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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.

Avios wing 13

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.  


British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (114)

  • 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.

    • Anna says:

      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…

    • Paul Hickey says:

      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.

  • Anna says:

    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.

    • Anna says:

      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…

  • 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

    • Rob says:

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

      • Hugh says:

        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!

  • 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?

  • Tom says:

    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.

  • Mike says:

    Wot no HFP today !

  • Mike says:

    I am now reading The Points Guy UK instead – it is quite dull

    • LewisB says:

      Unless you want £26 return flights to Krakow or may be surprised by having extra legroom with easyJet this summer it’s a bit pants.

      • Anthony Edwards says:

        Those Krakow flights are useless – they’re from the regions.

        • LewisB says:

          I wonder if they’ll get a spike in google analytics this morning…

  • Peter K says:

    No headforpoints articles? Cancel the day, I’m going back to bed.

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