 2015.

      Note that Singapore Airlines only charges 50k in Business to Dubai using Krisflyer miles (or is 59k following the recent change?) booking onto Lufty or Swiss.

  • Jack says:

    Apparently the new award table will be…
    0-650 miles = 6000 Avios
    651-1150 miles = 9000 Avios
    1151-2000 miles = 11000 Avios
    2001-3000 miles = 13000 Avios

  • Maxine Chivers says:

    I went on Alaska Airlines and noticed they fly from Los Angeles to Costa Rica. I wonder how much Avios would cost. I have always wanted to visit Beijing. Both Finnair and Cathay Pacific fly there. LATAM flies from Santiago to Easter Island and on to Tahiti.