British Airways Avios Devalues their Partner Award Pricing

All good things must come to an end? In an email this morning, British Airways mentioned that they will be changing the amount of Avios it requires to book with their partner airlines. You have until May 30th to book these flights before the new pricing takes affect.

For years, the British Airways Avios mileage program has been a sweet spot of the industry. As one of the easiest mileage programs to accumulate miles through credit card transfer partners, combined with a distance based redemption, you could find some amazing values here. 

British Airways A380

This morninga very nebulous and confusing email was sent out to Executive Club Members who redeemed for partner airlines in the past:

Dear Mr Nickel,
 
As you’ve previously used your Avios to book reward flights with our global network of partner airlines, we wanted to let you know about some changes we’re making.
 
From 30 May 2019, we’ll be changing our Avios prices on reward flights with some of our partner airlines.
 
Don’t worry if you have an existing Avios booking with a partner airline. It’s still valid and you can make changes or cancel it if you need to*. Our new Avios prices will apply to any changes or new bookings you make after 30 May 2019.

When you click the “Find Out More” button it brings you to an even more nebulous page:

From 30 May 2019, we’ll be changing our Avios prices on reward flights with the following partner airlines: Alaska Airlines, Air Italy, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, S7, Sri Lankan and Royal Jordanian Airlines.
 
The price of Avios upgrades on American Airlines only will also be changing from 30 May 2019. You will pay the difference between the Avios prices of your booked cabin and your upgraded cabin.
 
Don’t worry if you have an existing Avios booking with one of these airlines. It’s still valid and you can make changes or cancel it if you need to*. Our new Avios prices will apply to any changes or new bookings you make after 30 May 2019.
 
There will be no change to our Avios prices for reward flights and upgrades with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia or Vueling. The Avios prices for our other services are also unaffected, so you can continue to benefit from spending your Avios on our wide range of hotels, car hire and experiences.
 
All Avios reward flight prices are subject to taxes, fees and carrier charges. See ba.com for full Terms and Conditions of redeeming Avios.
 
*Subject to the Terms and Conditions of your booking.

British Airways Sale – GONE

The Main Problem

Here’s the issue… they don’t tell you how MUCH they’re changing, just that they are. It’s sort of a “book-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace” situation. If you book it now through May 30th, you can get the currently pricing. If you book afterwards, you’re going to be at the mercy of the new pricing. We don’t know what that’s going to be just yet, but I imagine that’s going to be coming in a separate email.

There are no changes to anyone in the IAG family (British, Aer Lingus, Iberia, etc)

At least there’s some notice?

I suppose it’s a good thing that they’re giving you 6 weeks to make your bookings. Hawaiian Airlines earlier just gutted their program with no warning and Delta, well Delta is just a shit-show. They’ll change anything at anytime without even the decency of telling you about it. 

This way, if you have bookings you want to make, get them in the books now. You can secure current pricing and not have to worry about any changes that might come up.

British Airways First Class

British Airways First Class

Will this lead you to make some preemptive bookings now with your Avios?

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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