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Uh oh: British Airways increases short-haul Avios redemption prices with no notice

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British Airways has quietly increased the cost of short-haul Avios redemptions.

The increase is 750 Avios each way, so 1,500 Avios for a return flight.

The price increase seem to have taken effect immediately. Earlier this afternoon it was only on flights for 2022 but now appears to include 2021 services.

Here is the old Avios redemption chart:

This is what has changed. This is one-way pricing so you need to double these numbers for a return flight.

Zone 1 (eg Amsterdam)

  • Off-peak Economy – was 4000 Avios, now 4750 Avios
  • Peak Economy – was 4500 Avios, now 5250 Avios
  • Off-peak Business – was 7750 Avios, now 8500 Avios
  • Peak Business – was 9000 Avios, now 9750 Avios

Here is an example for 1st January 2022 for a peak day Business Class return flight to Berlin. However, during this evening, the changes have extended to cover 2021 too. Look at the number next to the ‘£50 taxes’ option (click to enlarge):

Zone 2 (eg Barcelona)

  • Off-peak Economy – was 6500 Avios, now 7250 Avios
  • Peak Economy – was 7500 Avios, now 8250 Avios
  • Off-peak Business – was 12750 Avios, now 13500 Avios
  • Peak Business – was 15000 Avios, now 15750 Avios

Zone 3 (eg Corfu)

  • Off-peak Economy – was 8500 Avios, now 9250 Avios
  • Peak Economy – was 10000 Avios, now 10750 Avios
  • Off-peak Business – was 17000 Avios, now 17750 Avios
  • Peak Business – was 20000 Avios, now 20750 Avios

Nothing has changed for Zone 4 and above, which are primarily long-haul routes.

The pricing above is ‘base’ pricing, ie the level at which you pay £17.50 in Reward Flight Saver fees in Economy or £25 in Business.

These are also the Avios figures you will be quoted if you use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

For non-241 bookings you will also be offered a range of other prices, some needing more Avios (and less cash) and some needing fewer Avios (and more cash).

British Airways does not actually publish an Avios redemption chart any longer. The chart above is one we compiled ourselves. The ‘Reward Flight Calculator’ tool on ba.com has also been broken for some time …..

Changing a flight?

If you voluntarily change a short-haul Avios flight, you will be required to pay extra Avios.

If British Airways cancels your flight, you should not have to pay any additional points.

Conclusion

At a time when cash prices are likely to be very weak, especially this Winter, it is hard to understand the rationale behind ramping up Avios prices.

Making Avios worth less when used for flights is also an odd move now that the Avios / Nectar partnership is here. It simply makes it more attractive to cash out your Avios for 0.8p in Sainsbury’s or Argos credit by transferring them to Nectar.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

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

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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.

Comments (111)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nick says:

    It saddens me that they’re so sneaky about it, just dropping it in and hoping people don’t notice. It’s a devaluation pure and simple. I’m not saying shout from the rooftops, but at least let it be known with a formal announcement – and ideally have a short notice period before it takes effect. That’s the decent thing to do. This just takes loyal customers for fools.

  • CarefreeBA says:

    In fairness, the 4,500 amount has been here for as long as I’ve been around BAEC (minimum 8 years). Given the introduction of off peak pricing a few years ago, I’m not surprised of this change, and seems reasonable.

    • Peter K says:

      I’m sure it wasn’t off peak they introduced but rather peak, to make things more expensive at certain times. IIRC.

      • J says:

        I think flights were 4,500 and they introduced the off peak option. Could be wrong though, I used to book the 2,250 + £40 and remember thinking that was half the avios.

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    Well, if Nectar conversion wasn’t already tempting enough for anyone with balances they can see a way to spend in the short term – before the next devaluation..

  • The real John says:

    Using 0.8p, zone 1 off-peak is now £55.50 and peak is £59.50 (less on inbound to the UK if the actual taxes and fees are lower than £17.50) which is not too bad.

    CE is £93 or £103, but you forego earning avios and TPs, so for me not likely to be worth it.

    Zone 3 CE £167 / £191 are prices that I would not pay except in an emergency, and tbh even the economy prices are on the high side unless you are restricted by dates.

    Majority of my redemptions have always been Z1 and I used 0.6p before, meaning it’s 34% inflation for me, however I suppose it is still cheap in absolute terms.

  • AndyGWP says:

    Long haul to swiftly follow??

  • Tyler Durden says:

    yay my numerous unused 2for1 vouchers have suddenly increased in value…

    • Journeying John says:

      …Until you see the “fare difference” and other charges BA impose!

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Just as well there’s EasyJet and Ryanair! We have a choice!

    • Journeying John says:

      Yeap & with BA’s densified cabins, failed catering and inability to maintain / clean their cabins effectively not to mention the IT, absence of customer service and hostile policies (see unrequested vouchers) not only are those two cheaper but they’re a better experience too… Eg. RyanAir pitch is in reality LARGER than on BA’s revised airbuses

  • J says:

    Assuming fees stay the same and this pricing stick around for a few years it seems a very reasonable increase. I always fear the day RFS is dropped completely, so any small move is reassuring.

    • kitten says:

      Don’t be fooled.
      It’s salami-slicing.
      There are many slices on a salami.

      • J says:

        I’d been assuming that for most of the last decade, and only now has a little slice been cut off!

    • Anna says:

      I don’t get why people think avios price increases are just “inflation”. The amount you have to spend to get them is affected by inflation, so increasing avios prices is effectively a double whammy from what I can see.

      • Jonathan says:

        Inflation actually works in your favour if the Avios tariff increases.

        You pay £1 for a loaf of bread & get 1.5 Avios. In 10 years time the loaf of bread costs £1.50 which nets you 2.25 Avios. Assuming wages etc. keep up with price inflation you’re getting more Avios for the same real terms cost.

      • Rob says:

        Technically correct BUT short-haul flights have been in massive deflation for years. When I started HfP, a Club Europe sale fare under £250 return (over £300 with inflation) was something to go crazy about. We now see Club Europe under £150 in sales, I think the cheapest return flight we’ve covered recently was £114.

        Similarly, you never, ever saw an economy ticket under £59 one-way and now they are £25 at times. If anything you should be seeing the Avios requirement going down.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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