BIG NEWS: British Airways is ‘changing’ the cost of Avios redemption flights on partner airlines – but it won’t say how much

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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 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
    • 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 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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Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    I don’t understand your ‘PS’ positivity – most of the One World airlines fly from the UK and many of us choose to redeem Avios on their more superior business class products – QR, CX etc. So actually this does have a big impact as BA will achieve what they want probably which is for us to redeem our Avios on BA metal rather than with OW partners.

    • I think if this is as bad as it gets – and nothing else happens for the next 2-3 years – then it is survivable.

      The problem with BA is that I doubt it appreciates, although it will see the drop in third party revenue, how much more difficult it is getting to pick up Avios from non-flight options (Tesco, Amex etc) and therefore there is ALREADY a devaluation on the supply side.

      • How about those domestic connections for 2020 pricing up with the additional sector avios: a genuine glitch or something being loaded into the system that were not yet supposed to go live?

      • Thomas Howard says:

        According to the IAG annual report 115.1milliard Avios were earnt and 86.4milliard were redeemed last year. Using Robs value of 1 avios = 1p and assuming it costs BA as much to issue as redeem each Avios (ha!), AGL provided £287m of positive cash flow in 2018. Could this go negative if we all struggle to earn as many Avios next year and have to use more to make the redemptions we had planned?

      • Mikeact says:

        Maybe, but even a Million or so Avios doesn’t necessarily go too far nowadays. Two long hauls for two, up front to the Far East, or the unobtainable Sydney, and you are quickly depleted. Do you spend them now or wait for a rainy day ?

  2. For those heading East 2: Don’t forget to lock in those regional sweet spots including Bangkok to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur to a whole bunch of zone 1 & 2 destinations, Japan domestic etc.

    • The problem is that domestic JAL flights are not released in full until 2-3 months out, so unless you have immediate plans, you have no option. I was planning to book some flights for next year’s trip with Avios. Now, I am think I am going to use more shinkansen as paying cash comes out the same. If others start thinking the same, I can’t see partner airlines being happy about a drop in revenue.

      • Lady London says:

        Rest assured British Airways will be keeping any extra cash required. Partner airlines might see a drop in usage of their award seats by BA passengers but BA would have only paid an interline type price for those anyway..

        • Exactly – and that cost is so low, you can only assume it is a desire to collect more surcharges via BA flights.

      • djfost says:

        Might be worth taking a look at JAL Explorer Pass if you haven’t already. Not a pass per se, but a cheap fare available for foreign travellers. 20TPs in Exec Club for each HND-ITM one way…

    • Japan domestic is not really worth it with JAL Japan’s explorer. Of course only valid for non-Japanese

  3. Sounds like bad news for the bargain domestic JAL redemptions which I’ve made use of several times.

  4. SammyJ says:

    Not so good for those of us who use our Avios for low cost US redemptions like LAX-Hawaii. I guess I’ll be looking more closely at what O can get with Aer Lingus.

  5. Arturas says:

    Just called BA Executive Club to ask for more details… The fun thing was that agent told me that they are not aware of this email and they told me it must be phishing email I got…. When I told them this information is on their news web site as well, she told me she was going to escalate it… Communication failure….. Fake news from BA:)

  6. It is not really acceptable to say ‘changes will be happening from May 30th’ but not announce what the changes are. So they MUST either:

    1) announce the changes shortly, and well before May 30th; or
    2) announce the changes on May 30th but have them not be effective for a number of weeks or months.

    I’m personally surprised that they’re changing partner redemptions; I thought BA would be going the way of fare-based redemptions on their own/IAG metal, but keeping partner redemptions the same.

    • Lady London says:

      Yes. As another poster commented, British Airways rushing this announcement out today looks as though it is to ensure they advise us 30 days ahead as, I think, required under their own terms and conditions?

      How can this count as advising us with 30 days notice ahead of any change, when, actually, they are NOT giving us 30 days notice of the exact change they are proposing to make.

      Until we’ve had 30 days notice ahead giving us exactly what is going to change, I don’t think it’s valid for them to say they have met the required notice period.

      Nice try BA. Fail. Give us notice, of 30 days, when you’re actually prepared to tell us what you’re actually giving us 30 days notice of.

      • Callum says:

        You REALLY need to stop making all these assumptions and guesses and then moving on like they’re facts.

        There is no such clause, they can amend it whenever they want.

  7. Why would a massive company “communicate” in this manner?
    Normally companies put out teasers to increase interest in your brand. This is a complete communication failure. Just quickly remove the adhesive bandage.

    • Lady London says:

      *and when you, British Airways, can actually provide us the actual changes you want to make, THEN give us at least 30 days notice. Or whatever is required under the t’s and c’s or ensured by statute.

      I hope you will do so, British Airways.

      • I’ve looked at the T&C actually and in relation to modificitations there is no mention of any notice period, just a reasonable notice, which is obviously deliberate.

        • Lady London says:

          reasonable would mean at least 30 days.

          But they havent told us what exactly are the changes. So I don’t consider we will have had any notice at all, until we see the changes. I’m wondering why they bothered to put this announcement out today. Because it’s not an announcement, because it doesn’t say what are the changes.

          More weaselling from British Airways..

        • Callum says:

          No, reasonable does NOT have a definition – you’ve plucked at least 30 days out of thin air.

        • Lady London says:

          Its whatever the man in the street would think reasonable and 30 days is about the minimum for them to be pretty sure of it being upheld whereas lesser periods probs open door to being officially judged unreasonable. If they actually told US what exactly are the changes then a reasonable notice could actually start.

        • Callum says:

          No it’s not what “the man on the street” considers to be reasonable.

          By all means rant about how you don’t like the changes or how you hate BA, but your continual misunderstandings over how things work probably mean you shouldn’t be declaring what is and isn’t legal!

  8. Any ideas on whether this will effect the pricing of Oneworld redemptions though the Iberia platform?

  9. Shoestring says:

    Oh deary me we’d better find some money down the back of the sofa [they scream over at IAG]

    SOARING fuel prices are buffeting Europe’s biggest airlines, which are on course to suffer a near-€1bn (£900m) profit squeeze in the first three months of the year alone.

    British Airways’ owner International Airlines Group is expected to be hit hardest. Its fuel bill is forecast to have rocketed by around €250m between January to March, compared with the same period last year. IAG announces its first-quarter trading on May 10. Leading analysts predict that the FTSE 100 company’s quarterly pre-tax profits will be almost wiped out, falling to €47m compared with €246m last year.
    The airline group’s fuel spike is set to surpass that of Europe’s biggest airline, Lufthansa, which announced a surprise €201m rise in quarterly fuel cost this month.

    • Lady London says:

      Rubbish. All Airlines hedge duel pricing. I doubt BA got it that wrong.

      • Lady London says:

        *duel pricing.

        • Lady London says:

          And ******g French client phone again overwrote f u e l pricing. No wonder we’re leaving the EU

        • The above only reiterates the need to introduce comments editing feature, which Rob for some reason vehemently opposes. This would make the life of commentators so much easier and the forum itself tidier!

      • Mikeact says:

        The German airline group Lufthansa has reported a net loss of €342m for the first three months of the year, citing rising fuel costs and excess capacity in Europe.The German airline group Lufthansa has reported a net loss of €342m for the first three months of the year, citing rising fuel costs and excess capacity in Europe.

        • Shoestring says:

          uh-oh!

          Leave my RFS alone, BA! You can frack with LH partners as much as you like! 🙂

  10. Oh for goodness sake British Airways staff are spineless. Just deliver the information and move over.

    May not be all bad news. If awards go up then award availability may also rise. We may even get flash reduced mileage offers like Air France and Singapore. Then again we might get Jack. At that point perhaps we should all toddle off to the next shareholder’s meeting and ask for a detailed breakdown of the taxes and charges they so generously bestow on us….

  11. Mark e says:

    Related to partner Avios redemptions., can anyone help here please?

    I need a flight from Singapore to Tokyo around December 2nd. Using the BA website I have looked over and over again for Avios redemptions on this route and nothing at all Is available in Economy on the Japan Airlines flights. This seems odd as their is Premium Economy and business still but alas I can’t stretch to that many Avios.

    Do they release the Economy rewards nearer ro time or have I simply left it too late?

    Thank you

    • Check from KUL. If they have something for you there then just take the VIP bus there from Singapore, a good experience in itself. Check cash fares on AirAsiaX, sometimes they are very cheap.

    • reddot says:

      Flew this route on ANA in Feb 2019 courtesy of Star Alliance (United Mileage Plus]. Just checked that Virgin also has ANA as a partner but one-wat redemption not allowed.

    • mark e says:

      Thank you for the suggestions . I am absolutely amazed by the 18 seater double decker coach from Singapore to KUL

      • Not always that easy. The border crossing can be a right pain. The train journey is fun.

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