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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.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

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

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

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

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 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

30,000 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, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios:

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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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

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 (112)

  • Andrew says:

    Really glad we have nectar now to dispose of my pile of Avios – redemption flight bookings increasingly seemed bad value and this just reaffirms that. And classic BA doing an overnight devaluation with no notice.

    • kitten says:

      Be careful though – any imbalance will be corrected by BA.

      • Andrew says:

        Imbalance of what? I’ll be sticking to the rules and transferring my 50k every month to nectar.

        • kitten says:

          Yes that’s what I meant. Get stuck in and do it while you still can, while the rate remains the same.

          • peter says:

            Transfer all to Nectar and wait for the rate to drop.. then transfer back 🙂 Nectar already has ridiculous value of 0.5p, cannot imagine it dropping to 0.33p or even 0.25p. Although dropping 1 Avios = 1 Nectar is likely, similarly to 1 Amex = 1 Nectar (shame this conversion is just one way 🙂

  • Gillian Wilson says:

    Feel a bit cheated to be honest as I have a couple of future travel vouchers from cancelled avios flights. Now I will have to use more avios to book the same trip!!!!!

    • kitten says:

      This is exactly why you should never take any voucher or credit note if you have a legal right to cash instead. The airline has control of the pricing of what you’ll be able to redeem it on in the future and you won’t be able to escape.

      The only sensible exception being if the company offers you something extra to take (or buy) a voucher. Such as extending the time limit of a 241 or other voucher that you used.

      Or, in the case of Iberia, I would want a 60% discount by receiving extra back. For Qatar I’d want 30%. For BA, probably I’d want a 25% uplift on today’s value if I wasn’t going to use the voucher immediately. YMMV.

  • Will says:

    I think in context we should be grateful if an airline still exists with which to redeem points post this pandemic.

    • mike says:

      Will – are you part of the “Airlines Matter” campaign

      • Will says:

        A significant part of me thinks that the collapse of BA may be in the customers long term best interests esp in relation to all their revenue shares which effectively turn many routes into oligopolies.

        • Journeying John says:

          Couldnt agree more, BA need to up their game in so many areas and hopefully can no longer rely on corporate travel tied to agreements & the points as a hidden benefit for many business travellers…
          In an open market their products and service are simply not competitive, particularly when the risk of IT meltdown / data breach / industrial relations issues are so much higher with BA than other legacy carriers. Equally, whilst BA are unable or unwilling to effectively maintain or clean their densified cabins with broken IFE, Wifi and almost permanent filth and persist in under provisioning catering and failing to deliver on their marketing there are better alternatives.

  • Anuj says:

    I think it’s becoming less and less worth the effort to redeem with airlines. Hotels are where the majority of your time on holiday is spent so I’d rather use points for those and most have barely if any tax to pay. Plus for European destinations it’s not worth the extra for business when you can get lounge access anyway. Would rather save huge amounts by flying easyJet etc

    • John says:

      I spend the majority of my time doing things at the destination, not in the hotel. Redeeming for short haul doesn’t take any effort.

    • Lady London says:

      Easyjet will not be cheap in future. The amounts they’ve ramped up their ancillary charges by are eye-watering.

  • John says:

    Bad form, BA, bad form.

    The devaluation may be minor in scope. But you shouldn’t do this without giving your customers a heads-up ahead of time. Now that it’s been uncovered by Flyertalk and HFP, it’s gonna get the negative publicity it deserves anyhow.

  • Juni says:

    I’m about done with Avios and BA. Archaic loyalty program that needs a major re-vamp. One of the last airlines to charge stupid taxes and fees for redemptions that often make the redemption not even worth it. Air Canada just got rid of them on Aeroplan as well. BA needs to change, this pandemic was the perfect time to do it.

    • Rob says:

      BA HAS got rid of taxes … by making you pay far more Avios, at a terrible marginal rate.

      You’d be a mug to book a ‘£1 taxes’ Avios redemption on short-haul.

  • Dutchy says:

    I wonder if the focus on short haul is because they have a de facto monopoly on short haul redemptions. They can raise the price without risk of losing members to another programme.

  • Ali M says:

    so everyone should book a long haul 2 for 1 where enough points and voucher applicable to escape this 😭😭😭
    Rob this would come to long haul too I take it?

    • Rob says:

      Probably not – the hike is probably linked to Heathrow’s new £9 passenger fee. On a long haul redemption you are paying all the taxes so you are paying the £9 anyway.

      • Ali M says:

        ok phew x
        I am in my own tiny world as just got the BAPP and started to think whats the point of working towards that 10k spend if would just mean cant use it as effectively as now.
        I was always aiming for a long term return flight.
        Thank you.
        Regards

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