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.
“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.”
Here is the special page of ba.com 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
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- 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.
As far as I can see, the new pricing is not available anywhere on ba.com. The 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 ba.com.
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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