BIG NEWS: BA ‘changing’ the cost of Avios redemptions 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. Harry Hv says:

    Confetti points and colossal surcharges, now also for short-haul?

  2. Londoner says:

    Some people on FT seem to have worked out

    • Mikeact says:

      If correct it seems that Chase have had a say in keeping Avios costs down. Of more concern is the reaction from Delta…never one to miss a trick.

  3. Can you book Fiji Airways flight with Avios?

  4. guesswho2000 says:

    If the leaked figures on FT are accurate, I could tolerate it (although far from happily), as they still beat QFF points for flights on QF metal!

    Whether the + effort to earn Avios vs QFF for the smaller saving is still worth it, I’ll have to think.

  5. I, for one, reckon they’ll be putting the Avios cost down……!

  6. Mikeact says:

    Seems a bit strange maybe, that Aer Lingus are calling it a day with Qantas and Cathy around the same time ? I think that only leaves Aer Lingus with BA and United as partners……prior to full One World membership perhaps? And I guess United too will shortly be given the heave ho next.

    I thought I would repeat this post I placed on the earlier thread recently re European one way costs.

  7. Will this affect the multi carrier award chart?

  8. When IAG are in the unregulated position of determining what Avios are worth after they have effectively been sold, the temptation is forever to devalue them. If, as reported, IAG profits about to be announced are drastically down, stealing back from the Avios scheme will help the bottom line, share price and therefore their cost of borrowing.

    BA are in the unfortunate position of being a legacy airline with legacy contracts and obligations (including Avios), with low-cost competitors in an industry that is being increasingly frowned upon by the young for climate damage. I expect there will come a pivot point when IAG will liquidate existing BA and let new BA, without the legacy issues and with new green marketing, to buy old BA’s newest, most fuel-efficient planes and let the rest go.

    • zumodenaranja says:

      LOL so all those young people I see getting on planes are against flying ?

      I don’t believe for one minute that any significant proportion of the millennial population is going to give up cheap flights to Bali any time soon !

      • Basic statistics #1: a self-selecting sample in never representative.

        • In general, people are travelling more, not less. I always think of what an environmentalist said about the biggest cause of global warming which is population increase, which is way more damaging than flying away on holiday 2 or 3 times per year.

        • Shoestring says:

          Of course world population increase is to blame for so much that is bad/ damaging:
          1960 – 3 billion
          2020 – 8 billion

          A 5 billion increase in 60 years.

          Probably a few outstanding brains in there who have invented cool stuff, I guess.

        • I’m with Anna. I think Tim’s post is misguided – people are travelling more not less.

          Great if airlines can find greener ways of flying, but unless you are Greta Thunburg, you still fly on holiday and (if required) for business . Pressure to be greener is not the same as frowning upon the industry. And BA is better placed to adapt to new technology than most budget airlines

          Being a millennial myself, i just really dislike the implication that i should be some sort of green activist (so many people in older generations I know have this interpretation of millennials). Maybe I’m old before my years but i’d like to think I’m just balanced.

        • John says:

          When you factor in all the carbon emissions from railway maintenance vans driving everywhere, taxis to get train drivers from home to their trains, lorries transporting train carriages, the bosses of DB, Bombardier etc jetting around the world, and the fact that trains run at 4am and midnight transporting 1 passenger and a lot of air, some guy on railforums claims that it isn’t that much greener than the newest efficient aircraft. Also the carbon emissions per rail passenger are similar to that of two people sharing a car journey if the car is a newer, less polluting model (and if they don’t drive like a maniac).

      • Mikeact says:

        Over to you Tim.

  9. Julian says:

    Of course we know someone who runs this site who has been repeatedly directing collectors in various recent stories towards the fact that taxes are charges are less on airlines other than British Airways, which will have encouraged more collectors to redeem their Avios this way than hitherto.

    This is all a bit like Amex cards where for years a small number of people were constantly churning cards and gaining big signup bonuses and Amex could afford to ignore it. Then this site promoted that this was the fastest way to collect Avios and unsurprisingly Amex got worried about the economics and changed the rules of the game.

    This is what tends to happen if a bargain is trumpeted to the world at large. Namely that the bargain usually disappears from the shelves in fairly short order. The same thing happens with deals that are loudly trumpeted to the world by HotUKDeals……….

    • I get a sneaky feeling that the people booking cheap Iberia redemptions are, er, Spanish people living in Spain and collecting via IB 🙂 IB isn’t changing either.

      My money is also on 98% of domestic US Avios redemptions being booked by US residents!

      Aer Lingus is not changing. What does that leave? Not much.

      Here is an idea. Perhaps increasing partner tickets by 20% is simply so they can move UK tickets to £0 taxes. So … currently UK to Athens is 20k plus £25 in CE. That has become 25k plus £0. Are they making the equivalent distance partner tickets 25k plus £whatever?

      • Lady London says:

        Could actually suit some people, as you say, Rob

      • Remember IbPlus has direct competition from Air Europa Suma , with similar redemption vales. Even though Air Europe has a much smaller route network, their redemption are surcharges free (so you only pay airport/gov taxes) , and like IbPlus it’s an Amex Spain MR transfer partner.

        So on that side, IbPlus has to play carefully.

    • Hmnn….not sure about that Julian. All the blogs have been waxing lyrical about QR’s product for as long as I can remember but I’ve never had problems finding availability other than Christmas. Last night did a mad dash to book as many seats as I thought I may take till the calendar stopped showing them next year – still plenty left.

      • Qatar has a revenue share deal with BA anyway, they effectively operate as one airline from the UK.

  10. 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.

    • 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.

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