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The (leaked) new Avios partner flight pricing looks OK if true …. so why is BA keeping shtum?

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British Airways, as we covered yesterday, has announced increases in Avios pricing for flights on partner airlines.  This is basically all airlines except BA, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling.

Our main article on the Avios partner changes is here.

The official announcement is here.

Avios partner changes

As we pointed out, British Airways has deliberately kept the price increases secret.  All we have been told is that we need to book by 30th May or we will be paying a ‘different’ amount – it won’t even admit to increasing the prices.

As a PR exercise, this is a pretty low move.  As you would expect, the internet decided that things were going to be very bad indeed.

And yet …

Apparently it turns out that, if you ring British Airways to make a telephone booking for a flight after 30th May, the call centre agents can see the new pricing on their screen – although the booking goes through at the old price.

Based on reports I have pulled together from elsewhere – I think Seat 31B had it first – this is what is happening:

Distance flown:  Economy one-way / PE one-way / Business one-way / First one-way

0 – 650 miles:  WAS: 4500 Avios / 6750 Avios / 9000 Avios / 18000 Avios

0- 650 miles:  WILL BE: 6000 Avios / 9000 Avios / 12000 Avios / 24000 Avios

651 – 1,150 miles:  WAS: 7500 Avios / 11250 Avios / 15000 Avios / 30000 Avios

651 – 1,150 miles:  WILL BE: 9000 Avios / 13500 Avios / 18000 Avios / 36000 Avios

1,151 – 2,000 miles:  WAS: 10000 Avios / 15000 Avios / 20000 Avios / 40000 Avios

1,151 – 2,000 miles:  WILL BE: 11000 Avios / 16500 Avios / 22000 Avios / 44000 Avios

2,001 – 3,000 miles:  WAS: 12500 Avios / 25000 Avios / 37500 Avios / 50000 Avios

2,001 – 3,000 miles:  WILL BE: 13000 Avios / 26000 Avios / 39000 Avios / 52000 Avios

Note that the leaked numbers only reflected Economy pricing and we are assuming that the Business / First multiplier remains the same.

The change here is modest, especially at the higher levels.  I mean …. going from 50000 Avios to 52000 Avios for a 3,000 mile First Class flight is not exactly a huge increase.

Even at the lower levels, going from 4500 Avios to 6000 Avios for a short hop on a partner airline is not a massive devaluation in absolute terms.  The jump from 18000 to 24000 Avios for a sub-650 mile flight in First Class is obviously tough, but realistically who books one of those?

It is possible, although we need to wait for the small print, that short-hop flights in the USA will actually become cheaper.  Could the rule of charging at least 7,500 Avios per sector for US domestic flights, however short, be removed?

There has been no word to Iberia Plus members of any increase in Avios pricing.  This doesn’t mean anything, however, as Iberia has different pricing and mileage bands for partner redemptions.  Airline partner redemptions booked via Iberia Plus are also non-refundable, so I don’t recommend booking them.

BA Avios changes to partner flights

So …. what was BA playing at on Monday?  Assuming that the numbers above are true – and this has yet to be confirmed, I did ask BA but they had not replied by last night – it scored a PR own goal by not revealing the numbers.

If the email had been worded differently – “we are making some modest increases, some as low as 4%, to our partner redemption prices to reflect the increased cost to us of funding these flights” – then everyone would have been fine about it.

The BA PR machine has been working a lot better lately, especially with the success of the four retro liveries and the sensibly low key (given the roll-out timetable) Club Suite announcement.  The 100th anniversary TV ad has grown on me too.  This bodged announcement just seems like one step backwards, assuming the numbers above are true.

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Comments (148)

  • Shoestring says:

    Alex see May 1st 🙂

  • Tom says:

    O/T. Upgrading from Amex Gold charge to Platinum, will the supplementary gold card I have on the account auto upgrade too? Or will it automatically cancel allowing me to re-add the supp for bonus points?

    • Polly says:

      Yes Tom it’s auto,attic. It can even happen if you call in and ask to remove the person off the card. It happened to us. As l wanted the extra 5k when l added my oh later on. But we both got cards same time.annoyingly.

  • Craig Anderson says:

    BA *has* confirmed that Avios redemption rates are increasing, see this article:

    ‘”The changes will take effect from 30 May 2019 and while BA has not detailed the size of the increase, a spokesman for the airline confirmed to Australian Business Traveller “we are increasing the number of Avios needed to book a reward flight with various of our partner airlines.”‘

  • James says:

    Is anyone else experiencing the recurring AA award availability on BA for Avios redemptions?

    For example, I was looking at MIA-DFW for a particular day in August, and it was showing over half a dozen flights with 7 seats available on all. I checked again yesterday and there’s now nothing available except going via MCO or TPA for example.

    I also noticed on yesterday that the mileage award amounts required for these flights were all showing different, bizarre totals as opposed to just 12,500 for the usual Economy Saver award. I’m wondering if there is a connection here.

    I was hoping to book at least 6 sectors before the increase, I guess from 7500 to 9000 at the end of this month.

    Thanks for any help.

  • Flying Scotsman says:

    Perhaps BA are keeping schtum because the increases are steep for the shorter distances (if the leak is correct):

    +33% for the 0-650 miles
    +20% for 651-1150 miles
    +10% for 1151-2000 miles
    +4% for 2001-3000 miles