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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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  1. Gromit says:

    London Airways stopped caring about the regions years ago unfortunately.

    +1 in the dislike of ‘taxes’ being too freely used to cover random airline top-up charges

  2. Harry T says:

    Virgin Atlantic Miles are beginning to look even more attractive for people outside London. Opportunities with Flybe and KLM/AF will soon be available from regional airports. Now would be a clever time for Virgin to open their Upper Class to passengers without status redeeming their 241.

    • Please, no!

    • Too many much are pinning too much hope on AF/KLM. Given their own rewards are typically 70-100% higher than the reward estimator suggests for long haul premium flights I doubt we will see much to be excited about from Virgin.

      • Lady London says:

        +1. Like you BJ I think there is too much anticipation about the Virgin tie-up with KLM/AF.

        KLM/AF seem to require outrageous amounts of miles that are not so easy to earn, for any redemption. they do have a bright spot in their regular promotional pricing on awards that is just about OK pricing, and that’s about it.

        I am with other posters in wishing Virgin would open the ability to buy up to its members of all statuses. It would generate so much goodwill, and create more aspirational miles collectors who would fly more on Virgin flights as a result.

        I would love to be able to switch my loyalty to AF/KLM as a regional airport would be very convenient for me. But having checked how many AF/KL miles I would currently have to spend, it would be ludricous to even hope. I don’t think Virgin would be allowed to be much better in the tie-up.

        • The tax/fees are also an issue. Yesterday we figured redeeming 6k pp each way out to AMS and back from CDG. O be fair, I could actually find the 6k redemption for Augus/September but only on the 6am outward flight and the cost was over €36. Hard to swallow when there are more convenient flights available on easyjet for £43. Now thinking about cashing out to accor.

          • Lady London says:

            Got a feeling there may be excellent train offers on that route. Have defo seen them in the past.

          • Delta also has outrageous mileage costs – but not when you book the same flights via Virgin. (Can’t help the taxes, those will be fixed.) It is perfectly possible that the same flights require fewer miles with Virgin.

  3. sididdly says:

    Slightly O/T but it is a BA Redemption question. Does anyone know if the Fifth freedom flight still exists from LHR to Madrid? If so, which type of plane should I be looking out for?

    • Lady London says:

      Which 5th Freedom flight on which airline?

      • sididdly says:

        Heathrow to Madrid on BA and Iberia (one flight per day according to this article)

        • Lady London says:

          pretty sure Rob did a very recent article about BA;s new A350 longhaul aircraft being used on test flights LHR to MAD in next few months – he gave which flights/timings those new aircraft are currently scheduled for, as well. Haven;t got time but maybe you could google? syntax is site: A350 london Madrid

          • BA runs a B777, Iberia runs an A330/A340 to/from Madrid.

            The A350 Madrid DRAFT schedule has been published internally by BA and is available on Flyertalk. We are not printing it until the flights are in the timetable and it is very much a working timetable and likely to change, and I don’t want readers booking cash tickets on the back of it.

            It looks like it will replace a short-haul flight and NOT one of the current Boeing 777 rotations.

          • The A350 schedule on Flyertalk is partially wrong, it does not match the latest internal schedule, very few have access to it, hopefully none stupid enough to publish it. Big change coming.

          • Someone told me this, which is why we have not published it. It also goes against what I was told at the launch event.

        • Genghis says:

          Note these are third and fourth freedoms respectively

  4. Stu R says:

    I’ve tweeted BA about this and his this response this morning:

    “This is strange as you shouldn’t be paying for the Avios on a domestic flight connecting to a long haul on the same booking. You might be best off speaking to our Sales team to have a look into that for you”

    • It’s probably just a glitch same as last time a few months ago and will be fixed. Not sure why this time it gets a whole article and last time barely a mention. Cannot help but wonder if BA is testing the water but given their IT track record probably a simple glitch is what it is.8

  5. Fraser says:

    London is also a region! 😉

    • Not in the context of ‘do you need a domestic flight to connect to your international flight’ it’s not.

  6. Lady London says:

    OT apparently right now there’s a massive baggage meltdown at both Heathrow and Gatwick.
    British Airways is manually tagging all bags, say reports, and not guaranteeing baggage checked in will arrive.

    For once I’m feeling a bit sorry for BA with the £183 million fine for data breach (probably outsourced IT after they sacked staff with years of experience not many years ago), the upcoming potential pilots strike and now all the costs and disappointment to customers this will entail on one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year for the UK.

    • I feel sorry for the public-facing staff who have to deal with it all, but there’s no excuse for BA not investing in decent IT and cyber security!

    • Michael says:

      Feel sorry for the staff – not the airline, shareholder’s or management.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Oh dear, the hidden cost of outsourcing IT to India…

    • I don’t feel sorry for them. My wife missed her flight to India (man-Lhr-Del) as M62 was broken and they wouldn’t do anything even with an 2 hours notice. Couldn’t even book a one way and keep / take her return flight home.

  7. Actually – I need to thank Rob for this article. I just double checked my MAN-MIA confirmation for next year and it shows that I was charged 218000 avios for 3 F seats using a 2 4 1. This is 18000 too many by my, reckoning, will give them a call later.

    • I need a stiff drink. Called the UK number but the CSA insisted on putting me through to the “avios team” (this has never happened before) which is clearly one of the overseas offices. CSA spent 20 minutes arguing that the connecting flight was correctly charged as it’s in a different cabin (CE) to the long haul F leg. You honestly couldn’t make this up, but it seems as though BA staff have actually been told to make things up to try and fob people off! Finally talked the CSA round but he has had to go away to get the refund authorised so I’m not holding my breath…

  8. tracy says:

    I made a reservation on Tuesday longhaul from Glasgow using a 241 and I was charged 150k avios for 4 people one way, its as expected for me…..75k each way off peak

    • You would, because 2-4-1’s are not impacted by this new pricing.

      • That’s great to know as I only ever redeem long haul as a 241 from LBA, but am considering JER or INV for next time!

  9. Stuart says:

    Slightly off topic but regions related. I am on the 6.05am NCL – LHR flight in CE in a couple of months. The one world website states that the NCL BA Lounge doesn’t actually open until 6am. Can anyone clarify this? What’s the point in having a lounge if it’s shut when one of your flights take off?

  10. Where is HFP today?

    • Scallder says:

      Hacked by Alex Cruz??? 🙂

    • LewisB says:

      At first I thought I was kicked off the email subscription list for lack of engagement, but there’s nothing! What am I meant to read with my breakfast in work!?

    • Frenzie says:

      My guess is Dubai. Or somewhere in the Middle East.

  11. Wot no HFP today !

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