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Live in the regions? Your Avios have just been devalued (accidentally)

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If you start your Avios redemptions outside London and require a connection, your points were devalued (accidentally) on Monday.  It just took us 48 hours to notice.  No-one else seems to have spotted this at all.

The good news is that I think BA will end up reversing what they have done, because it is totally unfair.  I don’t think it is deliberate and I am told by Avios that it is an accident.

On Monday we wrote about the roll-out of BA’s trial of £1 Avios redemptions – see here.

Under this scheme, you now have the option – if you choose – of reducing the ‘taxes and charges’ element of all UK and European redemptions from £35 (economy) or £50 (business) to just £1.

The downside is that you need to use more Avios.  In my view, you need to use so many additional Avios that it isn’t worth.  You have the choice, however.  No-one is forcing this new structure on you.

In my article I wrote “I’m sure that more quirks in the pricing will come clear in the next few days.”  Unfortunately I was right.

Avios has devalued for everyone who needs a regional connection

Here’s an example.  A Club World off-peak Avios redemption from Newcastle to New York, off peak, costs 100,000 Avios.  This is the same price as a flight from Heathrow to New York.  The domestic connection is free.

Or, at least, it used to be.

Take a look at the screenshot below (click to enlarge):

Avios devaluation

A ‘Club Europe connecting to a Club World’ redemption from Newcastle to New York, off-peak, has gone up by 10,000 Avios from 100,000 to 110,000 Avios return.

Where has this ‘extra’ 10,000 Avios come from?

Here is my guess.  This is the new pricing for a Club Europe redemption between Newcastle and Heathrow, return:

Avios price increases from the regions

The old standard price was 15,500 Avios + £50.  Under the new scheme, you can now use 25,500 Avios to take the taxes down to £1.

25,500 Avios minus 15,500 Avios = 10,000 Avios.  This is where the increase in the long-haul ticket comes from, I am sure.

But there is no tax saving …..

But wait“, I hear you say, “perhaps BA has reduced the taxes and charges bill to compensate for adding on 10,000 Avios?“.

Er, no.

This is the identical trip, booked from a British Airways Executive Club account which does not qualify for Reward Flight Saver because the account – which belongs to my father in law – has not earned an Avios in the past 12 months (click to enlarge):

Avios price increases from the regions

The Avios cost is just 100,000 Avios!!  The taxes are the same at £666.08.

So, let’s get this clear …. you now need to pay 10,000 additional Avios for a long-haul redemption, if you are flying from the regions, if you are an ‘active’ Avios collector!

You can save 10,000 Avios by not collecting a single Avios for 12 months and going ‘inactive’ 🙂

My money is on this being an IT mistake – and Avios has told me this morning that this was not planned – so hopefully we will see it rolled back over the next few days.  

Thanks to Julian for this.

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Comments (114)

  • BlueHorizonUK says:

    Articles are coming

  • sloth says:

    the apparent meltdown around 3 late articles certainly puts Brexit into perspective…:)

  • ian says:

    i’m from NY but my dad is from Manchester. is the term for anyone who lives outside london really “the regions”? lol

    speaking ofManchester, i’m really sad AA decided that PHL-MAN was more important than JFK-MAN. currently no oneworld service to manchester from NY 🙁

  • Chris says:

    Hi Rob, long time reader and FTer. Love the site and thank you so much for all you do.
    OT: Is there a best call centre to use nowadays for adding on the return leg of an amex companion voucher booking? Not much seems to be open at 0100h BST- I think US line closes at 2000h EST.
    Many thanks for your help.